12 Business Days of Salesforce: 12 People On Our ‘Nice’ List This Year

 12 Business Days of Salesforce: 12 People On Our Nice List This YearWe’ve made a list, we’ve checked it twice — and now, you get to find out who’s naughty and nice. Well, actually, just the nice ones. To sum up our series of posts for the 12 (Business) Days of Salesforce, we took a look back at all the big events of 2014 to identify some of the best and brightest humans around. 

Whatever you’re celebrating this holiday season, let’s take a moment to recognize the good in our world. We’re lucky to share the planet with these 12 people — and we’ve included a memorable quote from each that, in the spirit of the holidays, we hope you’ll share.


1. Malala Yousafzai

Malala is just 17, but her name is known worldwide. In 2012, after boarding her school bus, the female education activist was shot in the face by a gunman in her native Pakistan. After a lengthy recovery, she has become a tireless activist for female education and empowerment, and for children’s rights around the world. This year, Malala and Indian children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”

“Let us build a better future, here and now.”

— Malala Yousafzai, education activist

 12 Business Days of Salesforce: 12 People On Our Nice List This Year

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 12 Business Days of Salesforce: 12 People On Our Nice List This Year2. Warren Buffett

We all know Warren Buffett is rich — according to the latest statistics, he’s the world’s second-richest man, after Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. What you may not know is that he’s also generous: according to data from consulting firm Wealth-X, Buffett is the only man in the world who donated more than $ 1 billion to charity this year. According to MarketWatch, Buffett gave $ 2.1 billion in Berkshire Hathaway stock to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which works to alleviate hunger and poverty, support education, and improve global health.

“If you’re in the luckiest 1 percent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 percent.”

— Warren Buffett, investor

 12 Business Days of Salesforce: 12 People On Our Nice List This Year3. Madison Bumgarner

San Francisco may be a big city, but Madison Bumgarner — “Mad Bum,” for short — is its small-town hero. The left-handed Giants pitcher is just 25 years old, but he helped lead the team to its third World Series victory in five years and was recently named Sports Illustrated magazine’s Sportsman of the Year. A down-to-earth guy from North Carolina, Bumgarner’s low-key style won fans over and sent the Kansas City Royals running.

“It wasn’t like I said, ‘Baseball is what I want to do’ and did it. I just enjoyed playing and competing.”

— Madison Bumgarner, pitcher, San Francisco Giants

4. Tony Robbins

Motivational speaker, life coach, author, general dynamo — Tony Robbins is a force of nature, and nowhere was his power to energize and motivate people clearer than at Dreamforce ’14, when he got the audience in his packed keynote session to hug, laugh, clap, and dance together. For Robbins, though, that wasn’t enough. He also committed to donating 1 million meals to fight hunger, and all proceeds from his latest book, Money: Master the Game, go toward the 100 Million Meals Challenge.

“Engaging people is about meeting their needs — not yours.”

— Tony Robbins, motivational speaker and author

 12 Business Days of Salesforce: 12 People On Our Nice List This Year

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5. Ebola fighters

We’re taking a page from TIME magazine’s playbook here. Recently, TIME chose the doctors, nurses, and volunteers fighting the ebola outbreak in Africa as its “person of the year.” From TIME:

“[Ebola] reached crowded slums in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone; it traveled to Nigeria and Mali, to Spain, Germany and the U.S. It struck doctors and nurses in unprecedented numbers, wiping out a public-health infrastructure that was weak in the first place. One August day in Liberia, six pregnant women lost their babies when hospitals couldn’t admit them for complications. Anyone willing to treat Ebola victims ran the risk of becoming one.”

Taking the initiative to fight such a horrific disease, despite the risks, requires a courage few people ever have to summon. We echo TIME’s award: anyone fighting ebola is a hero.

“But whenever we go through a devastating experience like what I’ve been through, it is an incredible opportunity for redemption.”

