Salesforce announced it was holding off on the grand corporate office park it had been envisioning at Mission Bay in San Francisco. It was a wise move by a company that should be focused on growth.
In reading the Steve Jobs biography I was amused to see that he loved design so much that when he was given unfettered control he built some really, really nice corporate offices. Sometimes it all worked out fine, as it did at Pixar, and sometimes it simply burned through cash as it did at NExT.
Salesforce might have been wise to hold off on the massive building project for at least a couple of reasons. Cash leads the list of course. The company already spent over $100 million purchasing the 14 acre plot and not a shovelful of earth was moved. Building the place was only going to turn the land into a money pit, so I applaud the decision.
But the other reason is more dog food related. Salesforce is pioneering the social enterprise, a strategy driven by its software that unites people in a company regardless of location, to improve corporate performance and customer delight. So, you could easily say that Salesforce is its own test tube. It is innovating on itself and expecting to share its findings with its social enterprise brethren. How better to do this than by making do linking multiple floors and locations around San Francisco?
It might not be ideal and it might not be fun (building things is great fun) but the company ought to be focused on cracking the Fortune 500 at this point—they’re so close—and a major building project might be defocusing.
Back to the skunk works.