15 years ago, I made a trek to Fargo, ND to the Great Plains (now part of Microsoft) Stampede user conference. Doug Burgum, the CEO used his entire keynote to tell the story of an English clockmaker, John Harrison who beat out far more qualified scientists to solve one of the vexing problems of the 18th century – how to accurately measure longitude, so important then for sailors and for all kinds of navigation since.
The journalist sitting next to me was irate. He had not made the long trip (there are few easy ways to get to Fargo) to not get a product update. Me, I was spellbound by Doug’s talk.
Maybe that’s just me but talking to several after the Dreamforce Marc Benioff kickoff keynote (you can see the 2 hour replay here), I saw several disappointed analysts and bloggers. The feedback: not enough Salesforce product focus in the session.
a) Plenty of customer focus
I liked the weaving of Philips, ADP, Sony, Ford and other customers in the context of evolving sales, customer service and marketing scenarios.
b) Showcase of non-Salesforce technology
Too many vendors just talk about their products. This keynote wove in several innovative technologies from around the world both on stage and on the video screens:
- Marc’s Philips Sonicare wifi enabled toothbrush
- Philips EPIQ7 ultrasound machine
- Canon connected camera slung around Marc’s neck
- Marc’s Loubotin sneakers
- Tesla S
- Google Glass
- Sony PS4
- An interactive bus stop
c) Generous time to charity
It is a passion of the company and Marc, courageously I thought, spent lots of time and early in the keynote, highlighting Sean Penn’s work in Haiti and other efforts.
d) Follow up q&a
Marc and the CTO, Parker Harris made themselves available in formal and informal settings to answer questions about Salesforce1, the HP Superpod and other announcements at the event. And yes even snarky questions about Oracle and Larry Elllison
e) Day 2 and 3
are about product breakouts. There are several tracks for sales, service, marketing, social.
f) Dreamforce is all about diversity
Salesforce shared this graph which summarizes the event over the decade. You can see the wide range of musicians, politicians, thought leaders that have graced this event. Given this rich variety, why should yesterday’s keynote have just been a boring product update?
(Cross-posted @ DealArchitect Full)