A Career Transition

October 17, 2020

You may have noticed that I’ve been spending a bit more time on social media, or that I’ve had time to participate in things like Inktober, perhaps even more than what you would expect during a pandemic where staying at home is the popular thing to do. That’s because a couple weeks ago, I left Tableau/Salesforce, and will soon be joining a robotics startup in the bay area called Dexterity.

Tableau, (and now Salesforce, since the acquisition that completed earlier this year,) is an incredible place to work, and you might be curious as to what motivated me to make a change, especially in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tableau is indeed a special place. It has a culture of collaboration and transparency, and especially after spending a couple of years at Amazon,-- who’s culture I would describe as being close to the opposite to Tableau’s-- I felt like I had found a home at Tableau where I was surrounded by people who were interested in helping each other rather than only looking out for themselves. Tableau is also a place where you can contribute to building a great product, and then go to your company’s conference where you’re surrounded by users of that product who express appreciation for what you do. It’s a place where you have opportunities to ask direct questions of senior leadership, even tough ones, (and this hasn’t changed with the Salesforce acquisition.) I think Tableau, (and now Salesforce,) is also a company that practices the principle of doing well while also doing good, and though not perfect, is one of the more ethical and altruistic companies out there.

It was a hard decision to make, and for the majority of my time at Tableau I couldn’t really imagining myself leaving. When the company was experiencing some growing pains as it matured into a mid-size tech company with over 4,000 employees, some co-workers had riffed that no matter what happened at Tableau, it wouldn’t bother me because I knew what it was like to work at Amazon. And it was true: My Amazon experience had given me some perspective, that different doesn’t necessarily mean bad, and if you really want to hear about bad, I’ve got some stories I could tell you. (I have to add here that I know people who have enjoyed working at Amazon, so it’s not all bad, but bad experiences are common.) Funny enough, one of the things I did gain from my Amazon experience was more confidence in my ability to handle difficult situations and people at work, which made it easier to decide to stick around to see how things turn out, whatever transitions the company was going through. And I’m glad I did stick around for all the rewarding experiences I’ve had there.

As good as Tableau has been, though, I felt that I could benefit from broadening my industry experience. The pandemic put a damper on any thoughts of pursuing this feeling, but a few former colleagues reached out during this time, and I eventually accepted an offer from Dexterity, a small robotics company focused on warehouse logistics. One thing I saw in Dexterity is an opportunity to leverage my existing knowlege of building user-facing software applications as a foray into the world of robotics and computer vision, which I will be learning a lot about. I also saw, based on the people I know who work there and the people I met while interviewing, a culture of collaboration and transparency, and a place where everyone has each others’ backs. Another thing that attracted me to Dexterity, is that they have a great product. Tableau has framed its product as a tool that unleashes data scientist’s creative powers, giving it the aura of a cool creative tool like Photoshop or Garage Band, but the real reason customers love it is because it elevates them from the drudgery that is typical in traditional analytics workflows, and allows them to find better answers in less time. Similarly, Dexterity provides a product that eliminates drudgery and allows its users to get better results in less time. I’m looking forward to what I expect will be a great growth opportunity, and I’m excited to be joining them in November.

In the time inbetween, I’ll be creating more art to participate in Inktober, tinkering on some projects, and taking a trip or two, (not international, sadly, given that sans pandemic this would be the perfect opportunity.)