Dreamforce Keynote Recap: Find Your Soul and Be Productive


Keynote sessions at Dreamforce are a big deal. Moscone South is transformed into a grand stage for innovation, ideas, and inspiration. And this year’s keynotes were a treat. Wednesday’s keynote speaker was Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. Thursday’s keynote featured a power panel of some of today’s leading women, including: Jessica Alba, founder of The Honest Company; Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube; and Gayle King, co-host of CBS This Morning.

When you command an audience that large (listening in person or following on live stream), the content better be great. And it was, at least from my point of view. Although an avid member of #TeamApple, I thoroughly enjoyed Satya’s presentation. And as a minority woman in tech, the women’s leadership keynote was right up my alley. But just as good sessions should, the messages resonated for all audiences regardless of their preference or background.

Here are my top takeaways from Dreamforce keynotes this year.

  1. Do some soul searching, for yourself and for your company. According to Nadella, people are spending far too much time at work for it not to have a deeper meaning. When you go to work, find your own purpose and your own soul, and then apply that to the soul of the company. Empower your employees and the organization to achieve more. Understand the company culture because that’s what produces greatness. The soul of Microsoft focuses on the “empowerment” of the company and its employees to always achieve more. Jessica Alba echoes this sentiment. She started The Honest Company because she saw a need for something that didn’t exist in the market. Rather than waiting for someone else to create it, she took matters into her own hand and built The Honest Company – she took her personal need and created a company that also shares her vision for honesty and transparency in products. Susan Wojcicki knew that she, and others, wanted to see what people around the world are doing and turned YouTube into the global method of communication it is today. When you believe in something, go for it and make it as great as it can be.
  1. It’s all about productivity. Nadella defines productivity as “getting more out of every moment in our life.” We live in an age of abundance when it comes to computing and data, but our time is scarce. His goal at Microsoft is to think about how software and self-service tools can come together to give people back their time so they can enjoy both work and life. Alba and Wojcicki agree. They believe that productivity not always correlated with the number of hours one works. They believe in the work/life balance because people need that balance to harvest creativity. Alba said that the health of her employees is a top priority and ensuring a balance is a major part of productivity. Another factor of increasing productivity requires a focus on mobility, but not in a way that considers any one device as the be all, end all of computing. Nadella centers mobility around the human experience across all devices, from PC to smartphone to wearables and sensors. Mobility is about the mobility experience of the users versus the devices. When this is at the forefront, productivity increases.

Believe in what you do. Love what you do. Be creative. Take risks. When all of this is happening, productivity increases and great companies are born. Dreamforce is a weeklong showcase of these companies and the power they have to change the world we live in. Looking forward to next year’s show.