For anyone who has been in the Salesforce Ecosystem for any length of time, Dreamforce is the place to be. It’s where you can rub elbows with celebrities, Salesforce MVPs and Executives, as well as thousands of your closest friends. It’s also a place where you can learn a lot, make new connections and have a little fun.
Please note, this entire blog post is covered by a “forward looking statement” similar in nature to the one you will see many, many times at Dreamforce. Do not make any purchase decisions (or travel plans) based on things, real or imaginary, that may or may not happen at Dreamforce this year.
Fact or Fiction?
Who is the headline entertainment at Dreamfest? Salesforce posted a poll in the Success Community back in May, asking for input on who the band should be. The choices included Alicia Keys, Coldplay, Dave Matthews Band, Ed Sheeran, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Metallica, Pearl Jam and Zac Brown Band. Currently Justin Timberlake is the front-runner in that poll with 25% of the votes. Personally, I would love to see either Dave Matthews or Zac Brown, but just like you, I only had one vote.
Fact or Fiction: The headline entertainment at Dreamforce this year is…Lady Gaga!
The Keynote Address
Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO, Salesforce, always provides the keynote address, with the help of some special guests. That’s a fact. Who those special guests are each year, is sometimes a mystery right up until they get on the stage. In years’ past, I recall special performances by the Beach Boys, and Stevie Wonder, and awesome talks from people like will.i.am. This year, some of the special guest speakers have already been announced: Former First Lady, Michelle Obama; Actor and Entrepreneur, Ashton Kutcher; Southern Living’s Editor-at-Large, the daughter of Former President George W. and Former First Lady Laura Bush, Jenna Hager; and a few others. I’m certain there will be at least one or two special guests who are not announced prior to their on-stage appearances.
Fact of Fiction: There will be a special, on-stage appearance at Dreamforce Keynote this year by…Former President Jimmy Carter!
The Big Product Announcement
In addition to the usual Dreamforce conversations, fire-side chats, customer success stories, and highlights of Salesforce’s success in the market place, there are also product-level keynotes that typically include some road-map, forward-looking statements about new features. Every once in a while there’s even an announcement about a brand new product that Salesforce is debuting, like Chatter several years ago. I think this year will be no different.
Fact or Fiction: A new product will be announced at Dreamforce this year. It will come from Salesforce quietly acquiring a little-known company. The product will be called…Salesforce Orwell, and will expand on Salesforce’s Einstein technology by adding in a layer of data analytics based on human-to-human interaction tracked through connected, wearable devices. (Potentially a controversial product: Think George Orwell’s 1984 and Big Brother.)
The Latest Partnership
Marc Benioff is often heard talking about new partnerships that Salesforce has entered into. The partner ecosystem is as vast and wide as the Salesforce community. Who doesn’t remember announcement at Dreamforce 2015 about Salesforce and Microsoft extending their partnership to connect the Salesforce platform with Microsoft Office apps? Or last year’s announcement shortly before Dreamforce 2016, about a partnership with Cicso making is as simple as a click of a button to launch a text chat, video or voice conversation with a customer?
Fact or Fiction: This year’s exciting partnership announcement will come 6 days before Dreamforce starts, on Halloween. Salesforce will announce a strategic partnership with Oracle. Yes, that’s right. Oracle. Oracle. Ora…WAIT! Don’t say it 3 times in a row – you remember what happened in the movie “Beetlejuice” don’t you?
A Different Kind of Hackathon
Dreamforce 2013 saw the first ever, $1 Million hackathon grand prize. There was some controversy after it was over. When Salesforce announced it’s hackathon for Dreamforce 2014, the rules were very clear, the prizes were smaller, but still totaled $1 Million. More teams entered, more amazing apps were developed and over 30 teams took home some of the prize money. Since then, Trailhead has become huge. User groups all over the world are holding “lock-ins” where they meet for several hours on a Saturday to see who can complete the most Trailhead badges. It’s almost like the old dance marathons, where the last team still dancing won the prize.
Fact or Fiction: This year, the hackathon and dance marathon merge into one event, with an announcement of the latest contest craze coming soon: A dancing hackathon marathon. Individuals will compete for limited edition Trailhead badges, only being awarded to the first 3 completing each of the trails from their mobile devices. That sounds pretty simple, right? Here’s where it gets hard: not only do you have to complete the badge on the Dreamforce campus, you have to be on the move while doing so. Through enhanced location tracking with thousands of Dreamforce Wi-Fi hot spots throughout San Francisco, contest judges will be able determine in real time, how long it takes each competitor to complete a trail, where they were when completing them, and how long they stood still during that time. To win, competitors must not be standing still on any given trail for more than 1 minute.
More Rooms for Attendees
For Dreamforce 2015, Salesforce brought a cruise ship to San Francisco Bay and turned it into a floating hotel to help solve the hotel space issue. That was met with mixed reviews from conference attendees, as well as residents of San Francisco. For 2017, there’s something even bigger in the works. It’s closer to Moscone Center than Pier 27, where the Dreamboat was docked, and it can hold a lot more people! Salesforce has solved not only the hotel space issue for Dreamforce, but also the occupancy issue for it’s new Salesforce Tower, at least for one week of the year.
Fact or Fiction: Salesforce will be converting office space in Salesforce Tower to overnight accommodations for Dreamforce attendees. There’s a catch, however: steel-toed shoes and a hard hat are required.