marc benioff onstage at dreamforce '19 keynote
Decorative illustration of Mountains
Decorative illustration of Trees
Artificial Intelligence

Dreamforce ’19 Opening Keynote: Trailblazers, Together

Missed the keynote at Dreamforce ’19? We've got you covered. Read about all the top moments and latest announcements here.

Even though it’s only 9:15 a.m., the keynote room in Moscone North is already noisy. Attendees are in high-spirits as they wave across the room at old friends and call out to colleagues. They’ve gathered here from all over the world and now join millions online for the opening keynote that kicks off four unforgettable days at Dreamforce.

When it comes to technology conferences, the Dreamforce opening keynote is fairly unique. Over the last several weeks, we’ve travelled across the country to speak with hundreds of customers, soliciting their input and getting their feedback. The result is a two-hour experience we’ve created together. But why do this?

photo of salesforce co-ceo and founder Marc Benioff

Marc Benioff welcomes Trailblazers to Dreamforce ’19

Because it’s Trailblazers who make a difference every day. They’re transforming their careers, companies, and communities, and are the leaders shaping the future — all with the power of Salesforce’s technology and the Trailblazer Community. Today, we kick off our 17th Dreamforce event and celebrate business as the greatest platform for change.

Trailblazers are change-makers

Vice President of Trailhead Evangelism and Trailblazer Community Leah McGowen-Hare made her way to centerstage to welcome the audience to Dreamforce ‘19. “What a privilege to be standing here on the world’s largest enterprise, tech conference stage. As a woman, as an African-American, as a mom.” Leah remarked on our communities’ shared desire to make our respective industries inclusive and welcoming, full of people from different racial backgrounds, sexual orientations, socio-economic classes, abilities, and genders. “That’s why I’m so honored to work with Trailhead. We’re breaking down barriers.”

photo of Leah McGowen-Hare

Vice President of Trailhead Evangelism and Trailblazer Community
Leah McGowen-Hare speaks about Trailhead

Co-CEO Keith Block took the stage to thank everyone for tuning in and attending the keynote, giving a shout out to our strong, diverse community that is growing every day. Combined with our customers and partners, we’re creating a thriving ecosystem (dubbed the Salesforce Economy) that’s creating global job opportunities and a positive economic impact. “The most important thing I can do is thank you for all you do. Thank you for inspiring and motivating us for over 20 years. What we’ve created together is incredible.”

Salesforce co-CEO Keith Block

“Thank you for inspiring and motivating us for over 20 years,”
Salesforce Co-CEO Keith Block told Trailblazers gathered for the keynote

The auditorium lights dimmed and the audience was introduced to Salesforce consultant Sheldon Simmons and the organization Merivis. Merivis exemplifies an important value within the Trailblazer Community: as you climb up, it’s important to lift others up too. Founded by U.S. Air Force veterans Hector Perez, Kate Perez, and Joe Castro, Merivis empowers veterans and their spouses to begin and advance careers in cloud computing. After seeing how Sheldon transformed his life from a low point of sleeping in his car to where he is now, providing for his family, he was welcomed on stage — clad in a shimmering golden hoodie — to loud applause. “When I got that first [Trailhead] badge, I realized that, I can do this. So I decided to go all in, and it’s paid off.” Sheldon encouraged more employers to hire veterans. “I’ve been to war. A process builder and workflow is not going to rattle me. Veterans have a can-do attitude and can accomplish anything.”

Photo of Trailblazer Sheldon Simmons with Keith Block

Sheldon Simmons joins Keith Block on stage

But it wasn’t only individual Trailblazers celebrating their successes and stories. Trailblazers Louis Vuitton and State Farm Insurance were also featured, showing viewers how they put customers at the center of everything they do. As Chief Digital Officer Fawad Ahmad put it, “You might never meet a State Farm employee or get the same service agent every time, but with Salesforce 360, we can make customers feel known and adapt to their situation.”

Photo of Marc Benioff and Fawad Ahmad

“With Salesforce 360, we can make customers feel known and adapt
to their situation,” said State Farm Insurance Chief Digital
Officer Fawad Ahmad (pictured right)

The common thread to many of the stories today is digital transformation. Whether it’s someone reskilling to find a career in technology, or a company changing how and where they interact with their customers, Trailblazers are adpating and finding new ways to succeed.

Creating stakeholder value is a must

Transformation is important because we find ourselves living in revolutionary times. Right now, many factors affect the way businesses operate:

  • The trust revolution: People have lost trust in the media, the government, and the companies they do business with. People no longer trust companies will secure their data and privacy, nor that companies will do the right thing to make this a better world.
  • The intelligence revolution: Everything we use is smarter than ever before, driven by data and artificial intelligence. Smart experiences are something all customers have come to expect.
  • The customer revolution: Customers are more connected by technology, empowered to buy from trusted companies, use sustainable products, work for ethical companies, and to take action through their decisions.

Today’s companies need to pivot to accommodate all of these factors. They must create both shareholder and stakeholder value — including customers, partners, communities, and our planet — or risk losing business to competitors who are leading cultural and market shifts. It’s not easy to deliver on changing customer expectations — but Trailblazers are doing that every day.

