Last week, San Francisco hosted the annual Salesforce conference, Dreamforce. Over 170,000 people gathered downtown to experience one of the best technology events in the world (in my opinion).
The sea of people with the company’s signature blue swag in tow created a feeling of excitement and buzz in the crisp fall air. What inspired me most were three key events:
Women at the center of technology:
Now more than ever, there are amazing opportunities for women to advance in technology-focused careers. In San Francisco alone, the unemployment rate is at 3.4% where a large number of open jobs are in the computer industry. Online and in schools, there are many free programs offered to get started in technology (Khan Academy, Udemy, Salesforce.com, and others) and many start-ups will train you on the job. Moreover, companies like Salesforce and other giants are making hiring women, offering more family flexibility and equality in pay a priority. Special guests like Former First Lady Michelle Obama, Taraji P. Henson and Natalie Portman on stage to discuss their struggles in pay equality and opportunities brought the topic of women in the workforce to the center of the conference.
Technology for the greater good:
Marc Benioff is infamous for his generosity towards Bay Area public schools, children’s hospitals, and non-profit organizations. This year, he expanded his causes to include fighting the trafficking and exploitation of children and hurricane relief for Puerto Rico. Leveraging the mass number of people gathered to raise money for those less fortunate and asking the audience to find ways to become part of the solution was especially motivating for me and I am sure many others.
Customer experience is the focus of technology:
At the heart of any business solution is answering the question, “what challenge are you trying to alleviate?” Putting the customer needs and understanding why they are seeking a technology to enhance their business is key to success. Dreamforce reiterated the customer focus by not only throwing an amazing conference that caters to the diverse audience needs but also to hosting hundreds of sessions on social selling, customer success, experience, and voice. If your company isn’t focusing on customers this statistic may make you think again: “As according to a Walker study, by the year 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.” You can find more interesting facts to support your spend on customers here.
I had the honor of hosting WalkMe’s 3rd annual VIP Customer Dinner on the first night of Dreamforce. Talking to our customers over dinner confirmed the value of understanding customer needs, creating customer communities, making time to meet customers in person and the power of sharing knowledge. Here is a short clip of WalkMe’s VIP Customer Dinner.
You can catch center stage recordings from Dreamforce on the Salesforce Live page. Enjoy and live inspired!