June 18 by Melissa Diver

The Morning

Kirk-KeynoteDay one of Accelerate opened with an emphatic declaration. Franco Finn, event emcee and Warriors’ hype man wanted to jet pack into the Grand Ballroom. For practical reasons the Palace Hotel said no – but that didn’t stop him from a vigorous Blast-Off.

Kirk took the stage for the CEO keynote and through an extended metaphor about rowing, explained the importance of teamwork, shared goals, and perseverance.

Kirk also extended a huge thank you to all of the customers. “Trust is the most critical thing between a software company and its customers… Our customers depend on us, but we depend on you too. We’re a subscription business – we can’t succeed without you.”

Rene Falch Olesen of DSV followed the CEO keynote, and in fun announced “Kirk promised me a small audience. There’s nearly as many people here as that live in Denmark. If this is a ‘small audience,’ it’s certainly a welcome to America moment for me.” Nick McCoy later made a cameo as a farmer to demonstrate the capabilities of configuration, and the morning keynotes were rounded out by a fascinating presentation by Praveen Sengar share the top 10 trends transforming consumer engagement today.


panelThe afternoon opened up into the breakout sessions. Adobe’s Kevin Lynch, Deloitte’s Charan Singh and Manoj Pillai, and Ceridian’s Larry Dunnivan offered up informative partner sessions and Kamal Ahluwalia was joined by Genaro Lopez to discuss the power of the Salesforce1 Platform. The Accelerate breakouts also featured a contract management panel Sophia Valentim, Apurva Munshi, Kevin Clem, and Apttus SVP Kent Perchoka.

Maria Pergolino, Apttus VP of Marketing, moderated a series of expert panels. Her first featuring best-selling authors Josiane Feigon, Anneke Seley, and David Taber, explored the changing landscape of inside sales. Next was the panel with Jill Rowley, Craig Rosenberg, Brian Bachofner and Ben White, who discussed the potential of social selling. Finally came a Salesforce MVP panel and when the conversation shifted to personal branding, Mike Gerholdt of ButtonClick Admin said “You can’t build your personal brand if you don’t understand who your customer is, and your first customer should always be you.”


Exploratorium-eventWhen all the sessions were through, attendees were able to unwind in the Expo hall with an Adobe sponsored happy hour that warmed things up for the big evening gala at the Exploratorium at its new Pier 15 location on the San Francisco Bay waterfront. There was excellent food, cocktails, live music all within an influential networking environment.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Exploratorium, it’s unlike any other museum experience. For starters, they actually encourage the guests to touch the exhibits. Allison McCarthy tries to explain, it’s “a mad scientist’s penny arcade, a scientific funhouse, and an experimental laboratory all rolled into one.”

The gala took place in the West Gallery, which hosts several of the in-house interactive favorites like the swinging pendulum Drawing Board, the column Tornado, and the Team Pac-man exhibit that challenges guests in a cooperative version of the video game classic. Visitors also crawled through the pitch dark mazes of the Tactile Dome, a sensory exploration designed in 1971 by August Cappola (Nicholas Cage’s father).

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