Best in Tech – Marc Benioff

Marc Benioff
Born September 25, 1964 (age 47)
San Francisco, California
Net worth increase US$1.9 billion (2011)[1]
Spouse Lynne Benioff

Marc Benioff

Marc Benioff is chairman and CEO of He founded the company in 1999 with a vision to create an on-demand information management service that would replace traditional enterprise software technology. Benioff is regarded as the leader of what he has termed “The End of Software,” the now-proven belief that multi-tenant, on-demand applications democratize information by delivering immediate benefits at reduced risks and costs.

Under Benioff’s direction, has grown from a groundbreaking idea into a publicly traded company that is the market and technology leader in on-demand business services. For its revolutionary approach, has been lauded as one of BusinessWeeks Top 100 Most Innovative Companies, named No. 7 on The Wired 40, and selected for the past two years as a Top Ten Disrupter by Forbes. The product has won the Software & Information Industry Association Codie Award for Best CRM for the past six years, and the Codie Award for Best On-Demand Platform in 2007. Benioff has been widely recognized for pioneering innovation with honors such as the 2007 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, the SDForum Visionary Award, Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year by the University of Southern California (USC) Marshall School of Business, and being ranked No. 7 on the Top 100 Most Influential People in IT survey by eWEEK. He was appointed by President George W. Bush as the co-chairman of the Presidents Information Technology Advisory Committee and served from 2003-2005, overseeing the publishing of critical reports on health care information technology, cybersecurity, and computational sciences.

Throughout his career, Benioff has also been committed to using information technology to produce positive social change. In 2000, he launched the Foundation now a multimillion-dollar global organization establishing the 1/1/1 model, whereby the company contributes one percent of profits, one percent of equity, and one percent of employee hours back to the communities it serves. In 2006, Benioff authored The Business of Changing the World, in which 20 great leaders reveal how businesses can go beyond writing a check and leverage the full scope of their resources to make a difference. Compassionate Capitalism, also authored by Benioff, is the first-ever best-practices guide for corporate philanthropy that illustrates the success of the integrated model. Acknowledging his commitment to building partnerships between business and society to improve the state of the world, the members of the World Economic Forum named Benioff as one of its Young Global Leaders, and in 2007 the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy presented Benioff with the coveted Excellence in Corporate Philanthropy Award.

Benioff initial investment was USD 1.2 Million, only two years later raising the needed additional funding;

Prior to launching, Benioff, a quarter century veteran of the software industry, spent 13 years at Oracle Corporation from 1986-1999. In 1984, he worked as an assembly language programmer in Apple Computers Macintosh Division. He founded entertainment software company Liberty Software in 1979 when he was 15 years old. Benioff received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Southern California in 1986.


Company Date Round Size Participants
Zuora 2 11/11 Series D $36M 8
Domo Technologies 3 3/11 Angel $10M 2
Zuora 4 11/10 Series C $20M 5
Path 5 11/10 Angel $2.5M 27
Mashery 6 10/08 Series B $7M 7
Zuora 7 10/08 Series B $15M 4
Lookery 8 9/08 Series A $2.25M 2
ZocDoc 9 8/08 Series A $5M 3
Tapulous 10 7/08 Angel $1.8M 6
Qik 11 4/08 Series B $3M 3
Zuora 12 3/08 Series A $6.5M 2
Lookery 13 2/08 Seed $900k 21

More Best in Tech here

Best in Tech – Elon Musk

Elon Musk

Elon Musk (2008)
Born June 28, 1971 (age 40)
Pretoria, South Africa[1]
Residence Bel Air, Los Angeles, California
Citizenship United States[2]
Education B.S. in Physics and B.A. Economics from University of Pennsylvania
Occupation Engineer/Entrepreneur
Known for Co-founder of Zip2, PayPal,SpaceXTesla Motors
Salary $1[3]
Net worth increase $2 billion (2012)
Title CEO and CTO of SpaceX,
Chairman of SolarCity,
CEO of Tesla Motors
Political party Independent[4]
Spouse Justine Musk 2000–2008
Talulah Riley 2010–2012
Children Five sons

Elon Musk (born June 28,1971) is an entrepreneur and a co-founder of PayPalTesla Motors and Space Exploration Technologies. He is chairman/CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, and chairman of SolarCity.

