- Dreamforce, Salesforce’s annual user conference, starts on Monday.
- The company will be handing out swag. The most coveted prize: A Golden Hoodie.
- The company awarded its first GoldenHhoodie last year to honour a customer who made serious life changes using its training site.
Tech companies are known for their swag. Employees, customers, and event attendees often go home with complimentary t-shirts, baseball caps, jackets, and even gadgets.
But none of that swag shines quite as bright as Salesforce’s Golden Hoodie. And none is quite as rare.
The cloud software company has only ever given out nine of the gold lamé hooded jackets, the first at its Dreamforce conference last year. And it’s likely Salesforce won’t be handing out very many at this year’s Dreamforce, which starts Monday, making the Golden Hoodie a coveted item indeed.
To be eligible for one of the golden jackets, you have to be a Trailblazer. That’s Salesforce’s name for people who have “transformed” their careers via Trailhead, its online learning service.
Salesforce gave out the first Golden Hoodie last year to Zac Otero. Otero was a factory worker who used Trailhead to train himself to become a Salesforce administrator, a spokeswoman for Salesforce said.
This year, Dan Darcy became the first Salesforce employee to win a Golden Hoodie. A senior vice president at the company, he earned the gold jacket by motivating every member of his sales team to do training through Salesforce’s internal version of Trailhead. Darcy said that he plans to wear the hoodie throughout Dreamforce.
To an outsider, the Golden Hoodie may seem like just another piece of swag. But it’s all part of Salesforce’s greater efforts to build a community for its users, and ultimately an economy around its products.
There is a whole industry of people who don’t work for Salesforce but who make their money training and consulting other companies on how to use the software. Many of those people will be at Dreamforce.
Expected to draw 170,000 people this year, Salesforce’s conference will feature speakers including Michelle Obama and Ashton Kutcher, as well as a concert starring Alicia Keys and Lenny Kravitz.
First launched by Salesforce in 2014, Trailhead started as a tool for companies to help train their employees to use Salesforce’s tools and site, which are notoriously challenging. Trailhead tries to make training fun by turning it into a kind of game. It rewards successful employees with digital badges to prove that they have mastered particular tasks or skill involving cloud software.
On Monday, Salesforce announced an update called “myTrailhead” which lets companies build their own internal training programs — with or without Salesforce-specific lessons — using the system.
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