I was invited by my friend Ismael Ghalimi to host a panel during Office 2.0 about my favorite topic, SaaS. The session is about going 100% SaaS and what it means. My panelists are Dan Druker from Intacct, Doug Harr from Ingres, Rob Hull from Adaptive Planning and Rene Lacerte from Bill.com. What’s great about this team is that they are all senior executives that pioneered SaaS either with their current company or in previous lives: Dan was part of Postini (later sold to Google), Rene co-founded PayCycle, one of the best kept SaaS success secrets in the valley, Rob co-founded Adaptive Planning in 2003, when no one believed SaaS will ever happen and Doug spent 5 years with Portal Software, that was acquired by Oracle. We would not be lacking perspective here…
In the next couple of weeks I will share my thoughts about the 100% SaaS goal as I progress in preparing for it. For now I wanted to go back to the title, and explain the interesting story behind Office 2.0 and its connection to the Burning Man festival. Every year toward the end of the summer, a city is built in the Nevada desert. The city is built by a small number of people and then for a week host some 30,000 visitors from all over the world that come to celebrate freedom, community and art. By the end of that week the city will vanish with no trails. The Valley was always a great feeder for the event (Google founders placed an “out of office” doodle on Google homepage when they left for Burning Man in 1998). Burning Man organizers only put the infrastructure in place and the visitors bring the rest (decorations, art, food, elements for trading and everything else needed to make Burning Man what it is.
Office 2.0 is about the same: Ismael and a small team of friends help to put it all together as a community event that is heavily relaying on technology to automate mundane tasks, and people to generate content that other people will enjoy to listen to and learn from. The whole project starts and ends in 2 months or so and leave only electronic trails… Ismael is only the facilitator, and we, speakers, sponsors and audience are on our own, trying to make it a great event.
These two events even happen at the same time: Burning Man ends couple of days before Office 2.0 starts and they are both great examples for events that empower the community to create value with minimal facilitation. Isn’t it so much more fun to participate in those kind of events rather than going to yet another PR driven, marketing funded event?