Dreamforce 2011 — Why isn’t there a communications show like this?

I went to Salesforce.com’s Dreamforce event a few days ago. It was a repeat for me as I also attended in 2010. What an event! Since I left I’ve been asking myself two questions. How did Salesforce pull this off? And, more importantly for you and me, why isn’t there a communications event like this?

So for the first question, let me start by pointing you to Nancy Jamison’s write up on the event, "Plenty for the Contact Center at Dreamforce ’11." A great summary. Thanks, Nancy. So how did they pull it off? Is it the San Francisco venue (they outgrew Moscone and had to hold some sessions in adjacent hotels)? Was it Metallica as the entertainment (I skipped that one)? Was it Marc Benioff’s stage presence (not to mention his who’s who of on-stage friends)? I really don’t know. Sure Salesforce is hot, but this is a single vendor-centric event primarily in the CRM space — yet they get 40,000 people!

How about the second question…Why isn’t there a communications event like this? Nancy Jamison likens it to telecom shows of past decades, but those are gone. To our good friends at Enterprise Connect and IT Expo, you’re probably the biggest comm industry shows in North America, but still a fraction of the size of Dreamforce. Our communications industry is hundreds of times bigger than the Salesforce base, but…well I don’t get it.

So…where does this leave us? My hat goes off to Benioff and crew for an amazing event. And I commit to help in whatever way I can to help drive the same level of enthusiasm in our market. Ah, but wait…maybe our market is the same as the Salesforce market. Maybe the CRM space and the UC space and the contact center space are one. Maybe customers are looking for complete solutions to better service their customers and communications is a key part of all that. Maybe…

What do you think?

Joe Staples, CMO and Dreamforce fan