Intel and Salesforce.com: A Tale of Two (Different) EventsIntel and Salesforce.com: A Tale of Two (Different) Events
As The VAR Guy himself is starting to see, this time of year gets really busy for your friendly neighborhood blog team when it comes to industry conferences and events. So it's really no surprise that in the span of two weeks, I attended both the Salesforce.com Dreamforce '11 (details on Talkin' Cloud) and Intel Developer Forum 2011 events.
September 16, 2011
As The VAR Guy himself is starting to see, this time of year gets really busy for your friendly neighborhood blog team when it comes to industry conferences and events. So it’s really no surprise that in the span of two weeks, I attended both the Salesforce.com Dreamforce ’11 (details on Talkin’ Cloud) and Intel Developer Forum 2011 events. Both involved ISVs, SIs and other channel pros converging on the Moscone Center in San Francisco, but the events couldn’t have been more different.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: Intel, despite its efforts to boost cloud momentum, remains very much rooted in the hardware and client side of things. Meanwhile, Salesforce.com built its business on SaaS CRM and is slowly building itself as a major player in the cloud services landscape. Obviously, they’re going to attract different crowds.
But it’s more the layout, structure and overall flow that were so wildly at odds between the two events. Dreamforce was very clearly the Marc Benioff Show, with the Salesforce CEO delivering both keynotes.
Moreover, those keynote sessions ran for three hours, with Benioff bringing on a never-ending parade of customers and technology partners — and a couple of odd interludes with a man playing ukelele. It all culminated in a take-no-prisoners party with hundreds — probably thousands — gathering for an outdoor gala with food trucks, Elvis impersonators and cover bands, while the real Metallica played a show inside. Naturally, Benioff showed up to introduce the hard rockers.
In contrast, Intel Developer Forum 2011 was a far more focused affair. As those who’ve been reading my recaps on The VAR Guy all this week know, each day was hosted by different key executive, with even the chip giant’s CEO Paul Ottelini only getting an hour in the spotlight.
Yes, that’s right — Intel, quite intelligently in my humble opinion — kept interest high and burnout low by keeping all three keynotes to almost exactly an hour, only bringing people on stage if they were there to make an announcement or present a product demo. Afterward, press and analysts were privvy to additional deep-dive briefings and Q&A sessions, with the regular attendees broke out into technical sessions for the rest of the day before reconvening for lunch, and, later, parties.
Oh, and in an odd coincidence, The Black Eyed Peas’ Will.i.am was at both conferences. Maybe he’s a fan of The VAR Guy. But it’s more likely just his odd position as Intel’s “Director of Creative Innovation.”
Regardless, the point I want to make is Dreamforce ’11 was as much circus as it was conference, with lavish displays of wealth everywhere. IDF 2011 was far more focused, but also a little less fun. Which approach is better? I’m not the target audience for these conferences, so it’s not for me to say. But it was nice to have time to collect my thoughts at IDF.
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