Curious Obsessions comments on select brand development, design trends and marketing, nonprofit branding, education branding, entrepreneurship and transformational design thinking.
The last day of Dreamforce ’12 was bittersweet. I am happy to get back home, not because the Marriot Marquis’ accommodations aren’t as nice as home (they’re actually nicer) it’s mostly cause I miss my family. Yet, I wish I could have had an extra week to pick the brains of the developers.
I had 2 breakout sessions and I attended the Q&A with Marc Benioff. The first breakout sessions dealt with non-profit organizations and their use of Salesforce.com. Winnie Stachelberg, who is Executive Vice President for External Affairs for The Center for American Progress was on hand. She lauded Salesforce.com and its ability to provide important data on the fly. Winnie said that the Center for American Progress uses Salesforce.com to keep track of their members and run reports to make sure that they match up relevant people. By this, she means that if there is a flash point in Kenya, for example, they send representatives who are experts on Kenyan affairs; or if there is an economic summit going on, that they send economists and so on. She says the low costs and ease of use are also major factors in their continued use of Salesforce.com.
The second breakout session was a virtual tour of the Salesforce.com infrastructure. From data center to data center, the presentation covered everything from database connections to routing and reinforced what makes Salesforce.com such a safe and secure place to store your data. What I found most amazing is that they maintain 5 copies of all the data in near real time synchronization and they also utilize a tape backup.
The Q&A session was amazing. Not in the sense that there was a lot to learn or that revelations would be made, but mostly it was amazing to see the personalities of the individuals who run Salesforce.com. Marc Benioff had his entire executive staff available to take questions, and they are wonderfully humble and easily approachable people. The vast majority of people either went to the microphone to thank the leadership for their service in the community through the Salesforce.com Foundation or to ask for money (seriously… most people went up to the mic to pitch some product and ask for money). Some people, however, had relevant questions about the product. It was one of these few relevant questions, which lead Marc to divulge that they are building and about to staff a major data center in Portland, Oregon.
This was the last session. After we came out of the Q&A we became witness to people scurrying about tearing down the banners, ripping up flooring and quickly bringing the convention facilities back to their normal state. I headed back to my room, packed up my belongings and headed out to take the BART to the airport. Until next November when I shall attend the next convention, so long San Francisco.
Hello again from Dreamforce 2012. The third day here for me was a busy one. I went to several breakout sessions dealing with development, spent some time talking to the Salesforce.com Foundation representatives in the nonprofit area, and listened to Colin Powell and Jeffrey Immelt discuss their views upon todays technological landscape. Later I attended a party for nonprofit engagement companies.
First I have to state that this is one immense convention. There are well over 60,000 people here and the expo halls, the auditoriums, and the conference facilities are packed into several city blocks. To go from one side of the convention to the other, outside, is roughly a 15-20 minute walk. So constantly going from breakout session to breakout session means I have walked several miles each day – it is that big.
The hands-on sessions that they have here are awesome. The presenters are friendly and their depth of knowledge is tremendous. I have learned a lot on configuration, customization and using development tools, but there is so much more that’s available. From the beginning user to the advanced developer, there is something for everyone.
My discussions with the Salesforce.com Foundation representatives were enriching. The Salesforce.com Foundation is born from the 1/1/1 model. Marc Benioff’s vision was to donate 1% of Salesforce.com’s equity, 1% of his employee’s time, and 1% of his product to improve communities around the world. This is a very powerful gift that is available to nonprofit organizations. For 501(c)3 organizations, you can apply to Salesforce.com for 10 free user licenses and deeply discounted rates for additional users. Considering the potent platform that Salesforce.com brings to the table, it makes perfect sense for nonprofits to use it.
There is a plethora of products available to enhance the Salesforce.com platform that are available to nonprofit organizations. From admin tools to social media apps, from free to discounted-for-nonprofit, there are hundreds of apps. All of which are geared to helping your organization increase awareness, keep track of your donations, and expand communication on all levels. This product is a must have for any nonprofit.
The keynote address with Colin Powell and GE’s Chairman/CEO Jeffrey Immelt was great. Both shared ideas on how technology is influencing out economy and our lives. General Powell felt that we need to continue to embrace the internet and technology; however we must also be cautious as to not lose what makes us a relational society. They also shared their beliefs on how the road to economic recovery will be long and hinges on our ability to create more jobs, both here and in underdeveloped areas abroad. They also spoke of the need for more education and the fact that there are millions of jobs out there that go unfilled because of a lack of training.
Finally, the nonprofit engagement party was packed! Wall-to-wall with representatives, the event allowed many of us to share ideas and see how many nonprofits are leveraging the power of Salesforce.com to their advantage. It was a fun and exciting time.
As of this writing, there is one more day and there’s still more to see before I take the “red-eye” back home. An 11:30 pm flight out with an arrival of 8am in Cleveland…