And it begins. Today is the first day of badge pickup at Dreamforce, and the best day to pick up the conference bag and miscellaneous crap that they want to send you home with. It's probably a good day if you're staying in a hotel. Checking in, getting settled. Maybe have some dinner before a few parties. It's the warm up before the chaos.
But it's a different world if you don't have a hotel or if your accommodations aren't close. If that's your story, you face a different fate. First, there's the trip into the city. Mine was punctuated by the impact of Monday Night Football with the 49ers at Levi Stadium. An Event at Levi Stadium means that parking is restricted in downtown Mountain View, and I needed to drive around for 30 minutes to find someplace that I could park. I took the train from Mountain View because I thought that would be my best chance to avoid the traffic around Levi Stadium -- I got caught in that after work once before and it was a nightmare.
Next, there's the badge pick-up. Dreamforce does pretty well with this, sending out an email this morning with your QR code. I always hate trying to find some email that I got months ago with my conference reg info. But after they identify you, then they want to ask about what hotel you're staying at. My only option was "local/don't need a hotel". Which isn't true, but the woman assisting with registration and handing out badges doesn't want to hear any of that. Regardless of what you might want to do for hotel, there's no room at the inn. Sure it's semantics and it's not worth arguing over. And yet, as I mentioned in previous posts about Dreamforce, when you over-subscribe the event, you transform the experience into one where tensions run high. It's like the way that more traffic increases stress on the road, increases road rage, and correspondingly increases stupid driving.
Asking whether I have a hotel when I don't have one is meaningless if you aren't going to do anything to change the availability of housing. You have my demographic information from registration. If I'm outside of a select area, you've got to expect that I don't want to commute.
Walking to pick up my badge today, this thought occurred to me, so I've already sent it out on Twitter. What's the difference between Dreamforce and Apple's World Wide Developer Conference? Apples WWDC sells out in a period of hours. Sells out. They don't take any more more attendees. There is only so much infrastructure, so much capacity. In contrast, they keep selling seats to Dreamforce. They keep giving away free keynote and party passes. Come one come all, if we can squeeze another buck out of this thing, it's all good. More people equals bigger than Oracle -- take that Larry! Dreamforce is oversubscribed. Salesforce approaches capacity like it's a cloud service -- more is good, we can always expand capacity. But San Francisco is oversold, overcrowded and taxed beyond it's capacity to handle this event. If this was a restaurant, you'd have to say -- I love having all of you, but I can't serve all of you.
And this is why I hate Dreamforce. And why I hate Salesforce for even charging me for this experience and taking my conference money. And for making me commute.