Yesterday, FirstRain CEO Penny Herscher was part of a panel discussion at the Ark Women Legal Forum in San Francisco. Speaking to a room of about 100 women, she and her co-panelists, Patricia Gillette, Partner, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP (moderator); Kathi Lutton, Partner, Fish and Richardson; and Pamela Fulmer, Partner, Novak Druce Connolly Bove + Quigg LLP discussed how women are helping other women by forming “stiletto networks”—all-female groups to support each other professionally in a more safe and unthreatening environment.
The panel agreed that the most effective aspect of stiletto networks is that they are truly helpful to the women involved. They’re not a place to vent or complain; women come up with a concrete action plan and challenge each other intellectually as they navigate being leaders in the male-dominated fields of both Law and Tech. As Kathi stated at one point, “We interact with the world differently, and that’s OK. And it’s good to have a network of people to think through it.”
As Penny highlighted, it’s precisely for this reason that FirstRain has made a concerted effort to have a diverse leadership team: when you assemble a group of people with differing opinions and experiences, you end up being much more creative as a group—and more effective. As stiletto networks grow and empower the women involved, everyone—including businesses—benefits.
All of the panel discussion really boiled down to one idea, whether it’s women helping women or women interacting with men. Patricia said it perfectly—that empowering women is “about relationships—baby steps, and building relationships. It’s not going to happen overnight. You have to be in it for the long haul.”
Imagine it’s 2025, downtown San Francisco is pulsating with large inflatable structures that seem to grow from the ground. Customers have had their ‘revolution’ and the Internet of things is no longer an idea–there is now a platform for “listening and acting on information from connected devices by creating a workflow around not only identifying the anomaly within a device, but also figuring out what to do with the anomaly.” Developers can now deploy to a range of social, mobile, and connected devices. Platform services include 10X more API functionality then one ever thought possible. Developers can build customer apps, wearable apps, product apps, whatever apps they want in a scalable flexible platform. It is now the era of the “Internet of Customers.”
But proliferation of global and social business web information has made accurate insight into the business an intractable problem because companies and markets change every day. Robots, that were supposed to assist humans in everyday tasks, are still not a reality.
But wait, it is not 2025 but 2013, and Dreamforce is happening, and while salesforce.com has managed to crack many of the items listed above, all but for the last two- and that is where their partner, FirstRain comes into play…
So after you see the amazing inflatable structure and listen to the Salesforce 1 annoucement, come by booth #N1924 to see how FirstRain delivers into the salesforce platform real-time analytics for true business insights. All while visiting with Chassis the Drinking Serving Robot- because everyday tasks like pouring a drink should by now be fully controlled by a robot, no?
Stop by, get a picture with Chassis, and have a drink on FirstRain.
Moscone North Booth #N1924, Expo Hours:
Monday 12pm-8pm (Possible Dance-off with @TooSaasy during opening reception 6-8pm?? No Twerking allowed!)
Thursday 9am – 2pm
We recently did a post on good bars for dates with clients. However, we’re hoping that you out-of-towners will have some time to visit the amazing city itself. I’m a born-and-raised San Franciscan, so I’m a little biased; however, I still think it’s the best city in the world (and I’ve lived on the East Coast and abroad—that’s why I came back for good!). Here are my picks for things you must see.
When discussing San Francisco, it’s easiest to talk about the neighborhoods. I like to say that San Francisco isn’t a city with a lot of attractions, per se, but it’s a great place to explore. Of course, it’s got its sights to see (think the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and Lombard St.), but the real character is in its extremely varied—and very colorful—neighborhoods. That being said, take some time to sit and people-watch; you won’t be disappointed.
Word to the wise: It’s California, but it’s COLD! San Francisco is known for its fog, and that’s no joke. When planning what to bring with you, think 55 and foggy. Seriously. Layers are your friend.
My first choice for tourists would be North Beach, the Italian quarter. It’s one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, and is chock-full of delicious restaurants and historic bars (check out Vesuvio—an amazing saloon located next to the famous City Lights bookstore).
As a post-dinner activity, I would also HIGHLY recommend getting tickets for Beach Blanket Babylon. It’s the longest-running musical show in America, and is constantly changing based on current events. It’s an incredible atmosphere, the costumes are outrageous—it’s one-of-a-kind and should NOT be missed if you can help it.
Columbus St. is North Beach’s main drag, and runs all the way from Fisherman’s Wharf to the Financial District. You can start at either end and get an equally good feeling for the neighborhood. Lombard St. (“the crookedest street in the world”) and Coit Tower (atop Telegraph Hill) are within walking distance—but they’re in opposite directions.
