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Party Like It’s 1999: Salesforce and San Francisco

We're kicking off a digital scrapbook to commemorate Salesforce's 20th birthday. Let's paint a picture of what it was like in 1999.

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

The end of the millennium was a strange, yet exciting time for us all. We worried about the Y2K bug causing planes to drop out of the sky, and that we were all living in The Matrix. Life in San Francisco was bustling and many of our future leaders were getting into the dot com boom. The San Francisco Giants played their last game at famed Candlestick Park, mayor Willie Brown was re-elected after a runoff election, and Tony Hawk completed the first-ever 900 in competition at the X Games at Pier 30.


Early days: Salesforce co-founders Marc Benioff and Frank Dominguez at the first Salesforce office in Telegraph Hill, San Francisco.
A poster of the Dalai Lama from an Apple ad campaign encouraged employees to “Think Different.”

Under the shadow of Coit Tower and the noisy squawkings from nearby Telegraph Hill parrots, this was the year Marc Benioff, Parker Harris, Frank Dominguez, and Dave Moellenhoff began working in a one bedroom apartment at 1449 Montgomery Street. They called the apartment the Laboratory and asked friends and colleagues to stop by to test their prototype and offer feedback.

Mama's on Washington Square is still serving up breakfast to hungry visitors. (image: Mama’s website)
1449 Montgomery still has a gorgeous view of the San Francisco Bay (image: <a href="" target="_blank">Philip I. Thomas</a>)

They built a startup culture that brought them joy and only worked on what they thought important and necessary — “no fluff” was their mantra. They wore Hawaiian print shirts, brunched at Mama’s, brought dogs to work with them, and constantly asked for feedback. While Salesforce has grown in those twenty years, many of those same principles are reflected today: innovation, valuing employees, and feedback.

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