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Interview With Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff; COVID Catastrophe in Brazil. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired March 15, 2021 - 15:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR.
Here's what's coming up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The coffin is closed. So, the family doesn't have the opportunity the say goodbye.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): COVID catastrophe in Brazil, I speak with the ousted health minister, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, about the crisis of
leadership and the relentless human cost.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): There's lots of airstrikes today, right?
AMANPOUR: Ten years since the devastating Syria war started, I speak to two powerful storytellers who refuse to let us look away. Filmmakers
Gianfranco Rosi and Waad Al-Kateab join me.
MARC BENIOFF, CO-CEO, SALESFORCE: Over the last year, we have had to build a lot of software to help with the pandemic.
AMANPOUR: Getting the vaccines into arm. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff tells our Hari Sreenivasan about the critical role of technology.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
More people have lost their lives to COVID in the United States than anywhere else in the world. But it now seems to be on the road to recovery,
due to President Biden's American Rescue Plan, including getting a firm grip on the vaccine rollout, the same here in the U.K. and in Israel.
But in South America, President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil could do with taking a page out of those playbooks, as his country faces total calamity.
Second only to the United States, Brazil's death toll stands at over 275,000, and it's now entering the deadliest chapter in this crisis.
Nearly all ICUs in the country are at peak capacity, meaning people aren't getting the lifesaving care they need. Some communities are even forced to
dig mass graves for the dead.
In a moment, I will ask the former health minister what went so badly wrong.
But, first, correspondent Matt Rivers has this report from Sao Paulo.
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pamela Rivibi (ph) can only look at the photos of her grandmother. She says watching the
videos is too painful.
"The world didn't deserve my grandma," she says. "She was too good."
Admitted March 3 with COVID at this small hospital outside Sao Paulo, she died just two days later, the facility quickly overrun by a new wave of
This doctor who works there, says: "We think about the families that are suffering, and we can't sleep. It is unbelievable."
(on camera): This hospital just doesn't have the facilities to care for those who are really sick. Those patients would usually get transferred
somewhere else. But, right now, there's nowhere else to go. So, instead of getting transferred, they're dying.
(voice-over): In just five days last week, 12 patients died waiting for an open bed somewhere else, according to hospital officials. Pamela's
grandmother was one of them. She thinks that she would have survived if treated in an ICU.
But, right now, access to those facilities is nearly impossible. Albert Einstein Hospital is one of Brazil's best, but here, too, the rooms are
full. They are scrambling to build more ICU beds, because the patients just keep coming.
DR. FARAH CHRISTINA DE LA CRUZ SCARIN, ALBERT EINSTEIN HOSPITAL: It's the busiest time we have ever been in this last year.
RIVERS: We first saw hints of this about six weeks ago, when we reported from Manaus, a city in Brazil's Amazon rain forest. Hospitals there were
overwhelmed amidst a new outbreak, and the city was forced to build so- called vertical graves.
And from then to now, that chaos has spread nationwide. In 22 of 26 Brazilian states, ICU capacity is at or above 80 percent, government data
shows. In Sao Paulo, it's 90 percent and climbing. And when you run out of beds, doctors tell us, people die.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The coffin is closed, so the family doesn't have the opportunity to say goodbye.
RIVERS: The number of such coffins is surging at the Sao Paulo public cemetery. From above, you can see the thousands of newly-dug graves.
(on camera): The number of burials like the one going on behind me have been staggering recently. Since the pandemic began, the three single days
where Sao Paulo has recorded the most coronavirus deaths have come in just the last week.
(voice-over): Experts say the causes of the new surge are myriad, a more transmissible variant, few vaccines, relaxed lockdowns and government
mismanagement all playing varying roles. But, no matter the cause, these are the effects.
Outside this public hospital, every day between 3:00 and 5:00 p.m., family members of COVID patients inside wait to hear their names. They go in to
get news on conditions, and, often, it's not good. And then comes the grief and the tears wrought from a pandemic that just won't end.
AMANPOUR: Matt Rivers reporting there.
Now, while thousands of families grieve for their loved ones, President Jair Bolsonaro has consistently played down the threat of this virus.
Luiz Henrique Mandetta,a doctor himself, was the country's health minister until he was fired by Bolsonaro at the height of the first wave last year.
We spoke to him then, and he's joining me again now from Sao Paulo.
Welcome back to the program, Minister Mandetta.
You have said that, in Brazil, more health workers have died than anywhere else in the world under this COVID crisis, that your people are spent, and
that this is a result of mistaken political decisions. That's your quote.
What do you mean by that? Well could have made a difference?
LUIZ HENRIQUE MANDETTA, FORMER BRAZILIAN HEALTH MINISTER: Well, Christiane, thanks for having me here, unfortunately, in such a bad moment,
such a sad moment for our Brazilian families and for the whole world.
Well, the president took the steps, one by one, doing what shouldn't be done. He first started telling people that it was just a simple flu. Then
he kept on holding his chloroquine box and telling people that that would work.
