When Tien Tzuo joined Salesforce in 1999 as the then-startup’s eleventh employee, he witnessed “the dawn of SaaS,” or software-as-a-service. Offering on-demand software to customers on a subscription basis was founder Marc Benioff’s grand business innovation—and his golden ticket to unfathomable riches.
Instead of just selling a one-off software product, as Oracle, Benioff’s former workplace, did at the time, Salesforce would create a more intimate relationship with customers. “Our big realization was we actually can see how our customers are using our product, and we can understand that, and we can actually deliver more to them,” Tzuo told an audience of business executives at a virtual event hosted jointly by the Fortune CEO Initiative and Fortune Global Forum on Tuesday.
In other words, Salesforce would hook subscribers, collect data on people’s habits and desires, and then continually update the product. The speed of the feedback loop and the emphasis … Read the rest