Today was always going to be a low-key day as it’s the run-up to Benioff’s opening keynote on Tuesday (have you registered to watch the live webcast – I’ve travelled five and half thousand miles for it- trust me, it’ll be worth it).
Although today’s event I attended called Cloudstock is primarily targeted at the developer community, I still learnt enough to share 5 things:
1. There is nothing that prepares you for the scale of an event of this size.
Close to 30,000 people are expected to have registered to attend Dreamforce and everything works and works like clockwork (everything except the WiFi that is). When first arriving, I didn’t have to queue when registering. I walked up to a terminal entered my email address – my badge was printed and I then walked up to a materials issue desk where my badge was scanned and I was handed all the bits I needed.
2. Salesforce.com *is* truly disruptive and they’ve put a few noses out of joint:
Out on the street outside the conference venue there are warring factions. I first saw this tweet from Marc Benioff
Microsoft can run anti-salesforce WSJ ads, protest our cust events, and even sue us. But they can not stop the cloud. The force is with us!
Stepping out for some fresh air I was nearly knocked over by a Microsoft Segway slamming the Salesforce.com cloud and promoting some crazy Microsoft alternative. Oracle had placed huge posters in windows of surrounding buildings claiming to be the #1 CRM solution. Benioff (who came from Oracle) returned the gesture with a placards claiming that “30,000 attendees at Dreamforce can’t be wrong” I’ll get some of this action on camera tomorrow. That edgy, disruptive feeling made me feel it was worth traveling so far.
3. You need to have reliable and robust internet connectivity to work in the cloud
I watched both Google and Salesforce.com flounder yesterday in their demos (poor chaps) when even their cabled internet access wobbled – in fact it stopped working for a large part of their sessions. This is just such a deal breaker: its the greatest threat to Cloud adoption and because the internet backbone is so weak outside the major cities in the UK it can’t really promise a revolution to off-premise working (yet one hopes) It felt staggering that we suffered so many outages at an event in San Francisco organised by the people who claim to be leading the Cloud Revolution: not a great example
4. Advantages of scale, speed and cost
Developing applications in the cloud now allows large and small enterprise to deploy scalable, custom built software solutions quickly and cost-effectively. I’m not a developer and a lot of what I heard went straight over the top of my head (especially the contined use of acronyms) but I have a firm grasp that this wave of change is here to transform small business and we need to grasp it with open arms as it will be a great differentiator and enabler: very, very exciting.
5. The UK didn’t go completely unnoticed.
I am definitely one of the few delegates from the UK. The event is awash with friendly event staff who are around to help you with anything you need: and they love our accents (they don’t notice that mine still has a bit of a South African twang to it)
Tomorrow is a big day: Benioff’s keynote (we’ve been told to take in snacks as he likes to talk!) – and then the Gala Party featuring Stevie Wonder – between that its going to be packed with learning, networking and lots of thinking… in the cloud.
PS: If you can’t figure out what’s on the small billboard in the above photo – click here