Then he went further and changed one minister, was me, then the other minister. Then he put a military in there. And the general that went in
office, he just didn't have the credibility. So, he decided not to give the numbers anymore. The Supreme Court had to do it. And the press started to
make the numbers, because they had no credibility to release the numbers anymore.
Then the worst part of it is, by August, July and August, all the labs, Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen, they all came to Brazil, because Brazil is such a
good place for vaccines.
It's one of the best world-known health systems for delivering the vaccines. So, they all wanted to start from here, because we can vaccinate
many people in one day. But he just said that he didn't want it because he decided to go in a political rally with the governor of Sao Paulo.
So, the test, they just didn't use it. And they all lost their time to be used it, and always complaining and blaming someone for the faults and
saying that it was almost over. Now we have the worst time until now. Things are hard and are getting worse. And we are going to have many, many
difficult days ahead.
AMANPOUR: I mean, it really does sound catastrophic. Let me just ask you about the vaccines, because, as you say, the president did not order all
these vaccines that he should have done.
But there was the China vaccine, and then the country decided not to use it anymore. Why was that?
MANDETTA: No, the country is using it.
MANDETTA: You have the state of Sao Paulo. And this was the political -- the federal government decided to buy and make agreements with Fiocruz from
Rio de Janeiro, with AstraZeneca. And they made this agreement.
And the state of Sao Paulo made an agreement with China for CoronaVac. The problem is that the AstraZeneca is now ready in Brazil. The plant is almost
there to deliver it. So, the only vaccine we have is CoronaVac made by the Butantan institute in Sao Paulo. And it is not enough.
So, although we have (INAUDIBLE) to deliver the vaccines, we just don't have the vaccines to be delivered. So, we are going very slow in
vaccination. And the virus are -- is everywhere. So, everybody's worried about new variants, about what can happen with such a biological lottery
that we are watching here.
But we have up to now just one vaccine. It's the CoronaVac. And we are watching the world, the whole -- the leaders from Europe and the United
States and Canada. They're all buying four or five, six times the number of vaccines that they need. And we are really -- we really need it.
So it's an international failure also.
AMANPOUR: So, talk to me about the leadership, because that's essentially what it boils down.
And now we hear that this health minister who you have just been mentioning, a general with no medical experience whatsoever, is -- the
latest is, he has put out a call from various governors around Brazil calling for sort of a nationally coordinated response. Is there time, or is
it too late to do that?
What do you think needs to happen right now to reverse or stop some of this terrible hemorrhaging?
MANDETTA: Well, our system, it's like a -- it's a three-legged animal.
So, we have the federal government, the states and the cities that sit together in one table. And so, when they move together, it really goes
fast. But the federal government just went out of the system.
So, we are counting only with the health systems from the states and the cities. So it's not coordinated. And to restart again, you would need to
have a different behavior from the federal government, starting with the president, given the example and saying what science tells us to do.
He should wash his hands, should use masks, should keep distance, and not call the people to go on manifestations, as we had yesterday. But this
minister of health today, we started the day with the news that the president is going to fire him during today or tomorrow.
And he's now trying to find someone that has some credibility. But the physicians that have credibility, they don't want to go to be the minister
of health, because they know that it's just a matter of time. Then they will come another and another, another. He has to change the way that he's
dealing with the disease.
AMANPOUR: He being the president.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you this, then, because you mentioned Fiocruz. That's kind of Brazil's CDC.
AMANPOUR: And just a few weeks ago, the epidemiologist said: "Today, Brazil is a threat to humanity, and an open air laboratory, where impunity
and management seems to be the rule."
OK, so there's that. But he's, I think, talking about -- and so is the WHO and others -- very concerned that your dysfunction in your country is
allowing these variants to potentially threaten not just your people, but the rest of the world.
And we understand that, just recently, two different women at the same time got ill from COVID in Brazil from two different variants. Can you explain
how serious and what a challenge that is?
MANDETTA: Well, this can happen anywhere. We have the England variant here, the one that you started in England. We have the variant from South
Africa, and we have the variant from Manaus.
All three of them are in our country now. So, the pandemic here, it's not in a different part of Brazil. The whole country is on the same time on
parallel. They are all in a very high risk of new variants.
But as it is Brazil today, if the world doesn't pay attention, tomorrow, it's going to be Africa or it's going to be any place in Asia. This is
something that the World Health Organization doesn't have the tools to come in and to help. The Pan American Health association is here in Brazil.
I'm going to have a meeting with them tomorrow, try to find ways to try to find some measure to bring vaccines on this international vaccine facility
to try to make things better. But this is something that it's happening here now, and it's going to happen, because those variants, they just go,
they just move from one country to another.
As far as we know, the vaccines are OK with it until now. But the trouble is, if you have a variant that doesn't respect the vaccines, then it's
going to be a threat for the whole world, because we are going to go back to zero.
