10 Pinch-Worthy Moments from Dreamforce 2014 

October 28, 2014

Call it a San Francisco vs. Seattle ‘thing,’ but if you’d asked me a week ago to name the technology industry’s “biggest,” “most innovative” event, I probably would have said SXSW. After all, Salesforce’s Dreamforce would be too focused on CRM, right? Wrong.

Ask me today – after four days and accumulating over 26 miles of FitBit steps (shameless plug to ServiceSource’s #MyDF14Journey FitBit campaign), networking and dancing with some of the most recognized brands in the technology industry – and I’ll freely admit I was wrong. 

According to WSJ, Dreamforce 2014 was equal parts luau, spring break, rock festival, food drive, and TEDx. With over 145,000 registered attendees representing more than 90 countries – and another five million streaming the event live – Dreamforce spilled out of San Francisco’s Moscone Center into adjacent streets and a half dozen nearby hotels, practically shutting down a portion of downtown San Francisco. 

Here are 10 pinch-worthy moments to prove Salesforce’s 2014 event wasn’t a dream: 

1. Donated: 3 million meals and $9M to children’s hospitals 


2. @Benioffsshoes: there’s no place like Dreamforce



3. When SaaSy pics are more popular than ‘Bono’





Seriously, who needs fake bono? (The lady in the background knows I’m getting punk’d)

4. Two words that don’t need an explanation: Hillary Clinton. 




Hillary Clinton on potential candidacy in 2016, “I don’t want to make any news today.” Better yet, Hillary’s response to:  time for a woman in the White House? “I will vote for her.” 

5. Three words from Will.I.Am that are still up for debate: #notawatch



…And the audience whispers to each other…looks like a watch. 

6. Not knowing when to disconnect 



Don’t worry, if you missed Bruno Mars, Salesforce will “treasure” you, just the “wave” you are. 

7. There can never be enough phone or computer charging ports and stations. 


8. “Can I scan your badge” is not a pickup line 


9. Daily happy hour on the expo floor, and finding the first booth to give away beer 



Yeah, yeah…you scan my badge, just give me the beer”

10. Champagne and pizza in a king-sized bed with your co-worker on a Thursday night 



Because, well, you both survived 

There’s more than celebrities, music and philanthropic activity that make Dreamforce an event worth watching for businesses and the PR pros that represent them. Over the past few years, Salesforce has quickly become a technology juggernaut, with an estimated $5B in annual revenue. The company’s own technology innovations (like just announced Wave and Lightning) and larger partner ecosystem have significantly expanded over the last 12-18 months, now attracting not only traditional sales, marketing and CRM but also cloud, application development, big data and analytics audiences. 

What are the implications for PR pros? Here’s my two cents: 

First, keep a close eye on Salesforce. If they don’t compete with your client(s) currently, they probably will in the near future at some capacity. Talk to your client(s) about their role in the Salesforce ecosystem – are they a partner, competitor, customer? Do they have a unique POV to insert their company practices and ride the Salesforce ‘wave’? 

Second, start preparing now for Dreamforce 2015. If this year’s event growth is any indication, Dreamforce ’15 is going to be unreal. As with any tradeshow, attracting media/analyst attention away from Salesforce and toward your client(s) is incredibly challenging – after all, it is their party. How should you approach news announcements prior to the event? Does it make sense to announce before, during, or after the event? What’s your outreach strategy for on-site media and analyst relations? How can you connect the dots between what Salesforce is doing and what your client is announcing, or already does? Do you have a marquee customer who’s attending the event? Can you offer a point-of-view that isn’t self-promotional? 

Lastly, get creative. A wise – not old – man always  tells me, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” While this theory is not always true or the best approach for ongoing media and analyst relations, being the loudest and most provocative at tradeshows does have its perks. Outside of product or company news, what other campaigns can you execute – a survey, or contest? This year alone we saw the re-emergence of fake bono, at least half a dozen fully-costumed company mascots including SaaSy and the MuleSoft mule, and last and arguably not least, more booth babes. Maybe next year I’ll win a date with Marc Benioff. 




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