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Missed Dreamforce 13? Run Your Own Dreamforce

So you missed Dreamforce 13?

In mid November 2013, 125,000 cloud computing and Salesforce professionals met in San Francisco for the world’s largest software conference, Dreamforce.  Even with that huge attendance number, a lot people still could not make it.  So, the goal of this blog is to give you a program that will help recreate that experience, your own “Personal Dreamforce”.

First, you’ve got to look at this as a serious endeavor.  You need time, and need to get in the right mood.  Either set aside a day or two to experience Personal Dreamforce, or at least a few hours per day for a few days that can be dedicated for Dreamforce experience time.

Next, set the mood.  During Personal Dreamforce, dress the part.  Wear whatever you would wear to the conference.  There is a Dreamforce Spotify playlist here to keep the tunes cranking:  #DF12Radio (DF13 Radio is not available yet). To really complete the experience, cook some runny eggs to recreate my favorite breakfast joint in San Francisco, the Pinecrest Diner, then walk 10 blocks to get appropriately invigorated!

Get Your Content On

Salesforce has done an AWESOME job getting content posted on Youtube.  I am continually impressed by how fast and complete the listing is.  The Channel is located here:  http://www.youtube.com/user/dreamforce

There’s two major types of content.  Keynotes and Sessions.  I’d recommend a mixture of both.  Keynotes to inspire, Sessions to give practical tips.  Build an agenda.  Schedule the time allocated with Content and “Expo time”(explained below).  Start with a keynote and then review the session listings and choose which ones can bring you the most value.  Youtube’s “Watch Later” feature gives an easy way to queue up the content. You can read recaps of Red Argyle’s Dreamforce 13 Sessions here.

Shows times and daily plan for Personal Dreamforce

Personal Dreamforce Agenda

Watching sessions this way has two distinct advantages.  First, you get “the best seat in the house”, whether it’s on your couch or somewhere else comfortable.  Second, sessions don’t need to be watched in real time.  The videos are already edited down, and should you find a video that is not applicable, skip ahead or substitute another video.  That’s something you can’t do while sitting in Moscone Center.  It’s like someone DVR’d Dreamforce and gave it to you.

Make content more social by connecting with the presenters beforehand either through the Dreamforce org (if you have access from a previous year), Twitter, or Email.  Most presenters took pains to make themselves available, and would be more than happy to discuss session content or answer questions that you have about the session.

Salesforce Community

The Salesforce community is one of the most active, engaged groups of people in the world.  Just because we’re not at Dreamforce does not mean that we’re offline.  The community is available in a many forms and while you’re having your personal Dreamforce, spend some time networking with us!  Here’s a few methods:

Twitter – Follow the Salesforce MVP’s on Twitter, and you’ll immediately have a feed full of Salesforce (and laughs, and probably bad puns from me).  Talk to us, ask what’s up, we’ll answer.  I’m sure others would have lots of content suggestions too!

Success Community – The Success community has Chatter groups that are available for posting and discussion, questions and answers, and a place to post ideas for voting.  I could write a whole blog just on that!

Local User Group – Most areas in the US have a local user group located nearby.  Look at the directory and see if you can get connected with one.  You might have an amazing Salesforce community in your backyard, or if not, this might be a great opportunity to consider building one!

Dreamforce Expo Floor

One of my favorite parts of Dreamforce is visiting the expo floor.  This year there were hundreds of booths and vendors doing demos and talking about their applications.  As part of the Personal Dreamforce agenda, schedule some time looking through the virtual expo, or as it’s commonly called, “The AppExchange”.  Here’s your assignment:

Spend 30 minutes “surfing” the AppExchange app listings.  Pick categories that are interesting and see what kind of new applications are out there.  Salesforce actually has a full time curator on staff now to help organize and classify applications by genre, category, and function to help with searching.  Choose 3 Applications.  For each of the 3 applications, research who made it, follow them on Twitter and say hello on the Success community.  Finally, call them for a demo.  I’m sure they’ll be happy to help.  By asking nicely, you might even be able to score some swag, recreating another expo floor perk.

The AppExchange brings all the power of the expo floor right to the web browser, without the crowds.  Review thousands of applications in minutes, network with the partners who wrote them, and easily share the experience with the community.  Dedicate some time for this and prepare to be amazed.

Why Dreamforce isn’t about Dreamforce (the epic analogy)

I’ve been beating the drum about how to make Personal Dreamforce social in this blog post, because I believe it’ll greatly enhance the experience, and quite possibly enhance every day afterward.  I wanted to share a story of my personal experiences with something else near and dear to my heart, Volkswagens.  You see, between 2003 and 2007 I painstakingly restored one.  Throughout those years, I was deeply involved in the Volkswagen community and went to 10 car shows a year.

In the beginning, I’d go to these shows and stare at the cars for hours.  I’d take pictures of intricate mechanical details and geek out over unique solutions.  But then something started to change.  I got to know the owners.  When looking back through my photo albums from the early years, all the pictures were of cars and car parts.  However, in the later years the pictures changed and most of them are of me and my friends doing stuff together.  We left the cars parked in the field while us owners hung out, told stories, learned from each other, and had a great time.

You see, the car show stopped being about the cars.  Sure, the cars were the glue that bound us together, but it was our community that made it great.  In the later years, I have not gone to as many car shows but am still close friends with many other owners and am still able to experience that same community through other channels thanks to technology.  So while Dreamforce was awesome, as a 5 year veteran I’ll put it out there – Dreamforce isn’t about Dreamforce.  It’s about community.  And now we’re available and hungry to help you make Personal Dreamforce a success, and then help you carry that success into every day.

Dreamforce Party Time!

Dreamforce is not only known for the great conference, but the “night life”.  Well, after a day of personal Dreamforcing, it’s time to let your hair down.  Enjoy a tasty beverage, go hang out with some friends, do something fun and celebrate the awesome 2013 Personal Dreamforce that you just had.

Conclusion and Call to Action

My challenge to you is to try running a Personal Dreamforce.  Post a comment, how was it?  What worked, what didn’t, what would you suggest others try?  Reach out to the community, try it!  I’m on Twitter (@DarthGarry) and always happy to talk!

Comments

  • Great post, Garry!

    Way to showcase not only what Dreamforce is, but how important the community is to the whole experience. I tell people all the time that the way to keep the Dreamforce feeling alive all year is to join a user group!

    • Thanks Eric, much appreciated. The community permeated my thought process, every time I talked about how to make a Personal Dreamforce, there was always something related to the community.

      Garry