Despite only joining Salesforce as a Futureforce graduate in February, my time here has been amazing, and getting to go to Dreamforce within my first year in the company is the icing on the cake. I’ve already had the chance to attend Basecamp Dublin, and World Tour London, and both events were crazy, so a week in San Francisco at our biggest event of the year is as daunting as it is exhilarating!
I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of experienced leaders at Salesforce, so I reached out to them to find out what they wished they had known before attending their first Dreamforce.
Read on for some exellent tips and advice to get you through the week...
Be clever when it comes to packing for the day, only carry the essentials with you, like a power bank to keep your phone alive. Plan every day using the event app, allowing time to travel between different buildings, and to factor in some time for networking, being flexible is key for Dreamforce. It can be a hectic week, so you'll need plenty of rest the week before and the week after Dreamforce.
Dreamforce can be a very spread out event, so make sure you are comfortable; good shoes and an umbrella may seem trivial, but they really do make a difference when you're travelling between sessions, especially if it's raining! Also, give yourself some time between the various sessions to take in the overall atmosphere, to meet with other people, and to build your network.
Wear comfortable shoes! Bring a portable power source - it's a great way to make new connections - sharing some juice! The distance between sessions can be significant - ensure you have factored transfer times into your schedule. Pick your "must not miss" sessions and plan your day around them. Attend at least one non-tech session - (eg. mindfulness, sustainability, etc). Dreamforce is so much more than a tech conference, remember that.
My biggest tip is for those who plan on seeing Barack Obama's keynote. Unsurprisingly, this will be one of the most sought after sessions of the week, so plan to be in the queue early in the morning; with both your breakfast and morning coffee in hand. It's not the session you want to miss! As for Dreamfest (with Fleetwood Mac!), be there early if you want to be in the front row, and remember that it will get chilly, so make sure to pack a warm jacket!
Take time to explore the Campground - not just to see the latest innovations from Salesforce, but also from all of our partners in the Salesforce ecosystem. We have great customer showcases, theatres with additional sessions, and much much more. Take some time just to explore our vast site -- trainers are probably the best footwear for the week.
Dreamforce is marathon, not a sprint. You'll be tempted to attend every session and demo, but pace yourself, take enough time to recharge and to take some fresh air. Prioritise the content you really need to watch.
Dreamforce is about innovation, fun and giving back. Set some time to do a volunteering activity, learn a new skill in the Trailhead Zone and to reflect on your personal development on the many sessions about mindfulness and development.
Use the Agenda Builder and bookmark the key sessions and demos you want to see and ensure you allow time for queuing at keynotes! Hearing and participating in the equality sessions is also a must, it's important to take this opportunity to learn new things and build new relationships.
Finally, make sure to always carry a water bottle (there are refill stations everywhere), a charging cable for you phone, and a power bank as backup! You will be taking a lot of pictures, and you will run out of battery! Finally, leave your laptop at home unless you really need it, only carry the essentials.
Download and use the app to build your schedule, spend some time curating your day because there’s so much to see and it’s easy to lose track of time. Find an opportunity to give back at Dreamforce, and focus on your own development too - there are so many things to learn and so many things you will be exposed to that you don’t usually get to see.
Your first Dreamforce will always be a very, very special experience, so make the most of it! Wear comfortable shoes, layered clothing, and stay hydrated. Try to plan your agenda for the week in advance, and don’t cram it with sessions back to back - leave some time for networking, or taking some time to simply reflect and enjoy the ambience of the day.
Make sure to take full advantage of the Friday, which is all about self-development.
So there you have it - top advice from the people that have been there before. My big 3 takeaways based on that would be:
I hope to see you there!