Marc Benioff
Benioff AP Photo/Chris Stewart

A pioneer of cloud computing, Marc Benioff ’86 revolutionized the software industry in the early 2000s as chairman and CEO of In the process, his “1-1-1 model” also pioneered a new model of integrated corporate philanthropy: Contribute 1 percent of product, 1 percent of equity and 1 percent of employee hours back to the community. Here are five lessons Benioff shared at USC’s 2014 commencement in May about achieving success—and how to find happiness along the way.

On the disconnect between success and fulfillment:

After a decade of success at Oracle, “I felt unmotivated, unenergized, not very excited, not very inspired. So I did what all lost 30-somethings do: I went to India.”

On his life-changing epiphany:

“My friend and I were sitting in a little hut with a guru in the south of India. … At the very end, she said this: ‘While you are working so hard to change the world and create all this great technology, don’t forget to do something for others.’ At that moment, I felt like I had just found what I was looking for.”

On attending the President’s Summit for America’s Future and finding inspiration:

“General Colin Powell said, ‘The business of business is not business. Your companies are some of the richest, most powerful resources we have, and we need to put them to work to help everyone in this great country.’ I said to myself, ‘Well, I think I have a second guru.’”

On being a Trojan:

“One of the things that’s most beautiful about USC is its commitment to service. Three hundred service organizations have just in the last year delivered more than 765,000 hours in community service. That’s what makes this university so great.”

On the source of happiness:

“I’ll tell you why that integrated business, that integrated life, is so important. It’s because the real joy in life comes from giving, it comes from service, it comes from doing things for other people.”