So, everybody's measuring and trying to do their best to try to avoid this to happen.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Mandetta, as you pointed out, and as we all know, there's an incredibly polarized situation in Brazil, just as there was in the United
And while President Trump was in office, they called Jair Bolsonaro the Brazilian Trump. And he followed Trump in many of the missteps that Trump
did. And Trump was booted out, as you saw in the last elections, primarily because of his handling or mishandling of COVID.
So, I guess I put all this, because now you see that one of your previous presidents, very, very popular, Luiz da Silva, it looks like he's getting
back into the arena. And he had a big rally. And this is what he said about what needs to happen in Brazil about the current president and vaccines.
Let's just listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LUIZ INACIO LULA DA SILVA, FORMER BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT: (through translator): There was a president who invented chloroquine, a president
who said that those who are scared of COVID are sissies, that COVID was just a little flu, that COVID was something for cowards, that he was a
former athlete and that it would not affect him.
That is not the role of a president of the republic in a civilized country. Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated because it is one of the things that can
free us from COVID.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, Lula, one of the most successful Brazilian politicians and presidents, is saying, get vaccinated.
You have worked with Bolsonaro for a long time. You served until you were fired in his administration. How much of a political threat is Lula to
Let's just read you some of the -- one of your main polling institutions there, say 50 percent would definitely or probably vote for Lula in an
election, 38 for Bolsonaro? And, of course, it's more than a year away, but, still, how much of a threat is this to Bolsonaro?
MANDETTA: Well, it's a threat to Brazil, because they're both extremes, one on the left hand and one on the extreme right hand. So, they do the
same mistakes, and they both would bring people to really complain on each other. Hate is their fuel.
Well, what is being -- in our society now, people are calling for the midterm between them. So, we think that, on the right time, we will have a
political center, not a center that it doesn't have opinion, but that the man that can talk to both sides.
I don't know if you put just the both of them on an election, I don't know who would win, but for sure Brazil would lose, because they don't have the
conditions to heal, what Biden's being done in the United States.
Look, the United States, they had an election last year. We are going to still have to wait to 2022. So we have a long way to go.
AMANPOUR: So, you say lucky United States, and you have called for a middle way.
Well, I wonder, does that mean you will run for president on a sort of third way, middle way, as you say? And what would you do right now, if the
elections were in a few months, if you were -- if you had a position of power, to change the COVID pandemic dynamic in your country?
MANDETTA: Well, I think that nobody can put their names now.
We have to put everybody sit on the table. You will have four or five six names hanging around in the polls. And probably this is going to shrink.
And we are going to -- in a few months or a couple of months, we're probably going to have a much clearer situation here.
The first thing to be done is to restore credibility, restore the health system, and really make difference on vaccination. Humanity has been
dealing with virus since -- in the 20th century, we worked very well in many infectious disease, like polio, like measles.
And this is our main tool to work against virus. It's not going to come from other where from besides science. So we really have to put an effort
there. I think that Brazil will have the vaccines, because they started buying now, but, for the second semester, probably in September, October.
The problem is, how are we going to deal with it until then and protect the vaccines, so that they can be efficient?
MANDETTA: This is the -- now it's our main goal is to save lives and to work better on prevention and vaccinations.
AMANPOUR: OK, to two quick questions.
One, I don't think you told me whether you are considering a run. And, two, Bolsonaro, from the beginning pooh-poohed any of these pandemic responses,
because he said, we have got to protect the economy.
And now the central bank has said the economy looks like it's surging, and it's about to get back to where it was before the crash, so to speak, the
COVID crash. What do you say to that?
MANDETTA: Well, I cannot say if I'm going to run or not. It depends on what is going to be the political agreement for that.
We have many names. I can be one of them, sure. But I just repeat, nobody can put their names and say, I am, until everybody feels comfortable to say
MANDETTA: And I think that, on the second question that you did, I didn't get it. I beg your pardon.
AMANPOUR: Just, the economy was Bolsonaro's reason--
MANDETTA: Oh, the economy, the economy.
AMANPOUR: -- not putting in place these -- and now it looks from the central bank that it's doing -- that it's been surging this year.
MANDETTA: Well, the economy is going to suffer, because it's a false dilemma, when you put that first I'm going to take care of economy, then
about the health system.
The economy is not going to work with the health system the way it is and with the disease all over the country. So, today, the inflation is coming
back. So they're going to have to put the taxes, the income taxes, the interest taxes up.
MANDETTA: We have a deep problem on economy, as the whole world is going to have. We will need another Marshall Plan for the world after the
AMANPOUR: All right.
Minister Mandetta, thank you so much for joining us. And we wish the people of your country well.
Now, more than a fifth of Americans have now received at least one dose of dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with over two million people vaccinated every
day. So, one of them that, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, chose to give something back. He used his 15 minute post-jab observation period for a socially distanced
serenade for his fellow vaccine recipients.
