This used to be one of the world’s largest conferences, with around 180,000 attendees in 2018. Hotel rooms in San Francisco had long been sold out – in at least one prior year, the organizers had docked a cruise ship at a city wharf to house attendees. I was asked at the last minute to do live social media about AWS’ participation in the event, but where I lived in Campbell was too far from the city to commute to the conference, so one of the AWS events staff gave up her hotel room for me (I suspect she was grateful not to have to attend).
You can see in the above photo how big the “campus” was. Somehow the events that I was supposed to cover had me running from the Intercontinental Hotel on one end to the Salesforce tower on the other. At least I wasn’t stuck inside a single conference hall the entire time.
Dreamforce was an example of the kind of over-the-top tech conference we may never see again, with high-profile speakers (I forget who, specifically) and entertainment. The closing band was Metallica, playing in front of San Francisco’s City Hall. Not particularly my musical genre, and I wasn’t going to spend an hour or two in a security line to then go stand in a crowd and listen to them (I didn’t like crowds even before the pandemic). Brendan had joined me at the hotel, so we strolled over towards the end of the concert and were present for the encores.