Arik Hesseldahl

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Former Salesforce CTO Craig Weissman Joins Benchmark Capital

When Craig Weissman first joined in 2002, there were, as he tells it, 10 developers in the room. When he left the company over the summer, he did so as its CTO.

Why walk away from a company that by all accounts is humming on all cylinders, with stock that has, since its 2004 IPO, zoomed from $13 a share to $120?

“I wanted to see if I could build my own company” was the reason he gave Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. Having been on the ground floor in an engineering capacity at two companies over 16 years — the first was E.piphany — he wanted to build something of his own. “I’m a builder of things,” he says.

Today he’s taking the first step in that direction: Weissman has joined Benchmark Capital as its Entrepreneur in Residence.

Benchmark makes sense for Weissman, given its investments in enterprise and data-focused start-ups like Domo; Hortonworks, the former Yahoo team devoted to Hadoop; and Engine Yard.

That’s a pretty good indication of the kind of company he’d like to get involved with by way of Benchmark. Weissman describes himself as a “data guy,” and he was deeply involved in building out the architecture of As such, he’s a big believer in the Salesforce state religion of a “multitenant, shared computers, shared everything” view of the cloud, and the way data — and services around it — gets delivered.

There are obviously lots of things happening around ways to handle data and databases.

“There’s lots of new ways of doing things — Hadoop and NoSQL and things like that. Basically, there’s a lot of new companies and young developers who, because of the scale of data they’re working with, the relational database just wasn’t cutting it,” he says. “And while I love the relational database, I’m really intrigued by some of the new technologies. Many aren’t ready for prime time, but a lot of enterprises are interested in them, just the same.”

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There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle