It was only day two, and already the spectacle that is Dreamforce had left me no choice but to eat some weed. I chewed up half of a strong California gummy, the kind that you buy legally in an Apple store for stoners, and settled into a couch on a terrace overlooking San Francisco.
I had come to the terrace because—being available only to the press—it was sparsely populated. A respite from the crowd of 170,000 who had converged on a small section of the city for this annual bash hosted by Salesforce, a company that makes tremendous amounts of money selling “cloud-based enterprise technology,” whatever that means. I personally know multiple people who have been in long-term relationships with Salesforce users or employees, and who still cannot explain what Salesforce is or does. That hasn’t stopped six times the population of the Michigan town I grew up in from paying $2,000 to come to this thing every year. Hotels are booked 12 months in advance.
The terrace offered an excellent view of the Dreamforce “campus,” which takes over a few blocks of downtown San Francisco each year. It always has a Hawaiian theme. This is because Marc Benioff—Salesforce’s founder, co-CEO, and spiritual guide—began to develop his idea for the company when, in the late 1990s, he “rented a hut on the Big Island of Hawaii” and “enjoyed swimming with dolphins in the ocean and having enough time by myself to really think about the future,” according to his book, Behind the Cloud.