Cowardly attack on Salesforce CEO's philanthropy

Cowardly attack on Salesforce CEO's philanthropy

Summary: Gossip site Valleywag ridicules Marc Benioff's charity work in an anonymous attack


An anonymous (cowardly) post on Valleywag pokes fun at Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, for talking about his philanthropic works at his annual Dreamforce conference.

He is called a “buffoon” because of his “phony philanthropy” and other terrible things, like “lip-service to women.”

How can his millions of dollars contributed to real causes such as building a children’s hospital, be “phony”? It’s real money. So he wants his name on the hospital, so what? It’s standard practice for hospitals, endowments to universities, etc. 

The author is concerned about the 135,000 people that, “paid good money” to come to Dreamforce conference last week to see a “a bloating faux-Buddhist billionaire."

He writes, “I had the bad luck to be sent here by my employer—but at least they paid for my pass, which would’ve cost between $800 and $1,200…”

He paid but he clearly didn't know that most didn’t pay because it was free registration for the keynotes and showfloor, apart from the technical sessions. The 135,000 people who paid or not, clearly felt it was a good use of their time, and they knew what they were in for.

There’s a lot of good created by Salesforce. Benioff runs San Francisco’s largest and most valuable tech company, [$CRM] at $31.44 billion, with nearly $4 billion in annual revenues, and employing more than 10,000.

In addition, there’s tens of thousands of people employed in the massive ecosystem of consultants, developers, and vendors that rely on Salesforce — it feeds a lot of people.

There’s always an “I” in philanthropy…

This is nothing new at Dreamforce. Benioff loves to show off his philanthropy, and he does it every year, and has been doing it for more than a decade. And everyone loves it, everyone knows what Dreamforce is like, except for this shocked (cowardly) writer. 

Dreamforce has become embedded into the timeline of San Francisco's annual events. Locals sense it's coming even if they never go to it. It’s a ritual gathering of sorts and has developed a very positive message in a consistent way. Dreamforce has become a very unique IT industry conference.

It's too bad Benioff has to slap himself on the back, when he should be getting broad recognition for his philanthropic works, and for which he well deserves. 

There’s legions of tech millionaires that don’t do any philanthropy and yet think themselves as god’s gifts to a changing universe. Which is Valleywag’s traditional beat: hypocrisy. And it’s a good beat with plenty of entertaining stuff, but this time, and on this post, it misses the mark by a wide margin. 

If some harmless ego stroking results in millions more for worthwhile charities then I say stroke-on and leave the man alone. 

Topics:, Cloud

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Another View

    Perhaps Marc is showing off his philanthropy and slapping himself on the back. That however misses the point.

    Marc is also leading by example. He is demonstrating firsthand how individuals and companies should behave. Giving back to society is the responsible thing to do. We should all learn from his example.

    Ivan Feher
    Ivan Feher
  • head slap

    The problem is the never ending arrogance, look at me and lack of class this guy has. He is bilking millions of dollars from a corporation and saying look at how great I am I gave the money to a charity. How about these CEO's actually collect a reasonable wage and work to support better healthcare and services for employees.
  • Patience -- Smart Philanthropy takes time and effort.... not just money.

    As someone who has spent her life in philanthropy, and watched many philanthropists develop and grow, and helped a billionaire start his foundation (Gordon Moore)... I can tell you it is hard work to give money wisely; to understand what you care to accomplish; and then figure out exactly how. And Benioff has made a mark. To Tom's point... a lot of folks haven't even attempted to go there yet -- busy or otherwise -- just haven't. Bill Gates was under the same scrutiny. So Benioff is well on his way to making a big impact if Gates is any indication.