Tuesday, September 14, 2010
The Insider’s Guide to Dreamforce, Part 1
I have a confession to make. I’m addicted to Dreamforce. I thought I’d just go once; you know, for fun. Then I figured I’d go back one more time, so that I could say I was a veteran, but I could stop anytime—really. Last year, I wasn’t planning on going back, but they asked me to present at two sessions and how could I say no to the free cookies they offer speakers?? This year, I was going to be strong and just say, NO. Then everyone started talking about it, I got offered a speaking gig again, and I kept remembering what a blast it was. Next thing you know, I was booking my flight!
There you have it. I’m a four time DF’er, this will be my fourth speaking session, I’ve hosted a round table, and in the interim, learned amazing amounts of information, met lots of smart people, and brought home more vendor swag than any human has the right to carry.
Because Dreamforce is both wonderful and a bit overwhelming, I’m going to be setting out a guide for newer attendees. Sure, Salesforce has guides and orientation meetings, but I’m going to go beyond that and give you the real scoop on surviving and thriving. Let’s start with, “What is Dreamforce?”
Dreamforce is part technical conference, part networking event, part PR launch, and part party. Think of it as twenty thousand plus of your new, best friends, jammed in the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Imagine wall to wall vendors and an ambient noise level of a tornado. Now, picture all that in one of the coolest cities on Earth. See why I’m addicted?
At the heart of the event are dozens and dozens of hour long sessions, geared around tracks. These tracks are set to appeal to specific groups such as developers, C level executive, and administrators of various degrees of experience. (You are of course free to attend anything, regardless of track.) Some sessions are given by Salesforce employees, but many are driven by customers of Salesforce, in conjunction with Salesforce experts. These presentations are often where you’ll pick up the real power of ideas.
There are also hands on labs, development teams, breakout sessions, round table discussions, industry grouped lunches, certification tests, and more. On top of all that, don’t miss the keynote speakers and Marc’s announcement of the latest and greatest innovation. Oh, and did I mention venders by the gazillions, each vying to give you some gift in exchange for two minutes of your time (and 30 phone calls, when you get home)?
Besides all the amazing stuff you can learn, there’s live entertainment at the big reception dinner. If that’s not enough, many vendors and most Salesforce reps and/or success managers will have their own happy hours or dinners for their customers or prospects. Don’t be shy and dive in!
If you’re still on the fence or you’re wondering how to justify the trip, take a look at this page. Salesforce has done a great job of giving you all the ammunition you need to get the event past your finance department.
In the next installment, we’re going to examine the nuts and bolts of how to get there, where to stay, and how find the least crowded restrooms. Trust me, you’ll want to make note of the latter!
See you at Dreamforce….
- ▼ September (7)