SM: So your professional career began at Oracle. KR: Yes. I left Oracle to get a business degree at Stanford University. When I graduated in 1994, I started a consulting company called Emergent that focused on designing and building Business Intelligence solutions for large companies. We were acquired by Keane (a public systems integration company) in 1999.
Soon afterwards, I got a call from Marc Benioff, who had just started Salesforce.com. I joined as the SVP in charge of Product Management and Engineering when the company had fewer than 20 people. It was there that I became a passionate convert to the on-demand way of delivering applications and solutions.
At around the same time, I got involved with NetSuite when they were also very small. I was one of the first members of their original advisory board, and really had fun working with that company.
Then, through an interesting series of twists and turns, I ended up at Siebel Systems, first as VP of Marketing for their Analytics product, and then as VP of the Siebel CRM OnDemand group. Competing with my old employer (salesforce.com) was an amazing eye-opener that showed me just how hard it is for a traditional software company to become an on-demand solution provider. Basically, I learned that the larger and the more successful a company is, the harder it is for it to become a leader in the on-demand market. It was true a few years ago, and it’s still true now.