Today was the early start to Dreamforce 2009, with paid training events, an orientation to new Dreamforce attendees and two hours of the Cloud Expo.
San Francisco itself is plastered with bus-stop ads for Dreamforce, and the Sassy mascot is making Mickey Mouse-like street-side appearances. (Disconcertingly, Sassy actually spoke back to me. I guess the name fits!)
While some people attended paid training today (Tuesday November 17, 2009), for most people Dreamforce started at 6pm when the cloud expo opened. Guests were given Hawaiian welcomes (plus free food and booze!), overwhelming the staff at most booths. The expo area promises to have much interesting content to peruse in between all the must-see sessions of the conference. (See full conference program.)
Tweeters and Bloggers were especially welcomed, having a special area set aside in the Force.com Campground. The TweetUp was an opportunity to meet well-known community bloggers, and some Salesforce.com staff too. I was fortunate to meet Jon Mountjoy, whose name is associated with much of the Force.com and Visualforce information you’ll find on the Internet.
I also had the pleasure of meeting Leah Cutter, a Technical Writer responsible for the Apex documentation. Lead was very proud to show off the new Force.com Workbook, which is a large-format 80-page book that leads readers through the steps of creating a Force.com application. It also comes with pull-out, laminated ‘Cheat Sheets’ that are a fantastic reference for Apex, Visualforce, formulas and Web Services. Here’s Leah explaining what she does:
I also met Ümit Yalçinalp, who recently joined the Salesforce.com Developer Evangelism team. What does it mean? That’s what I asked Ümit:
All of this was followed-up by party-hopping amongst multiple venues throughout San Francisco. At an Asia-Pacific event, the head of Salesforce.com for APAC announced that 16,000 attendees had registered and hinted that Marc Benioff will have some great annuoncements tomorrow. The Eloqua and Model Metrics events were too full and noisy, so instead I roamed the streets with some fellow bloggers. Ah, what a great week this is turning out to be!
My thanks also goes to the event co-ordinators, George P. Johnson, and Salesforce.com for helping me with an accommodation snafu — they were very friendly and ‘accommodating’!
The Bottom Line
- While Dreamforce always has some big announcements, the real benefit is in meeting Salesforce.com staff and members of the Salesforce Community
- In a year hard-hit by the Global Financial Crisis, Dreamforce and Salesforce are growing in size and popularity
- They spent a bomb on this conference!