That was in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, bringing his cello to the vaccine place.
Getting all those shots into all those arms is a massive logistical challenge. And now one corporation, Salesforce, is using its vast computing
resources to help health agencies around the world track vaccinations.
And the CEO, Marc Benioff, speaks with our Hari Sreenivasan about the many ways COVID-19 is changing the world for business and, of course, for all of
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, thanks.
Marc Benioff, thanks for joining us.
An amazing feat of science happened in the last year. We developed a vaccine. There's multiple versions all over the globe. Yet, here we are,
the last mile seems to be a pretty significant hurdle, how to get that vaccine into people's arms, especially in places like the United States,
where it's not one centralized sort of edict, but it is on a county-by- county or state-by-state level.
And the refrain used to be, there's got to be an app for that. So, now what is the sort of technology community's responsibility and role in trying to
make sure we get over this hurdle?
BENIOFF: Well, thank you.
I mean, that is, really, I think, the question that has been on everybody's mind, which is, how are we going to get these shots into arms? And the
reality is, this is a -- probably, I think, maybe the largest logistical and information technology problem that maybe the world has ever dealt
Here, where I live in San Francisco, one in every four people already have the vaccine. And that is a case for optimism, that we're rapidly moving
towards that May 1 date, where we can open up the vaccine for everyone.
And the vaccine is a miracle of science that we have it. And now we need to make that last mile connection, exactly as you said.
SREENIVASAN: Now, you guys have an initiative called the Vaccine Cloud.
What is that?
BENIOFF: Well, over the last year, we have had to build a lot of software to help with the pandemic.
First, we built contact management. That was a Herculean effort to make sure that we knew where the pandemic was happening and try to rapidly bring
solutions to those areas. Now, here we are actually delivering the vaccine. We have built the Vaccine Cloud.
This is an incredible piece of technology that we're deploying to states, nation states, cities that help everything from scheduling your
appointment, and keeping track of when you had it, any reactions you're having to it, and then all of the reporting that needs to happen according
to that schedule.
So, this is something that we're extremely focused on. It's going very, very well. And we're very optimistic that we will be able to accomplish our
SREENIVASAN: Is this something that's free to local governments that are struggling with this?
BENIOFF: This is something that we actually have, in many situations, commercial relationships with these government customers. It can take on a
lot of different cases.
In some cases, it is free. In the case for example of Gavi that we run -- that is the global vaccine initiative -- we don't charge them. That is a
free initiative. So, for all of the developing nations and all the organizations that we're rolling this out to who could never afford this
technology, they would never pay.
And I will just tell you, we run over 50,000 nonprofits and NGOs for free on our service. That's part of who Salesforce is. And we deliver about $1.5
billion of free software every year to those NGOs. This is part of that program.
SREENIVASAN: There's lots of other big tech companies that have some part of this as well. There's the -- Microsoft is part of this, workdays part of
What makes the Vaccine Cloud different? Or are there just kind of multiple clouds doing what you're talking about?
BENIOFF: Well, this isn't the business that we're in.
We got here by accident. It turns out our product, which is customer relationship management -- that is customer 360. We're helping companies
connect with their customers in new ways in sales, service, marketing and commerce, and that, when you buy an Adidas shoe, that's Salesforce, or when
you check into a Marriott hotel, that is Salesforce.
So, we got here by accident. And what we all of a sudden realized was the technology that we were already using for companies like the Adidas and
Marriott could be used to make it a lot easier to get this vaccine administered. And that's when we went into action.
SREENIVASAN: What have you learned now, a year on into this pandemic, just about leading a company?
BENIOFF: That I had to throw everything out the window.
I think that this has been a year unlike anything I have ever been in. I'm still at home. All of my 60,000 employees are still at their homes. We do
have some offices open around the world, like I just saw some tremendous videos from our office in Sydney, Australia, where it's remarkably normal.
Some of our offices that have reopened, like in Tokyo, Japan, our employees are quite cautious about going back to the office. So we are still in very
much the pandemic. We all are ready to go back to the new office environment, whatever that is going to turn out to be.
We're not there yet. But we are anxious to get there.
SREENIVASAN: At the beginning of the pandemic, you made a pledge. You said that we're not going to lay anybody off for those first 90 days. And then,
after that, you had about 1,000 layoffs. And how many of those people were you able to rehire?
Because you have also gone out and acquired companies in that time.
BENIOFF: We have hired about 5,000 people, actually, this year so far.
But, as we hire people, as we make changes to our organization, and we're quite transparent in how we do this, we have had to make slight shifts in
our company. And because we have so many employees, those slight shifts, like you mentioned, we actually changed about 1,000 jobs. Many of those
people actually ended up in our company.
Many of those people, we then were able to place in other companies. It turns out our industry is incredibly fast-growing. But it's a difficult
thing running a company in this environment, but you're still running the company. So you have to be thinking about all your stakeholders, your
employees, your customers, your partners, and even your shareholders.
