René Bonvanie is Senior Vice President and General Manager, AppExchange and Developer Marketing at Salesforce.com. Rene has responsibility for the marketing and strategic direction of the AppExchange on-demand platform and developer marketing through the ApppExchange Developer Network. AppExchange is a novel new business strategy which allows SalesForce to develop symbiotic relationships with established and emerging companies while simultaneously gaining access into new markets. In this interview, we specifically drill down into Salesforce.com’s recently launched AppExchange Incubator program.
SM: Rene, I would like to start our conversation by talking about your background and history. RB: I am the General Manager and Senior Vice President of AppExchange, the developer relations at SalesForce.com, and I have been in the hi-tech industry for the last 24 years.
SM: Where are you from originally? RB: I am a Dutch citizen. I am from Holland. I worked half of my professional career in Europe. I was involved in two companies there, Ingress and Oracle. I spent about 8 years with Ingres, and about 11 years with Oracle. I moved to the Bay area about 11 years ago and I spent a number of years with Oracle. I then went on to be the Chief Marketing Officer at Veritas and Business Objects, and I spent a little bit of time with SAP before joining SalesForce.com in January 2007.
SM: Are you currently in charge of both App Exchange and the Incubator? RB: I am in charge of everything “AppExchange”, which includes the incubator in San Mateo and the international incubators we are trying to build. It also includes our platform business at SalesForce.com which is the ability for developers to build their own applications on top of the SalesForce platform.
SM: Facebook has recently made an announcement to open up its platform amidst huge hoopla. Salesforce.com’s AppExchange, in my opinion, is much further along, and a far better though through platform+ecosystem strategy, and one that Facebook needs to learn from. We will continue our discussion about the specifics of how Rene is building the AppExchange.