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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 – October 19, 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 Playbookincluding Benioff's proprietary management tool, V2MOMany 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 organizationand 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. Everyonefrom employees to shareholders to the communitywins. Get ready to be inspired and make a difference."Charles Moore, executive director, Committee EncouragingCorporate Philanthropy
Top customer reviews
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The book is a cross between a business success story, personal basking in success and a playbook for creating new companies. The book is a piece of corporate self promotion, but it goes beyond boosterism for the company and its offering to provide some real advice and insight. It is an example of the `different way' sales and marketing that [...] has become known for.
Benioff covers all of the major areas associated with setting up and leading a company. This gives the book a comprehensive nature normally not found in a piece of corporate marketing. This difference makes the book recommended, not as a book about Cloud Computing, but as a look into the mind of a business leader and innovator.
The book is organized around 111 `plays' representing concepts and ideas behind starting a business in general and [...] in particular. These `plays' are organized into parts covering strategy, marketing, events, sales, technology, philanthropy, globalization, finance and leadership.
So recommended reading for people who want to know more about Benioff and [...] and recognize the hyperbole that is in the book. Not recommended if you want to understand how the cloud works.
Not all entrepreneurs have Marc's chutzpah, but his 111 recommendations to entrepreneurs will all be extremely precious to anyone. Sure, you may not dispatch a commando unit on bicycle to circle the Los Angeles Convention Center at a Microsoft launch event and instead settle for less spectacular tactics, but the message is clear: if you are an underdog, you can't be too subtle either, and you have to find a way to force the big guys into adopting your message. Regardless of who they are. Frankly, when Tom Siebel from Siebel Systems started to talk about software-as-a-service after he acquired Upshot, most of us smiled at the recollection that only two years before, Siebel had been repeating that SaaS was the type of stuff for [...] kids. "Don't fear competition: welcome it and leverage it," Marc concludes - provided, though, that you keep it under tight control.
And you do so by maintaining an all-out high energy level. High energy (sometimes high voltage) is the tone of the book. It has a lot to do with Marc's personal style. But guess what? Low-energy doesn't work. So find what your own high-energy level can be, and make sure that your employees and your customers turn into fervent evangelists of the company anywhere in the world. Meanwhile, enjoy dozens of great anecdotes.
There is one section of the book I especially like: The Corporate Philanthropy Playbook. This section is a must read for entrepreneurs of for-profit companies, of course, but also for any executive director of any foundation who does not want a foundation to stagnate or simply "survive": "Innovative nonprofits have historically achieved true sustainability by embracing a revenue-generating business model."
Great book. Very well worded (no siliconite verbiage), co-authored with an excellent writer, Carlye Adler.