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June 30, 2008

“To truly innovate you need to think of it as one thing and change all areas”

Filed under: Database Integration — Alena Semeshko @ 1:58 am

The quote is from an interview with Parker Harris from Salesforce.com. Continuing to follow SFDC’s progress, I came across this interview with him and here’re some highlights that I thought sounded quite fresh.

According to Harris, in the consumer world, everyone must think not only on one level, but on several. Salesforce.com thought about software, scale and the Internet; questioning what it would take to build this ‘thing’ they were thinking about.

“When we met Marc [Benioff], he had a vision and had written a two page e-mail detailing that we need to make this as easy as buying a book on Amazon,’ Harris says. At the time, there was Amazon, Google and E-bay.

It turns out Salesforce.com was not first concieved as a platform, rather as a number of abstract layers to help sales people.

…we quickly realized the need to unify them. We continued adding layers in response to our customers; columns, end user interface. At that point we realized it could be a platform; we didn’t consciously do that.

The future of platforms like SFDC?

Databases have evolved. Today you don’t really go into business to write it, you find one. I see platforms heading in the same direction.

Mr. Harris is rather frank in admitting to the mistakes the company has made:

We made two big mistakes: we changed everything all at once, which is a big risk for any business, and moved onto large scale systems. Pushing scale in a vertical sense created a complexity that was just too hard. Then we hired the guy from eBay to make sure it never happened again.

You can read the full interview here.

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