So, the fact that I am only now just getting around to writing my post-Dreamforce wrap-up should tell you a lot. The chaos of Dreamforce, from putting all work on hold to prepare for Dreamforce 6 weeks before the event, to the 4 weeks after the event that is takes to dig out of your inbox and deferred priorities, is exactly the scope of Dreamforce.
Dreamforce started in 2003 as a group of companies building new technology and products on the Salesforce platform. It was a lot of innovation and forecasting the future. It was a bunch of hopeful entrepreneurs on a budget, trying to crack the awareness of B2B sales and marketing. Dreamforce has now become something that looks a lot like Disneyworld. A hundred thousand people walking around with tickets, in a heat created only in places where so many human bodies congregate, with wide-eyes, staring at clouds floating above 3rd Street in San Francisco. And everywhere you turn, someone is trying to sell you something.
Some of the interesting trends, that might not have been so obvious if you weren’t there, came out in the numerous follow-ups and wrap-ups that dominated the news for weeks following the show. For example, a few pieces started calling out the ‘boys club’ that typically follows the tech scene. But there are a few standout female entrepreneurs as well as Salesforce itself talking about a concerted effort to bring women into the excitement of the tech sector. Way to “Lean In,” ladies.
Now, dare I say the word ‘predictive,’ but everything was about predictive this year. It’s an obvious trend. But what is not as obvious is that with all the talk, products, content, PR and incredibly respected people touting predictive, there is not a lot of substance…yet. It remains a fragmented part of the industry with many players layering on their interpretation of predictive that only connects the dots if you use the whole proprietary system. I look forward to next year when predictive is better defined to an outcome set that everyone can leverage for the betterment of working smarter, not harder.
Dreamforce, being so close to Burning Man in the calendar year, seems to draw odd similarities to the Silicon Valley crowd. With the traffic control, people management, visual spectacles and a whole lot of people coming together with shared vision that is only made up of individual experiences—that’s what makes such a momentous whole that is Dreamforce.