Events

Recovered from Dreamforce? Now It’s Time to Plan for The SaaStr Annual

echojason@gmail.com'

Jason Lemkin

Hopefully you went to Dreamforce this year.  My big take-aways?  Salesforce is reinventing itself again, and it was inspiring and cool to watch.  On a technical side, Einstein (ML+AI) is an early push to the future of the Salesforce platforms.  Even cleverer though to me was taking the “Everyone’s a Developer” theme, which was teased in the prior 2 Dreamforces with Trailhead sections in the dev-focused areas, and putting it front-and-center.  Today is the age of the developer and developer-centric platform.  Twilio is the year’s hottest IPO.  It was smart.  And we did a ton of podcasts from a cool Airstream in the center of it all, which Salesforce-for-Startups will be pushing out soon (and we’ll post here).

OK now that you’ve recovered, it’s time to plan for the next Must Attend event in SaaS — The SaaStr Annual.  For 2017 it will be Feb 7-9th at the Bill Graham Theater in SF — the same place Apple does its big events.   We’re tracking to about 10,000 attendees right now (up from almost 5,000 last year), and we’ll have to cut it off there due to fire marshal limitations.  We probably will sell out some time in December, but we’ll see.

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In a nutshell, we’re taking everything we learned last year and making it better:

  • The Best SaaS CEOs to learn from.  More announcements are coming, but already we have:
    • The CEO of Twilio, Jeff Lawson
    • The CEO of Coupa, Rob Bernshteyn
    • The CEO of Veeva, Peter Gassner
    • The CEO of Domo (and prev. CEO Omniture), Josh James
    • The SVP of Google Cloud (and prev. CEO of VMWare), Diane Green
    • The CEO of Zendesk, Mikkel Svane
    • The CEO of Intercom, Eoghan McCabe
    • The CEOs of pre-IPO leaders including ServiceMax, Mulesoft, Zeta Interactive, and more
    • And so much more … The CEOs and Presidents and founders and GMs of Angellist, Facebook at Work, Gusto, Zoom, Tradeshift, Trello, Classy, ExactTarget, Hubspot, Showpad, NetSuite, Bluewolf, and so many leaders.
    • This will be the best CEO/SaaS founder line-up.  EVER.  More to come!
  • Double the “Tactical Theater” content.  If you went last year to the downstairs “Tactical Theater”, where we did more hands-on sessions, you found they were wildly popular — maybe too much so.  So we’ve doubled the number of these sessions this year — and doubled the amount of folks we can fit into each session.
  • More CMOs and “Get Me More Leads” Marketing Sessions.  You loved the sessions from last year from the CMOs and VPMs from MongoDB, Elastic, etc. so we’ll have a lot more here.   Come hear from Box, Apttus, OpenDNS, Looker, Insightly, Replicon, Google Cloud, Engagio, Mediamath, I Will Teach You to Be Rich (this should be fun), Trello, and more on how they keep the funnel full and keep the funnel moving.

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  • Lots more Customer Success.  You wanted more last year, so you’ll get it.  Leaders and CEOs from Box to Gainsight to DoubleDutch to Salesloft to Showpad and many more will share their learnings about how to scale CS in a series of great sessions.
  • New!  Operational Excellence.  We’ll have great SaaS CEOs teach you how to be a better CEOs, based on the mistakes they made.  This will be a great series of sessions.
  • More from the Best in SaaS Sales.  This is of course core to SaaStr, so we’ll have amazing sessions from sales leaders from NetSuite, Box, Marketo, Talkdesk, Dynamic Signal, Salesloft, Lyft, Lucidchart, Yello, and so much more.
  • The VCs and Web Folks You Love in SaaS will all be there.  From Aaron Ross to Christoph Janz to Tomasz Tunguz (did I get that spelling right?) to Mark Suster to Byron Deeter to Jason Green to Mamoon Hamid to David Cummings to Auren Hoffman — we’ll have the folks that think and share the most in SaaS all there.   We’ll also again have all the best VC in SaaS, and we’ll double down on the number of presentations here, because we learned you liked them a lot.

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Phew.  That’s a lot.  All in, about 2x the content of last year.

OK, well a lot of you said last year was the perfect size.  That it reminded you of Dreamforce circa ’06 and ’07 (for the Old Timers) — big enough to have everything, not so big you didn’t meet a ton of great people.  That any bigger might be too big.

We agree.  That’s why even though the ’17 Annual will be 2x the size, we plan for it too feel no bigger.  How are we doing that?

  • 3.5 stages instead of 2, and more room in the Tactical Theater(s).  Each theater should feel about the same size as last year, and the tactical theater should “feel” smaller because it won’t be as crowded.   We’ll also have a bonus “deep drive” stage that can fit 300-400 for super nichey but very important topics.  You can sit in on a bunch of these if they are challenges you’re facing yourself.
  • On Tuesday (the first day), we’ll match you to some of your peers.  We’re going to do more to make sure you meet great peers, so we’ll do a series of things, starting with lunch on Tuesday, where we help you “find your tribe”.  So our goal is you meet more great people this year than last year.
  • Compressing the schedule (a bit) to allow more time for lobby-style conversations.  Yes, the event this year is 3 days like last year, but basically we’re taking what we did in 3 days last year and compressing that into 1.5 days (part of Tuesday afternoon, Wed, and early Thursday).  This will leave us room on Tuesday for more break-out sessions and more chances to meet other SaaS CEOs, VPs of Sales, Marketing and Success like you.   We also learned to mix it up on VC and money stuff, so we’ll save Thursday afternoon for Money — VCs, M&A, and more.  We’ll have 30+ sessions where the VCs pitch you — this should be fun.
  • Even better parties in the evenings.  Tuesday night we’ll do an even better job having parties that match you to your peer set.  We did a good job on this last year, but we’ll do an even better job this year.
  • We’re killing the 1-on-1s with VCs.  This was cool last year, but was a ton of work and got the most mixed feedback.  Instead, we’ll have more VC sessions where you can get to know more VCs.

So plan on it.  Bring your entire team.  They’ll get as much out of it as you.  And book tickets and travel soon!  I can’t be sure about 2018.  But I do know that the ’17 Annual will be the best ever — by far.

And if you want qualified leads and you sell to B2B/SaaS — you won’t find a better place to sponsor than the Annual.  Learn more here.

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Published on October 10, 2016
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