Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff started his big tech climb at Apple in 1984

By | February 23, 2022

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Mark Benioff, head of enterprise customer relationship management firm Salesforce, has revealed how he started out as an intern at Apple – and what he learned there.

He previously said that act was done as a token of appreciation for the help Jobs had given him over the years. In a new interview, he says that during his time as an Apple intern, he got to work in close proximity with Jobs — and with Guy Kawasaki.

Well-known to long-time Apple users as one of the company’s first “software evangelists,” Kawasaki was the one who hired Benioff for the intern position. He’s now interviewed Benioff for Kawasaki’s Remarkable People podcast.

“I was kind of a 19 year old snotty nosed kid with a little software company built out of a bunch of my high school friends,” Benioff says on the podcast. “You [Guy] got me all hooked up and I was in business and as a Macintosh developer, and the rest is history.”

It was 1984 when Kawasaki, after being contacted many times by Benioff, offered to let him spend the summer as an intern at Apple.

“His task was to write assembly language programs,” says Kawaski, “so that Macintosh developers around the world could see how Macintosh software was created.”

Benioff spent the summer writing around 70 of those programs. He also said that alongside programming, he learned about how to run a successful technology company.

“I learned, while being at Apple, that a technology company, a great one, is filled with amazing energy, vitality and a sense of urgency,” says Benioff. “And at the same time, there was a great culture [there]. Steve Jobs had those Odwalla juices for everyone and shiatsu masseurs were going up and down the hallways, keeping programmers limber.”

Separately, Benioff has said that Steve Jobs continued to be a guide for him and his nascent Salesforce company over the years. “He has probably given me more help and more advice than just about anyone else,” said Benioff in 2011.

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