How Bill Gate's competition took Bill's name and ran with it after Bill turned it down.
Hard to believe that long before there was Salesforce.com, there was an entrepreneur with a plan to do with the cloud what Bill Gates had done with a client / server. So he began hand-regging domain names from his San Francisco home address and aol email. Today that Man Marc Benioff stands as the rock star CEO of one of the clouds biggest success stories, SalesForce.com.
Under SalesFroce.com, and totally getting" generics, benioff has been on a domain buying spree acquiring such gems as Forces.com, Desk.com, FinancialForce.com, Chatter.com, Data.com, Do.com and Tom.com.
Over the years however, Sales Force dropped or sold the name Bill.com. Instead of being thought of only as the surname for the father of personal computing, someone noticed it would make a great name for a cloud accountant, as in "pay your bill."
So today, Bill.com has become a hugely successful cloud software company and big advocate of digitizing previously paper-based products.
“Being paperless means I don’t have to be there physically to review bills or sign checks,” Dave says.
“I can manage all my businesses from anywhere – like Paris, where I was a few weeks ago.
“I couldn’t do all this without Bill.com,” says Dave. “I could not even conceive operating without it today” Previously, vendors would email bills to Cyril’s Bakery, where staff would print them out, enter them in QuickBooks and file them. Later, they would print a payables report for David to review, print out the checks and send them by courier to wherever he was at the moment. “Now the bills and paperwork go to Bill.com, I simply review and approve everything online from wherever I am, and the checks go out when they’re supposed to.
“As an entrepreneur, your biggest enemy is the 'I can do it myself’ syndrome. You think you can do everything, so you don’t invest a little bit of time in new solutions that would save you many hours and a lot of extra steps. But I implemented Bill.com in 45 minutes flat. That’s really all the time it took. I couldn’t believe how easy it was, and how logical.
“Take yourself out of the equation,” Dave says, “and see how much you will grow.”
Well Bill Gates who once famously wondered "why would I want my OWN name with a dotCOM after it," not only missed the domain opportunity, but also missed the "gate" to the big transition to the next generation of computing known as cloud. Interesting it happened on his OWN name,.
More generics will roll out. And Benioff is sure to have many in the can and up his sleeve.