It is that time of the year again! The dates for Dreamforce 2017 – November 6th – 9th – have already been announced! We #SalesforceOhana can not wait to hear about new features of Salesforce; and, look forward to learning from what others have been doing. The event gets bigger year after year – with the plethora of acquisitions; sheer number of new products featured at the event are staggering.
San Francisco is in the Places to Visit list for nearly everyone. And Dreamforce is an excellent opportunity to get the best of San Francisco combined with the best of technology. Dreamforce’17 in San Francisco is going to be the place to be for well over 170K (2016 statistics) attendees.
I had the opportunity to attend Dreamforce (#DF16) and (#DF15). It does sneak up on you. Therefore, it is good to be prepared! Here are few tips to get you ready for the biggest event of the year.
1. Positive Attitude: – The most important thing to bring to any event you attend – not to mention in life itself! Be open to meeting new people; for, you never know who you will meet. It could be your next partner, client, or best friend!
2. Hotel Reservations: – Have you booked your hotel yet? Seriously, this is going to be tricky for you. But it is still possible. Here are few tips for getting a hotel somewhere near to Moscone Center:
- Search for hotels several times a day. As people change hotels or cancel their registrations, the rooms that they had reserved will become available again.
- Reach out to the All Dreamforce group in the Success Community, and ask if anyone would be willing to share their room – many people have booked hotel rooms with two beds.
- Look for a room outside of the Dreamforce site. It can be done! Hostels, Airbnb, and many other travel sites will have rooms pop up between now and the conference.
If you want convenience, get a hotel near Moscone Centre, that way you can save some time when jumping between activities.
3. Join groups in the Success Community: – There are some awesome groups (All Dreamforce group, New to Dreamforce group). If you join the groups, it will keep you posted on all things about Dreamforce.
4. Attend the Road to Dreamforce Webcast: – The Road to Dreamforce session is ran by Dreamforce team. It will give you event news and tips that will help you get the most out of your trip to Dreamforce. Use this link to sign up for updates and watch the session videos here.
5. Learn to layer: – The weather in San Francisco is finicky, so it is smart to bring lots of layers. Know that the temperature varies from one neighborhood to another! Even if it is warm and sunny in Union Square, it might be foggy and windy in Golden Gate Park. By layering, you can add and remove layers as necessary. I always bring along a light sweater and a jacket so I can warm up or cool down as needed.
6. Wear comfortable shoes: – Go for comfort. You will be standing around and walking a lot. Wear your most comfortable shoes. In Dreamforce 2015, I almost walked 8 miles per day. I was able to do so, partly because, I walk at-least 10,000 steps per day and I was wearing decent shoes – like ASICS Gel-Kayano. If you are not doing so already, start walking 10,000 steps a day daily; this will tone you for life, not just Dreamforce! The American Heart Association uses 10,000 steps metric as a guideline to follow for improving health and decreasing risk of heart disease – the number one killer of men and women in America.
7. Stay hydrated: – You will need fuel to get the most out of Dreamforce 2017. Just having water available, at all times, will likely increase how much of it you consume. Aim to have a full water bottle by your side at all times; and, sip on in whenever you start to get thirsty. Bringing your own water helps to ensure a high intake. Here is my favorite water bottle, gifted by Salesforce Community Team!
8. You will not need a laptop*: – It is better to leave your laptop at home. Because you need to walk so much, carrying a laptop in your Backpack is painful – to say the least. Instead, use your cell phone for productivity. I recommend installing following apps on your mobile to get the most out of your Dreamforce experience!
* Exception – you are planning on doing the hands-on workshop in the Developer Zone.
1. Salesforce Events: – The Salesforce Events app is your companion for every Salesforce event including Dreamforce, TrailheaDX, Connections, Salesforce World Tours and more. Make the most out of your event experience with a personalized agenda, complete session schedules, exhibitor profiles, and event info. Download the Salesforce Events app in the App Store for iOS or in Google Play for Android!
2. Evernote: – Whether you are at Dreamforce or on-the-go, suddenly, you may need to take some notes about the session you are in. Ideally, you need some scrap paper that you will inevitably misplace later, and that too you have to carry with you. How about using some mobile app, as we all carry mobile with us anyway! The benefits of note taking apps are that, you can quickly search and retrieve information and, access it from any device. That means, you have to use a service such as Quip or Evernote. I have been using Evernote for more than three years and have a rich repertoire of all my notes
The best part of using Evernote is it allows you to scan business cards and save it as Contact on your device – on Evernote or as a record in Salesforce. So, there is no need to worry about the loss of business cards information you receive. Indeed! after scanning, you can even return the card upfront to the person; by so doing you can help to save a tree #goGreen. Click here for a free month of Evernote premium.
3. Uber or Lyft: – If you do not already have Uber or Lyft, make sure to install it and create an account before Dreamforce. Lyft and Uber are great ways to move within San Francisco quickly.
These apps are making transportation as simple as a click of a location. Rather than having to search for local taxi numbers or gamble with fees, you can not only have a driver with you at the station, hotel or airport, quickly and painlessly, but, you can also know the cost of your fare upfront.
4. Google Maps: – Traveling somewhere new can bring exciting adventures. But it can also bring unwelcome surprises. The difference between the two may be in the tools you use before and during your trip. With the right technology, you can make the most out of your time on the road. Google Maps have many tech tools that contribute towards making traveling a breeze. While people most commonly use Google Maps for directions from one place to another, it offers many other kinds of travel tools. For example, Find the best places in town, Save your maps for offline use and Share your route with friends, etc.
