Dreamforce 2011–the conference that brought together upwards of 35,000 developers, professionals, entrepreneurs, non-profit representatives, executives, and industry leaders–enabled each niche to gain something useful from event.
Attending Day 2 of the event with the focus of identifying tools and trends useful to social entrepreneurs and social innovators, a few key themes came to mind.
Listening In to Marc Benioff and Eric Schmidt
One of the most compelling sessions of Day 2 was the afternoon keynote session which featured an interview between Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Google Chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt. (see here for the video)
Surprisingly, though the conversation was being viewed by a live audience of thousands and was also being broadcast online, it had a kind of personal and intimate feel to it. Like overhearing a conversation between 2 long-time colleagues–who know each other well enough to make a few jokes at the other’s expense, but who also respected the other enough to ask probing questions leading to insightful response.
Schmidt was articulate and honest. Benioff was a generous host and a thoughtful interviewer.
So, what can social innovators learn from Dreamforce, Benioff, and Schmidt?
Top 5 Things Social Innovators Learn From Dreamforce 2011
1. Mobile. Throughout various sessions, there was emphasis on the astounding growth of mobile usage. More people are adopting mobile devices and tablets as main ways they access the internet. Social entrepreneurs looking to build new products, services, and websites would be wise to build their strategy around mobile device usage and content. This includes building apps on multiple platforms and/or making a mobile version of a site.
2. Social. Understanding and using social networks, social platforms, and social media is becoming less optional and more of a necessity in connecting individuals and social investors to causes, and to each other. With a plethora of apps to help engage your audience, it is important for social innovators and social entrepreneurs to consider their goals when it comes to building engagement and wisely use existing social platforms to extend their reach.
3. Local. In the keynote as well as in sessions such as the Google Apps super session, there was an emphasis on the future of local. News, events, deals are most valid to users when they are in the same locale. In building ways for your social venture to effectively connect with your intended audience, consider how to customize the user experience to make it relevant to their location.
4. Real-time. Mobile, social, local formed a buzzword trifecta at Dreamforce. And Marc Benioff was quick to remind the audience of another in his keynote talk with Eric Schmidt. He mentioned that real-time is also an emerging trend in effectively connecting with audiences. Just as information is more relevant when it applies to your location, it is also more relevant when it applies to you, now. As social entrepreneurs consider how to connect their cause with those who can contribute time, resources, social engagement support, it is important to think about how to connect content in real-time.
5. Work with Good People. When Benioff asked Schmidt about what attracted him to start at Google when it was a young company, Schmidt turned to the audience and said, “life is short and you should spend time working with people you enjoy’. Social business is unique because of its emphasis on building a revenue model as well as serving the community and environment—part of making it work is having an awesome team of bright, committed folks, who like and bring out the best in each other.
To catch up on our tweets from the event, follow @innov8social on Twitter. You can also search #df11 for other tweets related to Dreamforce 2011.