My Dreamforce 2013 Experience As A First-Time Attendee

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My mind is officially blown. Making the decision to go to Dreamforce was not an easy one considering the cost, time away from the office, and knowing the event takes place a week before the Thanksgiving holidays. Having said that…attending the event ended up being one of the best business decisions of my life. From working closely with one of the most innovative companies in the world, Salesforce, to being in the beautiful city of San Francisco…Dreamforce will become a regularly scheduled event for The Refinery Source going forward.

A Little Background on Dreamforce

Dreamforce consists of 1,000 sessions featuring some of the brightest speakers and top technologies in the current business world. It has something for everyone who currently uses Salesforce from administrators to developers to executives and more. Many of the sessions get into the meat and potatoes while some are very conceptual and forward thinking. The Dreamforce app and agenda builder make the conference much more navigable and easy to consume. In addition to the sessions, Salesforce offers hands on training, development workshops, theaters for integration, code consultations, the Cloud Expo, keynote speakers and much more. Saying the event is comprehensive is the understatement of the year.

San Francisco Gets Better Every Time

First off, let me begin by saying the city of San Francisco was awesome per usual. The architecture is beautiful, the atmosphere was progressive, the culture was inspirational and the weather was ideal when it wasn’t raining. Some places we had the opportunity to visit ( don’t look for a theme here 🙂 ) were:

  • 21st Amendment Brewery – cool place to watch the Saints vs. 49ers game.
  • Toronado – dive bar serving Russian River on tap.
  • Greenbergers – good food, great sweet potato fries.
  • Cellarmaker – a barrel aged brewery with a bright future.
  • Public House – Salesforce party at AT&T Park before the Green Day concert.

The Highlights

For Dreamforce, there were so many highlights it is hard to know where to begin:

  • Hands On Training – these sessions let you dig in create a tutorial from beginning to end with help.
  • The Dev Zone – the whole 2nd floor of the Moscone West was a Salesforce developer’s playground. I set up shop there everyday.
  • The Houston User Group – I attended two Houston/Texas led sessions and both provided a lot of value. **Rachel Rogers, Ijeoma Ikechi, Galina Yerokhina, K.D. Carter, Julia Promnitz & Geraldine Gray all made Houston proud!**
  • Books, Books, and More Books – the Dev Zone had a library of books that were given away for free. I’m fairly certain the free books cost more than my conference pass. This was a game changer for my trip.
  • Visited the Salesforce Offices – cool tour and a better understanding of the company behind the world’s leading CRM.

Tips For Future Attendees

As a first time attendee I can’t imagine the trip going any better. For those reading this post that didn’t get to attend or are considering the next Dreamforce, here are a few tips:

  • Register early and reserve your sessions as soon as possible
  • Schedule sessions that are close to each other in proximity
  • Don’t trust the shuttles, they aren’t regularly on time and the routes weren’t consistent
  • Talk to other attendees…be friendly, most people are there for the same reasons you are
  • Check out the city, you don’t have to drink the Salesforce kool-aid the whole time

Dreamforce In The Future

Only 350+ days until the next Dreamforce and I am already excited. The trip as a whole inspired me to increase my knowledge and aptitude within the CRM and to really crank up my development chops. I am really looking forward to seeing how much improvement and innovation we can bring to the table next year.

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