CONFERENCE REPORT

Dreamforce Crowd Fired Up for Benioff’s Second Act

Well, it’s Wednesday at Salesforce.com’s Dreamforce in San Francisco, and the excitement is palpable. A huge crowd stood in line waiting for the doors to the keynote conference room to open, which they did at about 8:15 a.m. They were supposed to open at 8.

Once again, Salesforce.com chairman and CEO Marc Benioff came on late. This time he appeared 21 minutes after he was scheduled to hit the stage at 9 a.m. Remember we went through the late opening of the conference room and Marc’s coming on behind schedule on Tuesday?

Why, I pondered, is Marc doing this? He lives in San Francisco, it should be easy for him to get here in time.

Here’s my theory: Marc’s pulling a Steve Jobs — building up the mystery and tension, not telling anyone what’s going on. Perhaps eventually he’ll be able to come up with his own reality distortion field just like Jobs’. You have to remember, Marc, Jobs, who’s one of the world’s greatest CEOs, has an “s” in his last name; that’s the crucial difference between him and the Old Testament prophet who was tested by the Lord. In other words, Jobs is a mighty hard act to follow.

Still, Marc put on a good show, referring to Tuesday night’s party where Stevie Wonder and Will.i.am performed.

On Tuesday, he got Will.i.am, of the band Black-Eyed Peas to talk about how the cloud would benefit him in his work. On Wednesday, he referred to the musician again. “They don’t want us dancing to Will.i.am and singing his own little ‘Own It’ song,” Marc said, doing a little dance onstage.

OK, considering that and thinking back to the music this morning which had the bass turned up so loud the tables in the conference room were vibrating, I’ve come up with a new theory: Marc’s really a secret rapper.

That’s OK by me; but, if begins rapping or crunking, I’m going to moonwalk off at high speed.

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