I admit, I have been neglecting this blog over the summer. It’s a combination of time spent writing elsewhere, a busy work schedule and a social media writers block as I figure out what I want to talk about next here and who I am on this blog. It’s the same story on Twitter, my Klout score has crashed!

So, as I took the kids for their first day back at school I resolved I too would return and whilst I was tempted to write a thrilling introspective of my social media writers block, I thought I’d kick off with a kick-off – Dreamforce.Seemingly the daddy of all customer day shindigs for the billions of happy Salesforce.com punters.

To be precise, I want to write about the  keynote, by Mark Benioff – CEO and Chairman.

Part of my writing angst has been to add something new to the excellent writing out there, so having picked this subject I probably need to warn you that I am unlikely new insights. While I am busy apologizing, I probably should point out that I wasn’t one of the fifteen thousand people who were in the room to witness it live.

Forgive me and get yourself over to the Salesforce YouTube channel, play it on your biggest monitor in full HD and hopefully you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

Firstly as an occasional public speaker, to see Benioff wander the room (yes, sure, probably heavily rehearsed and scripted – but none the less impressive for that) was a billion miles away from someone standing reading the slides and anyone who presents anything ever should take a look (however good you think you are). The occasional “Hey Bob, good to see you” as he strode the aisles or his little banter with the Cocoa Cola CTO might seem cheesy, but he owned the room. A room of fifteen thousand people. Nice.

Maybe that’s what one expects of your modern day CEO, but I was impressed – and content wasn’t too bad either.

The theme of the opening keynote was ‘Welcome to the Social Enterprise’ and you may be thinking “ho hum, yes – who isn’t talking about social?” and as he continues to speak perhaps you might think “Ah huh.. a reference to the Arab spring.. so, who isn’t referencing the Arab spring when it comes to social?”.

But, Benioff concludes his reference to the Arab spring with “No one ever held up a sign and said ‘Thank you Microsoft’” – yet the protestors during the Arab spring did thank Facebook.

BTW – If you’d like a reference to the protestors thanking Facebook wander over to Social Times.

Good point – nicely encapsulating why social is different from our progress from mainframes (and a handful of vendors), to the Microsoft desktop, through mobile to this social revolution.

Benioff continued on the Arab spring theme, talking about a “Corporate Spring” or “Enterprise Spring” – in that, in the social media age how will CEO’s face the challenge of employees and customers rising up?

Benioff also referred to the “social divide” – I was expecting a reference to the exclusion of folks that don’t have access to the Internet, but in fact it was about whether our enterprises are social. He referred to knowing more about people in social networks than his customers or employees, about the easy collaboration over social networks – compared to enterprise systems.

All this was a pre-amble to a product launch, but none the less, all good points about how folks like me that bang the web engagement drum, of engaging your web audience that we should forget the folks closest to us, our colleagues and employees.

The power of the connected consumers has been much discussed – but it got me thinking more about employees and how underrepresented employee engagement is in our discussions. Yet, we see examples of the value and influence of the individual employee on social media and it’s potential to overtake their pay grade. As much as we bang on about customer engagement – the damage an unengaged employee can do is probably far greater with a swift blow below the waterline.

Anyway there is plenty more in Benioffs keynote worthy of note as plenty of folks have err…noted. Benioff moves on to outlining three steps to the social enterprise and what the cloud really means. I’d encourage to watch the full thing. (Also, you can find a good live blog of the session on Enterprise Irregulars blog).

It’s at this point, like any good blogger I should cleverly reference back to the title – from a public speaking perspective I’m back to school, inspired I’m off to practice wandering amongst the relative handful or so people that might come to my next speaking engagement (please go along with it if I call you Bob, I’m terrible with names) and maybe I might try learning and rehearsing the content of what I’m planning to rabble on about…. you never know.