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Salesforce changes the culture and cityscape of SF

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Salesforce changes the culture and cityscape of SF

The iconic Salesforce logo inside the Salesforce main tower.

The iconic Salesforce logo inside the Salesforce main tower.

The iconic Salesforce logo inside the Salesforce main tower.

The iconic Salesforce logo inside the Salesforce main tower.

Katie Vandermel, Staff Writer

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On the 16th floor of the Salesforce tower, the walls are made of transparent glass, and the modern room is just a glimpse of many of the modern office spaces.

As one of the tallest buildings in the city, the newly-built Salesforce tower has changed the landscape of San Francisco.

The 1,070-foot tall office skyscraper is home to Salesforce, an American cloud-based software company that has uprooted traditional business models for more efficient processes. As the #1 employer of SF, Salesforce has 35,000 employees. This creates a big impact on the SF economy, filling salaries and fueling spending.

According to Roger Solin, a Customer Success Manager of Salesforce, for every $1 in software sold, $20 is generated through partners and other transactions. 

“Salesforce is a markedly different company,” Solin said. “It kind of is the leading edge of where tech is going and changing how tech and software is done: through the cloud.”

Solin said that the company trains its young employees to be agile: “the workplace is very fast,” he said. Employees are trained to work with learning management systems, code, consult and strategize.

Contrary to traditional workplaces, Salesforce uses a method called hotelling, where employees do not have assigned desks. Upon entering the office for work, an employee would sit at any desk to use for the entire day. This is to encourage convenience and flexibility throughout the company and promote collaboration since the desks are in an open space.

Most paramount to the company’s values is its symbol of “Ohana,” or “family” in Hawaiian, said Annie Simms, Regional Vice President of Sales. 

In order to give back, Salesforce uses a 1-1-1 philanthropic model. This model determines that 1 percent of company profits are donated in grants, 1 percent of employee work hours are spent on community service and 1 percent of products are donated to nonprofits and educational institutions.

“Salesforce really does try to be a good steward to the city and make change in the community,” said Simms.

Solin also said that Salesforce contributes to ameliorating homelessness.

“About 30 million dollars is put into homelessness each year,” he said. “That is something I am really proud of and is one of the reminders of why I really enjoy the work I do here.”

Modern, sleek skyscrapers dominate the view from the 16th floor of the Salesforce tower.

These values of social responsibility extend to how the company treats its employees. It offers snacks on each floor to create a comfortable work environment, but does not provide full meals in order to encourage employees to patronize local restaurants and businesses.

However, the modern look of monolith skyscrapers such as the Salesforce tower have transformed the cosmetic appearance of the city. 

“I like the old stuff; the new buildings don’t appeal to me down south of Market [Street],” said Michelle Seleska who works in SF. “I think because of the physical outlook, which contrast greatly from the older, smaller townhouses lining the hilled streets, the sleek buildings now are just conforming to the modern world.”

May Lim, another SF local, said that the changes in architecture have been interesting to witness. “It’s kind of a mixture, the old and the new,” she said. 

However, both agreed that the rise of these contemporary buildings is indirectly adding to the culture of San Francisco, regardless of the replacement of Victorian homes. 

“As there’s more tech companies within San Francisco, there is definitely more people that are living, that are working here,” said Lim. “They are living in lower-income areas and that’s driving up the rents, but they are enriching the population.”

Regardless of the potential negative consequences, the rise of tech in SF has attracted an increasingly diverse demographic.

“There’s more people,” Seleska said. “More people, more ideas, more life.” 

About the Writer
Photo of Katie Vandermel
Katie Vandermel, Staff Writer

Katie Vandermel is a rising junior from New York City and has been living on the East Coast her whole life, but could see herself on the West Coast at...

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