2 minute read

With the recent news that Adam Selipsky is stepping down from AWS, I thought I’d share my funny Adam story.

When Adam was at the helm of Tableau, I was a PM on the Prep team. I never knew Adam closely, but I did see him in meetings a fair bit. My impression was of very capable senior exec who had a clear idea of what he wanted and how things should be run. He had high expectations for those around him, and exuded a geeky awkwardness. I liked him, but he was definitely no teddy bear.

I can’t remember the details, but we were meeting with Adam to discuss some product direction. It was a small group – fewer than ten of us – and Adam was late. So the rest of us were cooling our heels.

Eventually Adam showed up and apologized. He explained that he was at a meeting with the Tableau Online team about service stability, and that it had run long. I knew that this was a major problem, and didn’t begrudge him taking the time. Then I open my trap.

“Oh, are we up to five eights yet?” I joked.

And panicked. What had my big mouth done. I could hear the silence.

But it doesn’t more then a beat when Adam picked it up.

“Ooh, I like that”, he said, turning to an imagined customer and going into salesman mode. “Would you rather have three nines or five eights?”

He laughed and said, “I’m going to use that.”

I exhaled.

I recall that we got torn to shreds in that meeting, but it was for good reason, not my joke. I had a lot of respect for Adam, but seeing his sense of humor made me like him more. I wish him the best.