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Marc Benioff

Founder and Chairman
Salesforce.com
San Francisco, USA
Marc Benioff
Founder and Chairman
Salesforce.com
San Francisco, USA
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1. What does it mean to you to have been selected as a "Global Leader for Tomorrow"?

I am extremely honored to be acknowledged by the World Economic Forum as a "Global Leader for Tomorrow". The blending of corporate and community service is catching fire, and the potential for radical change is high. At my company, salesforce.com, we have a saying that "we don't only believe in software as service, we also believe in business as service". Through the incorporation of community service into daily business function - and through the additional efforts of the salesforce.com/foundation - we are pioneering a new extended model of corporate philanthropy that encompasses our employees, our executives, our customers in addition to the traditional foundations and non-profits. My selection as one of the GLT class of 2002 is an important step in both evangelizing and, more importantly, implementing this kind of service-centric thinking on a global scale to internally strengthen the business and externally improve the surrounding community in which the corporation exists.

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To bring it down to level of real action, salesforce.com employees have donated over 1400 volunteer hours in community service to the 14 San Francisco technology-learning centers we have set up. These Centers reach approximately 7,000 diverse youth in the Bay Area of Northern California. Following the September 11 tragedy we set up a program that matched our customer's, partner's and employee's contributions to a fund to assist the victims. Each dollar raised through the Foundation, up to $100,000, will be matched and sent on to the American Red Cross Family Gift Program and the Camp for Comfort Children's Bereavement Camps. These examples are a small taste of what can be accomplished through a "business as service" mindset

2. You have been selected by the World Economic Forum for what you have already done in your life, "holding positions of considerable power, influence and responsability". What are the 3-5 things you are most proud of?

In no particular order, I would list my top achievements as:
- Founding the salesforce.com/foundation, a multi-million dollar philanthropic initiative focused on helping under-served youth succeed in the digital age, with Colin Powell in attendance at the opening ceremonies.
- Founding salesforce.com to liberate the companies from the expensive, failure-prone software, and subsequently leading the company to its position as the fastest-growing CRM company worldwide (as recently named by Morgan Stanley), despite the challenge of a recent recession economy.
- Leading a company that is this successful, innovated and tries to give back to the community
- Working directly with Larry Ellison at Oracle Corporation to launch Oracle's Promise, to provide equipment and computers to underprivileged youth.
- Receiving the "Promise for Peace" award in 1999 from the then Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, for my work in using information technology to foster the peace process. The project was supported by The Israeli Government as well as The Palestinian Authority to place computers in the West Bank of Israel, to be used by Arab, Israeli and Palestinian youth.
- Providing technology and training provided for Tibetan refugee youth and their teachers at 8 different locations in northern India, as well as donating resources and expertise to "wire" 35 Tibetan settlements in India and Nepal

3. The World Economic Forum is "committed to improving improve the state of the world". You will participate in shaping tomorrow's world. What impact would you like to have?

I'd like to reiterate that the idea of 'business as service' is catching fire. The notion of the self-absorbed, self-centered corporation - is being replaced by a populist approach that reflects the idea that the corporation should contribute to the welfare of its employees and surrounding community in which it is embedded. However many corporations simply do not know how to implement truly effective philanthropy. Through my work at salesforce.com and the salesforce.com/foundation, I aim to provide successful model of extended corporate philanthropy that can be replicated across industries and national boundaries

In parallel with these efforts in community service - generally with a domestic focus as the company gives back to its immediate community or rallies around a particular cause that hits close to home (as we saw in the case of the September 11 tragedy where our customers, employees and friends donated over $30,000 in matched contributions to salesforce.com) It is essential to ensure that, as companies increasingly operate on the global scale, service scales globally as well. Right now, I believe that this means we should focus efforts on bridging the global Digital Divide and ensuring that everyone has global access to technology for communication, empowerment and ultimately liberation. At the salesforce.com/foundation, I have supported training and technology efforts in Israel, India, and Nepal. I am still in favor of globalization as defined by the spread of the free market and with emphasis on free. Technology can build barriers and technology can level the playing field - and I believe that it is the best interest of business to ensure that it does the latter

4. The World Economic Forum is also a forum to discuss the present state of the world economy. What is the analysis you would give?

Based on my immediate experience, I am very bullish on the world economy. Salesforce.com has seen major growth over the past 12 months, despite the American recession and the events of September 11. Our international arm is expanding recently, with large customer wins. So I am extremely upbeat despite some of the doom-and-gloom that persists on Wall Street


Marc Benioff
Founder and Chairman
Salesforce.com
San Francisco, USA

Born: 1964

Professional Profile: After spending more than 10 years at Oracle Corporation, Marc founded his own company, Salesforce.com, in 1999. Salesforce.com builds and delivers enterprise applications online. The company has been a huge success, even in today's market, with over 2300 customers globally. In addition, salesforce.com has received some of the industry's top honors including "Company to Watch" the Demo 2000 Conference (February 2000), Upside Magazine's "Hot 100" (May 2000), and "Investor's Choice" at the Enterprise Outlook Conference (June 2000), PC Magazine's "Top 100 Web Sites of 2000," and Information Week's "Top 100 ASPs." Benioff has been seen as a thought leader in the technology industry and is regularly quoted in some of America's top press outlets (feel free to request copies)

Personal Profile: Benioff received the Promise for Peace award from Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, for his work in using information technology to foster the peace process. The project was supported by The Israeli Government as well as The Palestinian Authority to place computers in the West Bank of Israel. He also received the "Bridge Award" from HEAVEN, Helping Educate, Activate, Volunteer, and Empower via the Net organization for his work connecting children in United States inner cities and rural communities to the Internet.

On July 13, 2000, Benioff founded a multi-million dollar philanthropic initiative focused on bridging the digital divide. The launch of the foundation was kicked off with Colin Powell appearing at the opening of the first complete Community Technology Center opened by the foundation. The foundation is working to provide access to technology for children globally and foster the peace process though education

Dieser Artikel ist erschienen am 05.02.2002