No More Free Tiers
The biggest Salesforce news of the last few weeks was Heroku ending their free tiers, scheduled for the end of November, thanks to abuse and fraud. It’s fair to say that the response to this was broadly negative - as I watched it unfold on Twitter I’d be surprised if as many as 0.5% of posts were agreeing with/defending the move. It’s hard to feel too much sympathy for those that were profiting from the free tier, but Heroku has always been very popular in the learning/tutorials space and it feels like a real loss when a beginner can’t just spin up a new instance to try something out. There will be support for students and non-profits going forward, and Heroku credits for select open source projects through Salesforce’s Open Source Program Office, but I’d expect that for the majority of current free tier learners that won’t be an option. Will the backlash cause a change of heart? Never say never, but right now they seem to be riding out the storm, and if it was incurring a significant cost, a bit of community unrest is acceptable collateral damage. My own use of Heroku was mostly around hosting the output of sample docs from the Org Documentor, and I’ve moved one of those over to render.com with a minimum of fuss.
If you are interested in details of the abuse and fraud that Heroku are dealing with, here’s a great deck from the Black Hat USA 2020 conference on that very topic.
Salesforce stock took a hit when their earnings report reduced the revenue outlook down by about a billion, citing longer sales cycles with additional approval layers. Earnings for the second quarter fell 19.6%. They did reportedly overtake SAP as the largest provider of Enterprise applications, so not all doom and gloom.
It was a better month for Marc Benioff personally, as he was named Chief Executive magazine’s CEO of the Year for 2022, “for his decades of entrepreneurial leadership”. Congrats to Marc.
Three things are certain in life - death, taxes, and a Salesforce release just around the corner. The Winter ‘23 release notes are out in preview, with close to 600 pages of pure goodness. I’ll no doubt be running another webinar for BrightGen on this release, so stay tuned for more details.
After several years appearing to want to be the gold standard cloud apps solution, with the associated top end license costs, Salesforce is focusing once again on the SMB market with Salesforce Easy (aka Easy CRM). Rather than just an entry level version of Sales Cloud, this product includes CRM features, naturally, customer service and email outreach to customers. Sign-on with Google, Slack or Microsoft 365 will help to keep the security team a little happier than another username/password, and I’d expect a very easy upgrade path to the enterprise level. Shame it’s only available in the US right now.
Somewhat related to Salesforce, if only through the Benioff connection - Time have bought low-code website builder Brandcast “to deliver innovative digital experiences that tell our customers' stories at quality, speed and scale”. Interesting that they didn’t pick Salesforce Experience Cloud, given that you’d expect them to be cut a pretty good deal. Also interesting that Time rather than Salesforce made the acquisition.
Tech layoffs are still making headlines - as I was putting this post together, Snap announced they were laying off 20% of their total workforce, or more than 1,000 workers. Tech Republic have an interesting article about the opportunities for SMBs to hoover up some of this talent that wouldn’t normally be slumming outside big tech. I have mixed views about this - you don’t want to be the safe haven when times are tough only to be abandoned as soon as things pick up again, and it’s often hard for employees to make the switch between huge and small companies (and vice versa). Caveat emptor would be my advice.
Quiet quitting seems to be the hot topic around much career advice at the moment. This is known in Europe as doing your job - the idea that “only” working the hours that you are being paid for is somehow disloyal or underperforming would come as a great surprise to many of us this side of the pond. A reminder that cultures are different regardless of common aims or languages.
Most of my spare time in the last few weeks has gone into my Dreamforce talk. Currently scheduled for the Tuesday afternoon, I’ll be presenting a breakout session on mutation testing - a mechanism to determine the quality of your tests themselves. Hopefully I’ll see some of my loyal readers there!
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