30 May 2019 - Salesforce London World Tour – my highlights
Its here! London World Tour. It’s a big, long day with an early start. First call to the polling booth to cast my vote on the European Elections. Women died for the right to vote so I am always compelled to do my bit, even if our politics are in a right shambles currently.
Arriving at Excel and my first stop is a quick pic with Louise Lockie and the Mascots, Astro and Codey, as you do.
If you’ve never been to a Salesforce World Tour then don’t expect it to be like any usual conference. Oh no, its quite unlike anything else out there. It’s a place for learning, networking and having fun. The branding from Trailhead, Salesforce’s learning platform is the theme around the whole show ground, making a traditional ‘tech conference’ a very friendly and approachable place to be.
Time for some learning and networking at the Salesforce Women’s Network Breakfast. Salesforce created this network internally and likes to extend its reach to help others. Its vision is to give a voice, offer access, and provide resources for women in Salesforce at every step of their journey. They create a safe space to learn for both members and their allies. At the breakfast we heard talks from 3 very inspiring women about their career stories but I’d like to highlight one here. Her name is Natalie Reynolds, CEO of AdvantageSpring and a leading voice in negotiation and bestselling author for ‘We Have a Deal’. In a short space of time Natalie gave us some top tips on negotiation strategy and shared her DEALS methodology. All useful stuff to help anyone get to a yes in a negotiation experience.
Onto the main Keynote of the day where Heather Black, the founder of Salesforce Supermums was recognised as a Trailblazer for her efforts in getting women back to work with a new career and rewarded with the Golden Hoodie. We also heard implementation stories from Pink Shirtmaker and Barclays on how they use Salesforce.
Keynote done, I made a bee-line to the Content Pavilion to catch a session on IT Visionaries with insight from Michael Gonella, CTO Business Tech for Salesforce. Salesforce has 90 scrum teams working on continuous improvements to the platform; that’s a lot of people. What was interesting was his statement saying that technology is getting easier, it’s the people change where the complexity lies for adoption. So how does Salesforce manage? Well for a start they have an App to illicit spontaneous feedback from their users. But at the top is trust. Users want to feel secure that the platform they are working on is safe and reliable. Then comes speed of innovation, and agility plays a part to be able to change course quickly if there are any flaws and put things right.
The next issue for a CTO is attracting and retaining good technical talent. By caring about equality, diversity and an individual’s career path growth this can help. If you can convince people they are making a difference then they are also more likely to stay.
And then comes product delivery. Make time for design thinking at the start. Think about the business operational requirements and adoption, as ignoring them can derail a project. Set yourself up for success from the start. The biggest skill in a product organisation is empathy and vulnerability and the ability to work with non tech savvy leaders. Its about working together to bring about the change.
It was affirming to hear Michael say this as it is in line with my thinking and my own content. I had a couple of hours grace before my own speaking agenda kicked off in the afternoon so I made my way into the Expo area to soak up the atmosphere and look around. I swear the Expo area sits in its own time dimension. How does 2 hours disappear and I’ve only done half the room? Oh yes, I know, it’s the Ohana. Networking time is very important at these events. It’s a chance to catch up and see familiar faces. We are normally scattered about the ecosystem so its lovely for one day when everyone comes together in the same place. It does also mean that you end up stopping every 2 metres and chatting to the next person.
At 15:00 it was time for the first of my 2 sessions in the Admin Theatre. My talk was on Managing Change Without Losing Focus on Delivery. Thank you to everyone who joined me for this presentation. It was a packed session and the standing room only option was also at peak capacity. There are requests to give both the Admin and Developer theatres more space as these really are locations where people want to hear the content. Its from people who work in the world of Salesforce every day sharing their experiences and top tips and not finely crafted sales and marketing pitches.
I nailed the first presentation with lots of lovely comments from the audience. Its very rewarding to receive feedback from talks. It helps me understand that my content is valid and helpful to others who are also experiencing the same issues.
OK, so then I may have taken a moment to sit down, in the middle of an expo. It was needed and felt so good. Getting up again was a bit challenging.
While sitting I was joined by some pals from the community and we realised that a gathering of the 4 previous Golden Hoodie winners had occurred. I am starting to wonder if there will be an official term for a group of Golden Hoodie recipients, like there is for animals, such as a brace of pheasants. Maybe a Goldie Gaggle? Anyway a photo opportunity called so we rounded up the gaggle and got them into their best posing positions.
Time for the second presentation of the day and the last item on the Admin Theatre agenda, a talk with Claire Jones on Get Involved in the Trailblazer Community. Being Group Leaders for London Admins it easy for us to talk about the Community, what it means to us, why we contribute and what we get back in return. The Community is vast and you can connect in many ways: via Chatter, Answers, MVP’s, local Groups, and Community Conference Events. There is a fitting format for everyone so get involved.
With the Expo officially over the drinks came out for relaxed networking time and more catching up with the Ohana. 3 fabulous after parties later, courtesy of Brightgen and Validity and I finally called London World Tour Week to a close and found my bed. See you next year!