Monday, November 8, 2010

Marc Benioff: Captain of the Cyber Privateer "Death Star"

I'd previously nominated Larry Ellison as my first Cyber Privateer Fantasy League player. Now that the FBI is "interested" in the Oracle-SAP trial (see my comment in today's Computerworld story),  it doesn't stretch the imagination to imply that Ellison is doing the FBI's job for them. Why not formalize it with a Letter of Marque and let Larry cut to the chase with all the bad guys? And it is for this reason that I name my second Cyber Privateer Fantasy League player: Marc Benioff, founder and CEO of Salesforce.com.

I've known Marc for 25 years, and had the pleasure of helping him engineer his pre-IPO attacks against Siebel. One of my favorite creations is the "I will not give my lunch money to Siebel" ad from 2002:


My reasons for adding Marc Benioff to my Cyber Privateer Fantasy League:

  1. He will play well with Larry Ellison. Marc is one of the few ex-Oracle/ex-Ellison spawns that Larry doesn't openly hate. In fact, I think they kind of like each other. Larry was on the Salesforce.com board until Oracle started direct competitor NetSuite and Marc had to ask him to step down.
  2. Salesforce.com has an interesting and vastly different dynamic than does Oracle. While Oracle is sending its X-wing fighters into the Galaxy to take on all competition, Salesforce.com is really a single "Death Star" entity, hosting the Galaxy from within. From a security standpoint, defending one well-guarded domain is much more doable than throwing your security net over the entire Galaxy. One set of security professionals can maintain discipline far more effectively than an infinite army of least-common-denominator links in the chain. In fact, the "Death Star" model may be the only truly viable security model in a full-blown cyber war.
  3. Marc Benioff's longstanding antipathy toward China is demonstrated in his first charity focus, Tibet House. Given that China and Russia are likely to be the big players in a cyber war, neither Marc nor Larry are likely to back down. They have the same take-no-prisoners DNA. I remember a GREAT statement by Larry Ellison concerning Russia, but until I can corroborate it with another source, I dare not repeat it. Needless to say, Ellison and Benioff would be cyber privateers to be feared worldwide.
  4. Marc is a visionary and a leader who can stay on target, not changing strategy or tactics due his last phone call.
So my Cyber Privateer Fantasy League has two members with whom I've had a longstanding relationship, and who I can attest have the intellect, the toughness, and the real-world experience to lead the way. I'll be suggesting other team members in future posts.

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Implementation suggestions for THE MORGAN DOCTRINE are most welcome. What are the "Got'chas!"? What questions would some future Cyber Privateering Czar have to answer about this in a Senate confirmation hearing?