“That is why we’re here as Trailblazers: to improve the state of the world with trust, customer success, innovation, and equality,” Chairman and Co-CEO Marc Benioff shared. And the best part is that everyone can be a Trailblazer with the help of free tools like Trailhead. Today, over 1.8 million Trailblazers are learning in-demand skills, and propelling the future of business.

Diagram of Salesforce Customer 360

Empower everyone to deliver better customer experiences

Delivering on the expectations of today’s customers is the goal all businesses chase — and we want to get you there. This is why we:

  • Created an application that teaches in-demand technology skills, and now you can skill up anywhere with Trailhead GO
  • Strive to make it easy for companies to amazing experiences for customers
  • Inject a common layer of artificial intelligence (AI) across all touchpoints – sales, service, marketing, and commerce — and make it easier for admins and developers to build custom AI so everyone can work smarter
  • Built a platform to remove data silos and connect all your customer and company data together, creating a unified, single source of truth

And when all these elements combine — Avenger-like — every team has a complete view of the customer and can build experiences that bring them closer to customers. We call this Salesforce Customer 360. Salesforce Customer 360 is trusted, smart, flexible, and sustainable. There was so much innovation on display; learn more about all our big announcements here.

Introducing Customer 360 Truth and Einstein Skills

Two big announcements caused a buzz in the keynote room and online. First up, Customer 360 Truth, a set of capabilities that unites all your data points to build a single view of your customer. As Marc said, “Data is an important part of everything we are doing and everything you are doing as our customers.” Having a single source of truth allows you to give customers the kind of personalized, relevant experiences they want, at every touch point. After all, your customers don’t want to know that they’re interacting with several different departments. They just want to talk to a brand that understands them and always delivers a personalized experience.

Photo of Bret Taylor

Salesforce Chief Product Officer Bret Taylor takes center stage to demonstrate Truth

With Customer 360 Truth, customers can connect customer data, authenticate identity, govern privacy, segment audiences, and personalize experiences. Using retailer Louis Vuitton (and a pair of snazzy sneakers) as an example of what a connected, personalized experience looks like, President and Chief Product Officer Bret Taylor took to the stage to demonstrate how Truth allows you to connect your siloed customer data sources to a central hub. “We’re going to make it easy for you to build your own 360 and your own single source of truth.”

Photo of Marc Benioff with Einstein

Marc Benioff shows off the Einstein speaker

The second announcement that had attendees pumped: voice capabilities from Einstein. Since launching in 2016, Einstein has been your guide for predicting service needs, surfacing insights, and recommending products. Now Einstein gives you guidance not just across sales, service, and marketing, but across the entire Customer 360. Amidst some lighthearted banter with Marc, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Parker Harris presented a custom-built, talking Einstein speaker. (The speaker was for demonstration only. Sorry, we’re not becoming a hardware company!) “We take the hard things and make them easy,” Parker said, explaining how we’ve embedded Einstein into Alexa, Amazon’s voice service. Principal Mobile Architect Qingqing Liu demonstrated Einstein’s new voice capabilities, relating how Salesforce will empower admins and developers to build voice skills using clicks, not code. With Einstein Voice Skills every company can build voice solutions.

Say hello to Tableau

In a special moment, we welcomed the newest addition to the Salesforce family: Tableau, the #1 analytics solution. Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky joined Marc on the Dreamforce stage for the first time and discussed Tableau and Salesforce’s shared passion for customer success and digital transformation. “You are dealing with a lot of data. And there are so many people who need to make decisions with that data. That’s why Tableau is focused on a singular mission: we help people see and understand data,” Adam said.

Photo of Adam Selipsky

Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky discusses Tableau and Salesforce’s shared passion
for customer success and digital transformation

And when we say everyone, we mean it — there are hundreds of millions of knowledge workers around the globe in every industry from CRM admins, to HR managers, doctors and nurses, to teachers. Everyone needs data to make better decisions and create impact.

Build a better world together

At Salesforce, we have four core values: trust, customer success, innovation, and equality. While these values guide what we do every day as a business, we also have a larger responsibility to all of our stakeholders — creating a better, more sustainable world. That’s why the United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGs) are front and center at Dreamforce this year. U.N. Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of U.N. Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka took the Dreamforce stage to discuss the importance of SDGs, and the progress we’re making against them. Phumzile took a moment to spotlight gender equality as a topic that spans all 17 goals. She stressed that when we don’t empower women economically, we’re actually leaving a lot of money on the table. There are 3.5 billion women around the world who are not empowered, nor have their rights protected to hold the same jobs as men — thus they cannot be economic citizens. However, with the SDGs in place and by collaborating, we can make a change.

photo of Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Keith Block

U.N. Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of U.N. Women
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka joins Keith Block on stage

The message resonates with the audience as they nod their heads in agreement. Today’s keynote — with its diverse lineup of speakers — serves as a proof point that people with different perspectives coming together can achieve great things. Because the Trailblazer Community already knows that we’re not just here to change the way the world does business; we’re here to make the world a better place. Together, we can serve our stakeholders, empower each other to build deeper relationships with customers, and be in the business of doing well by doing good.

Miss the opening keynote or want to re-watch your favorite moment again? Catch it all here on Salesforce LIVE.

Related Stories