Benioff on the future…

Robert Scoble interviewed salesforce.com chairman and CEO Marc Benioff in a broad ranging discussion about the future of applications and platforms. It’s an interesting and insightful interview. Key takeouts and themes were;

  • It’s not about the browser, it’s about the network. With a move to mobile and other non PC devices, platforms that can serve device agnostic data will win
  • SFDC is now over $1bill revenue and most recent quarter showed 50% growth
  • Benioff lambasts the incumbent ISVs in particular, saying many times that they block innovation
  • This Monday a major announcement will be made regarding a Google/salesforce partnership in terms of platform sharing

In an interesting exchange, Scoble asks Benioff how one changes the thinking of people mired in Windows 2000 and the Word/Excel/Powerpoint world. Benioff uses the example of when he started at Oracle 20 years ago and CIOs were reluctant to use Oracle, wedded as the were to the DEC incumbent offerings Benioff gave this excellent quote;

In this industry we tend to overestimate what we can achieve in a year but underestimate what we can achieve in a decade

A great interview and an insight into the thinking of one of the earliest SaaS disrupters. Check out the full video here.

2 Comments
  • Falafulu Fisi |

    Benioff lambasts the incumbent ISVs in particular, saying many times that they block innovation.

    This is one of the most idiotic comment made by a person from the software industry I’ve seen in a long time. If ISVs are using coercive force & holding a gun to the heads of executives of salesforce.com and the likes, then I can see Benioff’s point.

    What Benioff probably means is that he likes vendors such as his to parasite on someone else’s property (intellectual one such as software service or a product) for nothing (or at least not pay for it via contractual agreement) and when that person (property owner) uses his legitimate right to his/her own property to block parasites such as Benioff from getting access or using what belongs to him/her, then they go ballistic about it and claim that innovation is being blocked.

    What happens to property rights here Benioff? You have a right to what is yours and have no legitimate right at all to property that belong to others.

    A clear case example here are the cases against Microsoft and others via the anti-trust laws. Netscape thought (at least in their deluded way of thinking legitimize by unconstitutional anti-trust law) that Microsoft block innovation. But hang on, Microsoft bundled its own IE browser with its own (yeah I mean legitimately owned) Windows operating system. Nobody is stopping Netscape from building their own Windows operating system. If they did that then they would have been very innovative with their browser instead of parasiting on someone else’s property (Windows) , which they thought they had a God given right to that.

    Some would argue that hadn’t Netscape developed their browser , Microsoft would have never developed IE. That might be true, but what’s wrong with the proper process of forming alliances in a free market capitalist society with consenting parties signing agreements, in a non-coercive manner and respecting others rights to what is theirs? If Netscape foresee that they would have cozy up to Microsoft back then and said, hey Bill Gates, look we’ve got this idea about a browser, how about we agree that we (Netscape) develop this product for Windows and other minor operating systems, in exchange that you (Microsoft) refrain from developing a similar product that you’re going to bundle with your own Windows in the next 10 years? I am sure that it would have been a good business case for Bill & Steve to signed up into it? See, Microsoft always going out there to acquire businesses in areas that they haven’t developed product in, not because they can’t develop those products (Microsoft have more PhDs than any other software vendor to date in history), but because they want to inherit the customer base of the acquired business.

    Netscape would have done the same. Develop something, such as their browser , then let someone like Microsoft to come in & acquire it. After all it is Microsoft’s property in which case they have a right to manage it as they see fit (bundled IE with Windows), and that right doesn’t belong to the consumers/Netscape or the Justice Department, it belongs solely to Microsoft.

    Sorry for ranting Ben, but I get frequently pissed off in the world of blogosphere/media by people who believe that they have a legitimate right to what is not theirs.

    Anyway, I am enjoying my Saturday online ranting (on a rainy day in Auckland) with a tray of Steinlagers beside my computer and get ready to cheer up for the All Blacks tonight. Are you going to the game Ben or just watching it on TV?.

  • @ff

    Neither – because

    1) I’m not much a Rugby fan
    2) I live an hour from Chch and it take A LOT to get me into town in the weekends
    3) I don’t have a TV anyway
    4) I’ve got a Fire Brigade function to go to this evening

    Enjoy your stienies!

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