"After all, the engineers only needed to refuse to fix anything, and modern industry would grind to a halt." -Michael Lewis

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Behind The Cloud: Summary In Quotes

Dec 2018

Behind the Cloud, by Marc Benioff, is his own story about how Salesforce became one of the first software-as-a-subscription services. While it honestly sometimes felt like another marketing ploy for Salesforce, there were many nuggets of wisdom to take out of it.

Eeven back then, I knew that to be successful, I needed to listen to the users.
I would soon find that, in order to pursue my dream, I had to believe in it passionately, and be ready to constantly defend it.
...most people won't buy a service because they saw it in an ad. People buy because an expert told them it was good, or because a user told them about it.
Journalists on deadlines are too pressed for time to come up with their own metaphors, so they use the one we supply.
Appealing directly to the people who used the service made all the difference.
Whether someone wanted 2 licenses or 200, it would cost the same per seat...I was unyielding on this...I wouldn't even give my grandmother a discount.
There's great pressure to get a prototype out, and to cut corners in order to meet deadlines. [We] had witnessed how shortcuts had sparked major issues later...if it's messy out of the gate, it can't hold up over time. In fact, it's common for the code to explode as developers try to transition and scale.
...don't accept everything that comes your way. The iPod ecosystem has been so successful because Apple carries only those products that meet its exacting standards. Apple users trust Apple authorized dealers, and continue to do so because the company has not made any compromises... Never do anything that might squander the customer's trust.
Constant releases ensure that we receive real-time feedback from the marketplace, which helps direct our next moves.
Customers with a favorable impression of a company's philanthropy are three times more likely to be loyal customers than those who have less favorable perception about a company's philanthropic efforts.
As always, salesforce.com targeted the end user, not the person who controlled the budget.
We were accustomed to looking at regions, rather than distinct countries, with their own local ways of doing business. In Asia, where countries are farther apart, in both proximity and ideology, than they are in continental Europe, an overarching outlook didn't work.
Everything takes twice as long and costs twice as much as you'd expect.
...measuring on profit can prevent managers from sharing their talent with other departments, because they feel as if they are "paying for them" and bearing the brunt of the cost.
We've seen the rewards of always taking the long view...financial success is not something we achieved with quick actions. It took careful planning, far in advance of where we were at the time.
We don't have a five year plan. We barely have a six month plan.
Larry Ellison
Hiring was, and still is, the most important thing we do.

Nick Fisher is a software engineer in the Pacific Northwest. He focuses on building highly scalable and maintainable backend systems.