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Salesforce.com CEO Benioff started his career working for Steve Jobs at Apple. Before becoming Oracle’s youngest vice president, he worked as a programmer in the Macintosh division of Apple, which Jobs ran during his first stint at Apple.Business Insider talked to Chuck Dietrich, CEO of SlideRocket, who’s been lucky enough to work for Benioff and meet Jobs over the course of his career.
“Benioff is an unbelievable marketer,” said Dietrich, who joined Salesforce as employee No. 50 and worked there for nine years. “He’s smart about hiring the right tech people and he’s open to alternatives as to how to get his point across.”
But Benioff doesn’t manage every detail. He wouldn’t dictate the colour of icons, for example, though if “he doesn’t like it, he’s the first to tell you so.”
“Benioff keeps a very broad vision,” Dietrich said. “He’s super good at the high level.”
The first time Dietrich met Benioff, “I thought he was the help coming to clean. He had just gotten back from India and was wearing torn jeans, had long hair.”
Dietrich contrasts that with how he met Steve Jobs. Dietrich had led Salesforce.com’s very first acquisition, a company called Sendia, which it bought in April 2006 for $15 million. Sendia made a mobile-app development tool.
Because of Sendia, “I got the opportunity to be on stage with Steve Jobs at the App Store launch,” Dietrich remembers. “Jobs was into all the details from the messaging of everyone’s presentation to the colour of the app icons. He had a sense of clarity of what he wanted.”
Jobs and Benioff intersected there, too. Benioff went to Jobs for advice several times over his career. He repaid Jobs by giving Apple the trademark on “App Store.”
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