Despite the cautious mood in Silicon Valley these days, the spirit of innovation was clearly alive at the Computer History Museum last week during Cloud Connect, the first-ever developer conference and hackathon focused on building multi-cloud apps.
Over 250 attendees spent 2+ days attending panels, "speedgeeking" sessions and chalk talks led by cloud computing experts from Google, Amazon Web Services, Salesforce.com and others cloud providers.
Our evangelism team was out in full force at Cloud Connect – from showing attendees how to connect to Google's and Amazon's clouds to helping interested developers build Force.com apps based on real business use cases. Much of the event itself was an unconference and attendees got hands-on with building cloud computing apps as they spent their time getting familiar with how to use Force.com. Cloud Connect culminated on Thursday evening with "demos over dinner" as top apps built by attendees were demoed to the entire audience; we were delighted that most of the finalist apps utilized Force.com. In fact, the winning app based on audience applause was a fully-functioning mileage tracking app built by a first-time Force.com developer in less than a day!
Particularly refreshing were the number of entrepreneurs that were in attendance and eager to learn about building a business around cloud computing. Although it's a tough environment to be raising venture capital, many of the attendees at Cloud Connect looking to launch a startup all approached their ideas with a bootstrapped mentality – exactly the capital-efficient path that Force.com makes possible.
A great example of startup innovation in the cloud was demonstrated by John Barnes, CTO of Model Metrics. Tying together cloud computing technologies from Force.com (including Force.com Sites!) and multiple Amazon Web Service APIs, John's team built Card Lasso, a very useful application designed to automate transcription of business cards into functional data.
We're expecting the momentum around cloud computing to accelerate this year as developers, IT departments and ISVs look for new ways to innovate without the cost and complexity of traditional software. By looking to providers like Force.com who have clear vision that let developers utilize shared computing resources at costs that are an order of magnitude less than traditional platforms, it's clear that cloud computing isn't something we should hope for – the change we need is here today!