5. Express VPN: – Be careful when accessing public WiFi. Unfortunately, a lot of people do not know that when accessing favorite sites, while sitting in your favorite coffee shop with free Wi-Fi, they are at a risk of having someone intercept your data. At the time of Dreamforce, it might be possible you may be connected to some public WiFi networks.
Unprotected free Wi-Fi is a breeding ground for hackers to intercept and access your data. If you are on public Wi-Fi, do not sign into anything requiring a password UNLESS you are connected to a VPN. The other benefit of using a VPN is, you can freely use Search Engines without having your searches logged. Click here for a free month of ExpressVPN.
9. Bring a Backpack: – Make sure to bring a nice comfy bag that you are prepared to wear for 8-hours at a stretch. You will use it to carry a water bottle, battery pack, Headphone, charging cables, Salesforce swag or just use it as a pillow in a quiet corner when you need to recharge!
10. Portable Charger(s) is a Must: – Have power banks ready to recharge all your mobile devices. If you do not have any, you can probably find some on the Cloud Expo floor being given away as promotional items. I will suggest you bring an external charger (or more) if you plan on using your phone or tablet for notes, pictures, live video, and more. Here are a few of my favorite external chargers:
11. Business Cards: – Be sure to stock up on business cards as you will be meeting lots of new people and will want to have a way to connect after the event. Some may say business cards are obsolete, but I disagree. Invest in fancy/stylish business cards that makes a statement. If you do so, people are more likely to remember YOU. At Midwest Dreamin’17, I received many positive feedbacks about my visiting card, because they like Automation Champion logo on it. RockDesign has amazing business cards which are unique. Check them out!
12. List of Who You Want to Meet: – Before the event, start reaching out to people with whom you want to connect. Make a Twitter List. Say Hello and start a conversation. Give them a reason to want to meet you IRL (in real life).
13. Early Check-in: – You may want to check-in as soon as possible on the very first day of registration. The exact date/time and locations have not been posted yet. As per the Dreamfrorce site, details will be posted as we get closer to the event. Make sure to check-in as early as possible to save time. Once you have checked-in successfully, you will get your Dreamforce badge, a backpack, and goodies, including sponsors pamphlet.
14. Your badge will be your Dreamforce pass: – To access any area of Dreamforce, they (Dreamforce Security/Administrative Team) will check your badge irrespective of the session, expo, keynote or the Gala. Make sure to wear the badge, at all times, on all the four days at Dreamforce.
15. Map your meals: – Salesforce offers free meals at Dreamforce event. Make sure to pack few snacks for in between meals – you will be burning lot of calories just by walking around.
16. Do not overbook yourself: – Do not try to attend sessions all day. Maximum of these sessions will be recorded and posted to Salesforce channel on YouTube. Instead, try to attend the hands-on sessions, and that too around 2-3 hours per day. Hands-on sessions will give you direct experience with the technology and features. Be effective and efficient by avoiding booking sessions too far away from each other; know that, not all sessions are at the Moscone center! Another important suggestion is, you should give yourself some free time to enjoy other sights and sounds! The whole purpose of Dreamforce is to learn and have fun; please do not let poor planning burn you out!
17. Space for free goodies: – Freebies, freebies, freebies! Dreamforce is the right place to collect freebies offered by Salesforce or exhibitors. Not everything is free, to collect some of them you have to complete tasks or participate in raffles. Allow plenty of room in your bag for all the goodies you will return home with.
18. Trailhead, Trailhead, Trailhead!: – Currently, there are three Trailhead badges you can go through to learn more about Dreamforce.
- Dreamforce ’17 Ready: – Learn why Dreamforce is the must-attend event of the year and develop your game plan.
- Dreamforce and Next Steps: – Make the most of your time at Dreamforce and keep learning after the event.
- Public Speaking Skills: – Create persuasive content, build your audience, and present like a pro.
Make some connections
Dreamforce is a high-energy, event-packed conference. It will be crowded, loud, and incredibly fun for exhibitors as well as attendees. Meeting people is an essential part of any event. At Dreamforce, the group is very diverse – you will find passionate Admins, Developers, Architects, Designers, and Consultants. The group is from all around the world and working on exciting projects. So, do not miss the opportunity to connect with them – be friendly and talk to people. This is a valuable lesson in life, not just business. Take time to learn from the experiences of others.
Make sure you have your Twitter account all set – it will be a great platform to connect with companies and people. You can even try finding people that are near you and going to the conference as well.
Beautiful San Francisco
San Francisco is a great place for sightseeing – there are several things to do as a tourist. So, if you can make some time, before or after the event, to explore the city then, that would be great. Tip: If you want to visit Alcatraz, make sure you book it in advance.
Other than touristy places, you can approach companies you like and ask to visit their office as well.
During Dreamforce, San Francisco gets packed with Techies all over the world. Many companies will host parties/gatherings in the evening to either advertise their products or get developers to like them. There is a super handy app and website that will show you what is happening that week. Do not forget to get your tickets before, as they get sold out pretty quickly.
Salesforce celebrates the conference with a party called Dreamfest; and, it happens on Tuesday (07th November) evening. It has great food, good selection of drinks and a Live Music Band making the perfect time to interact with new friends after a busy week.
Dreamforce is an exciting conference to be at; and, it affects the whole eco system. Salesforce announces its vision of the future and empowers developers to make better and useful applications for its platforms.
Now it is your turn! If you have attended Dreamforce, or any other conferences in the past, feel free to offer tips, in the comment section, to help others prepare for their journey!
Technical Editor and Proofreader: - Munira Majmundar