Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Former CIO of the United States Vivek Kundra Joins

Being a cloud evangelist on the President’s cabinet appears to have made Vivek Kundra an attractive prospect for the private sector. has just announced that it has hired him as its EVP of emerging markets.

When we last saw Kundra, he had stepped down from his position as Chief Information Officer of the United States, to which he was appointed by President Barack Obama. Having proposed between $5 billion and $20 billion in savings from the federal information technology budget — which, at $80 billion annually, is the biggest IT budget on the planet — he left government in June for a teaching stint at Harvard University.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff praised Kundra in a statement: “Vivek Kundra is an amazing technology visionary who opened the eyes of millions to the transformational power of cloud computing … His disruptive leadership is just what the industry needs to accelerate the social enterprise.”

And, naturally, Kundra had nice things to say about Salesforce: “ is an industry disruptor, helping organizations use the transformative power of technology for change … I am excited to join the most innovative company in the world that is pioneering social, mobile and open cloud computing technologies for the enterprise.”

The statement is a little short on what Kundra’s job will actually entail. And emerging markets, at least geographically, aren’t exactly Salesforce’s strength.

For the year ended last Jan. 31, Salesforce reported sales of $1.7 billion, of which nearly $1.2 billion, or almost 70 percent, was derived from customers in the Americas; Europe and Asia accounted for 17 percent and 13 percent of sales, respectively. So, perhaps his brief will be to boost those numbers a bit.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald