Salesforce founder Marc Benioff recently sent out a tweet saying that SalesForce will be “canceling all programs that require our customers/employees to travel to Indiana to face discrimination.” The tweet was in response to Indiana’s passing of a controversial religious freedoms law. If the tenor from Benioff’s tweet didn’t tip you off, we think it’s safe to say that Marc Benioff is not a fan of state of Indiana.
You might be thinking, why does Marc Benioff care so much about Indiana politics? After all, isn’t Salesforce a company that is based in San Francisco? Last year, Benioff was instrumental in pulling off a $2.5B acquisition of ExactTarget. The Indianapolis, IN based marketing company has helped SalesForce build its new Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Salesforce Marketing Cloud helps businesses by giving them the platform they need to create effective marketing content.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a just a small part of the growing cloud economy that is happening in the state of Indiana. Many cloud startups are choosing Indianapolis due to its low cost of living, robust infrastructure and proximity to other major cities. While much of this sounds good for someone wanting to build an enterprise, if you listen to industry sentiment, some cloud companies seem to be shying away from the state out of pure dissatisfaction with the law.
Benioff isn’t alone in his shunning of the state of Indiana. A letter was sent to Indiana Governor Mike Pence that urged him to reconsider signing the bill into law. Among those who signed the letter are:
- Jon Gilman – Founder & CEO of Clear Software
- Scott McCorkle – CEO of Salesforce Marketing Cloud
- John McDonald – CEO of CloudOne
- Bill Johnson – Founder and CEO of Salesvue
- Jenny Vance – President of LeadJen
- Max Yoder – Founder and CEO of Lesson.ly
- Marc Benioff – Founder of Salesforce
At first glance, Indiana politics may not have much to do with cloud computing. However, if look at Benioff’s latest tweets, he mentions that his company may be “forced to dramatically reduce (its) investment in IN based on (its) employee’s & customer’s outrage over the Religious Freedom Bill.”