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Monday, November 08, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
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Tableau takes a fresh look at databases

Christian Chabot, left, and Chris Stolte are co-founders of Tableau Software in Seattle.
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Who: Christian Chabot, president and co-founder of Tableau Software in Seattle

What it does: Developed a way for database users to interpret information visually by using drag-and-drop features.

Too much, too late: "We have a problem. We are swimming in data and databases, and no one can see what's going on," Chabot said. "The problem isn't getting more data anymore, it is in trying to see what's going on in databases."

Manifestations: Typically, a user analyzes a database with text to crunch the numbers and then mocks up charts and graphs to present the information. Tableau skips the middle process and uses graphics to do the analysis.

Nickname: Tableau has been called the "Adobe for databases," Chabot said.

In action: Safeway uses the software to see what's going on at each store by slicing and dicing information collected from the Safeway Club Card.

Customers: In the hundreds, including Safeway, Wells Fargo, Dow Chemical and Google.

Roots: The company was developed by its chief technology officer, Pat Hanrahan, a Stanford University professor of computer science and electrical engineering, perhaps best known for developing Pixar technology.

Going to market: The intellectual property was spun out of Stanford in January 2003. Tableau has exclusive worldwide rights to commercialize the technology. Chabot moved the company a year ago to Seattle with another co-founder, Chris Stolte, vice president of engineering.

Funding: $5 million in venture capital.

Employees: 10. Expects to add 20 to 30 more.

— Tricia Duryee

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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