It should hardly come as a surprise that Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference, which took place in San Francisco this week, would provide an abundance of material for anyone looking for evidence of a tech bubble.
More than 170,000 techies poured into San Francisco for the big event, which has been described as Burning Man for the enterprise software business. Fleets of pedicabs shuttled visitors around the city, a giant concert featuring the band Foo Fighters was held on the waterfront, and a massive cruise ship was docked by the Bay to accommodate those unable to secure a hotel room.
But the zeitgeist may have best been captured during a brief moment earlier in the week, when real money was actually fired out of guns into the streets.
Salesloft, an Atlanta-based startup that makes software to help salespeople sift through their leads, knew it had to do something a little different to stand out from the crowd at the conference.
The first part of Salesloft’s plan was to create a fake presidential campaign for Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.
The second part was to use cash-shooting guns, originally intended for bachelor parties and the like, to literally shoot wads of slogan-stamped $US2 bills (which, yes, actually exist and are legal tender) onto the streets of San Francisco.
These are the guns, in a picture provided by Salesloft:
And these are the $US2 bills, stamped with the “Benioff For President” slogan and a Salesloft link:
Tweets, confusion and disappointment
“We did shoot the guns off a bridge but the results were not as exciting as I had hoped,” explains Salesloft CEO Kyle Porter.
At the time that Salesloft tried its money gun experiment, “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer was filming an episode of his popular show from the street outside of Dreamforce. The Salesloft team thought it’d be funny if they shot the money into the background.
But then the wind picked up and carried the money away.
“The money was shot, people picked it up, and went on their way,” Porter says. “Some tweeted about it and some were confused.”
And that was the end of the money-shooting experiment. But not the end of Salesloft’s campaign to get Benioff elected to office.
And almost certainly not the end of the debate about the tech bubble.
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