Tableau Software ($DATA) has been on a roll for more than two years, over which time the data visualization startup has more than tripled the value of its shares. 

But ther are plenty of cues outside of stock prices for investors that can be found in workforce, social media, and hiring trends that tell the real story of how Tableau has found success. As shown at the Eagle Alpha Alternative Data conference this week, the numbers for Tableau point to a promising future for the company in a space that big-name competitors like Microsoft, SAP, IBM, and Oracle would love to dominate.

Tableau Workforce is Growing

For most of the last two years, Tableau shares have gained value more or less in pace with the company's scale of employees. Tableau's most recently-filed quarterly earnings report reflects about 4,300 staffers and growth of 17% year-over-year. Businesses adding more staff is often interpreted as a sign of growth by investors; our data is derived from LinkedIn's ($MSFT) Tableau Software employee headcount. While it is a positive indicator - Tableau will still have to continue growing revenue, as well. 

Tableau is Drumming up More Attention on Social

In recent months, Tableau Software has been getting more attention on social media, according to our Facebook ($FB) Talking About tally, which measures how much a brand is being discussed. Because Tableau has very little brick-and-mortar exposure to consumers, this is a helpful metric for understanding whether an app or a digital business has buzz about them on social media. It's not necessarily always a reflection of positive news Uber ($UBER) - which recently made its market debut, is far past its peak for Facebook Talking About count - got the most social attention when consumers were protesting CEO Travis Kalanick's management with the #DeleteUber hashtag several years ago. 

And, It's Still Growing

So far this year Tableau Software has added jobs and that looks to be the case for the rest of the current quarter. The number of jobs is up, on average, from what it was for the first quarter of 2019. We can access this data not via social networks, but by going directly to the company's hiring page

The class of 2019 IPOs are a decidedly digital bunch - Levi's ($LEVI), of course, excluded - and investors will need to be able to make alternative measurements of a company's success via data generated in real-time in order to set expectations for earnings.

Right now, companies viewed as safe harbor from the ongoing US-China trade war are seeing stocks hurt as investors take flight to quality. And although Tableau Software stock has already hit all-time highs, data suggests there could yet be room to run. It makes more compelling the argument for businesses with less exposure to tariffs and commodities - as well as the case for balancing a portfolio with alternative data. 

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