It is four days before Cloudstock and Dreamforce. Sleep is in short supply. Thankfully the ideas, innovation and announcements set to be shared next week are not. This is my third Dreamforce, and perhaps it is just me, but there is an amazing buzz around the entire office.
For the past week I have been splitting my time between writing some of the mainstage demos, articles for developer.force.com, prepping the VMforce Workbook, being amazed at the contribution of Josh, Sandeep, Pat, and Steve—the newest members of the Developer Evangelism team—and working tirelessly with Dave, Reid and all the developer session presenters to make sure every session rocks.
This morning on my walk from the hotel to the office. I watched the hustle and bustle of people, rugged up in scarfs and jackets of every hue and color, as they made their own trek to work. I couldn't help and think that all this hard work preparing to show of the best technology out there isn't really about technology in the slightest—it's about people.
Am I crazy? Perhaps. I will freely admit to that.
What if we take a trip down memory lane for a moment and think about Charles Baggage's Difference engine. When Babbage conceived the idea of the Difference engine, mathematical calculations were performed by people aptly called "computers", or "one who computes." Babbage envisioned a machine which could undertake this effort. After struggling with such a concept he evolved his thinking into the Analytical engine—a machine that could be programmed to perform analysis. Ada Lovelove, another brilliant mathematician of the time, took Baggage's idea, and wrote what is considered the world's first computer program. All of this was to make people more productive, and allow some of the specialized work, in Babbage's case, mathematical computations, to be automated.
I could continue on about the people who made the computer systems we use today, but the thought which stuck in my mind this brisk Thursday morning in San Francisco wasn't about the people who write systems which change the way we live and work. It is about all of us who use them. True, this statement is a little bit of a chicken-and-egg thing worthy of an Escher's Moebius Strip, but it is true. Without the need, even the best of ideas struggles to take off.
Although it is going to be incredibly busy next week during Dreamforce, I am going to take the time to get to know as many attendees as I can. My mission is, during the post Dreamforce euphoria, to write an article about why Salesforce customers use Salesforce. Yes, I want to know the technical reasons, but I also want to understand why, as an individual, Cloud2 is important to them.
Perhaps it is the lack of sleep that makes me think this will be a fun way to look at technology from an organizational computing perspective. But, just perhaps it is a really good idea too?