Musk was born and grew up in South Africa, the son of a South African engineer and a Canadian-born mother who has worked as a New York City dietitian and modeled for fun. His father inspired his love of technology and Musk bought his first computer at age 10 and taught himself how to program; by the age of 12 he sold his first commercial software, a space game called Blaster.

He immigrated to Canada in June 1989 at age 17. He left Canada in 1992 after getting a scholarship to study business and physics at the University of Pennsylvania. He earned an undergraduate degree in economics and stayed on another year to finish a second bachelor’s degree in physics. Musk then considered three areas he wanted to get into that were “important problems,” as he said later. “One was the Internet, one was clean energy, and one was space.

In 1995, Musk moved to California to enroll in a graduate program in high energy physics at Stanford, in which he stayed exactly two days before dropping out to start Zip2, which provided online content publishing software for news organizations. In 1999, Compaq’s AltaVista division acquired Zip2 for US$307 million in cash and US$34 million in stock options.

In March 1999, Musk co-founded, an online financial services and email payments company. One year later, acquired Confinity, originally a company formed to beam money between Palm Pilots, and the combined entity focused on email payments through the PayPaldomain, acquired as part of Confinity. In February 2001, changed its legal name to PayPal. In October 2002, PayPal was acquired by eBayfor US$1.5 billion in stock. Before its sale, Musk, the company’s largest shareholder, owned 11.7% of PayPal’s shares.

In June 2002, Musk founded his third company, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), of which he is currently the CEO and CTO. SpaceX develops and manufactures space launch vehicles, with an emphasis on low cost and high reliability. The company’s first two launch vehicles are the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 rockets.

In addition to his business activities in entrepreneurial space, Musk is the principal owner and Chairman of the Board of Tesla Motors, which builds a high-end luxury electric vehicle.[9] He is also the primary investor and Chairman of the Board of SolarCity, a photovoltaics products and services startup company. The underlying motivation for funding both companies is to help combat global warming.

Musk’s fortune is estimated at US$328 million.


Company Date Round Size Participants
Tesla Motors 1 2/08 Series E $40M 1
Tesla Motors 2 5/07 Series D $45M 8
Mahalo 3 1/07 Series B $16M 6
SolarCity 4 9/06 Venture Round $10M 3
Tesla Motors 5 5/06 Series C $40M 12
Space Exploration Technologies 6 3/06 Seed $100M 1
Tesla Motors 7 2/05 Series B $13M 3
Tesla Motors 8 4/04 Series A $7.5M 2
PayPal 9 4/00 Series C $100M 14

More of Best in Tech here.

Zuckerberg likes China. China not re-tweeting…

Nevermind the mix up of social media metaphors, Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook (not twitter), is the worlds largest social network, with over 900 million users world wide. Thats right, 900 million!

There are approximately just over 300 million americans, with apparently 150 million of them logged into Facebook. So… (quick maths) one in two, or fifty percent are using Facebook. Impressive.


China has an estimated 1.3 Billion people, over four times as large as the populaion of USA, and bigger still than Facebooks ENTIRE global user ship. So the number of chinese people logged onto Facebook is? Quite a lot? No – it’s Zero, finito,  nowt, nothing. Strange. But why?

Simple. The Chinese government have banned it. Facebook shouldn’t feel too bad though; Twitter is banned too. The reason seems to stem from two things really. A) because of a little thing called ‘The Social Revolution’ or ‘Arab Spring’ if you will, where several arab states overthrew their autocracies, primarily organised through the major social media platforms – you guessed it – Facebook and Twitter. Of which Communist China are indeed aware.

