Ethical Billionaire Destroys CNBC Clowns

Ethical Billionaire Destroys CNBC Clowns


I have something just really important for
you today, but it also happens to be entertaining and I think [inaudible] most of you are going to enjoy this. There’s
a company called Salesforce. We’ve used this company off and on to manage our ad sales
process. It’s a CRM, a customer relationship management tool, and it doesn’t even really
matter what that is, but their CEO is a guy named Mark Benioff and he’s a smart guy. He
has some really progressive ideas, at least in the context of someone who runs a huge
corporation and happens to be a multibillionaire, reportedly worth more than six point $4 billion.
About two thirds of that in Salesforce company stock. He has a narrative about capitalism,
about the role of big business that is pretty different from what a lot of other big corporate
CEOs have and he’s been talking for a while now about a new capitalism, a more social
capitalism, capitalism without going off the rails, so to speak, a capitalism that accounts
for the wellbeing, not just of the shareholders as is often the case, but also of stakeholders
which include all employees, customers, the environment. Capitalism for social change rather than capitalism
for preventing social change. And he was interviewed on CNBC by the usual suspects, including this
guy named Jim Cramer, who’s known in the investment world and he turned their world visibly upside
down and they didn’t know what to do with him. So we’re going to look at some clips.
This is a 12 minute interview in total, which you can find online. I’m going to play a few
clips for you. And throughout this you might notice there will be times where the camera
is a wide shot. And you’ll notice Jim Cramer just looking exasperated with Mark Benioff,
who’s not going to be bullied by the sort of vulture capitalist mentality into saying
anything other than what Mark Benioff believes. And he happens to believe many of the right
things. And you’ll see Jim Cramer going on him about are we really going to break up
big tech, which Elizabeth Warren has been suggesting. And Mark Benioff says, yeah, yeah
we should. Last night I heard capitalism under attack
as I never heard it before. And it made me think that if it’s dead, there are two visions.
There’s your vision, which is to resurrect it and make business the greatest Pratt platform,
social change, and there’s another vision which is that the government has to step in
because the billionaires are screwed up so badly. Tell us how to get that. Not that blow.
They’re probably right actually, but we do. We need a new capitalism. We need a capitalism
that’s more fair, more equitable, more sustainable capitalism, capitalism that values not just all shareholders but also
all stake holders and if we can put those things together, I think it can be a new capitalism
to be very exciting for everybody. I I do worry Mark that in the, in the vacuum,
in the vacuum of what you’re talking about, what I heard last night about big tech having
to be broken up simply because it’s got tremendous power, not even at the power’s being used
unwisely, but where are you when it comes down to breaking up Facebook, waking up Amazon,
breaking up alphabet. Aren’t these great American companies that hire a lot of people? Well, you know how I feel gym. Facebook is
the new cigarettes. It’s addictive. Bad for you, Jim. Thereafter, your kids set’s not
fanned off, changed the political ads that are going on. There’s, you know, not a commitment
to trust and truth and now they’re co-mingling the data of all of their acquisitions. Facebook
probably should be broken up because they’re using these assets in a way to further manipulate
even more people. I think that there needs to be change. It hasn’t happened fast enough. Absolutely correct. He’s a huge beneficiary
of the system that we have, but he’s saying plain and simple that the system still has
to be changed and Kramer pushes back because he just doesn’t, I mean he doesn’t like it.
He can’t believe that a multibillionaire, a huge corporate CEO is saying this stuff
and Mark Benioff here to the disbelief of the people on the panel explaining that Salesforce
has returned great value to investors. Investors in Salesforce have done really well financially,
but that they’re also providing a return to stakeholders and focusing on the environment
and more. Mark, you’ve been talking for some time now
about, and that’s the new capitalism gym, which is that, look, we have to actually value
all stakeholders. We are. Look at all shit. We’ll share with the earlier [inaudible] are
important and we’ve had a great shareholder return at Salesforce. I heard you earlier
mentioned at 3500% since I was first year right there, right there in 2004 if you bought
our stock, well that’s a 3500% return, but I had a great stakeholder return too. During
that same period, we’ve given over $300 million for grants, 4 million hours of volunteerism,
40,000 nonprofits and NGOs for free running on our service, and we’re a net zero company,
be fully renewable by 2025 that’s our stakeholder return. We issue a stakeholder report, so
we have a shareholder return and a shareholder report. We have a stakeholder return, a stakeholder
report, and I think that’s something the sec can do by the way. They could put, you know
I mentioned that in my op ed. What a concept, right? I mean blowing their
minds. You can see that these people, they’re looking at each other, they’re smirking, they’re
rolling their eyes. They can’t believe that a company that makes money also treats the
planet in a more responsible way and it treats stakeholders as an important part of the considerations
that are made when you make business decisions. Now, disclaimer, time. I’m not saying Mark
Benioff is perfect. I’m not saying Salesforce is the perfect company and there are no negative
externalities to what Salesforce does there well may be, but the way in which these simple
socially democratic ideas are coming from a multibillionaire CEO and triggering Jim
Kramer is just delightful. Watch Kramer in this next clip, if you’re watching, if you’re
