Enterprise Software

How a geek hacked his way to a billion dollar business - and it's not Bill Gates

Marc Benioff is one of the most interesting characters in the tech business. In this interview with News.com's Dan Farber, see which computer Benioff started programming on, hear about his time at Apple and Oracle, and learn about his vision for Web apps at Salesforce.com.

Sometimes you would think that there aren't any interesting characters in the technology business whose names are not Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. While Gates and Jobs have both had fascinating journeys over the past three decades, if you want to hear about some of the most colorful and influential characters in the high tech world, you need to look beyond tech's two top icons.

One of the interesting figures you may not know much about is Mark Benioff, co-founder and CEO of Salesforce.com. Dan Farber, editor in chief of News.com (TechRepublic's sister site in CNET Networks), recently interviewed Benioff as part of the Super Techies series.

Some of the topics Benioff discussed in the interview include:

  • Writing games on his Radio Shack TRS 80
  • His time at Apple as a Macintosh programmer
  • How he learned to sell software at Oracle
  • His mid-career sabbatical to Hawaii and India
  • His vision of Internet apps at Salesforce.com
  • A new approach to philanthropy - "compassion capitalism"

Further reading:

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

8 comments
lonnyparsons
lonnyparsons

Hey, I wanna take a sabbatical to Hawaii!

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

Where are they getting this software from?There's a Grand Jury here someplace.

whiplashm1
whiplashm1

...there are regions in the world called "Cyberzones" or "Codespots" where it rains CD-ROMS and flash drives with software install packages on them. The biggest software companies are started by the guys lucky enough to own the land that gets the most rain, and happened to be wearing hardhats when it started. Personally, I'm lucky enough to have a kind of 6th sense, if you will, that connects my brain with a high-speed connection right into the internet, which allows me unrestricted access to all the files necessary to support all this software. Sometimes it's a blessing, other times a curse, but the 9 days and nights I spent with an old CyberSage known only to me as "Rudy" back when I discovered this hyper-sensory perceptive quality taught me, if nothing else, to accept it for what it is, and learn to use it only for good, and never evil. Or... there could be people alive today who can make heads or tails out of all that gobbledy-guke we see when we right-click a web page and select "View Source"... I find that very hard to believe though...no one could be that smart... ...could they?

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

That's what they use to make Web pages. ;-) Oh, I'm sure there are a few other things at work, too. Java, ASP, maybe even PHP. Not sure where the Grand Jury comes in.

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

He rarely make sense.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

to enjoy myself every day. I actually dig all this technology stuff. :-)

gadgetgirl
gadgetgirl

you're not supposed to come to work to enjoy yourself..... :^0 ;) GG

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

about the fact that his posts "think outside the box." :-)

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