And B) Because of it’s bitter and scarring relationship China had with an other American Tech Giant, Google inc. Basically Google entered the Chinese market on the ‘understanding’ that it would filter content, let’s say derogatory to the chinese government. Western critics saw Google’s censorship as tantamount to participating in the violation of human rights. So of course Google, to re-emphasise it’s (very suspicious) ‘don’t be evil’ slogan, promptly reneged on their deal with china, leaving China livid and very much hurt, I’m sure.

This is a shame really.  Especially considering China’s domestic population is larger than that of Facebook’s ENTIRE Global user-ship, as I previously mentioned.

Yes a shame, well Mark Zuckerberg seems to think so anyway. Maybe that’s why he was spotted in Shangai, China recently!

Maybe he’s just there on holiday, but the pessimists amongst you can’t be blamed for thinking he’s there strictly on business. I mean you can’t blame the man for wanting to log into the biggest population in the world.

Be careful though Mark. Journalists and Critics alike are warning him to stay away, unless he wants to drag Facebook into Google-style Media storm of Controversial bad press, and brand damage catastrophe no less.

Is the controversy worth it? Only Zuckerberg can judge. Will Facebook’s current Shareholders being pushing for China Engagement? Certainly. Will it have a positive effect on the price of Facebook shares when Facebook’s IPO (Initial Public Offering) takes way in a couple of weeks. Oh my, YES.

But hey, maybe I’ve got him wrong, maybe it’s not all about money, maybe it’s something more moral inclined, a social mission. To connect the world… and spread some good old fashioned American democracy.

Either way, Marc’s going to be hoping China does indeed Retweet.

Samsings it’s way to the top

Samsung, the south korean technology giant, has overtaken Finnish Nokia (or Finlands answer to American Research in Motion) as the world’s largest mobile phone maker. Nokia took the top spot from Motorola in 1998, but early this year Samsung shipped 93 million phones compared to almost 83 million.

It’s about time! I hear you say. Well yeh that’s what I thought – Nokia are hardly the ubiquitous phone company that they once were (I’m talkin’ Matrix, I’m talkin Neo, and I’m talkin’ the Nokia 8110). The time when digitalised grand vals rung out in the streets proudly as it’s national anthem, and when apple and phone – software and hardware – didn’t exactly meet, seems oh so log ago.

It’s a surprise they’re even second! Here in Britian, Nokia’s are known nostalgically as them ancient bricks that you could play snakes and ladders on. Fundamentally though, like all phone companies at the time, they just seemed to be caught napping by Apple and the software revolution it would bring with them. It wasn’t like they didn’t see it coming – the ipod touch was the iphone without phone functionality – everyone else predicted it, it was more of the matter of price. Like Microsofts Steve Ballmer once notoriously blurted out “500 DOLLARS FOR A PHONE!!!”, phone companies thought although “neat” the iphone would just be too damned expensive for the general consumer. Well they were wrong… all of them… RIM with their Blackberry… wrong… Samsung… Sony-ericson… etc. To misquote the great Steve Jobs “They are hardware companies, we are a software company, that is why we will win”.

The biggest difference between Nokia and Samsung, and perhaps the most telling, is that Samsung reacted swiftly, effectively and impressively… they copied the iphone entirely! Adopting Google’s Android os. Nokia on the other hand didn’t wake up from their nap and are paying for it accordingly. They have now however woke up and smelt the apples, vying for some sweet smartphone market pie of there own, with their new Lumia phone. To run their operating system they have some what controversially teamed up with Microsoft’s and it’s new operating system Mango, shunning OS number 2 Android. Probably for differentiation. Critics are generally positive. Steve Wozniak in fact (The Lennon to Steve Jobs’ Mccarteny, at Apple in the early days) recently expressed his praise for it in the most flattering way possible, accusing Microsoft of poaching Apple staff! Although stating clearly he still of course prefers the iphone… of course. I personally think it’s live tiles system make Apples’ ios (and everyone else’s android) look rather old fashioned to be honest. Problem is, people just aren’t buying them.

Ultimately though is this landmark a case of Samsung’s triumphant success, or Nokia’s disastrous demise? Well it’s both. But I think everyone will agree Nokia have an uphill battle to regain it’s crown as king of mobile.

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