The Fabulous Life Of Tech Billionaire Marc Benioff

Next week, Marc Benioff’s company,, turns 15 years old.

He helped invent a a whole new category of tech called “software-as-a-service,” where companies rent their software over the Internet, instead of install it on computers.

The concept almost died at birth. Shortly after launched, the Internet bubble burst.

Benioff persisted, however, and today every major software company is chasing him.

Along the way, Benioff has become one of the most flamboyant, generous, larger-than-life personalities in the tech industry.

He owns a 5-acre estate in Hawaii

Benioff famously built a huge compound on the island of Hawaii, the state's largest island. It has six bedrooms, seven full and two half bathrooms, and 9,821 square feet of interior space, according to Honolulu Magazine.

He reportedly bought the land for $US12.5 million in 2000 and spent years designing it, even launching his own construction company to build it, reported the Wall Street Journal back in 2006.

He loves Hawaii so much, he used to wear Hawaiian shirts to work. He signs his emails and annual report 'aloha,' and named his golden retriever 'Koa' after a type of Hawaiian tree. Koa has a job title at Salesforce, too: the CLO (chief love officer).

His friends include everyone from Deepak Chopra to Stevie Wonder

Benioff is a new-age guy who loves yoga and meditation. But he also lives the life of a rock star.

He's been known to hang with: MC Hammer, Richard Branson, David Bowie, Uma Thurman, Colin Powell, Billy Graham, the Dalai Lama, and Zen monks in Kyoto.

When he threw a fund-raiser for President Obama at his San Francisco home, his friend Steve Wonder wrote a special song and sang it at the party, USA Today reported at the time.

Benioff was also invited to Deepak Chopra's daughter's wedding.

He lives in a beautiful San Francisco home

San Francisco Presidio festival

Benioff chose San Francisco as the headquarters for, and he's been a huge advocate for the city ever since.

He donates to charitable causes in the city, and he speaks out against the unfair housing practices that have been fueling the S.F. tech unrest.

He currently lives in the historic Presidio neighbourhood, but has owned homes throughout the city, including a 15,858-square-foot house bought for $US27 million in 2005, according to the Wall Street Journal.

He throws fabulous parties

Hawaiian dancers at Dreamforce

Benioff loves music. Years ago, before's IPO, he famously rented out the S.F. Giants' stadium and threw a $US250,000 party featuring the B-52s.

His love of big parties continues. Dreamforce, the company's annual conference, is part business meeting part music festival.

It aways includes a huge free concert and a constant series of bands who play on the street in front of the Moscone conference center.

He walks on coals and bungee jumps with Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins

Benioff loves fear-facing adventures like walking across hot coals with Tony Robbins.

In 2012, he invited his friend Robbins to Dreamforce to do a motivational seminar complete with coals.

Earlier that year, Benioff vacationed at a Fiji hotel owned by Robbins where a group of 20 people jumped off a bridge at midnight, plunging 60 feet into a rushing river, Benioff told attendees of TechCrunch Disrupt.

He dines with presidents in Europe, too

French President Francois Hollande recently signed an agreement to open a data center in the U.K.

Shortly after, Benioff was invited to dine with Francois Hollande, the president of France, where the two of them clearly struck a deal.

'I'm looking forward to lunch with the president of France. What should I ask him?' Benioff tweeted.

A couple of days later, announced plans for a data center in France, too.

His workout buddy is fellow tech billionaire Michael Dell CEO Marc Benioff's wrist is loaded with wearable computers

Benioff is friends with Michael Dell, CEO of Dell Computer. The two are wrist-computer workout buddies, and if Benioff misses too many workouts, Dell will call him and ask about it.

Benioff is a bona-fide gadget geek. He tends to wear not one but two wrist-worn fitness trackers, and loves talking about his Internet-connected toothbrush.

He was a child prodigy software developer

In 1979, at age 15, he founded his first company, Liberty Software, which wrote Atari video games.

He still gets sentimental for those days.

In 2012 he tweeted: 'I miss my Trs-80, Atari, Amiga, and Commodore 64. :). Thankful to have lived through all of this!'

His first job was working for Steve Jobs at Apple inventing the Mac

Thanks to his Atari company, Benioff got hired as a teenager by Apple. He worked for Steve Jobs writing software for the Macintosh division. He was there in 1984 during the famous introduction of the Macintosh.

And he was forever inspired by, and friends with, Jobs.

Jobs was his adviser. 'There would be no without Steve Jobs,' Benioff said at TechCrunch Disrupt last year. 'Many things we created in our company he was the inspiration for, and guided us to.'

The two also shared the same spiritual ideals. Jobs famously trekked to India where he indulged in mediation and psychedelics drugs. Benioff never did drugs, but did turn to meditation to 'straighten myself out a little bit,' he says.

He told this story of attending Steve Jobs funeral ...

Marc Benioff

The last gift Steve Jobs ever gave him was a book. Jobs gave it to all the family and friends who attended his memorial, a service that Jobs planned himself.

As everyone left, they were handed a box and inside was a famous book about spiritual growth by Yogananda called the 'Autobiography of a Yogi.'

Benioff said that Jobs' final message was clear: 'Look inside yourself and realise yourself.'

He's got a complicated friendship with Larry Ellison

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison

Benioff joined Oracle in his early 20s working for CEO Larry Ellison. The idea for famously came during a meeting with Ellison. Ellison invested $US2 million as an angel and sat on the board for a while.

But the two had an epic fallout when their companies began to compete.

The most famous episode was when Ellison kicked Benioff out of the keynote spot at Oracle's conference. Benioff gave his keynote anyway, at a nearby hotel.

They have recently reconciled, thanks to a multimillion business deal. But Oracle still thinks of Salesforce as a major competitor.

He created an entire tech industry

Marc Benioff is regarded as a visionary.

He helped create a form of cloud computing called software-as-a-service. That's where companies rent software over the Internet instead installing it on their own computers.

By force of will, and plenty of gorilla marketing tactics, Benioff made this market happen. Today all the big software companies are desperate to get into the SaaS game.

Benioff built a children's hospital

MC Hammer and Jerry Seinfeld hanging with Valley CEOs at Benioff's fund raiser.

In 2010, Benioff donated $US100 million to build the Children's Hospital at the University of California at San Francisco.

Since then, he also hosts fabulous private concerts and parties to raise money for it.

He's also a big-time angel investor

Marc Benioff

Benioff is an active an angel investor who has backed a dozen or more companies.

A few of them include Zuora, Path, Clinkle, Urban Compass, Blackjet and many others.

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