Fireside Chat With Marc Benioff, CEO and Co-Founder of Salesforce.Com | Summary and Q&A

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September 21, 2012
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Fireside Chat With Marc Benioff, CEO and Co-Founder of Salesforce.Com

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Summary

In this video, Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce, discusses various topics including the growth of Salesforce, its focus on helping customers connect with their customers, the upcoming Dreamforce conference, philanthropy, industry trends, and more.

Questions & Answers

Q: Can you briefly introduce yourself and your company Salesforce?

Yes, I'm Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce. Salesforce is a company that helps customers automate their sales organizations and connect with their customers in new ways. We offer solutions in sales, service, and marketing.

Q: Can you give us some updates on the growth of Salesforce?

Certainly! Salesforce is the fifth most valuable software company in the world and the fastest-growing among the top 20 software companies. We achieved 37% growth on a constant currency basis in our last quarter. Our annual revenue is expected to exceed $3 billion this quarter.

Q: How has Salesforce evolved beyond just a sales organization automation platform?

While Salesforce started as a platform to automate sales organizations, we have now expanded to help customers connect with their customers in various ways. We are focused on creating a social front office and offer solutions in sales, service, and marketing that allow our customers to engage with their customers in new ways.

Q: Can you tell us more about the upcoming Dreamforce conference and how many people will be attending?

Dreamforce is our annual conference and this year we have over 70,000 people registered to attend. It will be the largest vendor-led technology event ever. We have keynote speeches from Richard Branson and other industry leaders, as well as various sessions and events throughout the conference.

Q: What is your take on philanthropy and how has Salesforce contributed to it?

Philanthropy is an important aspect of Salesforce. We have made a fundamental decision to give back by contributing 1% of our equity, profit, and employee time to a public charity. We have donated over $40 million through our foundation, done over 325,000 hours of community service, and provided free services to 16,000 nonprofits. I have personally donated $100 million to build a new Children's Hospital.

Q: What are your thoughts on the balance between wealth accumulation and philanthropy?

I believe that wealth accumulation and philanthropy are not mutually exclusive. By integrating philanthropy into business models, individuals and companies can make a positive impact on the world. Giving away money and having an impactful philanthropy strategy is as challenging as any business model. It also helps to involve employees in philanthropic activities and enable them to contribute to a greater cause.

Q: How do you view competition and acquisitions in the industry?

Competition is a part of the industry, and we have both competed and partnered with different companies. We believe in innovating, adding value, and delivering value to customers. We have acquired 25 companies and made investments based on various strategic and financial considerations.

Q: How do you view Google's presence in the enterprise market?

Google is an amazing company, and we have a good partnership with them. While they have a strong presence in the consumer space, they have had some challenges in the enterprise market. I believe they have a crisis of prioritization and execution in their enterprise products. However, they are still a great company, and I have respect for Larry and Sergey.

Q: What are your thoughts on Facebook's recent IPO and their future as a company?

Facebook is a great company with a great CEO, and they have a strong user base. However, the timing and execution of their IPO could have been better. Going public earlier would have maintained their pristine image. They need to focus on doubling down their revenue growth to become the next Google.

Q: Can you share any updates or new features that Salesforce will be announcing at Dreamforce?

At Dreamforce, we will be showcasing the next versions of our sales cloud. We have introduced new capabilities such as Data.com for updating sales records and Social Key for connecting with customers on social media platforms. We are also introducing a marketing cloud that integrates the recently acquired Radian6 and Buddy Media.

Q: How do you balance work and personal life, and what do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I spend about one-third of my time in Hawaii every year, which helps me rebalance, clarify my vision, and focus. It's important for me to take time off and engage in activities like paddleboarding and swimming in the ocean to relax my mind and stimulate creativity.

Takeaways

In this video, Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce, shares insights on the growth and evolution of Salesforce, the impact of philanthropy, their upcoming Dreamforce conference, industry trends, and more. Salesforce is positioned as a company that helps customers connect with their customers in new and innovative ways. They are focused on creating a social front office and offer solutions in sales, service, and marketing. Benioff highlights the importance of integrating philanthropy into business models and involving employees in philanthropic activities. He believes that wealth accumulation and philanthropy can go hand in hand. Additionally, he shares his perspective on competition, industry acquisitions, and the challenges faced by companies like Google and Facebook. Overall, Benioff emphasizes the need for continuous innovation, value delivery, and a focus on revenue growth to become the next Google.

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