Here are the seven most important lessons Marc Benioff worth US $3.8 billion says he’s learned from Larry Ellison worth US $50.2 billion:
1. “Always have a vision”
Ellison and Benioff are each credited with transforming the database and software
industry, respectively. Ellison, in fact, shared the vision for cloud software early
on and provided seed money for Salesforce and NetSuite.
2. “Be passionate”
Ellison and Benioff are probably two of the most competitive and hardest-working
CEOs we’ve seen in a long time. Ellison once said, “I’m addicted to winning. The more
you win — the more you want to win.” It also says a lot that he refuses to retire
even at the age 71.
3. “Act confident, even when you’re not”
Ellison’s self-confidence is almost legendary. Benioff is equally confident all the time,
and they’re both not afraid to trash-talk their competitors in public. “[Ellison] taught me
that accomplishments are fueled by faith,” Benioff writes.
4. “Think of it as you want it, not as it is”
Benioff famously moved his 10-person team to a new 8,000-square-foot office in 1999.
One of his cofounders, Parker Harris, was upset that Benioff got such a big place, but
Benioff simply told him, “We’ll be out of here before you know it.” One year later, they
ran out of space and moved to a bigger place.
5. “Don’t let others sway you from your point of view”
When Benioff first shared his idea for Salesforce with cofounder Dave Moellenhoff,
he was told it was a “crackpot idea.” That didn’t stop him from pursuing his vision for
a cloud software, and now Salesforce is a $50 billion software empire.
6. “See things in the present, even if they are in the future”
Benioff says people used to joke that Ellison got his tenses confused because he was
always thinking about the future. “A successful leader is one who is always thinking
about the future, not just the present,” Benioff writes.
7. “Don’t give others your power. Ever”
This partly explains why both Ellison and Benioff continue to keep a tight grip on
each of their companies, even after all these years. Also, it's one reason why it’s
unlikely Benioff will sell Salesforce anytime soon.