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Top 3 Takeaways from TractionForce 2017

With close to 1,000 attendees at a new, exciting venue – Rogers Arena in Vancouver – TractionForce 2017 was the best one yet! This was the fifth year we hosted Vancouver’s biggest cloud technology and business transformation event, inviting attendees to join us in exploring this year’s theme of the “adaptive enterprise.”

After the floor cleared of two sessions of 32 roundtables each (that’s a lot of discussions!), it was time for the main event: the afternoon keynote presentations. James Carbary, founder of Sweet Fish Media, took the stage, which was inspired by the comedic talk show Between Two Ferns. In between two ferns, he introduced Greg Malpass, founder and CEO of Traction on Demand who – with less facial hair than Zach Galifianakis but with all the personality – facilitated the discussions with our speakers.

While everyone approached the conference theme with their own experiences, there were certain topics that seemed to come up the most.

What makes an adaptive enterprise?

1. Experimentation

“Test, test, test. If it never fails, you weren’t testing. You were demonstrating,” said Peter Coffee, VP for Strategic Research at Salesforce. This was echoed by the next speakers who also agreed that you can’t ever innovate if you never experiment. But as many of them pointed out, you have to plan to learn from your mistakes. Which means you can’t be afraid of…

2. Failure
Greg asked Peter, “So often we think about the defensive side of business. How do you make fundamental changes?” Our keynote speaker replied that there’s no one at Salesforce who is ever told “That’s not your job.” It leads to a culture in which people are not afraid to experiment and fail, which ultimately pushes them forward to new ways of doing things. But you can’ be afraid to fail if you don’t have…

3. Trust

Peter brought up the well-known Salesforce mantra of “ohana,” a Hawaiian word which he defined as “family by intention.” “Everyone is part of this group. It’s about co-creation and mutual responsibility,” he said. While being a team and trusting each other is in everyone’s best interest, Bob DeSantis, COO at Conga, said that a big part of this trust is created at the top from the leadership. Only then, can fellow employees not be afraid to try and fail, or work outside their comfort zone.

We started the morning with roundtable discussions on the floor.
We started the morning with roundtable discussions on the floor.


The keynotes of the afternoon – which also included Patagonia, Indochino, Mountain Equipment Co-op, and Canada Drives – were preceded by a morning session with a non-profit focus. Traction for Good had a strong presence at TractionForce, starting with the registration experience. For every attendee that signed in, Traction’s community engagement program made a $10 donation on their behalf to the non-profit of their choice: Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver or  Girls Learning Code, a program of Ladies Learning Code. Over the course of the morning, we successfully engaged non-profits big and small in conversations about the role that technology has in helping them to do more good.

We ended the day with a happy hour and an after party to celebrate Traction’s 10 years. Thank you to all the attendees for taking part in our annual event and to the sponsors who helped keep this a free event for the community.

We hope to see you all at TractionForce 2018!

In the meantime, we will be rolling out several videos (of the keynote presentations too), more photos and the presentation decks, so keep it locked on the Traction Blog and our social media channels: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

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