Marc Benioff is chairman and CEO of salesforce.com. He founded the company in 1999 with a vision to create an on-demand information management service that would replace traditional enterprise software technology. Benioff is regarded as the leader of what he has termed “The End of Software,” the now-proven belief that multi-tenant, on-demand applications democratize information by delivering immediate benefits at reduced risks and costs.
Under Benioff’s direction, salesforce.com has grown from a groundbreaking idea into a publicly traded company that is the market and technology leader in on-demand business services. For its revolutionary approach, salesforce.com has been lauded as one of BusinessWeek’s Top 100 Most Innovative Companies, named No. 7 on The Wired 40, and selected for the past two years as a Top Ten Disrupter by Forbes. The product has won the Software & Information Industry Association Codie Award for Best CRM for the past six years, and the Codie Award for Best On-Demand Platform in 2007, as well as multiple “Editor’s Choice” designations from PC Magazine. Benioff has been widely recognized for pioneering innovation with honors such as the 2007 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, the SDForum Visionary Award, Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year by the University of Southern California (USC) Marshall School of Business, and being ranked No. 7 on the Top 100 Most Influential People in IT survey by eWEEK. He was appointed by President George W. Bush as the co-chairman of the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee and served from 2003-2005, overseeing the publishing of critical reports on health care information technology, cybersecurity, and computational sciences.
Throughout his career, Benioff has also been committed to using information technology to produce positive social change. In 2000, he launched the Salesforce.com Foundation—now a multimillion-dollar global organization—establishing the “1/1/1 model,” whereby the company contributes one percent of profits, one percent of equity, and one percent of employee hours back to the communities it serves. In 2006, Benioff authored The Business of Changing the World, in which 20 great leaders reveal how businesses can go beyond writing a check and leverage the full scope of their resources to make a difference. Compassionate Capitalism, also authored by Benioff, is the first-ever best-practices guide for corporate philanthropy that illustrates the success of the integrated model. Acknowledging his commitment to building partnerships between business and society to improve the state of the world, the members of the World Economic Forum named Benioff as one of its Young Global Leaders, and in 2007 the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy presented Benioff with the coveted Excellence in Corporate Philanthropy Award.
Prior to launching salesforce.com, Benioff, a quarter century veteran of the software industry, spent 13 years at Oracle Corporation from 1986-1999. In 1984, he worked as an assembly language programmer in Apple Computer’s Macintosh Division. He founded entertainment software company Liberty Software in 1979 when he was 15 years old. Benioff received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Southern California in 1986.
Tim O’Reilly is the founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media. His original business plan was “interesting work for interesting people,” and that’s worked out pretty well. He publishes books, runs conferences, invests in early-stage startups, urges companies to create more value than they capture, and tries to change the world by spreading and amplifying the knowledge of innovators.
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