Doing Dreamforce Right: Tips from Conference Veterans

August 24, 2015 Nicole Klemp


The kids are heading back to school and the end of Summer is fast approaching, which means one thing — it’s almost time for Dreamforce! Salesforce packs a whole lot into their annual 3-day conference — from keynotes, to cloud expos (don’t forget to stop by and see us!), to invaluable break-out sessions, to a rock concert (this year, it’s one of the greatest bands on the planet).

So with all that Dreamforce has to offer, it would be impossible for one person to see and do everything (unless you had a TARDIS, or one of those Time-Turner necklaces like Hermione’s), so we have enlisted some of our Dreamforce veterans to come to your rescue with tips on packing the most punch into your #DF15 experience:

What advice would you give a Dreamforce first-timer to maximize their experience?

Jarrod Kingston: Sign up for Hands-on Training sessions right away — they go fast! And plan out your sessions wisely. Make sure to look at the location of each, as to not book sessions back-to-back at locations that are too far away from one another.

Joshua Hoskins: Follow @Salesforce for event updates and use Agenda Builder to secure priority entry into the top sessions you are really interested in. Refrain from enrolling in sessions that you’re a little less interested in, but favorite them as your “Plan B,” in case you can’t get to a particular session or you change your mind.

Jeff Grosse: Don’t think you can take it all in. There’s far too much to do in the time you have there. Most sessions can be watched after the event via YouTube, so don’t feel bad if you can’t get into every one you want. Do attend the keynotes. As a first-timer, you’re going to learn a ton, but be comfortable. You can watch it from inside or outside on the lawn.

Andres Gluecksmann: Pace yourself — you’ll be exhausted if you don’t. The best part about Dreamforce is all of the likeminded people you get to meet and share ideas with. Even though it sounds cheesy, it may be a good idea to read up on good techniques for starting or ending conversations. You’ll also get tons of business cards, so take the opportunity to jot down some quick notes about the people you meet on the back of their cards so you will remember them later. Think of 3 or 4 thought-provoking questions that can help to break the ice with someone new.

Mike Martin: Don’t overbook yourself. There are 1,500+ sessions and, as Jeff said, most sessions (if not all) will be recorded. Make sure to leave time in your schedule to get from place to place. It’s also important to pace yourself, and schedule a bit of downtime each day to reflect, plan for the next day, and catch your breath! There is a lot of free stuff — swag, food, and beverages — don’t overdo it!

What are your “can’t miss” DF events?

Jarrod Kingston: True to the Core, Q&A with Marc and Parker, Community Keynote, Dreamforce brew-off

Andres Gluecksmann: +1 for True to the Core!

Joshua Hoskins: Definitely check out Release Management: Managing Your Internal Releases on Tuesday from 12:30 p.m. – 1:10 p.m. #shamelessplug

Jeff Grosse: The Admin Keynote. This is the first year it’s an official keynote. And be sure to be social there — people are really friendly and want to help you and your unique business needs.

Mike Martin: Check out the Hands-on Training sessions — some are even MVP-led this year! And Thursday is Admin day — the first official Admin Keynote is at 3:30 p.m. with Parker Harris kicking things off. Also, don’t miss True to the Core on Tuesday and Q&A with Marc & Parker on Friday at 2 p.m. Oh, and I’ll throw in a #shameless plug too: Choose Your Destiny: Building Your Awesome Admin Career, Tuesday at 11 a.m.!

Any other insider tips you can share on the Dreamforce experience?

Jarrod Kingston: Bring mobile chargers (I love the limeade), wear comfortable shoes (no new shoes!), and bring a light jacket.  

Joshua Hoskins: Pack light and don’t plan every second of your day. Leave room for downtime and networking. Dress comfortably — you NEVER know what time you’ll be getting back to the hotel!

Jeff Grosse: Don’t kill your shoulder by carrying a laptop. Lock it in your hotel safe (if you need it at all) and survive on a phone and/or tablet. Also, don’t be a hermit and go back to your hotel early every night — thousands of friendly people would like to hang out with you… like us!

Andres Gluecksmann: Bring a fleece jacket and an umbrella. Uber is a good way to get around the city, but make sure the app is installed and your billing details (credit card) are up-to-date before you’re on the street corner late at night trying to figure it all out.

Mike Martin: Be sure to dress in layers. And you shouldn’t see your hotel room for more than a few hours each night — take advantage of everything that’s going on around you. You can sleep on the flight home. I’ll say it once again — pace yourself!

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