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What these 6 CEOs learned from working at Salesforce

Erika Morphy | Sept. 1, 2014
Baby Benioffs everywhere!

Chuck Ganapathi, Founder and CEO of Tactile, which has built a mobile CRM/contact management app called Tact 
Company formed: 2012.
What he did at Salesforce: At the company for five years, Ganapathi was the SVP of Product, responsible for Sales Cloud, Chatter, and Mobile.
What he learned from his time at Salesforce: "That it pays to make a bet on a platform shift. I lived through the epic battle between Salesforce and Siebel and Salesforce won not through features and functions, but by betting on the industry shift from desktop to cloud. I am making a bet on the next platform shift: from cloud to mobile." 
On what is special about Tactile: Our product, Tact, is a user-first, offline-first productivity app for sales professionals that aims to close the last mile gap in CRM. It brings together everything a salesperson needs for his daily workflow, such as phone, email, calendar and CRM, in one spot. It's all made possible by Tactile's patent-pending mobile sync platform.

Todd McKinnon, CEO and co-founder ofOkta, an identity and authentication platform for cloud services. 
Company formed:
 2009.
What he did at Salesforce: For the six years he was there McKinnon was head of engineering at Salesforce, with the main responsibility of defining and executing an architectural vision for various functional areas.
What McKinnon learned at Salesforce that helped him the most when forming Okta: "The biggest lesson that we've incorporated into the Okta DNA is the importance of a core focus on customer success. Salesforce has been known for its renowned customer support and customer success programs since the beginning." 
On staying in touch with former colleagues at Salesforce:  "I more than just stay in touch -- some of them make up the Okta executive bench! My amazing co-founder and Okta COO Frederic Kerrest was the third employee in the business development group at Salesforce and started (and built) the Latin America sales organization. We also recently hired Krista Anderson as Okta's first chief customer officer in February. She was formerly a senior vice president at Salesforce." 
What's unique about Okta: "Our cloud-based identity management service is top-notch but we are the only company to put customer success front and center in a big way -- orienting our entire business around what's best for our millions of users ....Our customers consider Okta a strategic partner because we make their problems our problems -- and we solve them."

And so the cycle continues. Who knows, in another ten years' time we may be looking at the next generation of tech executives spawned by Okta-Rocket Fuel-Zuora et al.

 

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