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Dreamforce 2013: There and Back Again

Dreamforce 13My favorite thing about Dreamforce? The flights.

Yes, you heard me right. Every year I’ve attended Dreamforce, I vividly recall my flights from Rochester, NY to San Francisco and back again to attend Dreamforce.

To be clear, I could do without the inevitable (very) early morning hustle to get to the airport and subsequent corralling through security. But, once I’m settled in my chair, my mind shifts into two modes: anticipation during the flight out and pragmatism during the flight back.

Anticipation Getting To Dreamforce

First and foremost, I’m going to Dreamforce 13! It’s the biggest annual event for anyone whose built a profession around the Salesforce platform, so the anticipation of “what’s new”, “who’s gonna be there”, and “what will I take away” is obvious. I anticipate being very busy, a little tired, walking a lot, and having some fun.

Second, I spend some time tying up what I can from work. When you’re on “Dreamforce time”, your normal work schedule goes out the window. I make sure meetings are rescheduled, the team is productive, and I’m not on anyone’s “waiting on” list if possible. If I’m wifi-enabled, I do all this in real-time, otherwise I’m getting organized in a document, ready to finish processing after I land.

Finally, the last few years, I’ve been fortunate enough to present at Dreamforce. The planning process for a Dreamforce session is rigorous and thorough. Session preparation is essentially complete weeks before the event, but I take advantage of my captive time on the plane to run through a couple more dry runs and make any last minute tweaks to presentation content, sample code, etc., to put on a good show for anyone attending, knowing that there’s very little time for that once I hit the ground (running) at SFO.

Pragmatism Getting Back

There’s definitely an afterglow coming back from Dreamforce, and the flight back always feel like the first moment I have to actually process and reflect on the what just happened. After organizing some business cards and maybe shuffling through some expo schwag, my brain settles in:

  • I think about the people I met, the conversations I had, and what they mean to my business.
  • I think about the products I saw demoed and what potential there may be for my current clients and partners.
  • I think about the big ideas shared at the keynotes around innovation, entrepreneurship and giving back and how I can weave those into our company’s culture.
  • I think about the what I didn’t see: product concepts and development ideas that could “fill the gaps” flood my mind.

I write, draw and think a lot on that flight home. For me, attending Dreamforce is a surge of energy, a clean break from the day-to-day, and chance to reflect on what matters to my business.