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Let me start by saying—hands down—Destination Success is the best training I've ever taken in my life!

Wow, did I really just say that? You bet, and I absolutely mean it! It was unbelievably good. And who would've expected that? Certainly, not I—I'm still in a bit of shock actually. This was my first time at Destination Success and I had gone in with no idea of what to expect.

But Destination Success is: Really. That. Good. If you weren't there, start planning your justification letter to your boss so you can go next year. Here are my five reasons why:

1. You will achieve great things.

I'm proud to say that I earned six certifications in one week, and I owe that to Destination Success. Literally everyone I talked to went home with at least one more certification under their belts. It was an absolute euphoric feeling giving strangers high-fives down the hallways and hearing the cheers of happiness as people passed their certifications in droves.

Everyone at Destination Success gets at least three chances to take any certification test they want—all for free. And even though we were in Vegas, we knew why we were there and weren't planning on throwing away these golden opportunities. Getting certified was priority number one (the strawberry daiquiris had to wait until after the last test!).

2. Best training I've taken in my life.

I know I've already said it, but it truly was. Destination Success is all about learning and investing in yourself. You're in a classroom eight hours a day learning from Salesforce University's top instructors—and I believe they went out of their way to bring us the very best of the best.

This was certainly true for the Technical Architect track, the class I chose to take. This track was taught by Greg Cook, a Certified Technical Architect that I've been following for the past few years. He is a Salesforce God and I hope to be like him one day when I grow up.

If you aspire to be a Certified Technical Architect, you must take this training at Destination Success:

  • Learn things you'll never find elsewhere: Everything was taught in the context of passing the review board. We were not fed regurgitated book knowledge that we could've learned through a Google search. Greg gave us practical, inside information about the CTA certification and what judges were looking for during the review. I am so thankful I was there.
  • Mock review boards: Salesforce brought in four official judges of the Technical Architect review board and we were given the opportunity to do a mock review with them and ask them anything. I mean, WOW!
  • Sample review board scenarios: We received three samples based on actual scenarios given in the board exam, and we were given a time limit as we solved them, just like they would do on the actual board review. I had no idea how difficult this would be—it was a unique experience that you must try for yourself.

I sincerely feel like Salesforce University went out of their way to make sure we got the absolute best training possible. They were near fanatical in getting feedback on the program to improve it for next year. It was already so good, I can't imagine what else they could do for us. But I can't wait to find out next year!

3. Meet incredible people and get inspired.

Destination Success is unlike other events, where you'll briefly meet other community members, chat for a moment, and then move on to the next session/activity. You're in a small classroom with the same folks for eight hours a day for the whole week. You learn together, struggle together, and succeed together. After class, you're in study hall together, you share notes together, and you eat and drink together. Your classroom members become like your brothers and sisters in arms.

I was particularly inspired by Michael Drzewiecki, a fellow student in my class. He has been in the Salesforce world for less than a year, yet he already has 14 certifications—incredible! I spent a good portion of the week learning from him and his learning techniques. Michael's story inspired me and gave me that extra kick to go for even more certifications during the week. I hope you get to meet your “Michael” at Destination Success next year, too.

4. The swag!

I mean, come on—look at this haul! That SU Trailblazer hoodie alone makes a fine centerpiece to any Salesforce swag collection. We were treated like royalty in the swag department at this event. The first thing you see every day as you enter the event is a giant swag table filled with all sorts of branded goodies. But you can't just grab the items, you have to earn them by passing your certs: a concept I personally love.

Even the notebook we got—a throwaway item at any other event—was superb! It was made in Italy and has paper that's literally made out of apples. It smells delicious and will have a permanent place on my desk. (Please note, your swag haul may vary. And not pictured: a purple inflatable couch I also took home, no seriously!)

5. Shockingly good food.

I splurged $150 at a Vegas buffet for my wife and I the night before the event started...but the food at Destination Success was actually better. Especially the desserts — I ate far too much. It was so good that I spent quite a bit of time talking about it and trying to find out if it was just me who loved it so much. And I can confirm it was unanimous (in my not very scientific research) everyone thought the Destination Success food was amazing!

So, in summary my one piece of advice is: Go to Destination Success next year! Do whatever you can to convince your boss to let you go. If you're starting a new job, write it into your contract that your employer must send you here. Or if you must, I'd even recommend considering paying out of your own pocket. It's that good, and I don't say this lightly.

I'm already in withdrawal. Can't wait to see you all at #DST18!