How Conference Ninjas Prefer to Tackle Dreamforce

October 24, 2017 Rachel Illingworth

Much like an overstuffed clown car, Salesforce packs a lot of fun into their annual three-day conference. Buzz surrounding past Dreamforce conferences include many memorable keynotes, cloud expos, indelible demos, and invaluable break-out sessions — not to mention the countless meals and parties.

We want you to get the most out of Dreamforce, so we’ve enlisted the help of our sharpest DF ninjas to come to your rescue with tips on packing the utmost enjoyment into your #DF17 experience. With 37 years of Dreamforce experience between these four Salesforce MVPs — Jarrod Kingston, Mike Martin, Rhonda Ross, Andres Gluecksmann — rest assured that you’ll get stellar, comprehensive advice.

What’s the most important thing you should take with you to Dreamforce this year?

Rhonda Ross: Your schedule. Don’t wait until you get to San Francisco to do it, as it will be too late! Many of the sessions you will want to go to will already be full. People you want to meet with won’t have any available time on their schedule. However, every single minute of the day should not be scheduled. Leave time to get between locations. Leave yourself some planned down time. You shouldn’t consider your schedule to be set in stone. Have the mindset that you’ll adjust your week as needed, but do mark those items that are major priorities and can’t be changed.

Jarrod Kingston: Comfortable shoes (not new ones)! You’re going to be on your feet a ton, so take care of them by bringing a good pair of walkin’ shoes! I have learned the hard (and painful) lesson that Dreamforce is NOT the time to break in new shoes.

Andres Gluecksmann: A sense of priority. There is SO much new in the ecosystem this year. That’s always been the case, I guess, but it seems especially so nowadays … Lightning, Commerce Cloud, Field Service Lightning, Salesforce CPQ, are all core-ish to Salesforce — and those are just small slices of the Salesforce universe. Make sure to spend some time sorting what priority scheme you want to stick with.

Mike Martin: Power! Charging stations are few and far between, and you’ll be constantly on the move. Don’t get caught with a dead phone or tablet. Carry some extra power along with you. If you’re lucky, you might even find a USB battery or two in the Exposition Hall.

What are the top Dreamforce events that you wouldn’t miss for the world?

Mike Martin: I always make room in my schedule for a few highlights — including the “True to the Core” session, where product managers focus on enhancements to the Core Salesforce Platform. Since its inception a few years ago, the “Admin Keynote” is bigger and better than ever — don’t miss it! (Also, I’ve heard that the Appirio party is epic.)

Rhonda Ross: There are two events that I have been attending every year since they started, and have always been highlights for me. First, is the “True to Core” session, where Product Managers present what “core” features they’re working on. Different people define “core” in somewhat different ways, but it’s the features that virtually every Salesforce user cares about. They leave lots of time in the session for Q&A, and people ask lots of question regarding the roadmap. Bring your specific use cases, and don’t be shy about asking a question if you have one. My second must-attend event is a Q&A session that Marc Benioff has; there’s no presentation — just Q&A — any question, on any topic.

Jarrod Kingston: There are several can’t-miss events for me. The first of those is “True to the Core”, where you get to hear from Product Managers about enhancements coming to the core product. The second is “Q&A with Marc and Parker”, where the co-founders take questions on just about anything. The third is a combo of keynotes — the “Community Keynote” and “Admin Keynote” are both can’t-miss. Last, but certainly not least (more like the best), is the Appirio party!

Andres Gluecksmann: There’s not any one place that’s the best. I think, over time, you realize that connecting with people at DF happens all over the place, at all hours. I’m particularly fond of catching up with colleagues over eggs at 2:30am. Oh, and the Appirio party is still the best. : )

What’s the biggest Dreamforce lesson/take-away/technology that keeps you excited to come back year-after-year?

Andres Gluecksmann: What keeps me excited every year is coming back for a reunion with some great friends and colleagues that I rarely see in person. It’s a coming together of a community, to revel (in our collective geekdom) over this platform that has changed our lives.

Mike Martin: Salesforce knows how to throw a party — Dreamforce is a marathon, so make sure you train ahead of time. Plan your schedule, set up meetings with your Salesforce teams, partners, Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), etc. Make sure you leave some down time for networking and that last-minute session, meal, or party!

Jarrod Kingston: For me, it’s about two things: People and Product. I keep coming back for the connections (new and old) I make with others at the event. I also love seeing the latest-and-greatest coming from the product standpoint (this includes both Salesforce and ISVs).

Rhonda Ross: The overall energy of the event is amazing. So many smiles. So many hugs. So many intense conversations. You can watch a lot of the content online, but it’s not the same as being there in person.

Many thanks go out to these four VIP’s for their sage advice. Now you know to come to Dreamforce ‘17 ready with your full (but not too full) schedule and some comfy walking shoes. Then again … you might just forget all of these recommendations in the whirl of traveling to San Francisco, meeting people, and partying!

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