In 1999, Marc Benioff came to businesses with an impossible pitch...
He wanted to sell people software with no software.
Now he's worth more than $8 billion, and his company has a market cap of nearly $220 billion.
He did it by completely upending the software model.
And while everybody claims to love innovation... few companies actually take big ideas and create new categories. Most tech companies offer nothing more than a modest step forward over existing alternatives.
But Benioff did something strikingly original. He created an opportunity that required his customers to rethink what they knew about software, while at the same time giving them a value proposition they could not refuse.
Benioff created cloud software, also known as Software as a Service ("SaaS").
These days, this industry brings in $200 billion every year. And it's the way businesses buy software.
But back then, it was radical.
At the time, businesses would buy all kinds of database and transactional software. They would go to a big firm like Oracle or SAP and order a software package.
It would show up as a box of computer disks.
Companies would need an in-house professional, along with an array of servers, to install and host the software for their employees. Installation could take months.
That software purchase also came with a service contract to add any customizations you may need for your business. And when it was time to update, you had to shut down the system and do it all again.
That's why Benioff made the first slogan for his software business, "No software."
What he meant was that instead of providing copies of software for customers to install themselves, he kept it running on his own servers. Customers would go online using their normal web browsers to access it.
Benioff didn't just have to explain that his particular software was worth using... He had to explain an entirely new way of buying it, too. And his customers had to get comfortable with handing over mountains of data to live on Benioff's servers.
It was a tricky proposition. And that wasn't all.
Benioff had to convince customers to pay for the software in an entirely different way, too. Rather than spending a single amount to buy the software up front, Benioff offered a subscription package, billed monthly, in perpetuity.
That's how many of us buy software today without a second thought. But at the time, all of this was revolutionary.
Today, his company – Salesforce (CRM), the top developer and seller of customer-relationship-management software – boasts more than 150,000 customers... some paying millions each year.
When Benioff came up with his strategy more than two decades ago, Salesforce helped create a tech revolution.
And right now, we're in the middle of another one... this time involving artificial intelligence ("AI").
Last week, I sat down with Wall Street veteran Marc Chaikin, founder of our corporate affiliate Chaikin Analytics, for a debate on the best ways use AI to grow your wealth.
You can watch a replay of the debate here, for a limited time.
Marc and I have vastly different approaches to analyzing the market, so I expected it to be a heated debate. But we were in 100% agreement that there are few, if any, stocks to buy in the market right now that are bona fide AI plays.
And we were also 100% in agreement on the best way to harness AI to potentially grow your wealth today.
You see, most of the AI companies being touted in the media simply aren't worth your attention.
My advice to you is not to be tempted into speculating on these tiny AI firms you come across in the news, or on a message board.
Click here to watch a replay of our debate where we discuss a totally different way to harness the power of AI to improve your investing results.
Now, let's get into some of the things you've had on your minds this week. As always, keep sending your comments, questions, and topic suggestions to [email protected]. We read every e-mail.
Q: What's the difference between showering with cold water and being in cold air? Aren't both the same shock to your body? – J.M.
A: Unlike a cold shower, cold, dry air can actually harm you. The lack of moisture in the winter air dries out your sinuses. You may notice that your skin also gets chapped and dry during the winter months. When your sinuses are dry, they don't produce as much mucous, which is a problem. Mucous is what traps airborne infections – blocking viruses and bacteria from entering your body. As a result, you're more likely to get sick if you're not producing an adequate amount of mucous.
That's why I always recommend folks cover their mouths and noses while outdoors in the cold. The heat from your body keeps your breath both warmer and wetter than the outside air, and when it hits the fabric of your scarf, it condenses into water droplets. Thus, you create an environment that supports the needs of the tissue that lines your sinuses.
A cold shower, however, is a moisture-rich environment. And because you're likely in the privacy of your own home while showering, any germs you're exposed to already belong to you. But the key here is really that the moisture from your shower hydrates your sinus tissue, so you don't have to worry about the same drying of your skin and nasal passages.
Stick to exposing your body to some cold through a shower... not through the outdoors.
What We're Reading...
- Did you miss it? This stock market myth could be holding you back.
- Something different: Meta, Microsoft, and Amazon are going after Google Maps.
Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,
Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team
July 28, 2023