And that's a critical part of doing the right thing in this very unusual year.
SREENIVASAN: As you have mentioned, if your 60,000 employees are at home, and that you have figured out that maybe not all of them need to be at the
office at the same time at the same place, you have scaled back some of your sort of expansion efforts in San Francisco.
I mean, you're one of the largest employers in the city there. So I wonder, what happens when you multiply that by 1,000 other companies who have
figured out the same thing? What happens to the downtown real estate, so to speak, of our major cities?
BENIOFF: Well, for me, I can just tell you, I just came back from my meditation practices, which is how I start my day.
And I'm trying to cultivate a beginner's mind. In the beginner's mind, I have every possibility, but, in the expert's mind, I have few. And this
year, I have found -- I run a very large company. I have offices and employees all over the world. i am doing large acquisitions. I'm making
changes. I'm working on strategic customer success, like you mentioned, the Vaccine Cloud, and other major things as well that I could tell you about.
But the thing that I have learned is that everything that I was doing just a year ago is gone. I cannot do what I was doing a year ago, and probably
you can't either. We have all had to change. And so I'm making those changes.
And one of the changes that we're making is how we're configuring our real estate. We have learned that when we come back into the office that we're
going to have a different type of real estate footprint. Before, we were spending about 4 percent of our revenue on real estate.
When we come back, we will probably be spending 2.5 to 3 percent of our revenue on real estate. That is a tremendous change in how we're
architected. Now, we're growing very, very fast, as I mentioned. In fact, we're the fastest growing enterprise software company ever.
But, regardless, that is a big change.
SREENIVASAN: So, when you decide to spend less on office space in downtown, I wonder about kind of the mom-and-pop places around there that
used to feed all of those office workers at lunchtime, right, all of the things that support those central cores. What happens to those businesses?
BENIOFF: Well, if we were having a conversation a year ago about San Francisco, the conversation would be a lot about, rent is out of control,
real estate price is out of control, teachers not having the ability to have local housing, police and fire not having the capability to be able to
live in the city that they're serving.
We were a city out of balance a year ago. The San Francisco gold rush that we were experiencing, if you will, I mean, this wasn't the first gold rush
that we had been through. It was out of control. And everybody knew that. We were trying to put some constraints in.
Well, all of a sudden, here comes the pandemic. And everyone is out of their homes and they're -- they have moved or they're changing, or we're
reconfiguring. Our city needed that in San Francisco. We needed to take a big, deep breath. We needed to really think about everything that we need
to do to get back.
Now, as everybody gets vaccinated, we need a new San Francisco. We need a San Francisco that is rebalanced.
And as I said, this is not our first goldrush that we've been through. And if you look in the last goldrush or the other things that San Francisco has
been through, our Summer of Love, you know, our huge festivals, you know, for gay rights.
You know, as we come out of those major efforts, we have to reconfigure as a city to kind of prepare for the next level of innovation. We're a city
that's known for innovation. It's one of the reasons I love San Francisco. I'm a fourth generation San Franciscan, born on because on the busy narrow
street. I understand the city very well.
I can tell you one thing, San Francisco is a very innovative dynamic but also flexible city. And as it comes back, I have a lot of faith in our
ability to come back in a successful away for everybody.
SREENIVASAN: You know, when you think about the type of office culture that you have built over these last 22 years, what does that look like in
the next two or three?
I mean, some of this -- I mean, the urgency, for example, some of the banks have said, hey, we want to get people back in because there's a lot of
mentorship that happens informally. It's -- or, you know, Tony Hsieh from Zappos used to its sort of the creative collisions that happen in the
hallway and he even design Zappos so that people from different departments would have to bump into each other.
What happens when not so many people are bumping into each other, whether it's a sales force or at thousands of the other companies that you have
BENIOFF: Well, you are 100 percent right. You know, Tony made his memory be for a blessing. This idea that we are bumping into each other or that we
need interaction with each other or we need to get together as groups to innovate, this is built into our DNA as human beings. So, that has to be
part of the answer.
Even now, I'm bringing small groups of our executives, employers together through the magic of axioms but also through the magic of PCR testing and
other capabilities. We are -- we're able to -- we are restarting how we collaborate in person.
And what I anticipate is that -- and if we start, as I mentioned from the beginner's mind, we're going to be able to create our company in an
entirely new way. And I hope that we will take everything we learned from the past and then apply it to what can be, not what was. And that's I'm
optimistic about every single day.
SREENIVASAN: I know you made an enormous acquisition of slack at the end of the year, it's an office productivity software for people who don't use
it. But you've also made some other big ones. I think just kind of a general company question, how do you make sure that these things all work
together and serve your clients?
