Confessions of a Dreamforce newbie
Despite being hyped as the event of the year, I was still in the belief that I was heading to an IT convention when I landed in San Francisco a few weeks ago. I was quite sure it would be entertaining and educating, but after all Dreamforce is an event hosted by a software company with an expo floor, some keynotes and product related breakout sessions, right? My first confession: Oh, man – I was so wrong.
First sign of Dreamforce being something totally different came once I turned the corner from 5th avenue onto Howard street and Moscone Center downtown San Francisco to pick up my badge. The whole street was closed down to make room for a gigantic lawn containing two stages with live concerts, huge TV-screens, fat boy chill-out areas and dining places. This event lives up to its tagline: it’s definitely about social! (I wont spend more space on bragging about the MC Hammer performance, Red hot Chili Peppers concert, The Dreamforce gala, the drinks and the legendary parties, but that definitely also underpins the social theme :-)
Confession 2: It’s not an event for the customers, its an event with the customers. I’ve been to many IT conventions, listened to many keynotes and watched hundreds of product demonstrations. What I think made Dreamforce really stand out is that nobody talks about plain enhanced features, new and shiny buttons or increased service speed. Instead of focusing on the products themselves, Salesforce really focuses on their clients’ success. In the keynotes, we did not learn about products, features or functions as such, but we learned how Coca-Cola is able to create value with Chatter, how the Commonwealth Bank is able to do more targeted marketing with Marketing Cloud and how Activision is able to provide first class customer service with the Service Cloud. I think this is what really distinguishes Dreamforce from any other software event I’ve been to. Keep on making your clients shine, that’s what really matters.
Confession 3: I only made it to half of the events i signed up for. Of the approximately 20 sessions I signed up for, I only made it to half of them. Why? There was so much to do on the Moscone area. Speaking with senior executives of Salesforce, having a beer with other Salesforce customers to discuss mutual challenges or just flashmob’ing with Sassy outside the Moscone. Luckily I can review all the sessions I missed (and others too) on the Salesforce Youtube channel.
Confession 4: I’m damn proud to have been presenting at Dreamforce. A few weeks before Dreamforce I was called by
a Salesforce representative Hannele from Salesforce and asked if I would like to present and discuss our “Salesforce as an intranet platform” project. I am proud to say that our session was completely sold out and we had more than 300 people attending and listening to our panel debate. I really do hope I get to do that again! If you missed the session, Salesforce has published a voice- and slide recording of the session here.
Confession 5: It was awesome – I’m coming back! The week in San Francisco was among the most stressful and overwhelming but also educative and entertaining weeks I’ve ever had. I really do hope I get to see all of you (and many more!) again next year.