A conversation with Barack Obama at Dreamforce
We had an amazing Dreamforce send-off, attending the former US President Barack Obama’s Keynote! The keynote was held at Moscone Center on Thursday and unsurprisingly attracted a huge crowd with thousands of people unable to fit in to the main room, instead having to be accommodated in overflow venues where it was live screened nearby.
Obama took part in a fireside chat with Salesforce Chairman and Co-CEO Marc Benioff to discuss the tech industry at large, the impact of social media inequality and misinformation and what can be done to address it. It was an amazing experience for our team to hear the keynote and we came away with some great insights into the former US Chief Executive’s state of mind on how the tech industry can and must do better.
Even though Obama shared with Benioff that technology allowed him unprecedented reach for his political campaign, he also stressed the fact that technology is creating a stark economic and political divide in our society which, if not addressed, will only become more entrenched.
One clear example of this is the recent various data abuse scandals concerning social media providers, which prompted the need for a discussion around the regulation of social media going forward.
As Obama said, “Part of what happens is that people don’t know what’s true and what’s not, and what to believe and what not to believe.”
We need to strive to be better. Obama mentions the teaching that he tried to impart to his daughters as an example “Be kind and be useful”. These are words we can all get behind, to change the current mindset on how we relate to others online and how we can use technology to build people up and promote equality.
The issue of equality and diversity was also mentioned when the President said, “It’s not about making yourself important but about making everyone important”. “Diversity is not charity”, reiterated Obama. “We all have blind spots. And if you don’t have women at your table, you are missing a mark.”
However, Obama believes that technology has the potential to do better if we switch the conversation to how we can improve, learn from mistakes and take responsibility for the products we put on the market and their impact on society.
“Part of solving big problems is not just finding a technical solution, “It’s about finding common values.”
The former US president stated that “One of the biggest challenges we face is how do we get a common conversation and a common culture” – we need to re-address how we can tackle the problems within tech and promote equality, diversity and a brighter future for all thanks to technology and the progress it brings.
It was a magical moment to hear from the former US president about issues that touch so closely with the industry we are in and us as individuals.
Here at CloudShift, we feel even more inspired to continue our drive to give back, train and up-skill our community – for this reason we are so grateful of being part of the Salesforce Ecosystem, a community that brings innovation and equality to the world of tech.
Obama made for an incredible final day and we couldn’t wait to share our highlights with you! Follow our coverage of Dreamforce on our blog – we are now at the end of Dreamforce, but you can read all about what you have missed in our kick-off post and all updates from the Opening Keynote. Check it out!