A History of Dreamforce

dreamforce_logoLong, long ago, in the year 2003, Salesforce launched its first Dreamforce, with 1,300 registered attendees. A decade later, during 2013’s Dreamforce event, more than 130,000 attended.

What else happened during those 10 years of Salesforce education and inspiration? And what can attendees expect this year? See below for Dreamforce milestones, as well as what’s to come during Salesforce’s annual cloud computing event.

A 10,000% attendance increase over 10 years
We already mentioned the 2003 attendance of 1,300 and 2013 attendance of more than 130,000, but what’s especially amazing is how that number rapidly increased in just the past few years. For example, in 2008, the conference gathered 10,200 people, but doubled in size (from 46,000 to 92,000) from 2011 to 2012. This year, Dreamforce expects even more at its event Oct. 13-16 in San Francisco.

From no band to Bruno Mars
When an event is first held, you can’t expect Grammy award-winning artists to perform. So in its inaugural year, a couple of high-tech executives were the keynote speakers and there was no gala event band. But over the years, the clout of the entertainment greatly increased, with Train performing as the Dreamforce headliner in 2006. Then INXS, Foo Fighters, the Black Crowes, Stevie Wonder, Will.i.am, Metallica, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blondie and Green Day followed – and in 2014, guests can witness a live show from Grammy award-winner Bruno Mars.

High-tech executives and high-profile celebrities
A couple of years after Dreamforce began, internet technology executives, politicians and entertainment celebrities became a major draw for the event. Michael Dell, Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer and Eric Schmidt have offered their inspirational words as keynote speakers, as have General Colin Powell, former President Bill Clinton, Sir Richard Branson, Tony Robbins and Deepak Chopra. See our post on why you can’t miss this year’s Dreamforce for the 2014 keynote speaker lineup, including Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

Innovations, innovations, innovations
Featuring a theme each year centered on forward thinking, Dreamforce unveils a new product or idea each time. In 2004, the company went public, and the next year, the Salesforce AppExchange was released, which has more than 2,300 apps and almost 2.5 million downloads. Salesforce LIVE was introduced in 2010 and went from 22,750 viewers to 480,000 in 2013. Other noteworthy unveilings include Force.com, Chatter and, in 2013, the Salesforce1 platform.

What will Salesforce announce at its 2014 Dreamforce?  With highlights for women in technology, more than 1,400 breakout sessions and special guests to appear with Marc Benioff during his keynote speech, Dreamforce promises four days of “learning, imagination, networking, giving, having fun” and yes, innovation.


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