Wednesday, September 15, 2010
The Insider’s Guide to Dreamforce, Part 2
So, you’ve taken my advice and decided to go to Dreamforce; now what?
Most important, don’t delay! 20,000 of your colleagues are going to be competing with you for flights, hotels, classes, sessions, and anything else that can be reserved. If you’re going, get everything squared away as soon as you’re done reading this blog. If you dawdle, don’t blame me when you end up booked into the middle seat, between two sumo wrestlers, in the last row, just across from the plane’s lavatory and you have to stay at the Hobo Inn.
First, you need to get registered, but where? You can go on the Dreamforce website and sign up, all on your on. If you are not a Salesforce customer yet, that’s a good choice, but if you are, I strongly urge you not to go that route. Instead, talk with your sales person, success manager, or if you have a premium support rep, check with her. It varies from year to year, but sometimes they are under huge pressure to get registrations. If so, they will remember who helped them. It never hurts to have friends.
Whatever way you end up doing the registration, do it sooner than later. Discounts decline as the deadline gets closer. Speaking of discounts, ask whoever you’re buying your passes from if there are any special or unpublished rates, particularly if you’re taking a large posse with you. Please though, if the answer is no, be gracious and don’t harass them about it.
During the registration process, you can select a hotel from the ones that Salesforce has struck a deal with. Do it. You are very unlikely to find better rates and they are universally decent properties. Personally, I like the Hilton on O’Farrell Street, but your mileage may vary. Most are within walking distance of the convention center. Be sure to confirm your reservation.
By the way, if you do stay at the Hilton, don’t miss breakfast at the Pinecrest Dinner on Geary Street. The food’s amazing, the prices one third the hotel dining room, it’s open 24 hours, and the ambience…well, let’s just say, “You aren’t in Kansas anymore!” If you have a craving for something a little spicier, I highly recommend Naan N Curry which is literally across the street from the Hilton. Nothing really hits the spot like roasted goat and curry at 1AM. If you get tired of the good, free food offered at Dreamforce, walk out the front door and go about 50 meters towards Fourth Street to the Jollibee, the Philippine’s answer to McDonalds. Try the Chicken Joy!
As for airlines, they’re all about equally likely to lose your bags, just be sure to book early. I know I keep saying it, but for a big city, San Francisco has surprising limited air service, particularly from the East coast. If you don’t take care of this quickly, you may end up with four segments and a layover somewhere without inside plumbing. Seriously. One other caution—leave plenty of time on the last day of the conference. Some of the best presentations take place toward the end and you really don’t want an early return flight to force you to miss the best sessions.
To get from the airport to your hotel, you can rent a car or take a cab. If you rent a car, ask yourself if you’re going to use it during your stay. If not, is it a good idea to pay the hotel 20-30 dollars per day to store your rental for which you’re paying the car company a daily rate, too? I’ve taken cabs and rented cars in year past, but for me, it’s cabs all the way this year.
Now, you’re registered, have a place to sleep, and know how you’re going to get there. In our next installment, we’ll talk about navigating Dreamforce itself. It might seem simple, but when faced with the maelstrom for the first time, I’ve seen tough guys faint! ;-)
- ▼ September (7)