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How Matthew McConaughey made Marc Benioff squeal like a dolphin

Matthew McConaughey sits down with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff to discuss topics from Uvalde shooting in Texas to the future of AI and how it affects the entertainment industry at Dreamforce in San Francisco on Wednesday. | Source: Justin Katigbak/The Standard

Things were feeling pretty "alright-alright-alright" at Dreamforce on Wednesday: Actor Matthew McConaughey, a Salesforce partner, brought his Texan charm to San Francisco for a chat with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. 

Though McConaughey spoke little about technology—beyond expressing fears of AI’s “cannibalizing” powers—he dropped more than a few nuggets of wisdom and some thoughts on politics. 

“I see myself as a leader; I see myself as someone who naturally and instinctively bring people together, finding commonalities, showing people examples of common grounds,” McConaughey said. 

At Dreamforce last year, McConaughey told audience members a presidential run may be “inevitable.” The actor struck a more family-oriented tone this year, nodding to his wife, Brazilian model Camila Alves, who was in the audience for his talk. 

“I enjoy politics but I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a politician,” McConaughey said. “It’s not a place or category of a leader I want to dive into right now. The category of the leader I’m diving into right now is as an artist and as a father.” 

Governor Gavin Newsom meets with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff to discuss San Francisco’s political landscape on Wednesday. | Source: Justin Katigbak/The Standard

'Big Dolphin'

Probably the best part of the talk was the palpable bromance brewing between the Oscar winner and Salesforce CEO Benioff. At times, pausing to stare into each others’ eyes, nodding, McConaughey referred to the Salesforce head as “Big Dolphin.”

Why? We don’t know. But Benioff responded by giving his best impression of a dolphin squeal. 

The actor also promoted his new release, “Just Because,” a 32-page-long picture book published a day before his Dreamforce appearance. The book idea came to him in a dream, McConaughey told the audience. 

Dreamforce attendees went a little fanatic for the actor’s Wednesday appearance: On-site staff said people started lining up at 1 p.m., a full three-and-a-half hours before McConaughey stepped foot onstage at the Yerba Buena Theater, which has a smaller capacity than the main stage at the Moscone Center. 

“I don’t know why they wouldn’t just put him in the Keynote Room,” said Roble Ali, a Dreamforce worker. “This is definitely the biggest event of the week.”

McConaughey’s talk followed that of former SF Mayor McDreamy, and now Governor Gavin Newsom, who spoke with Benioff on Wednesday about homelessness and other political issues.

Governor Gavin Newsom meets with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff to discuss San Francisco’s political landscape and the future of technology at Dreamforce in San Francisco on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023. | Source: Justin Katigbak/The Standard

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McConaughey has been a brand partner with Salesforce since February 2022, and his southern drawl appeared prominently in Salesforce advertising throughout the 2023 Dreamforce event. 

“If AI is the wild west, who is the sheriff around here?” McConaughey said in an advertisement aired before the day-one keynote address. “If we get this right, and we will, the sky is the limit.”

Dreamforce is an annual three-day technology conference in San Francisco, hosted by cloud management company Salesforce. The company says Dreamforce is the “largest software conference in the world,” boasting appearances from high-profile politicians, A-list celebrities and prominent tech bosses. 

Around 40,000 people are expected to attend Dreamforce 2023, Salesforce’s 21st iteration of the major tech convention.