Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Salesforce.com Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company-and Revolutionized an Industry by Marc Benioff was a good book published October 19, 2009. I think the timing of the book was great in 2009 was right around the time the iPhone was changing the industry and everyone was getting broadband in their homes so the timing of the publication was perfect.
Marc Benioff was an executive under his mentor Larry Ellison who decided to go out on his own and start the Software As A Service (SAS) model that we all know today like Office 365, Quickbooks in the cloud and many others. Marc got the blessing from Larry Ellison and a two million dollar investment to start the company.
Salesforce started in an apartment next to Marc where he rented and turned the living rooms into offices and closet into a data center. Marc Benioff is famous for his customer support and people skills in the book he goes through a lot of the things he has learned that have made him one of the best in the business for dealing with people. Marc Benioff talks about how he was always better at dealing with people then he was coding computers.
Marc talks about outages that his company has had and how they turned trust.salesforce.com into a platform for users of their software to find out about outages and how they have built trust with customers because of this trusted platform.
Marc goes into sales strategists they use at Salesforce and how they develop new features based on customer feedback to ensure customers do not leave their platform. Marc talks about the Salesforce pricing model and the hardship for going from monthly to yearly services.
Marc Benioff goes into why he started a cloud-based system and how he does not care for the software server and client model that Microsoft built and how IBM and places like that were building million dollars software packages to sell which were not focused on small business.
Marc Benioff talks about his 1-1-1 style of management and his philanthropy work through his company. He talks about talking Salesforce globally and hiring the right people for the right job. Marc then talks about the Salesforce offices and their culture of life and giving back to employees. Marc goes into his travels around the world and how that inspired him to leave his cushy job at Oracle and start Salesforce.
I think this was a good book. It was a cross between self-help, business, and biography. I am not a big self-help book person so there were parts that I was not thrilled with and felt more like “you can do it” rather than the biography style of “this is how I did it”. I still think it was a great book and a must read if you are in business and would like some great pointers on building an internet business.