We’re posting a series of vignettes to celebrate Salesforce’s 20th birthday. Follow our digital scrapbook to get a behind the scenes glimpse of our history.

You can’t shut down innovation. That’s why even a surprise cancellation of CEO Marc Benioff’s keynote at Oracle OpenWorld 2011 couldn’t silence the message Salesforce had for the world: it was the end of software, cloud computing could extend enterprise applications to every company.

News of the cancellation barely registered before the team made a critical decision — customers wouldn’t get left behind.


The keynote team had to hustle. OpenWorld meant everything was booked, but the team found a new venue. Next, invitations, production, audio/visual, and logistics were all redone — in under 24 hours.

Overnight, a planned protest with signs and employee demonstrators took shape. By morning on October 5, the streets around Moscone Center were brimming with action.

The Cloud becomes a rallying cry for Salesforce colleagues and would-be keynote attendees on Oct. 5, 2011


"While some companies were trying to shut down the cloud, Salesforce was democratizing cloud computing for everyone,” says Al Falcione, SVP Corporate Messaging.

Fun times as SaaSy joins the Oracle OpenWorld protest


Meanwhile, Marc Benioff gave his keynote and met customers.


Marc Benioff gives a keynote at the St. Regis hotel on Oct. 5, 2011.

In the end, innovation would thrive, new companies would have access to enterprise-class applications, and Salesforce’s innovative approach to OpenWorld 2011 became company legend.


Happy birthday, Salesforce. May the next 20 be as innovative as the first 20.