Just before 9am this morning thousands of attendees were anxiously awaiting the gates to lift so they could enter the keynote speech and opening remarks. As the gates lifted we were greeted by a live band playing "crazy" and signs warning us that strobe lights would be used during the presentation. Sure enough, Benioff didn't disappoint and he had our full attention. After a presentation on The Business Web and some recycled material from the roadshow presentation I attended a couple of months back in NYC, Benioff brought up former eBay COO Maynard Webb. Nothing too exciting here, and the real fun began when Chief Marketing Officer George Hu came up to present highlights of the Winter 07' release. Although George looked like he was 12 years old, he was very funny and charismatic and had the crowd on his side with numerous jokes. Perspectives On Salesforce does a good job wrapping up this session and the rest of the keynote, but the highlights were:
- Pop-up reminders
- The Console
- Calendar Remodel
- collapsible sidebar
- Related list "hovers" (roll-overs to you and me)
- Inline S-Controls (mashups, widgets, and Ajax oh my)
- Business logic and workflow approvals
Next up was a brief and difficult to understand presentation by Cisco VP Laurent Philonenko, followed by Benioff back on stage to make a suprise introduction of Michael Dell. Dell came up on the video screen remotely and began congratulating Salesforce on the launch of Apex a tad prematurely. I know I hadn't heard anything about Apex yet and was puzzled. After some slides on PRM, Benioff and Co-Founder Parker Harris made the big announcement that Dell alluded to earlier - Salesforce Apex.
Apex has the potential to be even bigger than the appexchange, giving developers and users the power to build completely custom code and applications on the Salesforce platform. Salesforce hosts it and provides the infrastructure, allowing customers to focus on creativity.
One final note on the keynotes - I thought it was very cool that Salesforce leased the old Siebel building ("We got a good deal, quipped Benioff") in San Mateo and is converting it into an AppExchange incubator. For $2k per month you get a cube and access to help, resources, and potential VC interest and develop a business to plug into SalesForce.
That concludes the Keynotes, the rest of the day was spent at breakout sessions, the best of which was the live workshop that walked through a hands on demo of the new winter 07 features. For more coverage of the keynotes check out PerspectivesOnSalesforce and SalesforceWatch.
I headed back to the Moscone center around 8pm for the "Global Gala" with the band Train. I'll admit, I'm actually a fan so this was a nice surprise. I assume corporate events are just about the last thing a serious musician wants to do but they were really good and the crowd was actually really into them.
More photos on Flickr