Salesforce is one of the most successful cloud computing companies today. Such an innovative company must have a dedicated leader working behind the scenes. Salesforce indeed has one – and that is Marc Benioff.
The Man Behind Salesforce’s Force
Marc Benioff is the founder, CEO and Chairman of Salesforce. He established the company in March 1999 and continues to lead Salesforce until today. Benioff is an IT expert and an influential leader who never failed to put Salesforce on top of the IT world.
The idea to start Salesforce came to him when he thought of the “Software as a Service” concept (SaaS). This means that a certain software would be centrally hosted by a company and will be available for licensing as per subscription. Users can have access to the SaaS Software as a Service via a web browser. SaaS contrasts sharply to the common practice of selling individually licensed software copies. This consequently led Benioff to market Salesforce in its early years as a company that will start “the end of software”.
A Glimpse of His Pre-Salesforce Career
Benioff created his first application, How to Juggle, during his high school years. He managed to create successful game software for Atari 8-bit computers and marketed these games under the name Liberty Software. At 16 years old, he was already earning enough to pay his college fees.
Benioff interned for Apple Computer during his college days. He was greatly influenced by Steve Jobs during this time. After graduating from the University of Southern California, he joined Oracle and worked in the customer relations field for 13 years. He became the company’s youngest vice president at 23 years old.
Philanthropy and Causes
Benioff started the 1-1-1 model for corporate philanthropy, which means a company gives back to the community:
- 1% of its products
- 1% of its equities
- 1% of its employee’s hours
Many companies aside from Salesforce have adopted Benioff’s 1-1-1 model today.
Apart from this, he also champions the causes of LGBT communities, supports equal pay for males and females, and regularly donates to hospitals for the improvement of children’s health.
Keeping Salesforce on Top
His influential and inspiring leadership paired with his innovative mindset paved the way for Salesforce to up its game in the SaaS and CRM industry. Under Benioff’s leadership, Salesforce was consistently included in prestigious lists such as:
- Fortune Magazine’s World’s Most Admired Companies (Software) and Best Place to Work
- Forbes Magazine’s World’s Most Innovative Companies
- CRM Magazine’s Best Enterprise CRM
In summary, Marc Benioff is Salesforce’s inspiring leader who believes in innovative ideas, gives back to the community, and keeps his feet planted on the ground.