When it comes to throwing corporate bashes in San Francisco, Salesforce specializes in making life hell for locals. For their annual conference, Dreamforce, the company takes over swaths of SoMa, crippling transit systems and turning businesses across town into giant lines.

But for Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, it's a point of pride. "The city will completely shut down," he boasted to the Wall Street Journal.

Dreamforce similarly has swelled to become one of the biggest techie fests in a city that hosts many under the auspices of companies like Oracle Corp., Apple Inc., Intel Corp and VMware Corp. Salesforce.com says 135,000 people have registered to attend, some 16% of San Francisco's population. The company's numbers tend to be high since many events are free—and some who register won't show up—but sold-out hotels and traffic tie-ups seem inevitable.

In addition to rousing sessions on cloud-based business applications, Salesforce aims create a party-like vibe by packing the conference with celebrity appearances. This year, Hillary Clinton and Al Gore are slated to attend. Motivation speaker Tony Robbins and Will.i.am are also tagging along.

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Photo: Jeff Kaiserman