Conan’s Newsletter No. 8

Behind the Cloud: the story of Salesforce; Productivity Tips from Marc Andreessen; Visualization of the light speed; Lindy Effect;

Behind the Cloud

This week I recommend the book Behind the Cloud by the Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. The book describes the history of Salesforce, a legendary Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company, and summarizes Marc’s lessons on his journey.

Before Marc co-founded Salesforce, he had worked on enterprise software for many years as an Oracle executive. During the Internet boom, he took an extended leave from Oracle, spending most of the time in Hawaii and then India, to reflect his career and to think about his next venture. He came back with a belief that that software could be delivered through the Internet instead of manually installed by customers. He created Salesforce to fulfill this belief.

March Benioff used a very creative marketing strategy in the early days of Salesforce. Instead of defining Salesforce as another enterprise software company, Marc marketed as a new type of company that is fundamentally different from its predecessors — a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company. He waved the “No Software” marketing campaign and claimed enterprise software was dead. He also organized protests during the events of his software competitors. The controversial move drew a lot of eyeballs.

His strategy was a big success. The Software-as-a-Service has become a huge market, and its market size is projected to be 307.3 Billion by 2026. There have been a lot of SaaS IPOs in 2020 so far, including Snowflake, JFrog, Sumo Logic (Please see this Crunchbase report for the full list). As the first and still largest SaaS company, Salesforce is one of the examples for companies that define new categories of markets.

Another recommendation is one of Marc Benioff’s interviews in which he shared his philosophy on business creation and AI.

Productivity Tips from Marc Andreessen

Another good reading this week is Marc Andreessen On Productivity, Scheduling, Reading Habits, Work, and More. Marc Andreessen is the founder and the managing partner of the venture firm A16z. Before that, he was the founder of the legendary Netscape browser that kicked off the whole Internet revolution.

Interestingly, Marc Andreessen is also famous for one of his perspectives about software. In his famous essay about software, Marc Andreessen declares that “Software is Eating the World“, which became the investing a16z

The opinions of the two Marcs, despite their wordings, are referring to the same trend. Marc Andreessen is talking that software will be more and more important. Marc Benioff is talking about how the delivery of software will shift to the cloud.

Interesting Facts:

  1. A visualization of the light speed. It turns out the light speed is not as fast as we thought on the universe scale.
  2. Lindy Effect refers to the fact the life of a thing is likely to be proportional to how long it has already existed. Intuitively, a thing that exists x years is likely to exist for another x years. This is the reason why reading news is not that useful and we should focus on digesting information that is more time-proven.

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