The countdown to Dreamforce 2017 is coming quickly. Are you ready for four days of excitement, innovation, networking, and learning about the future of your industry? If not, there is no need to worry.
Dreamforce will take place on November 6-9 in San Francisco and pretty much takes over the entire city. Being the most innovative and largest software conference in the world, you want to make sure you are prepared to get the most out of your time at Dreamforce. In four days you can transform your career, give back to the community, meet 170,000+ fellow Trailblazers, and most importantly– enjoy yourself!
Dreamforce events include keynote speakers, live music, small focused sessions, and the Customer Success Expo. There are over 2700 sessions and it can be difficult to choose which sessions to attend. Fortunately, many of the sessions are duplicates and the different time slots help accommodate everyone’s busy schedule. Here are a few ideas to help you make the most of your time:
1. Figure out which keynotes you would like to hear. The keynote speakers are some of the brightest and most innovative industry leaders in the world. Make time in your schedule for speakers such as Marc Benioff, Michelle Obama, Ashton Kutcher, Jenna Bush Hager, Barbara Bush, Susan Wojcicki, will.i.am, and much more. Their insight could provide you with the boost of motivation you need to excel in your company.
2. Use your resources as to not get overwhelmed. With over 170,000 attendees it can be easy to feel inundated with too many people and things to see. Use the Agenda Builder to consolidate and organize your movement from building to building and go to events within a close proximity of each other. The Salesforce Einstein technology allows users to narrow down which sessions to attend and delivers recommendations based on historical data to fit the needs of each Trailblazer. If you forget to reserve a spot, most sessions have allotted 25% of their slots for walk-ins. Also, be sure to check out Appy, a guide to all things AppExchange, and get her tips for first-timers!
3. Be flexible! Sometimes your plans will change, and that’s okay. If you miss a session or cannot make it to another location, take advantage of one-on-one networking in your area. You might just run into a Salesforce MVP who can give you some great tips on how to run the platform more effectively. Or, maybe you can use your free time to stay hydrated and get some great food in the area. It is San Francisco after all, so there is no shortage of restaurants or places to go if you need a break from the conference.
4. Immerse yourself in the music! This year, Alicia Keys and Lenny Kravitz will be taking the stage on Tuesday night and putting on a show to benefit UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals. You don’t want to miss these incredible performers in action. And better yet, it’s for a charitable cause. Mark your agendas for cocktails at 6:30pm and the concert at 7:30pm on Tuesday November 7th at AT&T Park. Also, there will be multiple stages across the Dreamforce campus with performers throughout the conference. Dream Valley, which is open to Expo+ attendees as well, will include a free music festival featuring local bands and performers. Listening to music a great way to unwind and have some fun amidst the plethora of events to attend.
5. Want to know more about how to promote equality within your company? Curious about women in leadership? Then don’t forget to check out the diversity across Dreamforce. Use the Agenda Builder to find sessions or summits about equality and diversity during your Dreamforce experience.
6. Dress for comfort. The dress code at Dreamforce emphasizes being casual rather than dressing professionally. The campus spans several hotels and the weather can be unpredictable, so you won’t be judged. On the plus side, you have the chance to wear some really comfortable shoes or crazy socks like Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has done in the past.
7. Don’t overschedule your time. You should have some objectives in attending Dreamforce, but go with the “under-promise, over-deliver” approach. As discussed earlier, Dreamforce can be overwhelming so allow yourself to go with the flow. You don’t have to attend every session to make the most of Dreamforce. You won’t be disappointed that you missed half the sessions you signed up for, especially since sessions can be found on YouTube after the event. Stay focused on your goals, but don’t be afraid to have some fun..
8. Leave your laptop and put down your smartphone. While you will definitely use your mobile device for taking notes, you’ll likely spend more time worrying about losing your devices than you will using them. If you need to keep in touch with the office, then bring out your smartphone. Be aware, trying to connect to the Wifi can be a struggle given the number of attendees. The greatest benefit from Dreamforce is getting to know so many really smart people who have similar passions, problems, and solutions. While you’re waiting for a session to start, turn to the person next to you and strike up a conversation.
9. Get to know the Community. Beyond all the hype, Salesforce is a remarkably innovative company. They’ve built a community of people — myself included — who are passionate about the company and its products. This band of brothers and sisters volunteer their time to run user groups, answer questions, give back to nonprofits, and much more. How can a company inspire so much volunteerism? As a salesperson, marketer, or customer service person, go to Dreamforce and see how this leadership, vision, and energy can be applied to your business.
10. Take breaks when needed. There are a couple of great places to “collect yourself” if you are tired: the main lawn on Howard Street – it has artificial turf, lots of chairs, and bean bags as well as food and music if you go at the right time. There is also some space to relax outside of the Expo Hall. The MLK Fountain at the Yerba Buena center right next door is a nice quiet place to hang out with water feature that drowns out the city. Some local hotels may allow you to rest in their lobby, but you should find out information from the hotel before you go. The city will be booming with people and events so finding a quiet space may be beneficial.
11. Check out the Customer Success Expo – you’ll see a lot of innovative technology partners who are building solutions mostly on the AppExchange. Instead of improving your system by building you can buy an already built product which gets you to market faster and gives you probably a nice clear roadmap of capabilities you can take advantage of in the future as you grow. The expo is a great place to discover these solutions and you have many people there who are happy to discuss if there’s a good fit.