San Francisco is once again home to the big tech conferences: The more than 40,000 visitors to the Dreamforce conference have just left the city when Disrupt, one of the world's most important start-up meetings, began on Tuesday.
Both events will take place at the Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco – just a few blocks away from some of the hotspots of the otherwise hard-to-miss homelessness crisis. Addicts trade and consume hard drugs on the streets in those places, homeless people camp on the sidewalks, and shoplifting regularly occurs in nearby shops.
But during Dreamforce last week, something miraculous happened. The central Market Street had been scrubbed particularly clean by the city cleaning service in the morning. And while visitors walked from their hotels to the conference center, there was little to be seen of beggars or junkies in the blocks around the venue over the three days of the conference.
In fact, homeless people for the Dreamforce were apparently evicted from the areas around the Moscone Center. Victims told the local newspaper "San Francisco Chronicle" that officials had told them in the morning that they should stay away from the area during the conference. Local broadcaster ABC7 also reported that homeless people were being sent away from downtown. "It's not a good feeling, it's like another kind of segregation," a homeless man told the station.
Marc Benioff, on the other hand, the head of Salesforce, sees the development as a success story. His company, which offers some of the most important cloud programs in the world and is at the forefront of the race for AI companies, organized Dreamforce. Benioff proudly announced at the conference: "Has the city ever been so clean? She looks great and very safe right now."
For Benioff, the clean city center is important for the success of the conference. After all, the annual Dreamforce is not just a kind of Apple event for salespeople who want to find out about the company's most important product innovations. Visitors should also return satisfied and, ideally, be even more closely tied to Salesforce's programs through the event.
But Marc Benioff doesn't just keep an eye on his company's profits. The tech CEO, who grew up in San Francisco, sees himself as an "activist CEO" and has long been involved in local politics. He has donated many millions of dollars to schools and hospitals in the city and campaigned massively for a new tax on large corporations to benefit the homeless.
At the end of August, Benioff had surprisingly increased the pressure on London Breed, the city's mayor. The Salesforce boss threatened that this year's Dreamforce could be the last in town if the situation did not improve. "If they can do it for the Dreamforce, why can't they do it every day?" he said during the conference, when journalists asked him about the tidy-looking city center.
The fact that he and his company cannot solve the homelessness crisis alone seems to be clear to Benioff. How the city will perform in the long term is likely to become apparent again from the end of the week – when the visitors to the Disrupt start-up conference have left.
Our current Netzwelt reading tips for SPIEGEL.de
"That's what the new Apple phones can do" (ten minutes of reading)
While I was at the Dreamforce, my colleague Matthias Kremp visited the Apple event further south in Cupertino. For his test, he took a close look at the company's latest mobile phones.
"The iPhone becomes a voice imitator" (six minutes of reading)
If you don't want to buy a new iPhone, you might still benefit from the innovations in Apple's iOS operating system that are being rolled out these days. Here Matthias presents the most important changes in iOS 17 - including an amazingly good synthesis of your own voice.
»Many fathers don't even know how much they resemble each other« (six minutes of reading)
The former »beer fluencer« Clemens Brock has made a business out of what is actually old fathers' sayings on the Internet. He has already amassed over 70 million likes on TikTok. My colleague Markus Böhm interviewed him.
External links: Three tips from other media
"Trump Attacked Me. Then Musk Did. It Wasn't an Accident" (English, seven minutes of reading)
Yoel Roth was responsible for "Trust and Safety" at Twitter until he left the company and Elon Musk publicly insulted him. In a guest article for the »New York Times«, he describes how he became the target of trolls and threats of violence. He sees the approach as a strategy to silence critics and sabotage efforts to protect democratic elections.
»Microsoft addresses the huge Xbox leaks« (English, two minutes of reading)
In the course of Microsoft's plans to take over Activision Blizzard, all sorts of internal company information had already become public. Now, apparently by mistake, new details about the company's gaming business have come to light, as »The Verge« summarizes. More detailed articles on individual revelations are linked in the first paragraph of the text.
»Google is looking for volunteers to add road maps « (three minutes of reading)
Google wants to make its Maps service better – and hopes for the help of volunteers. Daniel AJ Sokolov explains what the so-called road mapper community is all about at »Heise Online«.
I wish you a good rest of the week,