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From our first glimpse of the Dreamforest, patting Lilou the therapy pig and a bunch of guide dog puppies, seeing Al Gore shake a few thousand people into action,  meeting some of our favourite devs and admins – choosing just 10 highlights is a pretty tough gig. But someone’s gotta do it!
 

10. All eyes on equality

 

Equality is one of our core values as a company, so we were ecstatic to see Trailblazers from around the world walk under the Dreamforce arch in downtown San Francisco.

We also saw local Bay Area Mayors discuss their plans to protect and promote diversity and inclusion, and address issues such as homelessness, transportation, wages, and standard of living.

We heard Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi speak of the company refocusing on fairer working conditions for its partners.

At the 7th annual Salesforce Women’s Network reception, visionary leaders from PG&E, Girl Scouts of USA, and Care.com came together to discuss the pivotal role women play in driving the future of tech.

Finally, the cornerstone of the equality program: The Equality Summit. If you weren’t there, catch up on YouTube:

Equality Keynote with Tracee Ellis Ross and Adam Rippon
 

9. It’s not all learning!

 

Obviously we love to talk tech. But parties and flash mobs, climbing walls and waterfalls, ice cream and characters fill the days and nights of Dreamforce.

Veteran Dreamforce – and World Tour Sydney – troubadour LT Smooth crooned as Chief Equality Officer Tony Prophet sipped a coffee drink in the opening keynote.

Metallica and Janet Jackson performed – at the same time. Trailblazers hunted on a Quest that earned them prizes. The Outfierce party raised money for a great cause. A philanthropic pig hammed it up.  Trailblazers everywhere blended learning and fun at every step.
 

It’s not all learning – we also got ‘appy!

8. Aussies representing!

 

Dreamforce is a go-to destination for every industry, covering the world of work – and its future.

We heard top CEOs and other visionaries talk about the future of retail, financial services, healthcare and life sciences, manufacturing, travel and more. Hundreds of Salesforce partners showed why they are at the forefront of their industries.   

One of our favourite industry sessions was from an Aussie – AHPRA Executive Director, Business Services Sarndrah Horsfall explained the organisation’s path to a truly digital and customer-first future.

AHPRA had created a beast, Horsfall explained, with 8000 process steps. More than a third of its processes was just ‘noise’ that didn't add any value.

She explained a digital transformation that’s addressing:

  • Public risk
  • Staff satisfaction
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Cost efficiency
     

7. Using tech to build a better future

 

Tristan Harris, Co-Founder of The Center for Humane Technology, asked the audience to put down their phones and listen – and they did. Kai-Fu Lee, the Chairman of VC fund Sinovation Ventures, and Richard Socher, Salesforce's Chief Scientist, discussed artificial intelligence. Former Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush talked about the future of government.
 

Jeb Bush, Leadership in a Changing World

Will.i.am Dreamtalk

6. Balancing wellness and ambition

 

How many tech conferences have a day devoted to health and mindfulness? This one did!

The monks from Plum Village in France, Dreamforce veterans, returned for meditation sessions and a walk through downtown San Francisco.

Arianna Huffington and Deepak Chopra spoke to audiences about balancing modern life (and work) with mental health.  

Trailblazers dove into hands-on workshops and gave their careers a boost with certification exams. Since we heard in the opening keynote that one in four people who’ve earned a Trailhead certification have also landed a new job, that’s a pretty good way to embrace personal ambition!

Trailhead certifications are an opportunity to land a new job.

Monks led a spiritual time-out.

5. There’s no ‘doing well’ without also ‘doing good’

 

Values are important to Trailblazers, and even the concerts at Dreamfest benefit great causes, including raising millions of dollars for the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals.

Sessions, meanwhile, featured our new product for nonprofits, Salesforce.org Philanthropy Cloud.

Former US Vice President Al Gore didn’t just speak about climate change – he lifted up a few thousand people, held us in the air, shook us for an hour and, sweaty and shouting and passionate about every word, put us back down. He changed every person in that room. If you only watch one session from Dreamforce, make it this one.

