Dreamforce 18 is just weeks away, and with four days of inspiration, fun and friendship expected – it’s going to be a lot to take in. Here’s how I’m planning my agenda to get the most out of it.
I’m very grateful that my employer – QIC Global Real Estate (QICGRE) – has supported my attendance at Dreamforce for the past two years and again this year. They’ve certainly seen a return on investment – the learnings of Dreamforce are unlimited. I always come back bursting with new ideas, strategies and inspiration.
I’m particularly excited about this year’s Dreamforce because I’ll be packing a very special possession in my suitcase – the Golden Hoodie, which I was so honoured to receive at World Tour Sydney earlier this year. I’m looking forward to meeting other Golden Hoodie recipients from around the world, people like Sandi Nuss Zellner, and hearing about their incredible Trailblazer journeys.
The first step in my Dreamforce preparation is always to download the Agenda Builder app, bookmarking the key sessions I want to attend. So much happens over those four days that it’s important to have a plan of attack and clear learning priorities.
You can’t attend everything – not when there are more than 2700 sessions. You have to be incredibly selective. I always aim to attend at least four sessions a day; that’s fairly manageable, and if I get to six, that’s a personal achievement.
The other thing I’ve been doing in the lead up to Dreamforce 18 is reaching out to my global Salesforce Ohana on Twitter and lining up catch-ups. I love that Dreamforce is like a big family reunion – it’s the place to meet new people and reconnect with old friends.
I’ll also be packing comfortable shoes, because if there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the past two events, it’s that you clock up some serious kilometres going from session to session. The Dreamforce campus is huge and there are many hills in San Francisco!
I always enjoy attending the women in technology track, as well as the sessions on equality, diversity and inclusion. As the Brisbane Women in Tech User Group Co-Leader, along with Emily Hay, I find these sessions invaluable.
I’m also looking forward to product learnings. When you implement Salesforce in your organisation, you often have a very high-level understanding of the technology. But Dreamforce gives you the opportunity to learn about the product suite on a much deeper level and to hear from other customers about their experience. It also expands your horizon to the unlimited possibilities Salesforce can create for your organisation.
One particular session, Parker Harris’ True to the Core is always insightful. A lot of the questions I go into Dreamforce with, around future plans for products and the community, are answered in this session. This year, for example, I’m curious to know what’s in-store for IdeaExchange.
Other sessions I’ve bookmarked are the Trailhead Keynote and Admin Keynote – the latter being an absolute must-attend for Salesforce admins. I’ll also try to get to as many of the headline sessions as possible, like DreamPitch and some of the big-name speakers.
My big ‘people goal’ this year is to meet Leyla Seka, Executive Vice-President of AppExchange at Salesforce. She spoke at my first Dreamforce in 2016 about ‘being your authentic self’, and it really resonated with me, ultimately changing the way I work and who I am as a leader. I’m looking forward to getting more tips from her and letting her know how much her words have influenced my career.
I got a taste of myTrailhead at World Tour Sydney, but I want to push this learning further at Dreamforce.
I’m incredibly passionate about Trailhead – it’s an amazing tool and I’m equally as excited to see the workplace-specific version and learn how QICGRE can use it to create great educational experiences and self-paced learning journeys for our staff.
I learnt a lot about Einstein at Dreamforce last year and I’m keen to expand on it this time around. We use Sales Cloud at QICGRE, so I’m excited about the possibilities of applying Sales Cloud Einstein to enable a more productive sales team. I want to learn the next best action to achieve this.
With this in mind, I was pretty pumped to hear that at Dreamforce 18, there’ll be an entire level of Moscone West dedicated to Einstein. The ‘Einstein Ridge’ will have AI and analytics product demos, hands-on workshops, theatre sessions and Einstein experts on-hand.
Quote-to-Cash is quite a specific business need. QICGRE has a quote-to-cash solution custom-built inside Salesforce, but I’m keen to learn more about Salesforce’s Quote-to-Cash product and whether this could be an alternative solution for us.
To get the most out of Dreamforce, I pull out three key takeaways from each session I attend. These could be technical learnings, better ways of working with my colleagues, or being a better leader.
I find that by writing these down, I’m better positioned to apply my learnings and drive continued success for my organisation when I return. It also helps me write up a report for my colleagues in which I share my learnings, the key themes from the event and any roadmap recommendations.
Get ready for the biggest event of your life, because you’ve never experienced anything quite like Dreamforce. The first year is always an overwhelming experience. I remember running between different sessions, but I now know not to stress if you miss out on a session.
Last year, I lined up to hear Natalie Portman talk about equality, only to miss out by three people. So I went to a cafe, grabbed a coffee and watched the live stream instead.
Of course, a big part of the experience is meeting new people. It’s incredible to chat to the person next to you in line and find out they're a Salesforce admin from Finland and you have things in common.
That’s the great thing about the Salesforce Ohana, everyone’s so welcoming and friendly. So, don’t be afraid to strike up conversation with someone you’ve admired from afar, someone you follow on Twitter or just a fellow Trailblazer. This is advice I wish I’d followed the past two years and intend to do so this year.
Finally, just take a deep breath and enjoy it!
Dreamforce is on 25–28 September 2018 (San Francisco time) but if you won’t be there in person, you can still learn and be inspired by the best sessions and keynotes via Salesforce Live.