We’re all kids at heart right? That must be the reason why we’ll listen to a demo about something we may not need in exchange for a free foam football or some cleverly packaged and branded mints. I’ve been to conferences before but nothing like Dreamforce. Yes I’m a newbie and I have to admit I was slightly overwhelmed at first. More than 120,000 people registered for the four-day event. It took something like $22 Million to put it on. Dozens of businesses had to reach deep into their pockets to be a sponsor at DreamForce, so make no mistake they made every effort to make sure they could grab passersby’s attention.
Our team tried to take as many pictures and video as we could of all the great, fun and sometimes ridiculous swag we found at Dreamforce 2013. The picture above shows what one of our guys collected as he walked by more than 350 exhibitors all begging for just a few minutes of his attention. He was kind enough to not deny most swag, although even he had to limit the number of different footballs to TWO (quite a popular item this year).
The Dreamforce Swag We’ll Actually Use
1. The Dreamforce Backpack: If you had the right type of badge then you probably received one of these at check in. Pretty sturdy with several compartments and comfortable to carry. The bag certainly came in handy once you started walking around and collecting all those products you know you’ll never use or wear.
2. Mophie Cables: Mophie, the company that makes the battery cases for smartphones had a mobile store set up inside one room. On the first day of the expo they handed out free charging cables and headphone adapters. Those were very popular, so much so they ran out on the first day.
3. External Phone Battery Packs: This I waited for myself. I don’t know about you, but my iPhone battery seems to die way too soon every day. These small battery packs usually come with different cables to be able to connect to any smartphone. They are usually good for one full charge before it’s time to recharge the charger.
4. Umbrellas: This was genius. It seems so obvious. San Francisco in the fall? Yes, giving out umbrellas made you the popular kid on the Moscone campus. Tuesday it rained, and rained and rained but grey skies would not keep ‘Cloud’ fans away. Instead most of us braved a little rain (mostly because the Target next door ran out of umbrellas) to get to Dreamforce.
5. USB Flash Drive: OK fine, I realize we may not need them if most of us are storing our stuff in the Cloud but I still carry them with me just in case.
6. Gift Cards: $5 may only buy you 91% the cost of a Venti Sugar-Free Vanilla Soy Latte, but it’s still “free” money to spend at places most of us shop.
The Stuff You Bring To Your Kids
This is everything else you collected at the expo. There is no point in going down this list because you’d be reading this post until tomorrow morning but you know what I mean. Foam footballs, and other characters (take a good look at the picture above – yes, that is a shark), pens, pads, mints and other candy, t-shirts that aren’t your size, stuffed animals, flashlights, sunglasses and everything else that’s making it harder to pack your luggage and go home.
There were some really cool things exhibitors did to get our attention. We saw a robot serving up cosmos to visitors, and a money booth that let you collect Amazon money. Some of the bills in the booth included free iPads. Blue Jeans had two artists making cartoon drawings of booth visitors. One of the artists was in Chicago and doing it through video conferencing, which is what Blue Jeans does. Clever.
Dreamforce was definitely an experience and not just for the swag. But really, who doesn’t like free stuff?