Salesforce CEO Considers Relocating Tech Event Over San Francisco’s Crime Surge
The CEO of Salesforce, Marc Benioff, has raised concerns over San Francisco’s crime surge and warned that the company might reconsider holding its annual tech gathering in the city if attendees of this year’s conference become victims of the city’s rising crime rates. Salesforce, founded in 1999 by Benioff himself, has been organizing its flagship conference, Dreamforce, in San Francisco every year.
Dreamforce, which will take place from September 12-14 at the Moscone Center, is expected to host 40,000 in-person attendees and contribute $57 million to the local economy. However, Benioff expressed his apprehension about the safety of participants amidst the city’s worsening crime situation. Year-on-year, robbery rates have increased by 16 percent, and motor vehicle theft has risen by 11.3 percent.
In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Benioff stated, If this Dreamforce is impacted by the current situation with homelessness and drug use, it may be the last Dreamforce in the city. He emphasized that Dreamforce is serving as a test run for the upcoming APEC conference hosted by President Joe Biden in November, which will gather 21 world leaders in San Francisco.
Benioff highlighted the significance of collaboration between Salesforce and the city, stating that it was in everyone’s best interest for the event to run smoothly, as it would set the stage for the APEC conference. Meanwhile, San Francisco Mayor London Breed assured that the city is committed to ensuring Dreamforce is a world-class event and that they are working closely with Salesforce and hospitality partners to create a safe and vibrant experience for all attendees.
Salesforce’s relationship with the city of San Francisco is crucial, as the company’s fortunes are closely tied to the city’s economic health. While Salesforce completed its headquarters, the Salesforce Tower, in 2018, the majority of its office space has remained unused since the pandemic. Recently, the company even listed office spaces for lease in Salesforce Tower and other locations due to low occupancy.
Dreamforce has been held in previous years without significant issues, although in 2018, Benioff acknowledged complaints from attendees regarding the homelessness problem and unsanitary conditions on the streets. Despite these challenges, this year’s Dreamforce conference is highly anticipated and will showcase various topics such as generative artificial intelligence during a fireside chat between Benioff and Sam Altman from OpenAI.
Notable guests are expected to include actor Matthew McConaughey and Stanford AI professor Fei Fei Li, while the Foo Fighters will perform for attendees. As the event approaches, Salesforce’s CEO and the city of San Francisco are focused on making Dreamforce a success and setting the stage for future events in the city.
In conclusion, Salesforce’s CEO has expressed concerns about the rising crime rates in San Francisco and warned that the company might reconsider holding its annual Dreamforce conference in the city if attendees become victims of the crime wave. However, the city’s mayor and Salesforce remain committed to ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all participants. The success of Dreamforce will not only impact Salesforce but also serve as a test run for future events in the city, including a conference hosting world leaders in November.