Tableau CEO says the company’s biggest challenge now is talent

Tableau Software announced a $100 million third quarter on Wednesday and seems poised to continue growing at a rapid clip — if, that is, it can attract and keep the right employees. In an interview with Gigaom on Thursday, Tableau Co-founder and CEO Christian Chabot (above) said the biggest challenges facing the company right now have to do with people rather than just technology.

Because of the company’s newfound size (it’s up to 1,700 employees) and the lucrative market in which it operates, it’s now competing for top talent against companies such as [company]Google[/company] and [company]Apple[/company]. Referencing the stories he used to read about those companies fighting over employees, Chabot said, “It just seemed like someone else’s war, and now I’m in it.”

Otherwise, Chabot was upbeat about Tableau’s prospects for growth, and dismissive of would-be competitors big and small. Despite the company’s losses over the past few quarters, he said investors are happy and expect Tableau will be very profitable in the long run. He cited a “vast” untapped market for the flagship Tableau software, and expects the company’s new cloud offering and (forthcoming) mobile product will drive a lot of growth, as well.

“Pointing to the healthy profit margins of companies such as [company]Microsoft[/company] and [company]Adobe[/company],” he said. “Everyone knows what the economics of a software company at scale look like.”

Regarding software-as-a-service pioneer, which dove headfirst into the analytics space in October, Chabot said, “We don’t see that having a competitive impact on us.” He described that offering, called the Salesforce Analytics Cloud, as “not particularly rich, analytically speaking.”

As for the numerous startups all trying to follow on Tableau’s success with intuitive interfaces designed for everyday employees and even individuals who want to analyze their data, Chabot suggested it’s certainly possible they’ll find a niche and be successful in an analytics market that’s worth tens of billions of dollars. But he called any claims that a startup can out-Tableau Tableau “absurd.”

“Saying you’re easier or fast than Tableau is like saying you’re easier or faster than Google,” Chabot said. “Show me.”