Saturday, 6 October 2018

Dreamforce 2018

Dreamforce 2018

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2018 marked my 9th Dreamforce, although the first of these was staffing a booth in the Expo for 4 days so it’s difficult to count that. In a change of pace, the event started on day -1 with a new initiative from Salesforce.

Monday - CTA Summit

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The CTA Summit was pretty much my favourite part this year - an audience of CTAs and travelling bands of Product Managers giving us lightning (the pace, not the technology, although we did get some of that as well!) presentations and answering difficult questions - for me the questions were as informative as the presentations, especially if it was an area that I haven’t done a lot of work in. Nothing like knowing what others are struggling with so you can be ahead of the game.

The format was one that I’m reasonably familiar with, having been lucky enough to attend 3 MVP summits over the years, especially the constant reminders that you are under NDA and can’t share any of the content. Sorry about that! One thing I can share is that Richard Socher (Salesforce Chief Scientist) is an excellent speaker and if you get a chance to attend one of his talks, grab it. Some of the sessions were hosted at the Rincon Centre, where I saw a couple of outfits that looked really familiar.

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Tuesday - Keynote

Early start as the Community Group Leaders State of the Union session was a breakfast presentation at the Palace Hotel from 7am, then more CTA Summit sessions before heading over to Moscone Center.

For the first (no pun intended) time that I can remember, Marc Benioff’s keynote took place on Day 1. As an MVP I’m lucky enough to get reserved seating for the keynote and made sure I was there in plenty of time - queueing with Shell Black prior to security opening put us in the first row of reserved seating, three rows back from the stage.

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The big announcements from the keynote were Einstein Voice (conversational CRM + voice bots) and Customer 360. If you want to know more about these, here’s a slide from the BrightGen Winter 19 release webinar with links to the appropriate keynote recordings (if you can’t read the short links, you can access the original deck here

 

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The keynote wasn’t the end of the day though, with CTA and MVP receptions on offer I was networking and learning late into the evening,

Wednesday - Speaking

After a couple of days listening to other people talking, it was my turn. First up was the Climbing Mount CTA panel session over at the Partner Lodge, where I was up the front in some stellar company. We even had parity between the male and female CTAs on the panel, which is no mean feat when you look at the stats, something the Ladies Be Architects team in the foreground and working hard to address.

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After this I headed back to Trailhead in Moscone West, showing incredible self-control as the partner reception was just starting. I limited myself to a single bite sized corn dog and ignored the voice in my head telling me that a couple of beers would loosen me up nicely, and went straight over the speaker readiness room to remind myself of the content for my Developer Theatre session “Quickstart Templates with the Salesforce CLI” (picture courtesy of my session owner, Caroline Hsieh).

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Once the talk was over I continued in a tradition started last year and went out for a beer with some of the contingent from Sweden - Johan (aka Kohan, Mohan) Karlsteen, the creator of Top Trailblazers, and one of his colleagues. As is also traditional, we took a picture and included a snapshot of the guy who couldn’t make it so that he didn’t feel left out :)

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Thursday - More Keynotes and the Return of @adamse

Thursday was the second highlight of the event for me - the Developer Keynote, closely followed by the Trailhead keynote. A big surprise at the Dev Keynote was the presence of Adam Seligman, formerly of Salesforce but now with Google.

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And I had pretty good seats in the second row for this keynote, better than Dave Carroll in fact. Did I mention I’m an MVP.

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The gap between the Dev and Trailhead keynotes was only 30 minutes, but as they are literally over the road from each other I made it in about 20 (there’s a few people attend Dreamforce, so crossing the road isn’t as simple as it sounds!). I typically sit a bit further back in this one as there is huge amount of exuberance in the front few rows and I try to avoid displaying any excitement or enthusiasm in public if I can. 

After the keynotes I caught a couple more sessions before heading over to Embarcadero for the annual BrightGen customer dinner. I’d said to my colleagues when I bumped into them on Monday night that I’d see them again on Thursday, Some of those that hadn’t been thought I was joking, but they weren’t laughing when I showed up at 7pm. 

I also got to catch up with the winner of the UK and Ireland social media ambassador at Dreamforce competition - long time BrightGen customer, Cristina Bran, who told me all about her amazing week.

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Friday - Salesforce Tower Trip

I’d been lucky enough to have my name picked out of the hat to get to visit the Ohana floor of the Salesforce Tower. It was a bit of a foggy day (what are the odds) but the views were still pretty spectacular.

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and that was Dreamforce over for another year!

Vegas Baby!

The BrightGen contingent traveled home via Las Vegas for a little unwinding and team building. Like the CTA Summit, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, so I can only show this picture of me arriving at the airport, still sporting some Salesforce branding.

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