41 One-Liner Startup Lessons I Learnt From a Programmer Who Built a $230 B Empire Leaving 9–5 at Oracle

Sanjay Priyadarshi
3 min readOct 17, 2023
Photo by Ali Jouyandeh on Unsplash

Before 1999, Marc Benioff was stuck in a corporate job.

He wasn’t enjoying his corporate life even after receiving a huge salary from Oracle.

He had no idea what he wanted to do next with his life.

In February of 1999, he started his company, Salesforce. In just ten years, he took Salesforce’s revenue from $0 to $1 billion.

A few months ago I studied his life and listened to his interviews to figure out how he was able to build a $230 B empire. Here I have shared startup lessons I learned from him.

  1. Don’t quit your job. Take a sabbatical instead.
  2. Software as a service is a great model for starting a business.
  3. Read online articles, magazines, and newspapers, but trust your instincts.
  4. Even if the person you admire misjudges your worth, continue to believe in yourself.
  5. There are good people in this world who will definitely help you. You just need to find them.
  6. To create a billion-dollar company, your talent isn’t enough; choose your collaborators carefully, as their help is essential.
  7. You should never give an emotional response to any critic, as there is no room for emotion in business.
  8. To set a company’s culture, you must decide on three non-negotiable qualities which your company stands for.
  9. You should spend 80% of your time focusing on the 20%, which will make the difference.
  10. Consider customer feedback as a valuable asset during the initial phases, and create scenarios that invite their input.
  11. Ignore industry rules that don’t make sense to you.
  12. Mentors are called mentors for a reason: that’s why you should trust them and listen to what they tell you.
  13. Act confident, even when you’re not.
  14. Consider your network as a valuable asset; hiring friends, previous colleagues, or people you admire could be a smart move.
  15. If you have a backup plan, you’re not trying hard enough.



Sanjay Priyadarshi

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