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
    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?