Today, for instance, Domo is crashing competitor Tableau’s conference in Austin, Texas — offering attendees free doughnuts and tickets to a party space that Domo rented across the street, and which will play host to performances from rappers Flo Rida and Snoop Dogg during the week.
For its part, Tableau, a $3 billion publicly-traded company, hasn’t had a great year: Its shares are down more than 50% since January 1st, even after a big rally when the company enlisted former Amazon exec
Adam Selipsky as CEO.
In an interview with Forbes, Domo CEO Josh James says that his company, which acts as kind of a hub for business data, and Tableau, which makes software to turn data into intuitive charts and graphs, rarely go head-to-head for customers. But, James says, customers who buy Domo often end up dumping Tableau after, and he saw opportunity.
“It felt to me that 90% of Tableau’s business is fragile and vulnerable,” James tells Forbes, who also confirmed that a large retailer just switched 800 software licenses from Tableau to Domo.
“Escape Tableau Hell”
Domo is sending staffers to this week’s Tableau conference in shirts bearing the motto “Escape Tableau Hell,” which shares a name with a special website the startup launched for the event. It’s also the theme of Domo’s party space and lounge during the event.
On Monday night, Flo Rida will play in “Escape Tableau Hell” space; on Tuesday, Domo will host a bar crawl; Wednesday will see Snoop Dogg perform — during the same time slot when Tableau itself is hosting a show for attendees headlined by bands including Misterwives and Walk the Moon.
It’s not uncommon for companies to use their competitors’ conferences as an opportunity to attack: Tiny startup Zoho is fond of using $52 billion Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference to run attack ads.
Still, it’s a bolder move than usual for Domo to try to steal some of Tableau’s business for itself by throwing its own party across the street. But given that James has boasted about swearing customers to secrecy and lying to people to keep the market guessing about his product plans, it’s entirely in character for Domo.
For its part, Tableau seems to be taking Domo’s audacious move in stride. Says a spokesperson:
“We’re so excited for the week ahead. We are focused on making a great conference full of learning, innovation and networking for our 13,000 customers and partners this week. The Tableau community is filled with passionate people that are transforming their organisations with data and love Tableau!”
And, hey, only time will tell if it worked. After all, Tableau shares finished Monday’s session up a little over 2% at $45.65.
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