Gray skies and scattered rainfall weren’t enough to discourage the thousands of attendees at Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference in San Francisco this week.
The event, that goes from Nov. 18-21, promotes the cloud computing company’s latest innovations in customer relationship management and sales tech. As with years past, 2013 boasts a high profile speaker list that includes Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Laurent Lamothe, the prime minister of Haiti, detailing how IT can support developing countries, especially as they recover from natural disasters.
Here’s a look at a few of the highlights from Dreamforce day two:
EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED
An opening keynote by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff promoted the company’s new multi-functional customer platform, Salesforce1, that consolidates a variety of applications in one place. He also spoke about the company’s developing AppExchange for the private and public sectors.
Benioff also talked about the "Internet of everything,” referring to a vision of a future where nearly every facility, product and tool is connected. He forecasted a future that would incorporate Internet connectivity into things like electric toothbrushes — which he conveniently pulled from his pocket as an example — to other household appliances to nearly every other facet of everyday life.
The CEO also offered a few hard numbers in his presentation, suggesting that the company’s first $1 billion quarter may be just the beginning. Benioff expects the company to have earnings greater than $5 billion next year.
HOW CAN IT HELP HAITI?
Haiti’s Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe took the stage alongside Benioff, and at a special session where he identified how IT philanthropy has played a vital role in improving his nation’s data infrastructure. The two most significant contributions IT companies can give the Haitian people, according to Lamothe, are employment opportunities to help alleviate poverty and continued IT contributions to support the country’s data infrastructure.
According to its website, Salesforce raised nearly $800,000 for relief agencies in Haiti following the devastating 2010 earthquake, including the Red Cross and World Vision. The company has also donated free licenses for its products to organizations headquartered in Haiti.
PROTESTS AGAINST YAHOO CEO
A short but newsworthy protest broke out during Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s interview with Benioff. A handful of protestors gathered with raised picket signs and chants, related to Mayer’s role on the board of directors of Walmart. Security escorted the protestors out of the Moscone Center, while Benioff quipped to Mayer, “You appear to have brought your fan club.”
Mayer kept to the interview, which focused on her drive to embrace the mobile app movement at Yahoo and her passion for team-building, two practices she believes are helping the company make a comeback.