— Dr. Kent Brantly, Ebola survivor 

 12 Business Days of Salesforce: 12 People On Our Nice List This Year6. Beth Comstock

This year, Beth Comstock made an appearance at Connections, the digital marketing conference hosted by Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Sure, GE’s first Chief Marketing Officer in 20 years is smart, fashionable, and well-spoken — but what we loved about Comstock was her ability to inspire us. During a conversation with Salesforce CMO Lynn Vojvodich and marketing leaders from Twitter and LinkedIn, Comstock offered pithy, insightful advice for marketers — and, well, really anyone in business. (Read the full recap here.)

“Marketing is about innovation.”

— Beth Comstock, Chief Marketing Officer, GE

7. Joshua Wong

Joshua Wong doesn’t seem to want to be the face of the Hong Kong student protests, but he can’t seem to help it: media organizations just keep interviewing him. At 15, Wong founded Scholarism, a student activist group; he is currently seen by many as a leader in the movement pushing for greater democracy in Hong Kong. Yet Wong eschews praise; on Facebook, he wrote that the suggestion that Hong Kong is relying on him made him feel “uncomfortable and even irritated.”

“The hero of the movement is every single Hong Kong citizen.”

— Joshua Wong, democracy activist

 12 Business Days of Salesforce: 12 People On Our Nice List This Year8. Nicholas Woodman

We might stop at thanking Nicholas Woodman for popularizing the helmet-cam, because ski videos just got a lot better. But the founder and CEO of GoPro — who became a billionaire after the company’s IPO this year — has an interesting past (avid surfer, veteran of a dotcom bust, early appearances on QVC to sell his cameras). Much as we love the age of DIY video, Woodman is on this list for — yep, you guessed it — philanthropy. According to WealthX, Woodman’s donation of  $ 497.5 million was the second-largest this year, and he kept it local by supporting the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which supports Bay Area education, immigration, and housing nonprofits.

“I was so scared that I would fail again that I was totally committed to succeed.”

— Nicholas Woodman, founder and CEO, GoPro

9. The Selfie

Selfies have been around for years now, but 2014 is officially the year of the selfie. The word #selfie was used 92 million times on Twitter this year — 12 times more than last year, and more than any other hashtag. The Chainsmokers wrote a song about selfies, ABC flirted with a TV series about selfies, and selfie sticks abounded. We ran our own #Salesforce1Selfie campaign. And then, of course, there was this:

If only Bradley’s arm was longer. Best photo ever. #oscars pic.twitter.com/C9U5NOtGap

— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) March 3, 2014

10. Mark Zuckerberg

Gone are the days when Mark Zuckerberg was sweating through his gray hoodie: today, the Harvard dropout and Facebook founder is all grown up. This year, Zuckerberg’s on our nice list for using his Facebook power for good by donating $ 25 million to help fight ebola — a cause that’s notoriously hard to raise money for. Good work, Zuck. And now we know which podcasts you listen to.

“I think we have a responsibility to help out wherever we see a need.”

— Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO, Facebook 

 12 Business Days of Salesforce: 12 People On Our Nice List This Year11. Neil Young

This year at Dreamforce, the Grammy-winning musician gave attendees a taste of what he’s been up to lately with the official launch of Pono Music, a Toblerone-shaped digital music player and accompanying download store. Pono flips the conventional wisdom about digital-era business on its head: rather than trying to provide more, faster, cheaper, Pono is all about recovering the quality and nuance of truly great music. We also love that Pono was born on Kickstarter: It’s a thoroughly modern concept with community in its blood.

“It’s not about bits…It’s about re-creating the artist’s dream.”

— Neil Young, founder, Pono Music


12. Taylor Swift

We have to give credit to BuzzFeed for perfectly encapsulating why Taylor Swift is on this list: “Just when we thought Taylor Swift couldn’t get any more perfect, she’s gone and made the most amazing comments about feminism and relationships,” a BuzzFeed staffer wrote on Oct. 31. This year, Swift released her new album, 1989, with the chart-topping single “Shake It Off” to remind all of us that there’s nothing we can’t handle.

“As long as you’re having more fun than anyone else, what does it matter what anyone else thinks?”

— Taylor Swift, musician

 12 Business Days of Salesforce: 12 People On Our Nice List This Year

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Happy Holidays!

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 12 Business Days of Salesforce: 12 People On Our Nice List This Year

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