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When a magazine profile opens by informing me I've never heard of some guy, I usually assume it's for good reason, and stop reading there. Not so with Forbes writeup of Zoho's Sridhar Vembu, however. Vembu's company makes Zoho, a suite of online software. I had dismissed Zoho as yet another Web-based Microsoft Office clone. No one's going to pay for online word processing, when Word is cheap to begin with, and Google Docs is free. But Vembu has figured this much out.

That's why Zoho has branched out into online customer-relationship management software, the exact same service Marc Benioff's provides to automate sales. Benioff made an unspecified offer to buy Zoho from Vembu, who refused. A geeky, bespectacled sort capable of withstanding Benioff's charm campaign? That's how I'm going to remember Vembu.