Salesforce.com CEO Calls for a Business ‘Arab Spring’

Salesforce.com’s DreamForce conference lived up to its reputation. It was bigger, better, and the place to be this week. This wasn’t a conference, it was a cult convention.

The atmosphere in the convention center before each morning’s keynote reminds me of the energy you feel before a rock concert or a San Francisco Giants game. Pre-show entertainment included roving interviews with customers like Autodesk, Nissan, NBC Universal, and celebrities like Neil Young against a backdrop of heavy bass music from a DJ mix. You know the music; the kind you hear at a baseball or football game. Folks lined up hours early to get a seat in front to be that much closer to Marc Benioff, Salesforce’s CEO and Chairman. The pre-game tailgate party was donuts and coffee in the brisk fog of San Francisco. The energy was palpable. Bloggers in the ‘Pound’ flexed their fingers warming up in order to tweet and blog as fast as they could in order to be the first one with the quote, announcement or insight.

It’s well known that Marc Benioff’s role model is Steve Jobs and his goal is to create a cult following – for him and the company. With 45,000 record-breaking attendees, over 300 partners exhibiting, and 475 breakout sessions this event is evidence that he’s achieved that. Salesforce’s success is impressive with $2.1 billion in revenue and over 100,000 customers processing over 36 billion transactions per quarter. This is the poster child in the SaaS industry as the company to model.

The keynote hall throbbed with anticipation and every attendee’s secret hope was that Benioff would stop and shake their hand as he customarily does during his roving keynotes. Finally the room goes black and the crowd erupts into a roar; the King is coming.

This year the message was the Social Enterprise and the need for a social revolution.

Read the rest of this post on Forbes at http://www.forbes.com/sites/christinecrandell/2011/09/03/salesforce-com-ceo-calls-for-a-business-arab-spring/

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