16 September 2018 - Preparing for Dreamforce

In just over a week's time the biggest event in Salesforce's yearly calendar will begin - Dreamforce. I'm lucky to be going again, my third year running. As with the previous years I am super excited and have been quietly planning my trip for some time. 

Dreamforce isn't your usual conference, by a long chalk. I don't know anyone else who gets this passionate about a work trip, unless you're in this industry. In addition to the learning its also a great opportunity to network, hang out with Salesforce family and have a bit of fun. Speaking of fun...

So, for added fun this year I've decided to paint my toes in Salesforce blue and added clouds to the big ones. If you're wondering about the nick on my left toe, well I was using a scalpel earlier and I dropped it. Its was OK though, I managed to catch it with my left toe. 

It may surprise some of you to learn but its my first time speaking at Dreamforce. I have an official slot around the campfire on Thursday morning, sharing how the Trailblazer Community can act as your mentor and then an unofficial talk hosted by Introhive (ISV) in the afternoon all about change management with a Financial Services leaning. I've been busy preparing the content for these talks while also attempting to hit a personal goal to reach Double Ranger on Trailhead. Today I achieved it. Yay!

But what if you're new to all this and its your first Dreamforce, well fret not, we've got your back and I'm going to share some tips with you.

I'm assuming that you've registered for your pass, got your flights and somewhere to stay sorted. Good, lets get on with the cool stuff. 

Learning. There are over 2,700 different sessions to pick from. Don't panic, accept the fact you will not see them all. Most are recorded so that's your commute entertainment sorted for the next year. Just pick a few that really interest you. Maybe you are about to embark on a special project using one of the clouds, well use Dreamforce to gen-up on the subject area so you're ready to tackle it when you get back. The sessions are a great way to meet experts and ask questions.

Agenda Builder recently went live and this is the way to identify the sessions available and help plan your time. Don't fill every moment of the day up with sessions though, give yourself time to move from one to another and to take time to experience the Expo, Trailhead Zone and the Lodges dedicated to the Clouds. And, don't feel guilty if you don't make your bookmarked session, it happens. You may sidetracked by something shiny or bump into a contact. Enjoy the moment. 

So here's a top tip, Agenda Builder doesn't hold all everything that happens during the week, and nor will it ever. In reality you will also have other plans around the conference sessions, maybe a meeting with a supplier, a dinner, external talks to visit, any volunteering and the parties. I personally create a spreadsheet to track all my activities over the course of the week so I don't miss my important commitments. 

Parties. There are tons of parties over the course of Dreamforce and they are a critical element of the event (so you should tell your boss anyway). The parties bring out the true spirit of Dreamforce. Sign up to all that you find and make a decision on the day to the one(s) you will actually attend. You'll spend the week bouncing between parties just to catch up with everyone.

Networking. This is serious. With over 170,000 of your closest Salesforce family and friends attending this event the whole of San Fransisco will be awash of blue lanyards and branded items. Use the quiet moments between sessions, while in a queue, at a party or wandering around the Expo to meet and talk with others. Make friends and share stuff. It will make the experience so much richer. With the power of social you can easily hook up with friends or stay connected after the event and build on the connection you started. And, if you're a UK crew member heading to Dreamforce, then ask me about the WhatsApp group...

Get ready for Dreamforce 2018, its coming...


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