billionaire founder pens ‘cloud’ business handbook

20 Oct 2009’s colourful founder and CEO Marc Benioff has penned a book on how he created a billion-dollar software phenomenon.

Behind the Cloud offers 10 playbooks showing companies how to be successful now – it includes everything from marketing to sales; management tools to global expansion.

The book includes a foreword by Dell founder and CEO Michael Dell, as well as endorsements from Cisco CEO John Chambers, Google CEO Eric Schmidt and musician Neil Young.

The birth of a cloud-computing giant

Behind the Cloud will, for the first time, offer an insider’s view of the creation of a cloud-computing giant and tell the story of how brought businesses into the cloud in an era dominated by mass consumer cloud services like Facebook, Google and Twitter.

Benioff also shares stories of the pivotal situations encountered on its ascent.

Readers will uncover the plays used to take from an idea to a billion-dollar company in just 10 years, all while revolutionising the technology industry.

Facts and figures

Benioff details the company’s innovative integrated philanthropy model that has generated US$14 million in grants, 150,000 hours of donated employee service, and 6,000 successful non-profit organisations running on’s service.

“In Behind the Cloud, I offer an insider’s guide on how to replicate our success, including how to build a business that’s not just profitable, but inspiring: good for your employees, good for your customers, and good for your community,” said Benioff.

“At a time when more entrepreneurs are starting companies faster and cheaper than ever before, the simple, accessible, and unconventional advice offered here will help you stand out, innovate better, and grow faster in any economic climate.”

The playbooks

Co-authored by Carlye Adler, Behind the Cloud includes 10 playbooks with 111 plays to guide readers on a path to their own success. Playbooks include: The Start-Up Playbook: How to Turn a Simple Idea into a High-Growth Company; e Marketing Playbook: How to Cut Through the Noise and Pitch the Bigger Picture; The Events Playbook: How to Use Events to Build Buzz and Drive Business; and The Sales Playbook: How to Energize Your Customer into a Million-Member Sales Team.

“Cisco and share a vision of how the network is the platform to transform business,” said Chambers. “In his book, Benioff outlines how 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.”

And musician Young had this to add: “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”

By John Kennedy

Photo: founder and CEO, and author of Behind the Cloud Marc Benioff.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years