“If Salesforce seems to be everywhere, you’re not imagining things. The software company is now San Francisco’s largest private employer.” That’s according to a San Francisco Chronicle story titled Tech Expansion: Up and Out of SF. The story notes that growing tech companies are building their workforces in San Francisco while also spreading out to many other locations. For example, in Indianapolis Salesforce’s nearly 2,000 employees are housed in the state’s tallest building.
In an interview with the Chronicle’s Owen Thomas, titled Benioff on the Big Issues, Salesforce Chairman and Co-CEO Marc Benioff discussed the technology industry’s “crisis of trust”; the ethical and humane use of technology; and efforts to improve conditions in San Francisco. The interview was conducted at the World Economic Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which Benioff also chairs.
“Our employees have that same anxiety: Are we using our technology for good or for evil?,” Benioff said in the interview. “And I hope we’re pivoting to good. That our employees have to ask that question really surfaces the issue that we are in a different time. We have to be crystal clear with our employees, our customers, our stakeholders, that we are trying to be a model, we are trying to be a role model for other companies and we have been in many cases but this is a huge part of who we are.”
Benioff described San Francisco as a “city in crisis.” “We’re a city in a homelessness crisis,” he said. “We’re a city in a cleanliness crisis. We’re a city in a crisis with our public schools. We know we can get a family off the street, in a home, for $35,000 to $50,000. A third are off the streets. Within two years, every single family will be in a home. We have a great new mayor, Mayor Breed. We need all our board of supervisors to engage on these issues, our business leaders, our philanthropists, every citizen of San Francisco, to get involved. These are non-trivial issues.”
“Public school teachers make an average salary of $35,000,” Benioff added. “How are our teachers going to afford to live in our city, the most expensive city in the country? That’s why we’ve invested in our public schools — it’s on its way to $100 million. We’re also doing it in Oakland.”
Read the full interview.