18 February 2018 - London's Calling 3!

Saturday morning. My feet ache because I ran around in red kitten heel boots all day yesterday (but I love them). My eyes are blurry because I was so tired when I eventually got home that I forgot to take my contact lenses out and only realised this at 11:30am. My lounge is a disaster zone with bags, T-shirt and swag goodies that I just plonked down upon my arrival home. I'm a bit tired. 

The UK community event we have all been looking forward to for so many months is officially over, although try telling that to my Twitter feed as my phone seems to be pinging on a regular basis as we relive the past few days, say thanks and wish safe travels to our new found friends. 

This year, not only was I a speaker for the event (for the 3rd year running) but I offered the team my time to help with the organising. I've worked on conference events in the past but London's Calling is really a cut above when it comes to the finer details. Some conferences will attract a couple hundred delegates, have a handful of speakers, a few sponsors and a token drinks gathering at the end for networking. 

London's Calling (and other Salesforce Dreamin' events) is different. Its so much more. For some of us; speakers, User Group Leaders and MVP's, there was a gathering the night before to get us in the event mood and was a great chance to meet others active in the community to share great tips. We had ours in the conference venue so it helped to give a feel of the space we were going to be inhabiting the next day. 

Friday, the big day. After some quality sleep (wishful thinking) I was up early to get to the venue to help delegates settle into the day. I suddenly found a talent to identify the correct size of branded T-shirt for each person and handed hundreds out upon their arrival. London's Calling had the whole Skills Matter venue for the day and we were at maximum capacity crowd of 400. 09:30 the sessions began. With 6 separate tracks of talks and 44 community speakers in total, covering a range of topics for Admins, Devs, and General Business and the keynote from Dr Sue Black, there was so much great content to choose from. 

If you wanted to take some time out from a session then there were other things to entertain yourself with like speaking to the sponsors and in return getting a stamp to be in with a chance to win some goodies, play the Salesforce Treat vending machine, get your picture taken in the photo booth or meet new friends. And then came the DemoJam, 3 minutes, no more, for each sponsor to demonstrate their product. Best demo wins. 

Maybe I should mention the food. For a busy day like a conference and in the middle of February, then you need some energy to keep you going. One of my tasks this year was to arrange the catering. I'm quite partial to food so getting to select the menu was quite a treat. I went down the comfort food route of big casseroles, pies and cake for pudding. On the whole the food was very well received, even if we did have 'pie-gate' where it seemed that everyone wanted pie and we did have to encourage some to consider that casserole could be a tasty alternative. There was video footage taken of the pie queue snaking around the venue - and then it got longer. Maybe more pies next time?

In addition to running about, liaising with the catering team (who were excellent) and trying to keep the sessions to time, I did manage to sneak into a few sessions for my own learning benefit. My highlights were Julia Doctoroff's - the life-changing magic of tidying your Salesforce Org, Kerry Townsend's - AI will shape the future, but how will we shape AI?, Neil Procter's - strangle the stakeholder, the customer is not always right, and Jodi Wagner's - change management for your life. 

And then it was finally my turn. This year I decided to push myself and go for a 40 minute talk and these were all held as warm up sessions to the main keynote. Having just gone through a rather challenging project I wanted to share this implementation story and so my talk was about how Salesforce CPQ brought visibility, control and major lesson's learnt for a business. I had a really interactive audience as they laughed and groaned in the right places which helped to bring my talk alive and they asked some great questions at the end too. My session flew by and I knew my subject matter had made a positive impression on those who came to listen. 

No time to reflect, it was the keynote with Dr Sue Black. An inspirational women talking about her life on how she helped to save Bletchley Park, amongst many other things; now considers she's living the dream and leaving us with this quote to ponder over 'if I can do it, so can you'.  

And thats a wrap. The content delivered, all was left was to hand out prizes to lucky winners and head to the after party to celebrate a job well done by all. Back on food duty, after the success of lunch, delegates were super keen to get their hands on canapes and more cake goodness. I then got to relax and mingle with some people and may have also had some more fun in the photo booth (rude not to). Did I mention the hot chocolate stand that also popped up for the evening too? Ooh, that was indulgent. For some of use there was also the after-after party, because after such a great day, you don't want it to end. To the pub to celebrate!

Well, if that's whetted your appetite then London's Calling will be back next year. The team is already buzzing with ideas so I am sure it will be another knockout. We also had a video crew for the event this year and I'm looking forward to seeing the outputs from that - fun times. Don't forget, all the sessions were recorded and they will be available soon to view on YouTube. I know I'll be taking some time to watch. But for now, I'm going to sit down for a bit and rest my eyes. 


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