Actor, filmmaker, and social advocate Adrian Grenier spoke about his most recent project, the Lonely Whale Foundation. And a very beautiful Gratitude Tree drew admiration and thank you notes.
 

If you only watch one session, make it Al Gore’s.

The Gratitude Tree

4. New partnerships

 

Apple’s VP of Product Marketing Susan Prescott kicked off a fireside chat with Salesforce CMO Stephanie Buscemi by calling Salesforce and Apple “besties.” The two companies have long been aligned in mission and values – and just signed a new strategic partnership that will help app developers and customers.

Sidenote for marketers: Prescott also told us that her all-time fave Apple campaign is still that iPod ‘1000 songs in your pocket’ one from 15 years ago. Why? Because Apple didn't invent MP3, but that campaign made it consumer-friendly. Doesn't hurt that it made those white earbuds iconic either!

The session went on to discuss the many ways that mobile and apps, in particular, are changing marketing. Dreamforce was cited as an example: “I didn’t even bring my laptop,” said Buscemi.

Amazon Web Services and Salesforce also announced new ways to share data across platforms.

3. We found a stellar startup at Dreampitch!

 

It’s become one of the most loved Dreamforce traditions, and for good reason. Dreampitch was back again this year — and it did not disappoint! Three entrepreneurs had the chance to pitch their ideas for the next great startup built on the Salesforce platform in front of a panel of expert judges and industry luminaries. If you’re struggling to imagine this, think of it this way: “Shark Tank with a splash of Salesforce”. Or just watch the video!

Each had five minutes to convince the panel of judges — which included celebrity entrepreneur and investor will.i.am — why they should go home with a big $250,000 check from Salesforce Ventures. The big winner was Mars Mundy, who dazzled judges with his auto industry car repair operating system, CarServ.
  

Dreampitch Winner CarServ impressed the judges to walk away with USD250,000 funding.

2. Announcements and developments to transform CX and EX

 

There’s never a shortage of big news and announcements at Dreamforce.

This year we got up close with Salesforce Customer 360, which will draw all of your disparate customer data to create wholistic customer profiles no matter the platforms your customers use (and even if they use a few different email addresses, phone numbers and social profiles – no more frustration!).

We saw our very own Trailblazer, Principal Mobile Architect Qingqing Liu, walk us through Einstein Voice via a sales rep’s perfect morning – we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, Einstein Voice is a game changer!

(just to name a few), Dreamforce ‘18 was all about working together to connect to our customers in new and more engaginRight through to expanded partnerships with Apple and ABBg ways.  
 

Einstein Voice Launch
 

1. Celebrating all the Trailblazers

 

Dreamforce is that special time of year when Trailblazers from all around the world come together as one Ohana to share their knowledge, collaborate on new innovations, and salute those within the Salesforce family who are tirelessly dedicated to transforming themselves and making the world a better place in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
 

The Golden Hoodie owners in the keynote crowd included Aussie Trailblazer Bec Aichholzer

Marc Benioff, Chairman and Co-CEO of Salesforce kicked off the week with Dreamforce: A Celebration of Trailblazers to an audience of thousands — millions, if you count those who joined in online — where he showcased how brands like Bruno Cucinelli, Unilever, Marriott, and United Way are blazing trails and disrupting their industries in powerful ways.

We’ve covered a couple of points from the keynote already, but didn't get close to talking about all of our favourite moments, so here’s one more!

We met the founder of PepUp Tech, who provide training, mentorship and the confidence needed to build a tech career to underserved students. They’re not only providing employment pathways but bringing vital diversity to tech.

Founder Selina Suarez shared her personal tale – one of overcoming adversity, carving out her own path, changing lives and inspiring others to do the same.

“Any time you share your knowledge and experiences, you're blazing a trail for others to follow,” Suarez said.

We couldn’t agree more!

Save the date for next year’s Dreamforce: 19-22 November 2019. Sign up to be notified when registration opens. If you can't make it to San Francisco you can also join us at our upcoming Basecamp event in Melbourne on 21 November at the MCEC for a day of networking, inspiration, learning and fun.