I remember covering SalesForce back in 1999, when it launched. No company more thoroughly papered my desk with press kits. It’s impressive to see how much this company has grown. This week’s DreamForce conference in San Francisco’s Moscone Center boasts 90,000 attendees, according to SalesForce. I can believe it.
Time was, software demos were pretty boring. There would be a customer record, a transaction, a UML diagram perhaps, and a bunch of code. With SaaS so perfectly positioned at the nexus of mobile and cloud computing, the demos in today’s keynote by CEO Marc Benioff were suddenly cool. Australia’s CommBank? Cool. Virgin America? Cool. Burberry? Cool. Yes, it’s customers and transactions, but something has happened in the last 10 years — five years — and our smart, touch devices, combined with cloud connectivity, big data and the move away from client-server apps suddenly make us all experts in usability. As a result, winning companies will talk to us exactly as our most entertaining apps do. Social is a game-changer. Communication isn’t linear anymore. And DreamForce is holding a big party in San Francisco, one where everyone feels darn optimistic about the future.