In the Beginning
In the spring of 2005, Marc Benioff gathered his lieutenants together for an offsite in the sleepy seaside town of Half Moon Bay, California. San Francisco–based Salesforce.com was on a roll, the likes of which has been seldom seen, even in the technology world. After a swift five-year run to a successful initial public offering (IPO) in June, the remainder of 2004 brought more good news in the form of 88 percent bookings growth. Nearly 20,000 customers had purchased the company's customer relationship management (CRM) solution, up from less than 6,000 two years prior. The year 2004 concluded with Salesforce sporting a market cap of $500 million, and that number would quadruple by the end of 2005. All charts were pointing up and to the right, just the way you'd want them if you were an employee or an investor.
The offsite was pretty typical, celebrating the success of the company, planning for continued hypergrowth as the market continued to expand, and generally mapping out a glorious future. And then David Dempsey stepped to the podium to deliver the presentation that would earn him the nickname Dr. Doom.
By 2005, the Irish-born Dempsey was already five years into his Salesforce career. He had spent 11 years at Oracle before moving on, just as the dotcom bubble burst. Unfazed, he and two other ex-Oracle executives approached Benioff in early 2000 with a proposal to bring Salesforce.com ...