Comment Salesforce execs get so bowled over by Dreamforce, the SaaS org's annual gabfest, that they seem to lose all perception of time and space.
Take Bret Taylor, chief operating officer, who after an hour of jovial to-and-fro with his billionaire boss, Marc Benioff, at the conference this week seemingly experienced a temporal spasm, interjecting: "Is this the beginning of Dreamforce? Or is this the end? This is the beginning!"
"This is the beginning," Benioff helpfully confirmed.
Taylor's confusion followed that of Leah McGowen-Hare, veep of trailblazer community and engagement, who opened a session yelling, "We are here!" multiple times in Ballmer-esque fashion just in case the whole audience had lost its collective sense of location.
Welcome to the wonderful and frightening world of Dreamforce, taking place online and in-person-by-invitation-only, during which you might believe anything could happen. Anything aside from a serious discussion about software, the coded entity on which the firm has built its billion-dollar revenues.
After all, past attendees were subjected to performances by Metallica, the Foo Fighters, and Lionel Ritchie.
Benioff himself took up most of the keynote today to espouse his views on the state of the world right now and what it needs most.
"There is a huge change that is going on, and we believe that change is the change and transformation and evolution and inspiration into the trusted enterprise," he declared before introducing a meandering narrative in which a combination of Slack and Customer 360 would be the inevitable saviors of a planet gripped by a global pandemic and climate crisis.
His profundity was undermined slightly by a stage set populated by bizarre furry characters who look like the dumbstruck byproducts of a drunken late-night encounter between an Octonaut and a whole gang of Go Jetters.
- Minnow Freshworks nips at tails of SaaS giants Salesforce and Servicenow with IPO plans
- Salesforce gets into the vid-streaming with original content caper, promises digital inspriation
- Salesforce follows application rivals into the RPA market with Servicetrace purchase
- Cut us some Slack: $27bn+ later, collab tool officially belongs to Salesforce
Products were not entirely absent from the show. Salesforce announced integration between Slack, the workforce chat environment it bought for $28bn last December, and its main products, including Commerce, Experience, Platform, Trailhead, MuleSoft, and Quip.
But for Benioff, top billing was given to trust, the nebulous theme he took into battle with fellow tech CEOs.
He took the opportunity of the conference to launch into a stinging criticism of Facebook during a post-match interview with CNBC.
On the subject of the social media network's lack of action over pandemic-related misinformation, he said: "It may not have cost them ... but it's cost all of us.
"At some point, somebody is going to say, 'Wow. This is the source of a lot of these problems.' You look at what's going on in the pandemic and the amount of information that's just plain wrong that's on there, this has to stop.
"All of us ask the question – is trust the highest value of the company, of ourselves? And in the case of that company [Facebook] I think it's clear as day... that trust is not their highest value. I don't know what is. It needs to transform. This is unacceptable."
Is trust the highest value within Salesforce? Well, we only have their word for it. Or maybe we should ask the furry forest creatures they love to hang out with. ®