The face behind Salesforce - Tal Shimoni
Famously, the Chinese philosopher Confucious once stated: ‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.’ Tal Shimoni has apparently found a way to always do what he loves.
When Tal wanted to work for Keshet (a leading Israeli media group) he secured a meeting with the CEO of mako (a subsidiary of Keshet). When he became a father he decided to enter the field of educational technology and almost immediately found a great role. And when he decided to found his own company his clients included some of the biggest corporate names in Israeli market.
In every role he has held, Tal has displayed the two sides of his character: half artist, half scientist. Tal is creative and emotionally intelligent. He knows how to tell a story. And at the same time he is passionate about technology, numbers and graphs. In this way, Tal precisely fits the Salesforce profile.
Over the years, Tal has been ahead of his time several times over. He was already engaged in R&D during his service in the IDF’s prestigious technology-oriented 8200 intelligence unit. In the midst of his studies in industry and management (with an information systems internship) at Tel Aviv University, he was making progress as a practitioner. When he decided to enter the field of media and communications, and asked the mako CEO for an opportunity, the CEO said ‘let’s give it a go’.
At mako, Tal started out managing technological projects. Soon enough, he got the opportunity to establish his own department. After four action-packed years, Tal was promoted to CTO for the sports channel (at RGE group). This was a role he did great in - even though he’d never seen a game of basketball or football before in his life! In parallel to this, he founded and managed the digital marketing track at the Open University in Israel, teaching on its faculty for five years - on top of which, he found time to be a visiting lecturer at Ono Academic College and at Achva Academic College.
Does this sound like three people’s CVs rather than one? Well, we’re not finished yet...
When Tal’s daughter was born he realized that he wanted to work with educational technology. He took on the role of VP Product at Compedia, a company providing advanced learning solutions.
Next, Tal began to dream of independence and created his own company - Digital Engineers - servicing primarily large Israeli corporates with digital marketing and digital technology consultancy.
After Digital Engineers took off, a friend approached Tal with an offer to join Datorama, at that time recently bought by Salesforce. So certain was the friend that this was Tal’s job, he was certain the job he was offering Tal had been written specially for him. Initially, Tal was reluctant to give up his independence. He agreed rather hesitantly to a coffee with the hiring manager and to hear him out. It turned out this was a good decision. Tal’s friend was right. The role, which Tal was the first to hold, was truly tailor-made for him. In the end, the two things that convinced Tal to join were the values on which Salesforce were built and the freedom he was assured he’d have to build the new role in the way he saw fit.
As well as his position as a senior manager at Salesforce, managing technological programs in Datorama, Tal also coordinates the equality council for Salesforce-Israel. He also volunteers in the educational activities of the NGO ‘Ta’aseh-Yeda’ and of ‘Coding for Kindness’.
What does it mean to be Senior Manager, Engineering Program Manager at Datorama?
“In practice, I’m the ‘right hand man’ of Datorama’s R&D manager, Raanan Raz. This means my central task is to run all of the horizontal programs within our department. There are also heavily technological aspects to the role, like protecting the competitive advantage of our product. Then there are ‘softer’ areas of the role, like running our annual hackathon, Hackorama, which this year more than 100 Salesforce employees took part in and developed within a day and a half 23 new projects, many of which are already on their way to becoming products and will soon reach customers. I’m also responsible for internal organizational interfaces in areas such as HR and recruitment, technical support, CS, and marketing, and in external interfaces for example with start-up companies. I make sure that all of our projects are delivered on time, quality-assured, within budget. And it’s part of my responsibility to help our Israeli workforce as a whole become one synchronized and connected ‘Site’.”
What do you like most about your role?
“The role is a combination of all the knowledge and experience I’ve accumulated up until now. In an amazing way, it combines management, technology, marketing and operations. I enjoy the opportunity to interact with technology experts and software engineers whose language I speak, and with marketing managers whose world I also know from the inside. My role is made for a people person who knows how to build trusting relationships with people from diverse fields in Israel and globally.”
What do you like most about Salesforce?
“Salesforce is a company built on values. All of our business activities are about trust, customer success, equality, and innovation. You feel that in every part of the company, and that, in my eyes, is awesome. It’s a company that invests in its global workforce and is concerned, especially at this time, for their wellbeing, their safety and their health - and not just in word but in deed.”
Where do you see Salesforce in the coming few years?
“The digital world, which has gained even more momentum in the Covid-19 era, has responded really well to Salesforce products in marketing, e-commerce, and data. I believe that Salesforce will lead the world of work in the new distributed era - with big moves like Work.com and the acquisition of Slack. Regarding Israel specifically, the company looks to us as a very significant center for R&D and will continue to seek to grow what we do.”
Original article (In Hebrew) can be found here