Marc Benioff, founder of the highly successful Salesforce.com, shared with Bloomberg that Steve Jobs has been a very helpful mentor to Benioff and his company -- and how he returned the favor by giving Jobs a very generous gift: the App Store trademark and domain name.
John Gruber recently said that Steve Jobs' greatest creation is Apple itself, but his impact goes well beyond that. Jobs is a mentor to many in Silicon Valley, dispensing advice and guidance to those he deems worthy to receive it.
It was reported in Steven Levy's book about Google that Steve Jobs agreed to mentor Sergey Brin and Larry Page because he saw their potential -- though that relationship broke down when Google launched Android.
Benioff: He has probably given me more help and more advice than just about anybody. When I get in trouble, and when I get lost in my own vision, I've been fortunate to go and see him and he's been able to show me the future a couple times when I got lost in the forest for the trees.
One really good example of that happened in 2003. I went down to talk to him and brought a few members of my executive team. He said something really exciting: "Look, you've got a fantastic enterprise application here, but you've gotta build an ecosystem." So, to us, we went back and we're like "well, we don't know how to do that." That was like a Zen koan. How do we build an ecosystem?
So we designed this whole technology that we called "app store" that was the ability to buy these apps and run them in Salesforce. And when we launched it, we called it AppExchange and you can see it at AppExchange.com.
But we liked the App Store name so much that we bought the URL and trademarked it and then I was in the audience when he announced the App Store and I went up to him and I said "I have a gift for you. I'm going to give you the trademark and the URL for the help you gave me in 2003."
(Photo courtesy Flickr/Acaben)