just listening, I encourage you to find the full interview online while David Faber takes
a turn asking some questions of Mark Benioff. Jim Cramer looks perplexed as Mark Benioff
explains, Hey, there are actually CEOs all over the world being more thoughtful about
how we run our businesses. What are the metrics? How do you measure this
given it is growing in importance. We hear about it all the time now from real money,
not just sort of a, you know, a broad sense that there’s interest in it, but people actually
who want to put dollars behind them. Well, my peers certainly do. When I talked to the
largest CEOs in the world yesterday, I was in Munich, Germany with one of the largest
company in Germany with their CEO. They have a major program into place just as we do just
as many others do. I was in London on Monday. I see the same thing throughout Europe. It’s
probably happening faster there. The United nations sustainable development goals are
the 17 core initiatives that are laid out by the UN of how we’re trying to improve the
state of the world and companies should have to report how they’re doing against those
goals that that just makes complete sense to me. If we’re not all into improving the state
of the world, then what are we all into? Did you believe the business round table when
they changed their statement or do you think as some do that it was really more than just
kind of talked to get on the right side of the politics of it? The business round table
has said now exactly the same thing. The purpose of the corporation is to value stakeholders
as important as shareholders that the traditional Milton Friedman concept that that it’s only
about the shareholder, that the CEO’s only job is to maximize shareholder return is dead. Wow. Oversight regulation working together.
Milton Friedman’s teachings are obsolete. It’s not only about maximizing shareholder
value. Socialism, no, this is not socialism. This is social democracy. It’s social capitalism.
Mark Benioff doesn’t say big corporations shouldn’t exist. Mark Benioff doesn’t say
billionaires like him shouldn’t exist. He is saying that we can do capitalism in a different
way, still make money, but consider all stakeholders. Consider the environment. This is CNBC. Mind
you, this is a billionaire tech CEO and you’ll see the wide shot again. Show Jim Kramer who
was just laughing to himself. He can’t believe this is happening on CNBC. He’s here. We need to value all stakeholders and all
shareholders. Now, when I say stakeholders, what do I mean? I mean our employees, our
customers, our partners, you know, but I also mean like I’m in from San Francisco. We have
a horrible homeless problem there. The homeless are a stakeholder for me. That’s why I was
fighting for proposition C, a tax on ourself because we have to get to, we have to deal
with the homeless situation in San Francisco as the largest employer in San Francisco.
I’m not focused on that if they aren’t one of my key stakeholders than what is, that was the question I had because at tech
crunch you said if your orientation is just about making money, you’re not going to hang
out for very long. As a CEO or founder of the company. My question was, if you don’t,
then what you, your board fires you, your sales drop, you know you can’t hire anybody.
What is the consequence of running a foul of that? Well, you can see that in my industry, which
is for CEOs who do not take this approach, they are really at risk and they can be extremely
vulnerable, especially during economic times that become turbulent, stunning, right? Who could have imagined?
You could be a corporate, a CEO or a big corporation and care about other people. Then Benioff
brings up climate change, which is just like, it’s lost on these folks and you’ll see them
all smirk at each other. What am I doing wrong? I need to be thinking
about the public schools, the homeless. Oh, and I also need to be thinking about not just
profit, but planet. I need to be thinking about the planet. What are my emissions? You
know, that is part of the new world we’re in. That gets back to David’s question on
what about the sustainable development goals in the UN? That is the connectivity. That’s
the map. We can lay it out. Then we can measure. If we can measure it, we can have impact.
That’s our one that we all know that we understand how to do that. Jim, I know has to finish,
but there’s some shareholders right now or listening to you who probably like what are
you talking about? You seem to be abandoning what I would want, which is just you focus
on improving the profitability of this company. You worry that you freak some of these people
out and what do they say to you when they hear that if they’re not onboard with your
view, this is how to improve the profitability of a company. This is how to make a great
company. This is how to have a company that customers want to do business with, that attracts
employees, that develops partnerships, that integrates local communities, that saves the
planet. This is about having a great company and look at our company. Look at our financial
return since we went public right here in 2004 look at how we rank against everyone
else over the last same 15 year period. I’m sure that you’ll see we’re in the very top
echelon and I’ll tell you how we did it. We valued stakeholders as much as shareholders. Consider that you improve the company by caring
about the world in which the company exists. By caring about the people who could be employees
or potential employees, customers of the company, just people who exist on this planet. Shocking,
right? And half of what makes this great is the content of what Mark Benioff is saying.
The other half is just how triggered Jim Cramer is and his incredulous reactions to what is
being said. Really great stuff. And you know, I mean, listen, I, as I say, don’t idolize
politicians, don’t idolize big corporate CEOs. He’s still the CEO of a huge corporation that
I’m sure does things that we would all disagree with. But this was just a delightful wake
up call and taking it right to the horse’s mouth. Check out the full interview online.
It’s only about 12 or 13 minutes. Let me know what you think about it.

