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'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

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 Dan Farber, editor in chief of (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
  • A new approach to philanthropy - "compassion capitalism"

Further reading: