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Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky speaks at Tableau Conference 2016. (Tableau Software Photo)

Adam Selipsky has years of labor expertise to attract upon, from stints as a vice chairman at RealNetworks and Amazon, to main Tableau Software as CEO for 5 years.

But as a pacesetter, that didn’t matter when the pandemic hit final yr.

“My body of experience actually became dangerous to me,” mentioned Selipsky, talking at a Technology Alliance occasion this week. “As you get further and further on in your career, you tend to rely a lot on pattern matching. To some extent you expect the past to be informative on the future — and there was nothing familiar about the situation.”

Selipsky made his first public look since asserting in March that he was leaving Tableau to be the brand new CEO of Amazon Web Services. He’ll substitute longtime AWS chief Andy Jassy, who will take over from Jeff Bezos as Amazon’s CEO on July 5.

Selipsky is a well-recognized face at Amazon as a former AWS govt who spent 11 years on the Seattle-based tech big. He left to affix Tableau as CEO in 2016.

Tableau was one of many first Seattle-area corporations to ship their employees residence when the pandemic started spreading within the U.S. early final yr. Selipsky mentioned he realized to lean on information — information on the virus’ unfold; information to assist prospects; and many others. — reasonably than instinct that comes from expertise.

“In the absence of intuition … you really look to data,” he mentioned.

Incredibly grateful for the nice and cozy welcome (again) this week – made sweeter by colleagues, prospects/companions & pals. #AWS pic.twitter.com/mpWE4OgH5k

— Adam Selipsky (@aselipsky) May 21, 2021

For Selipsky, the pandemic was additionally a reminder to have empathy as a pacesetter — really understanding the assorted conditions that staff and prospects had been coping with. Some of his staff had been coping with children at residence; others had been taking calls from the bath. And prospects additionally had their distinctive challenges.

“Each customer had different problems — some industries were in total meltdown,” he mentioned. “If you take a long-term view — which I always do and it’s one of the great things about Amazon — how do we think about where we’re going to be with these customers in three, five, 10 years from now? What do we do now to really deepen those bonds of partnership?”

Amazon’s management ideas are nonetheless deeply ingrained in Selipsky. Asked in regards to the acceleration of digital adoption amid the pandemic and having the ability to determine developments, Selipsky mentioned he “always retreats” to Amazon’s precept of working backwards from the client.

“Customer focus really means two things: a deep, deep, deep understanding of what your customers actually want and actually need and where they’re actually headed. Some of those things they can express; some of those things you have to express on their behalf.

“The second piece — which proves to be hard — is to actually take that understanding and bury it right in the center of every critical decision you make as a company,” he added. “Don’t leave it at the door when you decide what’s going to make your company successful.”

Learned a lot from at the moment’s State of Technology Luncheon with @TechAllianceWA ???????? Thank you @hrhmedia for the invite! And I received some cougar gold! ???? pic.twitter.com/X97ufP8l9l

— Ahn the Scene (@IAmJeanAhn) May 26, 2021

While main Tableau, Selipsky helped drive progress for the Seattle information visualization pioneer, which had a market capitalization of round $3 billion when he took over as CEO. Selipsky oversaw the corporate’s acquisition by Salesforce for $15.7 billion in 2019, the second-largest in Salesforce historical past, and he was instrumental in pivoting the corporate from a conventional software program product to at least one tied within the cloud with subscription choices.

Selipsky, interviewed by HRH Media Group President Hanson Hosein at Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle, wasn’t requested about his transition from Tableau again to Amazon or why he took the gig. His return to AWS comes because the market-leading cloud enterprise is firing on all cylinders, with $45 billion in annual income and representing 63% of the corporate’s working revenue.

“Adam brings strong judgment, customer obsession, team building, demand generation, and CEO experience to an already very strong AWS leadership team,” Jassy wrote in a memo to staff in March. “And, having been in such a senior role at AWS for 11 years, he knows our culture and business well.”

When I first began at @AWScloud 16 years in the past, #cloudcomputing was not even in it’s infancy. Today, it’s inspiring to see how #AWS prospects, companions, staff have embraced & pushed this motion – although it is early days. Thrilled to be again for this subsequent chapter. #DayOne

— Adam Selipsky (@aselipsky) May 18, 2021