Attendees at this year's Salesforce.com user conference in San Francisco were expecting presentations from IT industry luminaries such as Sun's president Jonathan Schwartz and ex-Oracle president Ray Lane, but there was one guest they certainly were not prepared for -- 'President' George W. Bush.
Flanked on all sides by burly minders, a gentleman bearing a striking resemblance to the US commander in chief bounded onto the stage at the Golden Gate theatre in downtown San Francisco on Tuesday to address the 2000 plus crowd of IT and sales professionals.
"I consider myself to be the Salesforce.com candidate and John Kerry to be the Siebel candidate," he declared.
Shock quickly turned to amusement when on closer examination the individual in question turned out to be a very impressive lookalike -- Salesforce.com's nod to the fact that the first day of its Dreamforce conference coincided with the US election.
The fake president went on to a deliver a monologue which included several digs at the real incumbent's perceived difficulties with the English language and his intellect or lack of it.
"You can't make folks have a gay marriage. At first there is the cake and presents but after that it gets tough," he said.
Bush's less than impressive economic record was also up for attack: "I care about the national debt and that is why today I have put forward a proposal to congress to sell Canada."
Not to mention his numeric skills: "Who cares if I can't count? Hell, I won an election with fewer votes than the other guy, I'll do it again."
The US election was not the only distraction on hand for show attendees. A city-wide strike by key hotel staff meant that the San Francisco Hilton -- the site of the main exhibition and break-out discussions - - was surrounded by disgruntled, chanting former employees.
Despite the disruptions, Salesforce.com claims the three-day conference, which finishes on Thursday, has attracted nearly twice as many attendees as last year's event. This, along with its recent IPO and growing customer base, would seem to its claims of widespread acceptance for its business model of providing customer relationship management software as a rentable application