14 November 2017 - My Dreamforce Highlights

Let me tell you about my highlights of Dreamforce. Firstly this event is huge. It literally takes over the whole of San Francisco for 3.5 days where 170,000 blue lanyards and Salesforce branded backpacks are everywhere to be seen. This becomes your norm.

There is so much to consume it is impossible to do it all so you have to be strategic. Last year I targeted product roadmap sessions on items specific to my business' interests. This year was about my personal development. 

Super Women
Salesforce is big on equality and this really shined through with loads of sessions about it and some heavy weight female speakers. What kudos to have Michelle Obama in conversation with Marc Benioff for a keynote. At the lady's request it wasn't recorded, nor were we allowed to tweet. Listening to Michelle speak was very inspiring. She is the complete professional, dedicated to her causes and full of integrity. It was an absolute privilege to have this opportunity and I hope for our planet she moves onto greater things. 



I also attended a Bluewolf initiated event called Women Innovators Network. Their keynote speaker was Sylvia Acevedo, the CEO of Girl Scouts USA. It was really interesting to learn her story of how, as a woman, she had battled the norms of society to become a rocket scientist, to work for large entities such as Nasa and Apple before giving back to an organisation that initially helped her when she was a child, the Girl Scouts. 

Community
The one thing that is unique with Salesforce compared to other tech companies is its community. As a User Group Leader it was great to meet with other like minded leaders for the State of the Union breakfast and learn from their experiences.
Its was also an opportunity to give back myself and volunteer in the Trailhead zone in both the Community Cove and Mini Hacks Basin. Community Cove was all about sharing our experiences and promoting community lead events such as London's Calling (the next one is 16 Feb 2018) while over in the Mini Hacks it was an opportunity for Trailblazers to tackle some challenges and win swag. It would seem the 'must have' swag item this year, apart from the plushies, was socks. 



Keynotes
It felt to me that there were a lot of keynotes this year. All the major product groups had their own, in addition to the main Keynote hosted by Marc Benioff. My go to Keynote was the Awesome Admins one. As an admin by heart it was the one I couldn't miss. Armed with clappies (noise makers) it was the fun and informative keynote designed for the Admin in mind. It also recognised the Admin with the Golden Hoodie award for which we have very deserved ladies in the UK. 

Learning 
Dreamforce is about learning and I did make it my goal to attend some specific sessions to glean how other customers have implemented Salesforce products. My sessions included: Implement Salesforce CPQ with clicks not code, Train end users for faster adoption (Circle of success), Lightning success - taking your migration by storm and CIO Trends - finding your middle path between innovation, cost and stability. Considering as there were 1000's of talks on offer you do have to carefully select what might be of interest to you and plan your agenda.

Networking
It would be remiss of me to not mention the evening activities. The Dreamforce parties are legendary and just as important as the daily schedule. In fact, its the evening entertainment that I usually plan first as the slots fill fast. This year the festivities felt a little squashed up due to event timings so precision planning was required. I attended my current industry sector party for Media, the 'must go to' UK&I party for all UK&I customers, Dreamfest featuring Lenny Kravitz and Alesha Keyes and then for the first time in the week eating food while sitting down at the Brightgen dinner.  



San Francisco itself
And then, when the madness has stopped and you have given yourself some time to enjoy the city then there is so much to do in San Fran. This year's power tourism comprised of a boat trip between Golden Gate and Bay bridges, the obligatory breakfast at Mel's Diner, a trip to Alcatraz (we managed to escape) and a relaxing walk around the Painted Ladies and Golden Gate Park. 




Of course, loads more happened during the week but this is a highlights blog and I'm also duty bound to keep some elements secret. But thats the thing about Dreamforce, its huge and too big for just one person to talk about. We all have our own stories and experiences but the best way to understand this force is to do this yourself. I've already reserved my hotel for next year. I'll see you there. 


Comments

  1. Wow, what a week you had! I’m glad to hear you based this year on your own personal development, rather than having to choose based on your work priorities. I’ll be honest Amanda, I don’t think I’d cope with Dreamforce, I get a bit stresssed at World Tour and usually gone by about 4pm, so all credit to you and the Ohana girls and guys for lasting a week, and after-parties! Hope to see you at the next LAUG. Take care.

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