I mean, sometimes the integration of these different pieces seems to be the hardest parts of these giant acquisitions that we hear about, and then
three or four years we hear it later, OK, well, that was just kind of written off, that didn't really work, you know, and shareholders are upset
BENIOFF: Well, we're mentioning that, that is like a major part of running a soccer company. You know, innovation comes from everywhere, you know
that. And if you're the CEO of a technology company and if you think innovation is only happening in your, you know, virtual florals, you're
making or radical mistake. Innovation is happening anywhere. And that means that you may want to bring innovation that's not in your league in your
We've acquired more than 60 companies, for example. And it's a learned skill. Making those companies successful, bringing them together, bringing
cultures together, bringing leaders together. It's not perfect. It's not going to work every single time but you have to do it. And that's one of
the reasons why sales force is one of the fastest growing enterprise software company ever. The reason why is because we value innovation, much
like how we value trust that we value customer success or we even value quality. These are core values.
And for me, I'm talking to people every single day and I'm hearing all these new ideas. And every now and then I'm like, oh, wow. That's an idea
that should be inside sales force. And I'm going to make sure that that is going to happen. And then my job is to make sure that's for our customers.
SREENIVASAN: Do you think that innovation has been stymied by sort of increased concentrations of power, and I say that because there is now a
little bit more of an interest, at least, in the Biden administration looking at more antitrust cut actions that the government could be taking
across the spectrum especially focused on big social media platforms?
BENIOFF: It's the history of our industry. If you look back at from when our industry first started, we've seen news waves of technology companies
and innovation exactly like you said can stall. And it can stall if there is too much aggregation of power or control in any one particular company
So, it is up to the government to regulate correctly you're right. I've actually called for increased regulation in many parts of our industry,
including on social media. We need -- the government has a critical role to play and it's important that they play that role.
SREENIVASAN: One of the things you have also famously called for is that the rich should pay more taxes. And we saw this year a staggering
escalation of inequality in the United States where literally millions of people found themselves out of work, the wealthiest 100 Americans probably
made somewhere close to $600 billion, an increase in their own wealth. And I'm wondering whether you would be in support of the propositions that are
in Congress now, basically a wealth tax that for someone like you might cost you up to 3 percent?
BENIOFF: Well, I'm always looking at taxes and how do we use revenue streams to support those who have the least. You know, one of our core
values I just mentioned is equality. One of the values -- the opposite of that is inequality. So, in San Francisco, we have a tremendous (INAUDIBLE)
And so, I have advocated now for quite a few years that the top 50 companies each pay a very, very small part of their revenue, for the
opportunity to, you know, work in the greatest city in the world but also take care of the homeless. We passed that pass (ph), it got passed by the
Supreme Court. I think that's an example of what you're saying where those who have the most can always help the least. And this is very important and
we have to make those connections.
SREENIVASAN: What keeps you motivated right now to keep this day job? I mean, look, it can't be money any more, you have enough of that, right.
You're sort of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, most of those things are satisfied. I mean, I read in the press that you're grooming your COO to
take over for you. So, my question is, is kind of, how -- is it true? And two, how long do you want to keep this day job if it's not true?
BENIOFF: Well, as I mentioned before, this has been a year I've been very grateful to be the CEO of sales forces. I've been able to do a lot of good
with my business. You know, I really strongly believe that business is the greatest platform for change, that these businesses properly architected
with their -- all their stakeholders, that is, as I mentioned, their employees, their customers, their partners, well, that we can really do
good in the world.
And talk to with many CEOs who are scaled companies now, like we're a scaled company. So, when I talk to those CEOs, I tell them exactly that,
that this is a great opportunity. An opportunity for them to take their companies, their titles, their positions of power is CEOs, do something
good with it. You know, business is the greatest platform for change and we can use our businesses to make the world better.
SREENIVASAN: So, does that mean that you have to stay the CEO of sales force to do that good?
BENIOFF: Well, I am right now. So, that's --
SREENIVASAN: All right. All right. I can see I'm not getting an answer from you on this. But, Marc Benioff, thanks so much for joining us.
BENIOFF: Thank you so much and I hope we're about to see everything reopened and all of us get back to our beautiful lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now, while many countries talk about being on a war footing to combat COVID, 10 years ago today, the actual war in Syria erupted. While
the whole world stood by and watch Syria was overrun by extreme Islamic terrorists and foreign powers backing the Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad.
Half a million people have been killed and more than 6 million have fled in those years. Violence specifically targeted against journalists made Syria
very difficult to cover.
But we are going to talk now to two filmmakers who've captured the suffering there. Waad Al-Kateab's documentary, "For Sama," shows us what
it's like to live under siege and the relentless bombing of Aleppo. It was nominated for an Oscar last year.
Now, while Gianfranco Rosi's opus, "Notturno," captures the persistence of life amid the ruins and indeed the aftermath. And they're both joining me
Gianfranco Rosi and Waad Al-Kateab, welcome to the program.
Can I just start with you, Waad, because you were there while the war was going on and you provided the world with a pretty rare and very intimate
glimpse of what it was like to see you, for your young daughter, for your community, your husband. Take us back to that time and the suffering there
that continues today.
