been to. Dreamforce X (2012).
I first heard about Dreamforce this year from an ad in Spotify. This ad also mentioned that they
had a free expo/keynote pass that you could sign up for. Being in the Valley, attending this for
free seemed like a no brainer. The proposed speaker list looked pretty cool so I carved out a
day to go check it out.
After hopping on the Caltrain around 6AM, I arrived in San Francisco a little after 7. I walked a
few blocks to where the Moscone Center was located and checked in. After checking in (they
were really pushing QR codes here), I headed downstairs to stand in the massive line to get into
the opening keynote. The opening keynote was attended by most of the 90K+ people at
Dreamforce, and was broadcasted to over 30K+ live.
It was an awesome keynote and gave me more insight into: how Salesforce worked, what
Chatter was, and how various companies integrate parts of Salesforce into their operations. My
friend Ryan works for one of those companies and I finally began to understand what he did. Plus, the sound system totally thumps (MC Hammer decided to show up).
The Moscone Center was awesome (except for the wifi). Tons of power plugs, lots of bean bags
to sit down in, and plenty of bathrooms. My free pass restricted me from some areas, so I
decided to check out Salesforce’s onsite Social Media Command Center (smcc) and the
Dreamforce Expo Floor.
The Social Media Command Center was a pretty cool display of what you could do using
various parts of the suite of products they offer. They actually had people working there and
answering/sharing posts in real time. It seemed like an ideal desk for me 🙂
The expo floor is basically what you’d expect from an expo floor. It was huge, with a large center
area taken by Salesforce themselves. Around the edges were several companies hawking their
wares and services. I wandered from booth to booth till I came across the Google’s. Since I’m
still deep in my “Android Experiment”, I jumped at the chance to play with a new Chromebook
and a Nexus 7 in person.
The newer Chromebooks are definitely an upgrade over my Cr-48. The screen seemed bigger
and the increased speed was noticeable. The trackpad is a huge improvement over the Cr-48
(which has been universally panned). I think I see a Chromebox (the desktop version) or a
Chromebook to replace my Cr-48 when it kicks the bucket in my distant future.
The Nexus 7 was very similar to my Xyboard 8.2- albeit smaller. It did run much faster than the
Xyboard, and it didn’t crash within 10 minutes of me using it. (I’m anxiously awaiting the ICS
update to see if that helps with the stability.) I can see (again) the advantages of a smaller form
factor and it seemed, to me, to be a solid device.
After grabbing lunch and wandering around some more, I headed back to catch the “Fireside
Chat” with Marc Benioff and Richard Branson. I’ve read one of Richard’s autobiographies a long
time ago and it was cool to hear how his many failures helped define who he was. Like some
other famous CEO’s, he suffers from learning disabilities (like myself) so its wonderful to see a
role model like him talk. They did go off on a long tangent about US policy, which I didn’t expect,
but neither of them pulled any punches either. It was almost a conversation you expected to
hear around a round of brews (except for these guys, it would be on a yacht somewhere).
Overall it was a really cool experience. I have no idea if I’ll be using Salesforce (or one of it’s
many parts) in the future but I did get a better idea of what it was and the sheer amount of
companies that use their services. They strongly believe that the future is social and I
completely agree with them.
To see all my #df12 photos- check out my Flickr Album here.
For the lovely Virgin America people reading- this is how excited I would be if I got to fly to London:
(courtesy In Media Planning Tumblr)