More than 150,000 people are coming to San Francisco for Dreamforce this week -- here's what to expect

Marc Benioff and Parker HarrisSalesforceSalesforce cofounders Marc Benioff and Parker Harris

We’re only a couple days away from Dreamforce, the massive conference Salesforce hosts every year in San Francisco. This year’s event is slated to be another huge one, with more than 150,000 people from 90-plus countries coming for the four-day extravaganza.

Most people outside of enterprise software don’t even know about Salesforce, but Dreamforce has now become one of the largest tech events in the world.

People flock to Dreamforce not just for the product updates or the seemingly countless keynote sessions — it’s the full experience of meeting people and being part of the growing Salesforce community.

“Dreamforce has gone way beyond being just a user conference, to effectively becoming the Woodstock of the software industry,” CRM Essentials partner Brent Leary told Business Insider. “Every industry influencer is here. For a whole week, Salesforce owns all the oxygen and all the mindshare.”

Here’s a breakdown of what to expect at Dreamforce 2015:

The show is so big, Salesforce rented a cruise ship

This year’s Dreamforce is expected to be the biggest in history, with more than 150,000 registered attendees and 400 exhibitors participating. There’ll be more than 2,200 sessions and keynotes, with more than 10 million people tuning in online.

In fact, Dreamforce has gotten so big, Salesforce couldn’t find enough hotel rooms to accommodate all of its guests. To solve this, Salesforce rented a giant cruise ship called Dreamboat, by partnering with Celebrity Cruises. The ship will be docked at Pier 27, and will also host the Dreamforce kick-off party.


Salesforce/Celebrity Cruise
The Dreamboat.

Star speaker lineup

Dreamforce has always had a star-studded speaker lineup. This year’s no exception with some of the biggest names in tech coming.

That includes Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, Hampton Creek CEO Josh Tetrick, and The Honest Company founder Jessica Alba, just to name a few.

Even non-tech people, like actor Adrian Grenier, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Young, and San Francisco Giants president Larry Baer are speaking. In total, there will be more than 2,200 keynotes and speaking sessions.

More Microsoft chatter?

Benioff Salesforce Nadella MicrosoftMike Nudelman/Business InsiderSalesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella have a wary respect for one another.

This year is the first time the CEO of Microsoft is speaking at Dreamforce.

The two companies used to hate each other, taking lots of public pot-shots. Previously, the highest-profile Microsoft exec to speak at Dreamforce was last year’s Tony Prophet, its VP of education marketing — and that just happened last year. Even then, Benioff joked, “A year ago at Dreamforce, we would not have thought Microsoft would have been here, on stage. It’s a shock.”

Nadella’s appearance is a sign of a nicer, friendlier Microsoft, but it could also reignite chatter around rumours of Microsoft possibly acquiring Salesforce, Tom Roderick, managing director at investment firm Stifel said. “There will be some questions about Microsoft’s intentions. I think that will get louder as people start looking towards Dreamforce and realise Satya is going to be one of the keynote speakers,” he said.

More focus on sales intelligence

Every year, Benioff spends a good chunk of his Dreamforce keynote on showcasing a new product. Last year, it was the Wave Analytics platform, and in previous years it was the Salesforce1 development platform and its Marketing Cloud.

Benioff hinted during its last earnings call that “one of the most exciting announcements at Dreamforce” will involve RelateIQ, the sales intelligence startup Salesforce bought for $US390 million last year. RelateIQ automates a lot of the data input and provides relationship-based analysis and actions that significantly improves the overall sales process.

Tom Roderick at Stifel added, “I think you’ll hear a lot more about RelateIQ at Dreamforce. Benioff has been very vocal about RelateIQ over the last month, and perhaps, we’ll end up seeing this transformed, new cloud software around active intelligence in the enterprise.”

Foo Fighters and The Killers

This year’s Dreamforce will feature another great group of musicians and bands performing at the after party. So far, Foo Fighters, The Killers, John Legend, Gary Clark Jr., and David Spade are confirmed to perform.

Some of the other bands that performed in previous years include Bruno Mars, Green Day, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and

Startup Summit

If you’re the type who’s into startups, you may want to check out Startup Summit, a separate two-day conference held during Dreamforce.

This is where Adrian Grenier and Steve Young will speak, as well as Box CEO Aaron Levie, Storm Ventures managing director Jason Lemkin, and Bessemer Venture Partners’ Byron Deeter. Here’s the full speaker lineup.

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