WAAD AL-KATEAB, CO-DIRECTOR, "FOR SAMA": Yes, thank you first. And yes, I mean, 10 years ago exactly we were, I think, at home, like trying to know
what's happening in Syria. There was like small protests, started like in (INAUDIBLE). There's one in Damascus. And we were just like watching
without really news, because the regime was shutting down all the channels, all the -- like the truth of what was happening.
And during these 10 years, we've like learned so much about weapons and attacks. And we saw the violence from minute one of the revolution when the
regime start to shut us like directly when we were protesting and then start like to shell and bomb the whole areas and whole neighborhoods with
cities, later on with chemical weapon, with seizing like cities, with attacking hospitals, schools and everything you can see, like a very small
part in "For Sama."
Like through these 10 years, we've never expected that the whole world will stay watching as they are until now. And yes, I mean, it's war but it
started as a revolution, as a call for dignity, for freedom, for a better life for us and for our children.
AMANPOUR: And it's still, as you say, so unresolved and it's, in a different way, war is continuing against the people there economically in
many, many other different ways. I want to ask you, Gianfranco Rosi, because "Notturno," is a very, very different look at Syria. And I know
that you spent some three years. And it is a remarkable outsider's view of what's going on. It's almost like you plonked your camera down and you
observe, there's no ration, there's no you in it, so to speak. What inspired you to take that route to telling this story?
GIANFRANCO ROSI, DIRECTOR, "NOTTURNO": Well, you know, we talked four years ago when I did "Fire at Sea." And it was exactly the same time, the
time I was nominated for the Oscar. And tonight, I know I'm not nominated for the Oscar. We arrived the short list that we didn't make the next step.
And at the time, the team was extremely political film. It was a time when Lampedusa, this little island in the middle of Mediterranean Sea became the
doors of Europe. You know, people were escaping from Syria, from Iraq, from -- you know, from -- and arriving to Lampedusa, this little island where I
spent three years to make the film.
And then, my next step was, as an outsider, is to say -- because this is like -- you know, I can feel like incredible being there and I am an
outsider. And being an outside, for me, it took me three years. It took me three years to make you feel that somehow, I think is parable that tells
the tragedy of destiny and somehow the betrayed of history.
And I was there, I wanted to somehow narrate the borders of -- at that time, when I started filming three or four years ago, now, it's four years
ago, the diocese state was collapsing. And, you know, that border, that was an invisible border because you never know where the border is between --
of course, his historical, we know where the border is. The border started in 1916 and created a total disaster.
But when you are there following war, following things that happened there, following a collapse of the houses, the border becomes an invisible margin.
It becomes a certification of history. It becomes the margin where story is and the history is. So, for me, that border that was somehow a sense of
division a sense of division between countries, it became like where I met my six, eight stories that I did in these six -- three -- in these six
So, I wanted to give the voice to the people. And I know how painful it is. You know, Lampedusa is a tiny, tiny island, 4,000 people live. And these
maps are huge, you know, it's huge and history is going on maps and how I can relate the pain in Iraq, in Syria and things, and how I can go into
these borders and just by giving the voice of the people I met. This was a journey for me.
ROSI: And I want to do the voice of these people I met.
AMANPOUR: Well, it's -- it was an amazing journey and the voice you gave was actually amazing. And I'm going to get to that in a minute, because
both you and Waad, in fact, a big element of your films, in different ways completely, is about children as well.
So, Waad, obviously, your film is called "For Sama," your first-born child. Born under siege, born in the most dangerous time possible in the war in
Syria. I want to play a little clip because it's so incredibly poignant and it basically tells the whole story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sama, Sama. Sama, I've this film for you. I need you to understand what we were fighting for.
I love you so much. Even more than the snow.
There's lots of airstrikes today, right?
Sama, I know you understand what's happening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, Waad, it's about the children, it's about the generation, it's about the doctors, your husband was an emergency doctor there, it's
about ordinary life, your marriage and so much about the fear of the of the younger generation. You made, I think, a conscious decision to tell the
story through those human individual ordinary people's eyes as opposed to just soldiers and just the rebels and just the different sides.
AL-KATEAB: Yes. I mean, when I was still in Syria and I saw that like how people look at us like in Syria, how the story's been, also, delivered out,
like people either look at us that -- like heroes and people who are like doing things like literally, like very, very kind of like big things or
they look at us as victims, people who lost everything, who they don't have kind of voice, they don't -- can say like no or yes or what they are doing.
But then, like at the end, we are just normal people, we are human being. As anyone else in this world, we have dreams, we have life, we feel like --
we fall in love, we get married, we have children, we have same decisions any like other moment in the whole world like should take and can take.
And in this position, I feel that like, you know, I'm living with these people. I'm having the whole measure out (ph) about how we want people to
know about us, not just like what people can see in the new or they and see like in other films. So, I just wanted to tell the whole world what we've
been through and what we faced. And especially, like at the time, after we lost Aleppo, we were forcedly -- like placed out of Syria.
