As I listened to Marc’s presentation at the Cloudforce event in San Jose yesterday, I felt proud he wrote the foreword to my book. Not just any foreword, a really inspiring one – excerpts below and entire copy as attachment below
My reasons for reaching out to him were simple. Marc is clearly a pioneer with what he along with Zach Nelson, Dave Duffield and others have been doing in the SaaS market. Polymath style they have packaged software, hosting, application management and other services into one SLA.
Marc is also a towering presence with his physical appearance and booming voice. But he also has a big heart – shows with his company’s 1-1-1 plan since early days. That was accented yesterday by his announcement of a generous contribution to the UCSF Children’s Hospital.
I was told by the marketing exec at another large vendor who does pretty well in the book they could not justify buying too many copies of my book because it was too nice to Marc.
Which brings me another subtle nuance about Marc I admire. While he can be biting in his mockery of Microsoft and Oracle and other larger vendors he always seems to have a kind word for Larry Ellison or Craig Mundie. In our cut throat industry, it seems we are afraid to acknowledge any good in our competitors.
I was recently asked by a journalist reviewing the book to defend my “Benioff love” that shows in the book. I don’t need to defend him – I will let his words speak for him.
“Vinnie Mirchandani aptly describes today’s “ dark ages ” of information technology. Let me tell you how much darker it was eleven years ago when I started salesforce.com. Companies were paying hundreds of thousands to buy enterprise software, and then they were blowing millions to
install it. The worst part? It didn’t even work very well. A change was necessary, but the change we were advocating — delivering services through the Internet — wasn’t readily accepted, or even understood. The industry was suffering from “ The Innovators Dilemma, ” a concept popularly attributed to mature technology companies. There were too many defenders of the status quo (analysts, media, investors) who were financially integrated into the current model and too self – interested to consider the potential for a better future. But innovation was far from dead; it was just emanating from a different place than we were expecting. And, in fact, a revolution was underway. The rapid evolution of the Internet sparked an industry wide transformation. Innovative companies such as Amazon.com, eBay, and Yahoo! changed everything for consumers and changed the business landscape as well. Inspired by the consumer Web, we developed a better way to serve enterprise customers. The old model of how people bought and built software was disrupted and the packaged services that companies used to buy separately from software vendors, systems integrators, hosting providers, and offshore application management firms were compounded into a single contract and service agreement.”
“We can look back and see that the last decade was the end of the dark ages and, in fact, the start of a period of enlightenment. Now, in this new decade, the Renaissance continues — and matures. There has been massive innovation in mobile and social technologies that, when brought to the enterprise, will create more value for users, customers, and vendors by an order of magnitude over what we saw in the last wave. And while information technology continues to massively evolve, newer sectors of biotechnology and green technology have also been growing exponentially. This sets us up for the next revolution. The best companies — from established corporations to pioneering start – ups — are creating incredible value by succeeding in a new way: amalgamating distinct strands of technology (infotech, cleantech, healthtech, nanotech, biotech) to create compound new products, services, and processes that address the big and small problems in this world. These are what Mirchandani calls the New Polymaths”
“I am honored that salesforce.com which amalgamates the consumer Web, social, and mobile technologies — as well as philanthropy to effect change — is profiled as a New Polymath. I am also humbled. These pages are filled with incredible examples of passionate entrepreneurs, established leaders, and multinational companies innovatively leveraging technology to tackle big problems, “ grand challenges, ” related to health, hunger, and natural disasters — and, of course, information technology.You’ ll meet individuals like Elizabeth Horn, the mother of a child with autism, who has created ChARMtracker, a Web – based treatment management software to get children, parents, and the medical community the important cause/effect data they need to identify biomarkers that may help guide treatments in the future. You ’ ll be inspired by the “ refugees ” from information technology, like Ray Lane, who fled Oracle and now, as a VC, is investing in a new generation of cleantech companies addressing various energy and environmental challenges. You ’ ll travel the halls of General Electric ’ s Global Research Center and see how it brought together multiple technologies to respond to problems in healthtech with access to clean water supply.”
“One of the best parts about this book is its courage to take a stand. Mirchandani is never afraid of saying what is required of us (he was known as a “ growling tiger ” at Gartner) and he closes his RENAISSANCE framework with a focus on ethics with conviction and compassion. This deftly harkens back to the historical polymath like Plato and Socrates, who were also philosophers — and is an idea that is timeless. Ethics must not be an after – thought, but woven into the culture of innovation. We live in a time of great change and with that comes great responsibility. In today ’ s business world, Milton Friedman’s famous mantra “ the business of business is business ” is dated. The business of business is not only business. The business of business is to do good while doing well.”
“People always ask me: What ’ s in store for the future? Where is technology going? Where is philanthropy going? Predicting the future is simple. The future is whatever we imagine. What’s ahead of us is whatever we innovate. What do you see in the future? I see less disease. I see less poverty. I see new sources of energy, amazing advances in healthtech, and a planet on which the next generation can still breathe. I see hope because I know there’s a generation of talented people out there combining a renaissance of new technologies to help us make pivotal changes.”
“You have the power to create or join organizations that address society ’ s issues. You do not have to decide between making a social contribution or building a successful company or career. You can do many things. You can be a polymath. As Mirchandani says, “ It ’ s time for AND not OR.” Read on; be inspired. I’m looking forward to enjoying the future that we create.”