Dreamforce is right around the corner and we are all busy getting ready for it. Whether it’s working on our Agenda Builder, setting up meetings, deciding how to spend our time in the many zones and so on it seems there is so much more to do. Well, we put together this guide to help you prepare for Dreamforce.
As you go through these please let me know if there are any suggestions, tips, tricks or advice you might want to share that we did not include.
Portable Chargers are a Must
One (or three) necessary items to bring are portable chargers. You will be on your phone A LOT. Whether it’s checking email, using your Dreamforce app, tweeting, taking photos, texting or taking notes your smart phone will get a lot of use. Power outlets at Dreamforce are hot items and while there are charging stations all over the place they get filled up fast. So bring a few portable chargers with you and have them fully charged and ready.
You won’t need a laptop.
There is no reason to carry a laptop around. Not only is it heavy and will wear you out but there are computers and laptops available whereever you think you will need them. But if you think it is necessary to bring something then consider an iPad or tablet.
5 Tips to Dreamforce Sessions
With over 1,500 different breakout sessions at Dreamforce there seems like there is so much to do and possibly so much to miss. But that is not the case. As you go through your Agenda Builder and register for sessions here are 5 tips to help you plan.
- All Title, No Substance – Some sessions have awesome titles that make you think this is a must attend. Your excitement builds up for this session and then after you go you realize it was a waste of your time. Do your research before on the presenter and their company. A few hints on a good presentation are:
- The presenter has several sessions
- The session is duplicated
- The session is in a larger room
- There are many people talking about it in the Dreamforce Community.
- 2 Sessions, 1 Time Slot – You can’t be everywhere so when there are multiple sessions during the same time slot you can only choose one. But you can still view the other session(s) you missed. All Dreamforce sessions have Chatter groups you can join and the presenters upload their slides and material there. In addition, every session will be on YouTube several weeks after Dreamforce. So make sure you favorite the sessions you want to go but can’t attend and then use that as your check list of sessions to watch post-Dreamforce.
- Take Digital Notes – In my opinion digital notes are much easier than paper notes. Paper notes could get lost or damaged whereas digital notes are in the cloud and can be shared instantly with your friends and colleagues. Consider taking notes in Evernote or one of the many handwriting apps available in the Apple Store or Google Play.
- Session is Full but You Should Still Go – Popular sessions fill up fast and if they are full you can’t register for it via the Agenda Builder. But if you should still go anyways. As you walk into sessions those that registered get in first and then a few minutes before the session starts they let in the “walk-ins”. There will be room because all those who registered won’t show up and all sessions also have extra space.
- Don’t Stress Over It. You Can Change Your Sessions Anytime – Between now and the very last minute of Dreamforce you can edit your Agenda Builder anytime. So visit it often, watch for new sessions opening up or existing sessions getting duplicated.
Don’t Go to Any Sessions
Over the years I have learned that the although the sessions have great substance I can watch them post-Dreamforce on the Dreamforce YouTube Channel. Therefore, I’d rather spend time at the Hands on Training, the many Zones, participating in conversations and meetings and visiting the Cloud Expo in off-peak hours. My first year at Dreamforce I filled my agenda with sessions but last year I went to three sessions and got so much more out of all the other parts of Dreamforce.
Packing for Dreamforce is an art. Being there for over a week makes it seem like we have to pack so much. But that is not the case. Check out this blog post I wrote last year on how to pack for Dreamforce.
Dreamforce Party Guide
Dreamforce has no shortage of parties. Many sponsors host parties and events all throughout Dreamforce and they are fun. You can find many lists of parties in the Dreamforce communities and I am sure you will get emailed invitations from the party hosts. They are lots of fun and worth going to if that is your thing.
But don’t feel you have to go to the parties. There are many alternatives to your evenings. I find it much more enjoyable to grab dinner and drinks with new and old friends, clients and co-workers. In addition, there are smaller events put on by sponsors and many people organize get-togethers via Chatter groups.
Using Social Media at Dreamforce
Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIN, Facebook and more. Everyone is going to be talking about #DF15 so join in the conversation with us. Before Dreamforce browse your social media networks for #DF15, #RoadToDF15 and many more. From now until the end of the week you will be bombarded with various hashtag campaigns but they bring value. In the past I’ve participated in campaigns and won prizes to take with me to Dreamforce. So join in the conversation. I’ll be there too at @gary_galvin so feel free to follow me.
Don’t forget about the Dreamforce Community. This is where the official Dreamforce conversation is located. From questions/answers to exciting information make sure you visit the Dreamforce Community often (at least daily) to keep up to date on everything leading up to Dreamforce.
How to Network at Dreamforce
With over 140,000 people attending Dreamforce you will be exposed to some real thought leaders in the community. Take advantage of the networking atmosphere Dreamforce has created and meet with others. A few ideas on how to plan this are to:
- Visit the various Dreamforce Community Chatter groups and join them. There are groups for runners, newbies, CrossFit enthusiasts, developers, admins, local user groups and so much more. Many of them hold a get-together at some point during Dreamforce.
- Wake up early and grab breakfast or coffee with someone. Over the years I have found that this is a great way to get some uninterrupted time with certain people.
- Between Moscone North and South is what I call an inflatable worm (I’m not sure of the official name) but it is filled with fake green grass, bean bags, tables, ping pong and so much more. Its a great place to sit and relax and strike up a conversation.
- Don’t go to Foo Fighters. This might be an unpopular idea but with most of everyone at Dreamforce that means the bars and restaurants are less crowded. Thus allowing for a more quiet place to meet with someone.
Go to Foo Fighters
Dreamforce puts on a great show and the concerts are a a blast. Even if you don’t have anyone to go with you won’t be alone. Plus, Foo Fighters is a great band (in my opinion) so its worth it.
What to Do After Dreamforce
This year Dreamforce ends on a Friday. This gives you a flight home and two more days to unwind and get caught up. My total travel time from SFO to Indianapolis is about 7-8 hours so I use all this time to get caught up on my emails and tasks. Then when I get back in the office on Monday I’m not caught up in the pile of emails.
Share the swag! I’m sure there are many from your company who would love to go to Dreamforce but can’t. Be kind to them and bring them back some great swag. It will go a long way in letting them know you’re thinking about them.
Setup post Dreamforce meetings with your colleagues and share on the knowledge you have learned, watch the many Dreamforce sessions together and then plan out how you will execute on the many ideas you’ve encountered at Dreamforce.