Dreamforce Recap: Blockchain Discussions with Software Giants
Dreamforce is the world’s largest software conference, which annually attracts around 200,000 attendees from the top enterprise tech companies. This year, I had the pleasure of speaking at Dreamforce as a blockchain analyst.
I presented in two sessions: “How to Use Blockchain to Infuse Trust Into Salesforce,” with Simon Peel, Chief Strategy Officer at Jitterbit, and “Unlocking the Potential of Blockchain Technology: What It Means to Salesforce Users,” with Simon Peel and Eric Scheel, Chief Technology Officer at Magnet 360.
It was an absolute pleasure to educate at Dreamforce. But more than that, Dreamforce provided me an incredible opportunity to have candid conversations with several executives at some of the top software companies about the state of blockchain. Based on those conversations, I learned just how far blockchain has progressed in the enterprise realm.
What I gleaned is that many companies are preparing for explosive adoption of blockchain technology. Tech giants have deployed teams to research and develop blockchain integration strategies, and there is an earnest push for functional use cases.
- Enterprises are much more comfortable with blockchain.
- Blockchain will be the top disruptive technology of 2019.
- Blockchain jobs and opportunities will grow exponentially.
Enterprise Comfort & Familiarity
According to PwC’s Global Blockchain Survey, 84 percent of companies are incorporating blockchain technology at some level. That is a shocking increase in familiarity and adoption. If you’d asked me prior to the conference about that number, I probably would have dismissed it as inflated or misrepresented. But companies really are starting to take blockchain seriously.
In both of my sessions, I started by asking the audience to raise their hands if they were familiar with blockchain technology. A vast majority of hands shot up. I focused session content on practical use cases for blockchain, and I was relieved to not have to over iterate on the fundamentals.
On the expo floor, I hopped from booth to booth probing executives for their perspective on blockchain. I was surprised to learn that a few companies had already deployed blockchain solutions. Some had a blockchain roadmap for 2019 and many were discussing blockchain and looking to employ blockchain skilled professionals.
DocuSign, for example, was already demoing a cryptographic hash function for e-signatures on the Ethereum blockchain. Other enterprises like Amazon, Deloitte, Accenture, IBM and even Salesforce expressed a deep and progressive interest in blockchain.
Blockchain Excitement is Building
I’m calling it … Blockchain will be THE talked about technology in 2019. This time last year, companies were poo-pooing blockchain technology as mystical, overhyped and impractical internet money. It felt like only time I ever heard enterprise discuss blockchain it was as a speculative vehicle for potential profit.
Dreamforce 2018 demonstrated a complete sentiment shift. Almost every person I discussed blockchain with had a warmer vision for the technology. Fewer people talked about investments, ICOs or price action. Instead, blockchain was demo’d and discussed as a disruptive solution to critical problems in a variety of industries.
More executives now have a firm grasp on what blockchain is and isn’t. They understand the imminent disruption and are calculating their risks and opportunities to work with the technology. According to an SAP survey, 92% of business leaders now view blockchain as an opportunity. Next year will likely usher in countless new blockchain projects endorsed by a variety of industry leaders.
Need a Job?
Dreamforce doesn’t just draw out the sales, service and marketing crowd. It also tends to attract headhunters trying to lock down key hires. This year, I was met by a swarm of recruiters both trying to poach me and tap my network for potential new hires.
The recruiters informed me of their hiring plans, and there was an obvious sense of frustration at the lack of blockchain talent to meet the growing demand. And the demand is growing fast. Many major companies already have blockchain positions posted to their website. More are added daily, and companies are exploring every candidate with even a glimmer of blockchain experience.
Blockchain is a gold star on tech resumes. Companies are looking for all-kinds of individuals with blockchain experience – marketers, developers, UX/UI designers, product managers, sales professionals, etc.
The technology is young. Too young to have a large pool of “experts.” Consequently, tech companies aren’t limiting their hiring to the hyper experienced. Companies are looking for any individuals with demonstrated blockchain knowledge and enthusiasm. According to recent report from Upwork, blockchain is THE fastest-growing desired skill. In Q1, Upwork had already reported 6,000% year-over-year growth in blockchain specific job postings.
I believe the demand for blockchain talent will continue to accelerate and create opportunities for many new candidates. If you are interested in blockchain … now is the time to get involved!