And although, that was like a huge thing for us and we were very grateful that we were alive, but we weren't happy. We didn't want to leave.
Although, we know like it's very risky and very dangerous. And I just wanted like to tell the whole world about very symbol like message. We
wanted to stay in our country. We wanted a peaceful life. We want to like freedom and dignity as anyone else. And like that's what happened when we
stood for our rights and for the Syrian people rights.
AMANPOUR: And just to remind, you know, millions of people have fled, a half-a-million were killed. I mean, it's a real catastrophe.
And, Gianfranco, from your perspective, you saw some of these children who were suffering obviously from the kind of PTSD that Waad, you know, talks
about and just the terrible trauma that this whole nation, including the children went through for now 10 years. I want to play a rather lengthy
clip and it just speaks to this, you know, generational catastrophe there. Let's just play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fawaz, can you tell me about your drawing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is when ISIS started exterminating us. People ran away from (INAUDIBLE). Those who didn't run die (INAUDIBLE). They burned
their villages, tortured and killed people.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where did you run to?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where you in the mountains?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you see how all those people died?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you want to tell me about it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Breathe in deeply. Breathe in slowly. Slowly. Breathe in and then breathe out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: These are really are really brilliant scenes, Gianfranco, and to see children going through that kind of trauma and then, you know, being --
having their teacher be their therapist. What did you think when you went in, and there's many other of those children who you profiled as well?
ROSI: You know, I have to say that this is, for me, the most painful moment. I spend there are three years, this is nothing, you know, it's
nothing three years in the life of someone, and I'm an outsider.
And yet, be these years in the community that they've been depraved from the mother. The mothers were like sex slaves. When I went there, I wanted
to somehow portray the story of her mother that they were like -- somehow, I met few mothers that survived this normal trauma being took out and
everything was breaking down there. And, for me, it was impossible to put this in the film.
There is a moment I was able to do that with a phone call. And the phone call is a mother that lost her daughter. And the daughter is being, still
now -- I know because I have contact, still in the hands of ISIS.
And there is old phone call and I encountered this phone, and then three years later, in my journey, I encountered the mother, she was living in
Germany, and this just to say how difficult is to make a film like that, you know, how -- that's why I decided to cancel all the border, because the
border, for me, were a limitation, the pain of a mother in Kurdistan, the pain of a mother in Iraq, the pain of a mother in Lebanon, the (INAUDIBLE)
was the same.
So, I did something extremely in the editing challenging and extremely harsh. I delete these borders and I left just my experience of meeting the
people I met in these years becoming a whole story, it becomes something else, becoming a moment of awareness or what this -- the pain. And the
pain, it's enormous there.
You know, like this mother I met on the phone call there and these kids I met without father and mother anymore, and what those kids say is so huge,
is so huge. I could make a film of 10 hours there. And yet, I choose to just go on the synthesis of life to create something that is universal,
that pain has to touch a university (ph) and is not anymore about Syria, it's about Lebanon, it's about Iran, it's about -- no.
ROSI: That pain is vice versa. And this was an extreme push that I did on the editing of the film because I was not able to anymore to fight the
border. The border is -- the invisible border, the certification of pain, the distance. You know, border is something a divide and something that,
for me, was an encounter. Because when I was on this border, creating this moment where I met these stories, these where like belonging to each other
in such a greater way that in the film and I have to deny is division which was, again, created 1916 by a horrible -- and then I --
AMANPOUR: But you've given -- you've told an amazing story, Gianfranco We could talk forever about this. It's a brilliant, brilliant film. And so, of
course, was yours, Waad, "For Sama." Brilliant films about Syria that many journalists were not able to cover because they couldn't really get in.
Thank you both very, very much for being with us on this 10th anniversary.
Now, just to note that during the 1990s, we journalists did cover the Bosnia War intensively. The main Bosnian Serb commanders were convicted of
genocide after the massacre at Srebrenica. And now, a young Bosnian filmmaker, Jasmila Zbanic, is being recognized by the Oscars for her film,
the gripping tale about the war "Quo Vadis, Aida?" It was nominated today for Best International Feature Film, keeping history, memory and truth
And finally, more on the Oscars and sticking with the award season, women and people of color leave the notable names from last night's Grammys and
today's Oscar nominations. Violet Davis became the most nominated black actress in Oscar history with her nod from "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom."
Chadwick Boseman received a posthumous nomination for best actor in that film.
And for the first time, two women were recognized for best director, "NomadlLand's" Chloe Zhao and Emerald Fennell for promising young women.
Meanwhile, it was ladies' night at the Grammys, two women scored the top 4 prizes, including Taylor Swift earning album of the year for folklore. And
with her 28th trophy, Beyonce is now the most decorated woman in Grammy history.
Such good news. And that's it for now. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.