“The only constant in the technology industry is change.” ~Marc Benioff
Marc Benioff got an early start in innovation. At 15 years old, he founded his own software company called Liberty Software, which built video game software that sold to game console company Atari. At 23, he was named Oracle’s Rookie of the Year, and became the company’s youngest executive only three years later. After thirteen years with Oracle, Marc Benioff founded Saleforce.com in 1999 at a time when cloud computing was barely considered. Saleforces.com is now a $3 billion company with massive growth and has been named the most innovative company by Forbes for three years in a row.
Salesforce.com provides the most widely used application for managing customer relationships. By integrating data into an online cloud computing system, Marc Benioff’s company helps business owners manage and analyze data in real time. The company also provides applications for customer service support and marketing research. The company continues to collect, promote and foster innovation in social media, data collection and storage, and cloud computing.
Benioff is also an outspoken advocate and innovator for philanthropy. He adopted at 1/1/1 model for charity, meaning that he has committed 1% each of product, equity and employee hours to giving back to communities the company serves. The model has been adopted by other companies as well, including Google. Marc’s work on the model and his commitment to giving back was recognized by the World Economic Forum in 2005. Barron’s named him one of the top 25 most effective philanthropists in 2010.
When it comes to innovation, Marc Benioff says that the best thing he does is spend time with customers and get ideas from outside of his industry. He also encourages his team and other small companies to innovate as well, and to make sure they are rewarded for it. He also believes no one should rely on him for all the answers, and that a collaborative environment is the best way to continue innovation in the future.