Tackle Dreamforce 2017 like a Veteran!
With Dreamforce fast approaching and as a veteran attendee, I wanted to share some hard-earned tips and insight with those wondering how exactly to tackle this event. I have been attending Dreamforce every year since 2009. I have taken in hundreds of sessions, seen all the expos, didn’t win all the cars, and heard a lot of great music! This is the place to drink directly from the Ohana cup.
One of the reasons I keep coming back is because there is a ton of value at this conference. It’s 4 days of jam-packed networking, learning, and fun! The networking alone goes above and beyond any other conference I have ever attended. You never know who you might meet and what business opportunity might lie around the next corner. If you are a customer, talk to your Salesforce rep as they are really incented to make this week a special one for you.
With so much to do and so much to choose from, here are my top tips for making the most of this stellar event:
1. Hotel Location is KEY
Location, location, location. Being close to the Moscone Center is so important. San Francisco is bulging at the seams with Dreamforce attendees and you need to be able to go back to home base and catch a breath. If you can get walking distance from Moscone, you have won. If you are not currently close, I’d recommend continuing to browse. People will cancel their hotels a week or so before Dreamforce, so check daily if necessary to get closer. It will be worth the few hundred a night extra to be central.
2. Networking over Sessions
Do not spend all of your time in sessions. You should be networking with your peers. There are hundreds of sessions, but they are mostly recorded and can be viewed later. This conference is about the people you will meet and not the live information delivered in a session. Packing your calendar full of sessions will take away from the true value. The sessions you will want to attend are the product roadmaps as those are not typically recorded due to the heavy Safe Harbour nature of the talk. Space your sessions out and go to a few a day at most.
3. Stream the Main Keynote
If you were able to attend Dreamforce 4 or 5 years ago, it was possible to find a seat and get excited seeing MC Hammer say, “Chatter time!” live. The event has grown so much that now it is incredibly hard to get in and the overflow zones are the same as seeing it on a TV. I strongly recommend skipping the big Benioff keynote and watch it live from the comfort of your hotel room. This lets you stay out much later the night before and also gives you some much-needed downtime.
4. Swag It Up!
The expo at Dreamforce is typically second to none. It is really a site to see. Make sure you bring home swag for your coworkers, but most importantly for your family. I am still enjoying what turned out to be quite a delicious hot sauce from the Trailhead area last year – #ThisSauceMeansBusiness.
I have been to many conferences in my time and whenever they have trucks, and cars to win, you know the expo is extra (as they say now). Here is a pile on tip from tip 1. If you have a great hotel location, you can keep shoveling your swag into your room. And don’t forget to bring a larger suitcase to transport your haul back home.
5. Put your Party Pants on!
Dreamforce is essentially an adult amusement park where everything is free. There are so many events and parties, during and after hours, that scream for your attention. You will want to go to the ones that appeal most to you and your party style.
Take advantage of unlimited food and drink so you stay hydrated and energized. The best way to get this information is stay on top of these 2 sources:
Get on the invite lists ASAP. Get on the waiting lists ASAP. The night of, you can always try and charm your way in as well. That works far more than you think.
Alex Campbell, Dreamforce Veteran
I can’t wait to see everyone next week at Dreamforce 2017!