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Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Salesforce.com Went From Idea to Billion-dollar Company-- and Revolutionized an Industry Hardcover – 29 Oct 2009
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From the Inside Flap
How did salesforce.com grow from a start–up in a rented apartment into the world′s fastest growing software company in less than a decade?
For the first time, Marc Benioff, the visionary founder, chairman, and CEO of salesforce.com, tells how he and his team created and used new business, technology, and philanthropic models tailored to this time of extraordinary change. Showing how salesforce.com not only survived the dot–com implosion of 2001, but also went on to define itself as the leader of the cloud computing revolution and spark a 46 billion–dollar industry, Benioff′s story will help business leaders and entrepreneurs stand out, innovate better, and grow faster in any economic climate.
In Behind the Cloud, Benioff shares the strategies that have inspired employees, turned customers into evangelists, leveraged an ecosystem of partners, and allowed innovation to flourish. Benioff shows how salesforce.com pioneered a simple idea (delivering business applications as a service over the Internet) to change the way all businesses use software applications and, ultimately, change the way the software industry works.
With Marc Benioff′s candid, unconventional advice and unusual call–out lessons from the Salesforce.com Playbook including Benioff′s proprietary management tool, V2MOM any business can go against the grain, rapidly change the game, and learn how to achieve lasting success.
From the Back Cover
Praise for Behind the Cloud
"Salesforce.com and Google share a vision for how the cloud will revolutionize computing. Behind the Cloud gives us a rare glimpse at the development of one of the most important trends in business today." Eric Schmidt, CEO, Google
"In Behind the Cloud, Marc Benioff takes us through the ups and downs of building one of the most extraordinary businesses of our time and reveals the tactics that gave salesforce.com its amazing edge. This book will show you how to focus your vision, think differently, align your organization and transform your business and your life." Anthony Robbins, author, Awaken the Giant Within and Unlimited Power
"Reading this book, I laughed out loud many times as Marc told his story, a story of great ideas, thunder–stealing pranks, and a world consciousness that is at the heart of salesforce.com." Neil Young
"Reading, but also afterwards, practicing the 111 plays described by Marc Benioff opens the door for entrepreneurial success much better than any MBA program." Klaus Schwab, founder, World Economic Forum, and cofounder, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship
"Cisco and salesforce.com share a vision of how the network is the platform to transform business. In his book, Benioff outlines how salesforce.com has used cloud computing to disrupt and reshape the enterprise software space. It is clear that we are just beginning to understand the potential of networked business and the future benefits and productivity gains of the next phase of the Internet." John Chambers, chairman and CEO, Cisco
"Behind the Cloud demonstrates what happens when companies act as good citizens. Everyone from employees to shareholders to the community wins. Get ready to be inspired and make a difference." Charles Moore, executive director, Committee EncouragingCorporate PhilanthropySee all Product description
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Top customer reviews
Marc Benioff offers 111 "plays" within nine "Parts" and then "The Final Play." The information, insights, and counsel are based on what he has learned thus far, especially during the years he has served as chairman and CEO of Salesfgorce.com. More specifically, HOW to achieve these strategic objectives:
o Turn a simple idea into a high-growth and profitable company
o Cut through the noise and pitch the bigger picture
o Use events to build buzz and drive business
o Energize customers into a multi-member sales team
Note: To create what Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba characterize as "customer evangelists"
o Develop products that users love
o Make a company about more, much more than the bottom line
o Launch a product and it introduce a business model to new markets
o Raise capital and create a return without compromising organizational and individual integrity
o Create proper alignment -- the key to organizational success
Note: Benioff introduces V2MOM (vision, values, methods, obstacles, and measures), "an exercise in awareness in which the result is total alignment.
Benioff would be the first to point out that attempting to adopt all of Salesforce.com's strategies, tactics, and models would be a fool's errand. However, he is convinced -- and I totally agree -- that, with appropriate modifications, V2MOM can help almost any organization (whatever its size and nature may be) to make several critically important determinations: what it wants to accomplish, what it values most in all of its operations and relationships, which methods will be most effective and efficient, which obstacles must be overcome and how best to do that, and finally, what the numerical outcome will be. "In addition, having a clarified direction and focusing collective energy on the desired outcome eliminate the anxiety that is often present in times of change."
Here is a covey of mini-commentaries from among the hundreds that caught my eye. They suggest the scope of Benioff's coverage.
o How to Stray Calm in the Eye of a Storm (Page 11)
o The Host's Playbook: How to Throw a Great Event (55+56)
o The David Rudnitsky Sales Pitch (91-95)
o The 1-1-1 Model of Integrated Philanthropy (142-143)
o The Case for Corporate Philanthropy (147-148)
o Think Like a Start-Up (174-175)
o Build a Recruiting Machine (238-239)
Obviously, no brief commentary such as mine can do full justice to scope and depth of material provided in abundance. However, I hope I have indicated why I think so highly of Behind the Cloud. It remains for all who read this book to determine which of the material is most relevant to their own organization.
Here are Marc Bennioff's concluding remarks: "Seize the opportunity in front of you. Imagine. Invent. Disrupt. Do good. I know that you must be passionate, unreasonable, and a little bit crazy to follow your own ideas and do things differently. But it's worth it. Life grows relative to one's investment in it. I promise you that by considering every one's success, you will see the return. I wish you great success. I look forward to hearing about the future you predict -- and living in the one you create."
To these remarks I presume to add this call to action by Tennyson's Ulysses:
"Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
What strikes you is the bold approach they took to marketing and promotion during the early days - striking out to hit the lead players at the time and aiming high. Whilst doing this, they also embedded philanthropy into the culture and DNA of the company - creating the 1:1:1 model, which Google eventually adopted.
The book will give you ideas about everything from management styles through to product development techniques. Well worth reading, especially if you work in technology but also useful if you're interested in entrepreneurship and product development. A must read!
Cloud computing these days is a much more modest affair to get started on so much of the advice there is very dated.
That said the more down to earth bits of advice are useful, so it's not all bad.
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