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Growing Up with Salesforce: An Early Employee

Growing Up with Salesforce: An Early Employee

This early employee shares what it was like to grow up with personally and professionally with Salesforce.

We’re posting a series of vignettes to celebrate Salesforce’s 20th birthday. Follow our digital scrapbook to get a behind the scenes glimpse of our history.

In 2001, I was living in San Francisco and the drummer for the indie rock band, Film School. As a band, Film School was ascendant. We released a handful of albums (two of them on Beggar’s Banquet), toured, played SXSW, and once opened up for the Shins.


I had recently gotten engaged, and professionally, I started to work in finance at a two-year-old startup, Salesforce.

At this time, Salesforce had less than 400 employees; it was still small enough that I’d always see Marc and Parker around the office. Seeing Parker at his desk, writing code during this time stands out, so does his and Marc’s enthusiasm for how the platform would disrupt the industry.

film school band

As the rest of the band was committed to quitting their jobs to tour in support of the Beggar’s release, I realized that flying during the weekend to play shows and coming into work on Mondays at Salesforce was unsustainable. It was a turning point for me; I knew I had to quit touring (though not music) and focus on my career.

Almost 18 years later and multiple role changes from finance to R&D collaboration to product management — and I’m still here.

What keeps me at Salesforce? Honestly, it’s because of the corporate values that underpin executive decisions. For all the talk that companies put out about corporate values, Salesforce is the first company I’ve worked for that puts the talk into action. Salesforce has prioritized giving back to the community via volunteering and donation matching and always have.

They put trust in employees, encouraging collaboration (much like being in a band), and I’ve found it to be a meritocracy. Also, I enjoy the everyday challenge of solving hard problems with some of the smartest colleagues whom I consider to be friends. Now, I’m vice president of product management for Customer 360 and am excited about what changes the next 20 years will bring.

Over the last 18 years, Salesforce has allowed me to grow professionally as the company has grown exponentially. Happy 20th, Salesforce! Thanks for bringing me along for the ride.

Ben Montesano

Ben is the VP of Product Management for Customer 360 and has worked at Salesforce since 2001. He lives in Corte Madera with his wife and two kids and still finds time to write music and play drums. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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