Welcome to Dreamforce! I highly recommend this conference to any business professional. Not only do you get to spend four incredible days in San Francisco, but you are surrounded with THOUSANDS of others, all motivated to learn and reach goals similar to your own. Did I mention, there are a ridiculous amount of parties (most geared toward high level executives)? Oh, and one more plus is Richard Branson and Colin Powell held a large key note session this year. What’s not to like?
As I headed to Dreamforce it was a mixture of excitement and an overwhelming feeling of the unknown. It felt like my first day of college as I searched for the correct location of my session and kept my eyes open for someone I might know. Attending solo had both it’s benefits and disadvantages. I was pushed to strike up conversations with fellow Dreamforce wanderers, yet I could only cover so many seminars as a single person, where teams that were together dispersed to cover many seminars through out the conference. I have to give thanks to advancing technology, as each seminar was posted shortly after in the Chatter Feed with notes, presentation slides, as well as a YouTube video of the entire presentation.
As much as I would like to delve into each day of Dreamforce, I chose instead to condense my experience into a Dreamforce Round Up of my Top 5.
BLUE BOTTLE COFFEE
I began my Tuesday morning with a stroll through SOMA (South of Market) over to Mint Plaza where I treated myself to a Blue Bottle Iced Coffee (located parallel to 6th Street on Mary St.). If you love coffee as much as I do, Blue Bottle Coffee is brilliant at delicately roasting their beans, and providing a perfectly peppy morning drink. Each week the menu changes due to the constant cycle of three single origin coffees. Their pastries are delicately prepared in the Blue Bottle Kitchen just across the bay in Jack London of Oakland and then distributed to the San Francisco locations.
MARKETO DINNER @ SCALAS
Before we dial down to the title at hand, a quick back story about Eric Uzzo: About a week before Dreamforce, one of our partners in New York, Eric Uzzo got in touch with Synergy in need of housing for the week of Dreamforce. Due to our strong relationship with his company we gladly provided a one bedroom apartment at 388 Beale. This is a beautiful property within walking distance to the Moscone Center, which was very convenient for the NY native. Upon Eric’s arrival he arranged for a meeting to take place at our office so that he could meet the team as well as share best practices within Marketing. It was great to meet him, especially because he would be attending Dreamforce solo as well; through out the week we attended certain seminars, parties, and lunches together; it was nice to have a buddy! Also, due to Eric’s VP of Marketing title, he was invited to far more interesting activities than myself. After attending a hospitality networking event, he let me tag along to the Marketo dinner at Scalas Bistro. It was a delicious dinner that I highly recommend to any SF Native or Tourist. Half way through dinner I was informed that the gentleman to my right was David Cain, the Vice President of Marketing for Marketo. Marketo is a marketing automation vendor with a sophisticated yet easy-to-use marketing automation software that helps B2B marketing and sales drive revenue and improve accountability. It has been one of the fastest growing companies revenue wise, and is ranked #1 in Inc. 500. Cain is interesting to talk to and has quite the list of experiences. He grew up as an army brat, and has lived in numerous US and international locations. He described his childhood beginning with the fact that he was born on a ship…how many individuals do you know like that? Cain has been a detrimental part not only for Marketo, but his previous job at Crowd Factory which was recently acquired by Marketo. His past career paths were with organizations such as Open Table as well as Success Factors; both well known and successful businesses. As a young 24 year old, just beginning my career, being able to pick the brain of a genuine and helpful man associated with such a high profile company was an invaluable experience.
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS CONCERT
Little did I know that this amazing conference could exceed my expectations further. I have listened to Red Hot Chili Peppers since before you knew Flea was an actor in “The Big Lebowski”. Eric and I attended early to experience the food trucks; If you have never experienced the SF Food Trucks, they are easily a combination of where street eats meet Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa. Quick bites, but on a gourmet level that will always leave you satisfied. Of course there was ample wine and beer through out the venue…did I mention the concert took place within the large courtyard in front of San Francisco City Hall?! City Hall was illuminated with an array of graphics highlighting the details of the buildings architecture. Hands down, a once-in-a-lifetime show and experience.
PRIME LOCATION & TEMPORARY RESIDENT OF SAN FRANCISCO
Working for a Corporate Housing company definitely has it’s perks! For the conference, I stayed at Archstone South Market which is located on 3rd and Folsom caddy-corner to the Moscone Expo Center. This gated community is nestled right in the heart of the SOMA very close to the Bay Bridge, as well as a few blocks walking distance to the Embarcadero, the Metreon, and Bart. You are central to a number of shops, restaurants, and event venues, and it is so easy to get any where on foot! The property sits above a few eloquent restaurants, a dry cleanings service, as well as a small shop that offers spa services. The community staff was very friendly and informative upon my arrival – I had one of the leasing agents help me with my bag to the entry of my building, which was unnecessary, but a nice gesture that I couldn’t refuse! The property includes an outside dog run for all of you with furry, four legged friends as well as a resort styled pool and spa after a hard days work. Also onsite is a fitness center and a laundry room, which the laundry room is located on the 3rd floor of each building. I stayed in a spacious one bedroom unit on the 14th floor where I had a view facing the Bay Bridge. Not a bad site to wake up to! My apartment was equipped with two HD TV’s and basic cable including a healthy selection of snacks in one of our Synergy coolers that came in handy while I made my way to and from the conference. As I was out most of the week in the evenings, my apartment kitchen had all the bells and whistles needed to create a comfortable style of living within the kitchen and I did use the coffeemaker each morning, something that I consider a staple item in every household! Over all I enjoyed this property very much due to the quality of living as well as the location. I almost felt like a true San Franciscan for those short four days of Dreamforce.
MOST HELPFUL SEMINAR: BECOMING A BETTER ADMIN
I attended at least 4-5 seminars the first day. Anyone who attended How to be a Better Admin walked away not only motivated, but withe the most helpful tips for new or existing admins. Amber Neill and Leyna Hoffer not only knew the in’s and out’s for Salesforce administrators, but their high energy and witty conversation made their presentation enjoyable to be a part of. Some key take always that I suggest to any entry level admin are three things:
- Participate in Local user Groups: As an individual there is only so much you can accomplish with one brain and I am sure you have an incredibly, ingenious one at that! But more heads are better than one, especially in local user groups were the promotion of idea sharing as well as Salesforce support can advance your knowledge and company’s success more than you’d expect. To find your local user groups, click here. If there are no user groups in your area, start your own!
- Use your Sandbox! Salesforce gives you the ability to create multiple copies of your organization in separate environments for a variety of purposes, such as testing and training, without compromising the data and applications in your Salesforce production organization. Sandboxes are completely isolated from your Salesforce production organization, so operations you perform in your sandboxes do not affect your Salesforce production organization, and vice versa.
- And lastly, Track your work in Salesforce. As an admin you are constantly making changes to improve your organizations Salesforce. Take credit for it as well as create an environment where team members can suggest changes. Such an environment would be called “Change Control Environment and Governance”, so not only as an admin do you know what your team would like to see altered, but you have the right to see suggestions before they can be implemented, which essentially could hurt other aspects of your Salesforce environment. Leave your email if you would like to know the steps in order to create a “Change Control Environment” for your organization!
Any further questions regarding my Dreamforce experience, please feel free to leave a comment or share your own thoughts about the conference!