Willy Loman was born too soon.
These days, some 150,000 of the world’s fortunate sales-folk can travel to San Francisco once a year to attend the aptly-named Dreamforce conference, to be supplied with a ready-made collective fantasy-world, tailored to dispel any creeping notion of their own tragic absurdity and isolation.
Every morning during the four-day run of the conference I emerged from the subway to join the river of corporate flesh seething across the pavements, through the baleen of brand ambassadors, bewildered homeless and badgeless natives shouldering upstream.
The scope of this gathering boggles the mind and San Francisco’s traffic grid: the sheer number of souls, the tonnage of shwag and free meals, the volume of jargon dispensed, the lost forests exchanging hands in the form of business cards.
The event is itself a sales-pitch. As such it promises more than it delivers: by joining its ranks, salesfolk can be a part of something bigger and more meaningful than the drab menagerie of office solutions that is Salesforce’s product line, the ephemeral stuff of the cloud that attendees are left with when the dust settles on Howard Street…