100 thoughts on “Ethical Billionaire Destroys CNBC Clowns

  1. So I consider myself a tough guy, but does anyone else get an equal sense of anger, rage, and extreme sadness, and from that wannaa cry, when you see another "human being" aka Jim Cramer laugh at the idea of helping homeless people? Absolutely sickening. I mean cmon man!!!! These are people. When did our society put the care of other human beings after the almighty green paper and imaginary zeroes.

  2. I am a Canadian so I have little knowledge of American newscasts but that fellow named Cramer is nothing more than an annoying small minded man and should not be on the broadcast waves. As far as Mr. Benioff is concerned, that is the way of the future. You might say that he is the Bernie Sanders of the corporate world in the U.S.

  3. I work on Salesforce systems. Apart from it being some of the best cloud software out there, they really do follow through on their stated values. Microsoft always made me more than nervous, Google too have some serious problems, Facebook is deeply problematic and Amazon is worse! Salesforce is close to the best company out there, as far as I can tell.

  4. They even put up his companies stock price as it was dropping while he was talking on air to rub it in his face… The media is crazy!

  5. "Are you saying that companies and CEO:s exists in Society, and if you just ignore Society and letting it falling apart around you, it might in the end have an impact on your company and yourself? How novel!"

  6. They can all get fucked it's to late they are just trying to cover their backs.
    It's to late the tourches and pitchforks are ready

  7. Sorry, but I am not buying it. The very fact that this person is a billionaire shows that he doesn't adhere to the philosophy he espouses. It's been 15 years since his company went public. In that time, he could have turned it into a worker co-op, which REALLY values the "stakeholders", his employees, by making them "shareholders" and setting an example. However, what example has been set instead. Yet another clueless person with FAR more money than sense.

    I don't suppose the fact that he's a tech CEO of a SALES management technology company is lost on anyone? As he spoke, I imagined I was listening to the typical used car salesman, telling me what I want to hear. Yep! Sounds great! WHY AREN'T YOU PRACTICING WHAT YOU ARE PREACHING?

  8. The few CEOs that are still sane know that if things don’t change it will destabilize society and out them squarely in the aim of desperate people with no jobs no money unable to feed their families.

    We’ve reached that breaking point.

  9. The following is basically how I run my company:

    – If you don't have customers you don't have a business.
    – You get customers with good products and services.
    – You get good products and services by looking after your employees.

    You can't have one without the other.

  10. What's "not so delightful" though is that 9/10 billionaires are corporatist for profit psychopaths who will stop at nothing to stonewall any and all socio economical progress that threaten their quarterly shareholder profits.

    We can't wait for these pyschos to voluntarily submit like this guy. We have to force them before they kill us all.

