Marc Benioff

He’s the CEO and co-founder of San Francisco-based Salesforce, one of the world’s largest software companies, which owns the popular messaging service Slack and is worth nearly $300 billion. He also owns Time magazine.

When I ask Benioff about the properties in the anonymous LLCs, things seem to take a turn. He starts speaking more quickly and fidgets with a piece of paper in his hand. He’s reluctant to go through the holdings, and his adviser on the Zoom call jumps in to say we can discuss later.

A couple of days before the interview, Benioff texted the same NPR colleague again, asking for intel on my story. Then he called me and demanded to know the title of this piece. During that call, he also mentioned he knew the exact area where I was staying. Unnerved, I asked how he knew, and he said, “It’s my job. You have a job and I have a job.” During the interview, he brings up more personal details about me and my family.

I leave the meeting disconcerted and still unclear about what exactly is happening with his land in Waimea.

The following day, I drive around with a photographer to take pictures of the town and Benioff’s projects. We go to the property he described as a community center and are confronted by one of his employees. The photographer explains we’re there to take photos of the outside of the building. Shortly afterward, I get a text from Benioff. His employee seemed to think we were “snooping,” and he says he’s escalating the incident to NPR CEO John Lansing. Lansing confirmed he spoke with Benioff, without going into detail — the NPR newsroom operates independently, and the CEO is not involved in editorial decision-making. Benioff didn’t respond to my question about the purpose of this call.

  • @FirstCircleOP
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    262 months ago

    M$ under Gates was also hugely about shafting many of the engineering staff working there. These were the Permatemps, people who worked on site alongside ordinary employees, doing the same work, working for the same managers on big products you’ve heard of. But the Permatemps, and I was one of them, didn’t work for M$, we worked for the most part as W2 employees of external staffing companies. OK salaries, basic benefits, but zero equity compensation or job security. Occasionally a permatemp would get hired as a M$ employee and that’s probably what a lot of them were hoping for. I got a small pay-out from the Permatemp lawsuit settlement (see link above) while some of the regular employees around me became M$ Millionaires in their 20s, including my tech lead at the time. But at least I was allowed to shop at the Company Store and got a discount on my copy of Vista! Meanwhile Gates conserved huge amounts of equity and had a big staff he could fire at the drop of a hat, because he didn’t technically employ us in the first place.

    • @SinningStromgald@lemmy.world
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      92 months ago

      They are still doing this in some fashion because I see “Microsoft” jobs come up all the time but when you read the posting you are actually being hired by a staffing agency.

      • @model_tar_gz@lemmy.world
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        42 months ago

        All the big tech companies do it. Google has their red badges—part of Google’s caste system. Meta has contractors (from what I hear they actually treat them really well, just not compensated like a Meta FTE for the same work).

    • @Jarix@lemmy.world
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      62 months ago

      Have you read the book Microserfs? My brother had it, i never read it, but seems like a relevant book for your comment

      • @FirstCircleOP
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        32 months ago

        I’m pretty sure I read it back in the day but had forgotten all about it. I was at M$ around the time it came out and I vaguely recall employees talking about it in a dismissive but not exactly outraged sort of way. Kind of like you might expect if the author hit pretty close to home re: the culture but without it seeming (to the employees) like an attack piece.

        Thanks for mentioning the book, it’ll be fun to re-read it after all these years and see how it’s held up. Maybe my library can get an inter-library-loan of a special, limited-edition, BG-autographed version, embellished in gold leaf all over. <checks web> Hmm, Medina doesn’t appear to have a public library, how could that be?

    • Avid Amoeba
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      2 months ago

      But have you tried negotiating better compensation? You must have not been productive enough.

      E: deep black sarcasm circled around the blatantly false economic tenet that higher productivity allows workers to negotiate higher wages.

      • @FirstCircleOP
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        32 months ago

        Ha, wasn’t sure if that was sarcasm or just Trollage at first. Well played! Yes, I am a pathetic, talentless loser, otherwise I’d be having drinks with BG on his jet or lounging on Larry’s yacht or even fly-fishing with a Supreme at some wilderness resort. <hangs head>

        • Avid Amoeba
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          2 months ago

          I recently had a conversation where worker productivity came up as an argument for why people on average aren’t paid well these days in one country vs another, which is still a standard mainstream economic dogma. However there’s the blatant historical counterexample - the productivity-wage decoupling in the US since the 80s. Productivity has increased a lot since then while wages have remained stagnant. The argument finished shortly after I brought this up and asked why workers were unable to get higher wages when their productivity has clearly increased.