Next up is Haight-Ashbury. The home in the 60s to the hippie/counterculture movement, it is STILL the home to the hippie/counterculture movement. There aren’t any attractions, but it’s a great place to wander, again with awesome food and bars (one of my favorite spots in the whole city is here: Magnolia Gastropub). The street is full of secondhand clothing stores and smoke shops, and you can still see lots of tie-dye. The original Amoeba Records store sits at one end, and you can also see the home of Jerry Garcia.
It’s a little bit of a hike from SOMA or the Embarcadero, but well worth it. It’s also situated right next to Golden Gate Park, which is just fabulous.
I would also encourage you to check out Chinatown (always interesting, and the biggest one outside of Asia); The Castro (even if you’re straight, the vibe is really fun—and quintessentially San Francisco); and The Mission (my old stomping grounds and a neighborhood that is decidedly non-touristy. Valencia St., Dolores Park and the world-famous Bi-Rite Ice Creamery).
One last note about the Fisherman’s Wharf area: I honestly think it’s one big tourist trap. However, I wrote this blog posts for tourists, so I will give it a mention. Things that are actually worthwhile to see and do there are: eating chowder in a bread bowl in Fisherman’s Wharf (ok, truth be told, there’s no better place to get seafood in the city); watching the sea lions on Pier 39 (but avoid the rest of Pier 39—it really is purely a tourist trap); getting chocolate at Ghirardelli Square (delicious!).
Have fun exploring the City by the Bay!
You’re going to Dreamforce. You’re stoked. It’s only 73 days away. You’re setting up client meetings … but then you realize that you’re coming from out of town, have only been to San Francisco once—and that was 15 years ago and you really only cared about seeing the Golden Gate Bridge and eating Ghirardelli chocolate anyway.
San Francisco is world-famous for its culinary panache (and its impressive culture), so there’s naturally a lot of choice. But which places near Moscone set the best backdrop for impressing your client after a long day on the floor? Dreamforce is On–so take a few tips from FirstRain’s resident San Francisco experts and make your client—and your belly (but maybe not your liver!) happy.
Wayfare Tavern | 558 Sacramento St. @ Montgomery St.
Wayfare Tavern sits in the heart of the Financial District—a perfect location for an after-work-drinks bar. It’s also owned by Tyler Florence, so you know it’s good. The bar is totally swanky (it looks like a 1920s speakeasy meets a Parisian bistro), the appetizers are to-die-for, and if you want to stay for dinner, I’ve heard that’s pretty great too.
Waterbar | 399 The Embarcadero @ Folsom
Exactly a mile away from Moscone, Waterbar is an upscale San Francisco classic, sitting right on the Embarcadero with a gorgeous view of the Bay and the Bay Bridge. Though the food is fabulous, they’re best known for their extensive oyster bar… so you can throw back more than just their drinks. It’s not silent, but the noise level is on the quieter side—perfect for doing business.
Prospect | 300 Spear St. @ Folsom
Focused more on food than on drinks (but with a full bar, don’t worry!), Prospect is less than a mile from the Moscone Center, and is a classy, modern spot—but the attitude is relaxed and low-key. Their cocktail menu is outstanding, as are their appetizers (word on the street is: try the Wagyu beef tartare) and desserts to sweeten the deal.
Rye | 688 Geary St. @ Leavenworth
Venture slightly further afield to Rye, which is Prospect’s partner of Newton’s Law (nerd alert! opposite but equal): it’s more bar than restaurant. This means a little louder ambiance, but the wide-open décor is awesome and the drinks delicious. Special shout-outs go to the Basil Gimlet and the Dark & Stormy … so you can have your cocktail without worrying about any unprofessional umbrellas in your glass.
The View | 55 4th St. @ Mission
Last but not least: this bar might just have the best views in all of San Francisco. Situated at the very top of the Marriott Marquis on Union Square, you can take in 270° of SF. They do have food if you get hungry, but this is the perfect place for a happy-hour/post-work drink—especially if you’re trying to impress out-of-towners.
P.S. If you really just want to get a beer or three, check out 21st Amendment Brewery. It’s not “business casual” by any means—but it’s awesome!
By Nora Weintraub
You've probably already been hearing (and getting excited!) about salesforce.com's upcoming Dreamforce 2013 conference. The theme this year is "Join the Customer Company Revolution"—but what does that actually mean? To get everyone ready for the largest vendor-led tech conference, salesforce.com has been streaming live conversations with experts about the conference, but before you head to San Francisco in November, you must understand the key aspects of customer companies.
A customer company is completely obsessed with its clients and able to collaborate with them to create a strong brand. By being centered on its customer, the company develops a bond with them based on trust. How can your company do all of this? Now, we're not going to give away all the insider secrets before Dreamforce, but here's a few tips to help you become customer-obsessed, customer-collaborative and customer-trusted to truly start understanding your customers before the conference.
