Economics/Class Relations

Salesforce rollercoaster

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April 28, 2023
Hello, Insiders. Matt Turner, editor in chief of business, here. COVID-19 helped launch Salesforce skywards, but high-profile exits, slowing growth, and pressure from investors have made for a bumpy 18 months. CEO Marc Benioff says his performance through that time has been “a master class.” That’s today’s big story.


Here’s what else we’re covering:

— Matt Turner

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Russia, Dalio, & more

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Benioff vs. Benioff

Roy Rochlin, Mike Windle / Getty Images; Arif Qazi / Insider
In late 2021, things had never been better for Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

Demand for cloud-based software boomed amid the pandemic and Benioff was projecting that annual revenue would double to $50 billion in five years.

Then, everything had changed. Benioff’s co-CEO, Bret Taylor, resigned after a “showdown.” Sales slowed. Activist investors swooped in. This January, Salesforce announced plans to lay off 10% of its workforce.

Now, Benioff appears to have righted the ship as far as investors are concerned — averting a proxy battle, and making progress on improving its profit margins.

Insider spoke with dozens of current and recent Salesforce executives and employees, as well as Benioff himself, for an intimate look into a difficult period for the company and its larger-than-life CEO.

“If it hasn’t been a master class in the last six months on how to manage for all stakeholders, then I’ve made a mistake,” Benioff said. “This is how to do it.”


Airline rankings, ChatGPT, & more

Scott Olson/Getty Images
  • A new study ranked Southwest the worst airline in the US. WalletHub ranked the 11 best and worst airlines in the US. The study looked at 14 metrics, including canceled flights and mishandled baggage reports. See the full list here.
  • The five most fun electric cars to drive. After testing over 25 electric cars, Insider’s Tim Levin selected five cars that he said stood out and got his heart racing, including the Pininfarina Battista and Rivian R1T. Find them here.
  • “I used ChatGPT to talk to my boss for a week and she didn’t notice.” Insider’s Nick Rolle used the AI chatbot to help with work assignments for a week before telling his coworkers or manager. Here’s how he used it to get work done.
  • Cruise workers reveal what happens if you quit in the middle of the ocean. On a cruise ship, quitting your job is a luxury not all workers can afford. Those who resign before completing their contract have to pay for their own way home. More here.
  • Tech giants aren’t just cutting thousands of jobs — they’re making them extinct. Companies like Meta, Microsoft, and Salesforce have cut jobs in recent months. Now, thanks to the rise of AI, many of those jobs might never come back. Read more.
  • Hyundai’s wild “crab-driving” prototype. The South Korean carmaker’s new e-Corner technology lets all four wheels swivel up to 90 degrees, resulting in some cool tricks. And it may have just solved parallel parking for good. See it in action.
  • Russian “inspector” satellites. A Russian satellite appears to be stalking a classified US military satellite in a game of cat and mouse. Here’s how much detail the “inspector” satellites could get.

Airbnb empire

Courtesy of Kelly Marie
A woman turned a millionaire’s private 55-acre playground into an Airbnb empire. Kelly Marie purchased Nostalgiaville park in Springfield, Tennessee, for $900,000. The property now generates $30,000 a month in revenue and draws guests from Russia, China, Australia, and Scotland. Check it out.

Why Rolex watches beat stocks and gold

From 2011 to 2021, Rolexes outperformed gold, real estate, and stocks. Used watches are now a $20 billion industry, but dealers need to be careful of counterfeit watches. We followed the dealer John Buckley through New York City’s famous diamond district to learn how he spots fakes and makes money. Watch here.

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This edition was curated by Matt Turner, and edited by Hallam Bullock, Lisa Ryan, Nathan Rennolds, and Jack Robert Stacey. Get in touch:

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