When former Salesforce COO George Hu took an unpaid leave to come up with the idea for his new startup Peer, one of the first things he did was to re-read Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff’s autobiography, “Behind the Cloud.”
The book, published in 2009, is a compilation of Benioff’s personal account on how he started Salesforce, the $50 billion cloud software company launched in 1999. It also comes with 111 of Benioff’s own management tips, and it served as an early inspiration to Hu’s startup.
“When I started [Peer], I actually read ‘Behind the Cloud’ again, and looked at what he did, and tried to pattern a lot after that,” Hu told us.
Hu is one of the many people in the cloud software industry who considers “Behind the Cloud” a must-read book. It’s full of anecdotes and lessons Benioff experienced through the years of building Salesforce, a pioneer in cloud business, and made the best-selling list of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
And soon, fans of “Behind the Cloud” might get a sequel, as Benioff hinted that he’s working on the next Salesforce book in a tweet on Sunday.
The tweet seems to imply a few things. First, it looks like the new book will be titled, “Beyond the Cloud.” The book also seems a few years away from printing as Salesforce is still a few billion dollars behind the $10 billion goal it wants to hit in annual revenue (it’s expected to generate roughly $6.6 billion in its current fiscal year).
Also, Benioff is likely partnering with Carlye Adler, the coauthor of his last book, and Dan Farber, a long-time tech reporter who recently joined Salesforce as SVP of strategic communication, to write his next book. On top of that, Benioff is asking people to share their stories about Salesforce to complete the book.
Salesforce declined to comment for this article, but there are a few things readers will be expecting to see in Benioff’s new book. As the WSJ pointed out in its book review back in 2009, “Behind the Cloud” doesn’t fully address the difficulties it faced in getting into “cloud computing,” or service delivered over the web.
It also lacks some of Benioff’s personal background stories, such as his grandfather’s role in creating the BART, San Francisco’s public transit system, and why he initially bought the you.com URL in hopes of creating human resources software for corporations.
Also, there are tons of readers curious to hear how his relationship with Oracle founder Larry Ellison has changed over the years. Ellison, an early investor in Salesforce, has long-been Benioff’s mentor, but there have been reports of their relationship souring in recent years.
In any case, the new book will be an interesting read if it can come up with enough fun personal stories and tips for effective sales techniques, like the famous “Rudnitsky Sales Playbook.” If you have any story good ideas, it might be worth a shot sending an email directly to Benioff at [email protected]
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