  11. Amazing what this Billionaire is saying, care for both Share Holders and Stack Holders is how these big Companies should be thinking and ran!!!!! Great piece David!!!

  12. These are actually the three most liberal hosts CNBC has. Cramer is a bit of a goofball showman, but the other two are usually decent people.

  13. Don't idolize anyone David. We are all humans. All big bags of failure and accomplishment. The only things I truly idolize are Justice and Truth. Both seem to be pretty low in stock.

  14. Putting lipstick on the capitalism pig doesn't change the fact it's still a pig.
    The capital class might give an inch today to guarantee their interests tomorrow, when they'll take back that inch and an extra mile for the inconvenience.
    Capitalism, like America is the problem.

  15. Taking care of people who helps your company make money and customers improves you company. People need to be told this? Common sense really isn't common.

  16. This was the Henry Ford concept. He doubled his employees salary, to the shock of the business world, but in the process made customers of his employees increasing demand for the company’s products. Lead the the largest middle class in history and the richest nation in history.

  17. "Simply cause it's got tremendous power, not even that the power's been used unwisely…" Yep can't think of any examples of these companies say, avoiding taxes, or selling peoples personal information. Jesus Christ what a tool.

  18. Cramer is in for some rude surprises, is he a climate denier? And this show on cnbc only cares about ever increasing profits and resources on a finite closed system called Earth…ain't gonna happen dudes.

  19. Capitalism that benefited ALL stakeholders wouldn't just benefit investors, but consumers and employees. Capitalism that benefits only the investors is causing our system to slowly implode.

  20. He understands that the current model is unsustainable. Capitalism in any form is unsustainable, but social democracy will ensure it lasts long enough for most billionaires today to die of natural causes before it inevitably falls apart.

  21. Mariner Stoddard Eccles spoke to congress in 1933 to set the stage for Soc Sec, minimum wage, and make work initiatives to create consumers to foster demand to create jobs. FDR, Keynes, and Henry Ford believed it and we had a middle class for 50 years funded by high marginal tax rates that paid for the system that allowed them to earn enough to break the marginal tax cap. See the magazine London Banker Eccles for a reprint.

  22. I dunno whats always going on in the us with that maximazing profits. In germany the big coorperations are always influnced by the workforce by law. Any you know what? The rich are rich here too. They arent THAT rich because they have to pay high taxes as their part of our social society. And many of them accept it as their part. You dont want to be rich in a poor country. In many cases the country which cared for you as a child, educated you FOR FREE and saves your health and rights.

    Its not the American Dream where everyone is rich. Its the "social" way taht everyone gets decent livings standards like housing, a healthy enviroment, a safe job and more of taht "communist" stuff. It isnt perfect, but i for myself would never move to the "land oppertunity" these days.

    PS: I am not a leftist. This is what completely different.

  23. Benioff may not be perfect (who among us is) but as far as corporate execs go, he’s top notch. While the average CEO to employee pay in America is around 300-350X, Benioff takes about 40x the average employee salary which I feel is quite reasonable for a $125B company. In America’s heyday, the avg was about 30-35x so this is a reasonable ratio. Also, what this company does for the community is second to none. Great CEO and great company! If only we could have more people like this, there’d be a lot more support for capitalism than there is today

  24. It’s partially probably that if you (as a company) take care of your employees, they’ll be more motivated. If you take care of their environment they’ll be even more motivated because it reflects on them too. If you take care of your customers they will stay relevant too… there’s some nuts and bolts I’m not getting yet, but the gist is: company’s don’t exist in a vacuum. Monopoly’s do, but they often leach on their food source, killing it, and therefore itself, much like a parasite

  25. I met Marc Benioff once. I used to work at the building where his mother lived. He tipped me $100 just for leaving his fancy car on the driveway close by.

  26. A company that cares about more then the next quaters profits, how dare you sir. Jim Cramer told people not to sell bear Stearns a week before financial collapse. These people know nothing. Once we harvest the earth then we will just move on to the…

  27. So if implementing his "socially responsible" progressive changes did in fact raise the value and profit of his company, how would any of his choices go against Milton Friedman's claim that a company's sole responsibility is to its shareholders?

