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Behind the Cloud

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Behind the Cloud

The Untold Story of How Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company – and Revolutionized an Industry


15 min read
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What's inside?

How did Salesforce become a billion-dollar firm so fast? Founder Marc Benioff shares the secret in this absorbing tale.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Salesforce redefined customer relationship management (CRM) applications – and the entire enterprise application industry – for the 21st century. The forward-looking company provides businesses with software in a remarkably efficient manner: online, “without the complexities of installation, maintenance and constant upgrades.” In this book, Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff and journalist Carlye Adler tell the absorbing, often quirky, Salesforce story, from start-up to global expansion and beyond. Even better, they break this singular tale down into a series of discrete, highly valuable business lessons. getAbstract agrees with Dell founder Michael Dell that Benioff and Adler’s new volume is “the playbook for Enterprise 2.0.” Entrepreneurs and business leaders can learn much from this instructive company history.


Salesforce’s Extraordinary Journey

Within a decade, Salesforce grew from an internet start-up in a one-bedroom apartment on Telegraph Hill, San Francisco, to a global enterprise that generates revenues of more than $1 billion annually. The company has had a tremendous impact on the business world and was the first dot-com to trade on the New York Stock Exchange. It has also become a leader in corporate philanthropy by integrating charitable donations into its standard business practices. Using Salesforce as a model, Google and other firms have provided their communities with numerous donations, as well as their own products and services, and the valuable talent of their employees.

How did Salesforce achieve its considerable commercial influence and strong profits in such a relatively short period? The answer lies in nine company “playbooks” that capture Salesforce’s innovative strategies. They are the “Start-Up, Marketing, Events, Sales, Technology, Corporate, Global, Philanthropy, Finance and Leadership” playbooks.

“The Start-Up Playbook”

The internet’s vast capabilities were the inspiration and impetus behind founding Salesforce. In 1999, Marc Benioff...

About the Authors

Marc Benioff is chairman and CEO of Salesforce, which BusinessWeek ranked as one of the “Top 100 Most Innovative Companies” in 2006. Carlye Adler is a journalist and writer.

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