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Since its inception in 2003, Dreamforce has become a force to be reckoned with, not just in marketing technology but in the business world in general. With a bill full of big names and a hall full of 170,000 attendees, the 2016 event was no different. Here are 8 of the highlights of DreamForce 2016.
1. The Feel of the Event
It may sound cheesy, but the minds behind this event have designed it to feel a little innovative and avante garde, much like Salesforce itself. This is obviously no regular conference or expo, with Buddhist monks dotted around the place, much ado about charity and natural decor reflecting the ‘trailblazer’ theme. This in itself grabbed a heap of media attention.
2. Marc Benioff
One highlight of each Dreamforce conference is the always colorful and stimulating keynote speech from big man himself. This year the Salesforce CEO kicked off with a focus on the importance of values and equality in industry, a major topic of Dreamforce 2016. Buddhist monks also got an unscripted nod, more on them later, but the big news was Einstein, Salesforce’s major new AI project.
Artificial intelligence means a lot of things to a lot of people. To Salesforce it means customer relationship and marketing management systems with the ability to collect, sort, compile and use customer information with minimal human input and maximum efficiency. It means bringing the right information to the right sales experts without the need for data scientists and the like. It also means a lot of strange branding involving Albert Einstein, some fluffy costumes and Codey the Bear?
4. Do well by doing good
One of Salesforce’s core values Dreamforce 2016 embodied this by raising more than $2,000,000 for combating HIV with the help of U2, RED and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Marc Benioff also adopted a public school to help promote equality and asked the audience to do the same. Finally, the resident Buddhist monks showed that words don’t need to speak so loud after-all.
5. Melinda Gates and Robin Roberts’ Fervent Fireside Discussion
On lifting up women was definitely one of the most warming parts of the event, in a spiritual as well as physical sense.
6. Buddhist monks
One of the more unusual highlights came courtesy of the Plum Village Monastics, who were on hand to promote mindfulness somewhat ironically in the middle of the haywire event.
7. A Master Class in Customer Involvement
Salesforce customers have been invited into the ‘campground’ of the conference to host sessions as well as being given the opportunity to make their ‘Dreampitch’ to business heavyweights for a $150,000 investment.
8. Tony Robbins
The biggest of big names in motivational speaking had the audience on their feet, cheering and generally feeling great before going on to praise ‘the hunger to succeed’ that everyone shares, saying that we must use it as a catalyst for everything we do.