How to survive Dreamforce

survive Dreamforce

You have registered for Dreamforce, but now what?  With over 170,000 attendees last year, it is the largest tech conference in the world.  So there will be crowds aplenty – but with so much to learn, about all things Salesforce… How are you going to make the most out of this year’s event?  And most importantly, ensure you survive Dreamforce?

The 4-day conference for newbies can be overwhelming, but a little planning can go a long way to ensuring a smooth conference week.

I have learned so much about different Salesforce use cases and have been inspired seeing how other users and partners are making the most out of the platform.  And most of all, being able to immerse yourself in all things Salesforce for four days straight, really helps you learn & focus on all things Salesforce – and help you to conjure up new ways of using the platform.

9 tips to survive Dreamforce!

1. Build your agenda

survive Dreamforce: how to build Lightning Apps at Dreamforce 2016
Session on how to build Lightning Apps @ Dreamforce 2016

The biggest tip I can give a newbie to Dreamforce is you need to prepare…  Even with pre-planning my first year and hearing from others who had attended the year before me – I was still blown away at the sheer scale of the event.

With such a massive event, preparing and planning counts for so much!

Use the Agenda Builder before you get there.  And find out what sessions are available, and if you need to enroll.

The great news is that not all sessions require you to register, but the more popular ones do tend to…  Why?  This allows the session to have a priority order to entry (compared to people who just turn up to the session) – but remember this still isn’t a guarantee, so get to the sessions early.

2. Don’t get lost.

After you have built your agenda, you can then download the Dreamforce event app (iOS or Android).

During the event, you will be able to get alerts and notifications on your enrolled sessions and access event details like maps, directions/transport options.

Google Maps (or your favorite mapping app), is also extremely helpful in finding your way in between venues.  Just keep in mind, Salesforce will be offering shuttles between a number of the key sites, and these won’t typically show in these apps.

3. Be prepared.

Surviving Dreamforce regarding the weather is relatively easy this time of year.  San Francisco weather in September is typically mild – but always plan ahead – plan for cooler evenings, and warmer days.

Remember to pack light, you won’t generally need to carry a laptop around with you.  A phone/tablet device would typically be more than enough but remember to take a power bank/charging cable around with you.

With all your note taking (see below), and photos of slides and sights around town, your battery will thank you.  Personally I carry a light powerbank around with me, as finding a charging point can be a little difficult at times.

4. Be noteworthy.

Take lots and lots of notes!

Remember to set out in the morning with an iPad/phone (and as above remember battery pack!!).  Alternatively go old-school with notepad & pen (no battery!) to keep track of everything you learn.

Personally I like to combine taking pictures of the slides with my own notes in an app like OneNote.

5. Think of your feet…

You will be walking around so much!  So, so much!

To help survive Dreamforce, make sure you are in comfortable clothing and footwear!  Remember to pack light so you don’t carry everything around with you and try to time when you go to the Expo Hall to pick up your swag, so that way you don’t have to carry it around with you all day!

6. Be patient.

With so many people swarming around downtown San Francisco, all looking to learn as much as they can about Salesforce, it can get a little frustrating at times navigating the crowds.

Remember to be patient, everyone is there is get the most out of the experience too.  Try to get to sessions early, and be prepared to be waiting in line.

7. Be approachable.

To help pass the time when in a line, strike up a conversation with those around you.

Personally, I found some of the most interesting conversations at the conference by doing this.  And you can learn from challenges or use cases you both might share.

Not everyone can just strike up a conversation out of thin air.  And that is ok.  Remember you are both in line for the same session, use that as a conversation starter!

There are plenty of social functions being planned too by Salesforce and third-party vendors (see below).  But remember an event this size doesn’t happen every day 😉 So you only get a chance to network with this many Salesforce professionals once a year!

8. Get hands on.

Cloud Expo at Dreamforce 2016
CloudExpo Hall @ Dreamforce 2016

In Moscone Center, there is an opportunity to get hands on.  Coding Drop-in Clinics, Admin Reviews, Lightning UX consultations…  If it was something to do with Salesforce, there was a session to learn about it!  The Trailhead theme last year was brilliant and there was so much going on at the different ‘base camps’ and ‘ranger stations’, you could easily spend a day or two just in these halls!

Go to the Expo Hall, learn about the AppExchange and new tools you might be able to use in your org.  This is also where you are likely to get the most of your swag! 🙂

9. Finally… Get dance-y!

Finally there is also some fun to be had!  After all you have to survive Dreamforce in style 🙂

Flo Rida at Dreamforce 2016
Flo Rida @ Dreamforce 2016

This year will see Metallica taking to the big Dreamfest stage and possibly other acts to support.

This is the time to let your hair down after a long conference.

Throughout the week though, there is so much happening.  Salesforce and their partners know how to put on an event!

But what else is happening throughout the week?  Well, Anaplan has collated a party planner & there is also a post over at SalesforceBen to help you get your groove on!

Got any Salesforce survival tips of your own?

Please share in the comments section below!

Remember there is a Trailhead module now for helping you get the most out of Dreamforce, and if you haven’t registered yet, head on over to the Dreamforce site to buy your tickets (if there are any left!).

Adam Gill

Hi, Adam here! I am a Trailhead Ranger and also 6x certified. I have been working with Salesforce since 2007, across a wide variety of CRM projects and orgs (both greenfield and legacy). I love travelling and fun fact, I had my scuba diving license before my driving license!

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