If you're not 100% committed to your customer, what're you left with? Most likely, a struggling business that just can't find its market niche—and is suffering for it. Being a customer company means being completely infatuated with your client. This means constantly researching your customers to stay up to date on their business lines, what's going on in their market and what their customers need. Being customer-obsessed requires your constant focus on providing your customer with the best experience with your company possible.
Doing this doesn't have to be too difficult. Your company can realign its mission to officially make the business customer-centered and gather customer insights to get started. According to Customer Care News, your company can follow the likes of Apple and Starbucks to become an "experience maker." Every time you connect with a customer, your company can be focused on creating a great experience.
Part of developing a wonderful customer experience is making sure your customer is able to tell you their opinion or concerns so you have the information to improve the experience. According to the blog Get Satisfaction, customer companies are able to turn negative interactions into positive ones by showing that the company truly understands the customer's needs and is ready to work on providing them with solutions. This is where customer insights become vital—if you don't have the knowledge to create that intelligent conversation with the customer, you can't sell your solution or product. Customers want to feel as if you understand their concerns and can listen to their questions. If your company doesn't use their feedback—or, even worse, doesn't value it—your customers may not feel they can trust you.
The marketplace is more competitive than ever before, so your business needs to create a positive relationship with your customer to keep their business. Yet you can't gain your client's trust if you don't know them and aren't able to create an intelligent conversation. It's because of this growing need to truly understand your customers that the customer company revolution began in the first place. Building trust requires a strong foundation that only customer-focused companies can provide.
Being a customer-centered business is vital to keeping your top enterprise accounts. If you're not invested in your customer, they won't invest in you. Creating a lasting relationship with your customers and driving your revenue stream is based on discovering how your company can become customer-focused. Dreamforce 2013 will give you countless ways to do just that, but it all starts with making a commitment to being obsessed with your customer and all of their needs.
This is my first year attending Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference and I am very excited. As a first timer, I wanted to make sure I was prepared, so I turned to Twitter and Dreamforce Chatter to find out the scoop on what to expect. Here are the top 10 tips I’ve compiled to help you (and myself!) get ready for Dreamforce 2012.
1. Wear comfortable shoes, this is the most talked about recommendation on social media right now! You spend almost all day on your feet, so take care of them. High heels may look great on Day 1, but your body will regret it on Day 2 if you can barely stand…2. Bring an extra battery! From session hopping to coordinating meet ups with your iPhone you are bound to lose battery power. Make sure to bring your charger (there will be charging stations) or buy an extra long battery to ensure you aren’t without power halfway through the conference. 3. Flag that full session! Didn’t get to register in time for a session you are dying to attend? Don’t fret, Salesforce is now allowing you to go to the Agenda Builder and “flag” each full session. If you flag the session in the Agenda Builder, Dreamforce will notify you when they add an additional session. For example, to find out more information on how to flag the hot GE Capital “360° of Excellence” ROI session, do so here. Another option—just show up! Most likely there will be some “no-shows”. Go early! It’s first come, first serve. 4. Stay out late and meet people! There will be a lot of cool, interesting people at the restaurants and bars around the Moscone Center ready to chit chat. It’s a great way to network and learn about new products. 5. Don’t overload on sessions! There are tons of great sessions you are dying to see (like FirstRain’s, of course!) but scheduling back-to-back sessions will leave you with very little time to explore the expo. Limit yourself and be mindful that sessions are at different buildings. 6. Party time! Interested in checking out the social scene after the Moscone Center closes? Check out this App for up-to-date events happening at Dreamforce. 7. Bring Layers! Never been to San Francisco before? SF is a layering city. September may be one of our warmest months, but depending on the micro-climate on that particular day—or of that exact block—you may experience a whole range of temperatures. Bring a sweater (or two). 8. Take advantage of San Francisco’s coffee and donuts! Blue Bottle Coffee is just a couple blocks away and Philz isn’t too far. SF has a Starbucks on every block, but these coffee houses brew each cup individually. Caffeine is a necessity to keep yourself energized throughout the conference. And If you are planning on staying out late, make sure to visit Bob’s Donuts on Polk street. They are open 24 hours but make donuts fresh at around 10pm. You won’t be disappointed, they are fantastic. I’m a regular! 9. Be organized! Map out all the sessions you are attending and the booths you want to visit. This year, a lot of the sessions are held outside of the Moscone Center at nearby hotels. Familiarize yourself with the area prior to the conference.
10. Make sure to check your social media and talk to DF alumni! Stay active with #DF12 and Dreamforce chatter for new recommendations while the conference is happening. As well as reach out and talk to DF alumni! Many of the FirstRain team are Dreamforce veterans and are helping me get #DF12ready.
And for those of you attending Dreamforce12, you can check out the full thread where I compiled all these great ideas, if you want even more great tips (and special thanks to Jeff Grosse for so many terriffic suggestions).