Trailblazer, Marc Benioff with Monica Langley

I read Marc’s first book almost exactly 3 years ago, way after he published it. I loved it at that time and I considered it the best book about management, sales and marketing I read in a while.

Trailblazer, Marc Benioff with Monica Langley

His second book will be published in two weeks time and I – as an Salesforce MVP – got preview version before the official day. And I loved it again, this time for other reasons.

The book is mostly about Salesforce philosophy, the whole community thing, which shows how important it is for Salesforce. And it is also this thing, which is hard to understand to those, who didn’t experienced it. Why would you care about some values, philosophy, community? It is just SaaS afterall, or – if you are super brave or stupid – just some licences, on top of which we’ll deliver our own great solution. I love it so much that I decided to pass it forward around Czech community – read the end if you are interested in reading it as well.

Interesting things:

  • he turn their basement into his own private residence (at the age of 12);
  • his grand dad was behind the BART construction, he pushed for it not just because it is great way how to transport people, but it will also give them access to better job opportunities;
  • the was established during one service interruption, when they realised that competitors pays their own access just to monitor them, so it is better to inform customer openly about problems;
  • how they mostly lost Merrill Lynch as a customer and his own personal finance adviser from this bank had to warn him, because they didn’t see the problem themselves. How they found out that interview people what are the problems isn’t the way how to find them. That simplify and automate things might not be the best use of time, because they just don’t see the big problems. That even to their army of engineers it would take a year to make customer happy again. And the Merrill was their first really big customer, whom they got after 7 years of existence and about 3 years on stock exchange;
  • in 2015 they found out that AI is the future and those who don’t have it don’t exist anymore;
  • I always thought that he invented the first AppStore and then gave the trademark to Steve Jobs, but Steve gave him the idea and he really put it together;
  • Einstein Forecasting came out as a need, because their own forecasting was always way off. Which isn’t good for publicly trade company 🙂
  • pay gap surprised me – they had just 6 % of employees who needed their salaries adjusted. And it was such a big topic, which costs them $3 000 000 and just wonder how much they paid for the audit;
  • unconscious bias (there is a Trailhead for it) when you should treat everyone the same (and I realised I hug some people and shake hands with other, of course not in such formal situation) and how WIT groups doesn’t want to be women only (say women), because they still feel singled out (the other way around);
  • all the politics we aren’t used to (at least I feel) – families separation at Mexican border, LGBTQ law, homeless support, school support, extra tax for big companies;
  • that more than 88 % of SF employees give back, that they have 7 days of paid volunteering annually and they match donation to whatever cause the choose;
  • V2MOM – I never really got this thing as I’m probably not good in planning and just let things happen. But by reading the book I realised I would probably ask every NGO I help to with implementation to put one together, so we all understand why they want to implement Salesforce and how it should help. I feel that time to time we lost this sight and aren’t sure what the implementation should brought;
  • how they realised they probably want to know for what reason their customers use Salesforce to „prohibit“ use which isn’t in line with their values. They already do it for .ORG customers, so it won’t surprise me, but still – who can say goodbye to potential/existing customer just because they don’t operate in line with your own values. Tough decision.

Every CEO has to perform a delicate dance between two priorities: trust and growth.

It really surprised me, that when they wanted to buy Twitter and their stocks started to tank, it was a (one of) signal to call it off. He admit the price wasn’t the primary reason which made him change his mind, but it surprise me it was even there.

You’re not spending enough money on innovation, said Richard Socher, how can you call innovatin a core value?

Answer: we seek innovations everywhere, it isn’t just about R&D.

The best teams play together like a family who trust one another to have their back.

aka it isn’t just only about having the best, they need to work together and support each other.

Laughter is good for thinking because when people laugh, it is easier for them to admit new ideas to their mind.

Dalai Lama

That’s the reason why they have Astro and the rest of the gang. And how Ginni Rometty, IBM CEO, didn’t understand why they are part of company presentation and once she realised she all lit up with her memories.


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