Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff’s Startup Failed When He Was 13, Now He Is A Billionaire


We watch inspirational movies, read books that motivate us. But nothing tugs at the chords of our heart as the inspirational story of someone who has overcome all the hurdles and has come out with flying colours.

Benioff’s story

Many are aware that Marc Benioff, the billionaire co-founder CEO of Salesforce, founded his first software company, Liberty Software, at age 15.

However, most people don’t know that he actually started his first tech company even before that. It was at 13 when the company was started.

The company was set up to fix CB radios. He had been learning about them at the local Radio Shack. However, it did not work out. Benioff jokes saying that his grandmother felt that he had the wrong pricing model.

But that was Benioff’s only failed attempt.

Entry into the computer business

One day, while in the Radio Shack, still eagerly learning about CB radios, he saw his first computer, made by Radio Shack.

Benioff wanted the computer badly but was unable to afford it. He made a deal with his grandmother – he would earn half the price of the computer and she would give the other half. That’s how he bought his first computer.

Benioff was a self-taught coder and he wrote a program called “How to Juggle.” He sold the program for $75 to a computer newsletter for Radio Shack computer users. It was then that he realised that the computer business was meant for him.

Benioff went on to buy an Atari and write games for it with his next company, Liberty Software. He did that through high school and college. In fact, by the time he was 16, his programs were earning royalties of $1,500 a month, enough to pay for college.

Shift to entrepreneurship

And in college, instead of studying computer science, he studied entrepreneurship. But he didn’t give up coding.

In college, he was in awe of the Apple’s Macintosh computer, and he was trying to write programs for it using the assembly language. But assembly didn’t work very well.

“And so when I complained to Apple, they actually hired me to come up for a summer and fix their assembly-language system, which was cool as an intern,”

Benioff said.

After college, he grew more interested in sales and marketing, and soon he became one of Oracle’s youngest vice presidents ever. From there he launched Salesforce.

Benioff’s LinkedIn CV has just three entries: Apple intern, senior vice president at Oracle, CEO of Salesforce.

He no longer writes software, not even for fun, but his old Atari games have found a strange new life. They have all been put together in YouTube videos.

Benioff’s life is a great source of encouragement who want to make it big in their lives – failure was never a deterrent for Benioff and it should never be one for others as well.

Also Read: Learn How successful leaders recover from failure