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Dreamforce 18: Benioff calls for ‘inclusive capitalism’

At Dreamforce 2018 in San Francisco, Salesforce founder and co-CEO Marc Benioff argued for what he called “inclusive capitalism” and urged the technology industry to set the highest possible ethical standards

Marc Benioff, founder and co-CEO of software-as-a-service (SaaS) customer relationship management (CRM) supplier Salesforce, told the audience at the company’s Dreamforce event in San Franciscoon 25 September to revolutionise capitalism to be inclusive.

Benioff framed the keynote as a celebration of the audience. “We are deeply grateful to you,” he said, adding that trust, innovation, equality and personal empowerment would frame the week’s proceedings.

Remarking on the supplier’s newly established office for ethical and humane use of technology, he said every technology company needs to be accountable for its moral values.

Benioff called for an “inclusive capitalism” that serves the causes of human equality and diversity and cherishes the ecology of the planet.

He drew a comparison with Salesforce customer Brunello Cucinelli, a fashion house that espouses a “humanistic capitalism, paying its workers 20% more than the industry norm, and donating 20% of its profits to charity”.

Salesforce is well known for its 1-1-1 stakeholder capitalism model, whereby the company devotes 1% of its products, 1% of its profits and 1% of its employee’s time to charity.

On stage, Brunello Cucinelli – the founder of the eponymous Italian company – invoked a comparison of Benioff to Lorenzo de’ Medici, the famous Florentine patron of the Italian Renaissance in the fifteenth century.

Benioff said Dreamforce had 171,000 registered attendees from 83 countries and 10 million online viewers to this year’s Dreamforce.

The keynote featured Dreamforce announcements including the introduction of voice to its Einstein artificial intelligence (AI) software and Customer 360, which joins up Salesforce apps and separate cloud services using software from the company’s acquisition of MuleSoft earlier this year.

Einstein Voice is said to “empower any user to talk to Salesforce and work smarter and more productively”.

“With Einstein Voice Assistant, people can get personalised daily briefings and talk to Salesforce via the Salesforce Mobile App or the smart speaker of their choice. Einstein Voice Bots let admins easily build customer facing bots connected to Salesforce with clicks, not code, creating whole new ways for companies to interact with their customers,” said the keynote.

The company also announced the expansion of a “global strategic alliance” with Amazon Web Services (AWS) in the form of some new product integrations that will simplify how customers can securely share and synchronise data across AWS and Salesforce services.

In keeping with its philanthropic culture, the supplier announced the donation of $15.5m to the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) and the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) for the sixth and third year of partnerships respectively to expand computer science education.

It also declared $2m in grants to Hamilton Families, Larkin Street Youth Services and San Francisco-Marin Food Bank to help address family and youth homelessness, as well as a $500,000 grant towards the San Francisco Parks Alliance.

The supplier announced that the band Metallica – playing at Dreamfest, the traditional concert component of the event, this year – is to deploy Salesforce software to deepen and animate its engagement with fans.

Lars Ulrich, Metallica drummer and co-founder, said: “Music to me is about connecting people and sharing experiences together. We see technology as a way to bridge the divide between us and our fans and bring them closer.”

Metallica is deploying Salesforce Marketing Cloud to get a single view of fans across email, mobile and social media. The band launched its website on Salesforce Commerce Cloud, which provides improved merchandising tools and functionality, as well as AI-powered e-commerce.

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