    Recklessly pursuing profits at all costs is obviously myopic and will be much less beneficial overall to shareholders than a company that knows to play the long game and maintain extended growth into the future. This is all common sense. Even if a company is run by heartless machines it is subservient to the market that demands more ethical products. Look at the success of organic food, hybrid cars, and the problematic TOMS shoes. You gotta sell what people wanna buy.

    I can't decide whether it is mostly ignorance, arrogance, or just lazy reasoning that makes someone think they can single-handedly fix a system that has emerged from the influence of billions of minds over hundreds of years. We don't need to impose more regulation on the system. We need to repeal all the garbage legislation that is the support structure of corrupt crony capitalism. Corruption is the problem in any economic system run by human beings. The more you complicate a system, the more you introduce room for error. We need to demand more social responsibility from individuals and then the companies they are a part of will inevitably become more responsible as well. Laws don't shape morality but they can create unintentional counter-productive incentives.

  28. Is SalesForce a worker-owned collective, in which all of the employees have an equal share, or did Benioff (and the SalesForce shareholders) get rich by stealing the value of the employees' labour? Benioff may be less unethical than other CEOs, but that's a very low bar for ethical business practices.

  29. This is something I always try to remind people, is that there are stakeholders and shareholders. Shareholders put money in and get money out. Stakeholders put in their time, sweat, energy, community resources, and everything else that a company relies on to be successful. However we are at a point where companies now purely value their shareholders and will screw their stakeholders at the drop of a hat.

  30. Bernie Sanders agrees with all this and has over 1 million individual dollars because he doesn’t take money from the corporations

  31. That is how Social Democracy will win. Not because of abstract ideas of social justice, but because it represents a more competitive means of production- more efficient, more sustainable, more innovative. He backs the philosophy not because it makes him feel better, but because it makes him more money, more easily.

  32. So, I watched the whole clip, and I didnt see them acting perplexed to me, they actually seemed interested, hence their pin point questions. Dude, you're making it seem like they are idiots, and they are not. They asked quality questions.

  33. Finally. I've been waiting to hear something like this….maybe a start of an Enlightenment 2.0, of some sort, by some key people of power that can make powerful changes that will affect the world for the better.

  34. These people are about as bewildered as if Marc Benioff had gotten up on the table and slapped them in the face with his dick.
    Well played.

  35. whether people like it or not, after the next recession, the government would have "stepped in" so much that the system would become indistinguishable from the Chinese model.
    And that's not a question of "if", but "when". Already, the bank bailouts paved the way for it. Already, the Pentagon and all its subcontractors are functionally a planned economy within the economy. Already, giant corporations like amazon, gm, etc… rely on military or intelligence contracts for a large share of their revenue…

  36. what happened in that interview is the economics equivalent of
    when a holocaust survivor denounces Israel and gets called an anti-semite.

  37. This works for companies that are not being threatened by stiff competition, but it can't work if your profit margin is too tight. The concept of social capital is pretty simple. It is essentially advertising for the company and it makes the company more attractive. That feeds profits. On that I totally agree. If nobody cared about social capital, companies would not be doing this.

  38. Ah. Yes. Social Democracy… We had that in Germany in the 80' and 90'… The mere idea of 'giving poor people money – because they will spend it and it will run uphill anyways. (The inverted 'Trickle Down' effect so to speak)… Good times… Hopefully we can come back there again.

  39. I mean, it's not rocket surgery. The company doesn't exist in a vacuum, so if you continue to simply exploit everybody and widen the chasm between stakeholder and shareholder wealth, eventually the economy will collapse and then where are your profits?

  40. He is only responding to the current climate. Moving forward I doubt these major Corporations are going to be able to operate 'Business As Usual' Public intolerance of Profit over people is at a fever pitch. And if they want to survive they need to accommodate the public.

  41. Jim Cramer is just a rotten old mummy who's been chasing money his whole life, chasing that dream of one day being able to be an egotistical narcissistic billionaire who don't give a shit about any one or anything. He will leave this planet penniless.

  42. If he is suggesting that this 'new capitalism' should only look out for 'stakeholders and shareholders' then I cannot agree with him. Society should support everybody, you shouldn't need a stake or shares.

  43. Companies were like this before the 80's, to avoid higher taxes, untill they changed everything to only protect shareholders only, instead of everyone that makes the companies exist

  44. there's no such thing as an "ethical billionaire" you cannot have more money than entire countries and be considered anything but a greedy asshole

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