SAN FRANCISCO: Salesforce kicked off its annual Dreamforce customer event in San Francisco on Wednesday, boasting 45,000 attendees and, according to a tweet by Marc Benioff, another 35,000 customers watching online.
The number of attendees has jumped hugely over the past few years. Dreamforce 2010 had over 30,000 attendees, which itself was 70 per cent up on the 2009 event.
While previous Dreamforce events, and Oracle's competing OpenWorld, often make quite an imprint on downtown San Francisco, this week there is a visiting IT crowd like never before.
It seems as if the city has been turned into one giant party, as queues pile up outside drinks venues on Tuesday night, blocking the streets.
Salesforce is being a great host, while obviously basking in all the attention. Free hot dogs are being given out to those passing the vast Moscone Centre where the event is being held, while shops in the city are giving Salesforce attendees large discounts.
Salesforce has also invited more press, bloggers and analysts to the conference than ever before, with at least eight journalists flown out specially from the UK.
There are large pictures of Benioff dotted around the conference too, depicting him almost as some sort of god of the cloud.
Salesforce seems to be increasingly trying to present Dreamforce as the de facto industry event for the cloud, in a similar way that RSA/EMC positions the RSA Conference in the security space.
However, despite being marketed as 'The Cloud Computing Industry Event of the Year', Dreamforce remains very much a customer event, the keynote speaker roster consisting mainly of Salesforce and customer execs.
So is the size of this week's event down to genuine customer interest, or is it more due to Salesforce's marketing prowess?
The firm announced a 97 per cent dip in year-on-year profits in May, although many analysts at the time put this down to the company's rise in operating costs following seven acquisitions in the 12-month period.
At the same time as announcing the profit slump, the firm revealed that it had acquired 5,400 customers over the course of the year.
Whatever the reasons, V3 will bring you all the latest news and opinion from the event over the next few days, so stay tuned.
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