Marc Benioff: Entrepreneur Of The Month
Updated: Jul 22
Some people are born with the entrepreneurial spark in them and succeed in creating business opportunities from a very young age. This is the case of Marc Benioff, founder, chairman and CEO of Salesforce, the top CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software company in the world.
Marc Benioff was born in 1964 in the San Francisco Bay Area. From a very young age he showed an interest in computers and working hard. His first official paying job was cleaning jewelry cases for a local jewelry store which he would do after school. That job helped him save enough money to buy his first computer. Later, while in highschool, he developed and sold his first computer software called “How to Juggle” and several other games for systems like Atari. By the time he finished high school, Benioff was earning enough royalties to pay for college.
Benioff went to USC where he received a B.S. in Business Administration. In 1984 he interned at the Macintosh division of Apple Computer where he got to know Steve Jobs personally and developed a friendship with him that transcended through the years up to the time where Benioff was founding Salesforce. Benioff would often ask Jobs for advice and has even mentioned that “there would be no Salesforce.com without Steve Jobs”.
After his internship at Apple Computer, Benioff’s plan was to continue his professional career related to computer programming, but a college professor advised him to learn more about the commercial and customer oriented side of a business. He listened and after graduating, at 23, he took a customer service job at Oracle Corporation. In his first year at Oracle, he acquired the title of Rookie of the Year. Three years later, after performing a wide variety of commercial and product development roles, Benioff became Oracle’s’ youngest person to get the position of Vice President, earning a salary that qualified him as a millionaire.
After working at Oracle for 13 years, Benioff realized it was time to take a sabbatical. He left his job at Oracle to spend some months in Hawaii and India. Being in Hawaii represents a key moment in his life because that’s when he had the idea and developed the fundamentals for building Salesforce. He also developed his spiritual and philanthropic side which has been a big part of his life and his businesses ever since.
Benioff founded Salesforce in March 1999 in a rented San Francisco apartment and defined its mission in a marketing statement as "The End of Software." Today, Salesforce offers a broad range of commercial tools that are fully customizable to the needs of small and large companies and they state that they "help your marketing, sales, commerce, service and IT teams work as one from anywhere — so you can keep your customers happy everywhere." From the use of artificial intelligence to predict customer behaviors to friendly app creation, Salesforce has not failed to stay consistently ahead of its game.