19 Tips to get set for Dreamforce 2013

Dreamforce 2013 is fast approaching. It is scheduled from Nov 18th to 21st this year in San Francisco, a couple of months later as compared to the last year's schedule.

Dreamforce team is expecting more than 100,000 attendees this year, making it one of the largest conferences of its kind anywhere in the world. The experience can be mindboggling for a first time attendees. Although the tips below are targeted towards newbies, some of them may be useful, even if you are a Dreamforce veteran.

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  1. Identify your goals from the event well in advance. The goals could include the specific technical or business areas you want to build expertise on, the customers/partners you need to meet, the kind of vendors you need to evaluate etc. Discuss the goals with your trip sponsors to ensure that you are on the same page with the management. A few weeks in advance, start making a list of people you plan to meet at Dreamforce.

  2. Don’t overfill your calendar – If you spend most of your time at work solving Salesforce issues, you will find numerous sessions to be of your interest. However it is never a good idea to fill in your complete day with sessions. You want to leave some time for many other activities going on during the day.

  3. Once you are registered for the Dreamforce, you will have access to a Dreamforce Chatter site. In this, an Agenda Builder will be available during early-October where you will be able to register for sessions of your interest. Some interesting sessions get filled-in within a couple of days of Agenda Builder going live. So keep an eye on those Dreamforce Chatter messages, and check when the Agenda builder becomes live.

  4. HOTs sessions – HOTs stands for Hands-on Training Sessions. These cover technical as well as business topics where each participant has a machine. Plan to register for them once the Agenda Builder gets opened in early October. These are the most popular sessions and get booked quickly. On last two days of the event, you may be able to walk in and get space at these sessions, even if you are not registered for them. All sessions are available later on Youtube. These sessions are offered at Hilton, Union Square. Trainees are given a Salesforce org and exercises to walk through during the training under the supervision of an expert instructor.

  5. Spend time in the Vendor area: This year Cloud Expo is expected to be quite large and will be based in two buildings. Make sure you plan to talk to the vendors on your radar for future requirements, and also to talk to a few others just to get a feel of the industry pulse.

  6. Plan to visit Success clinics: These are one to one 30 minutes sessions with Salesforce experts. You could get expert advice on issues related to best practices in the area of
    • Configuration
    • Reports & Dashboards
    • Data Management
    • Collaboration
    • Sales, Support and Marketing
  7. Ask an Expert: If you need advice related to the force.com platform, you could go to a platform expert and set up a meeting related to user interface, or get feedback related to issues in Apex and Visualforce from an expert.

  8. Keynotes: These are special “sessions” by product champions, where successes of previous years are highlighted and new features under development are shared by Salesforce Executive Management and special guests. You will definitely want to attend Mark Benioff’s opening keynote on Tuesday at 9 AM. Among other keynotes, you can pick and choose based on your area of specialization.

  9. Get familiar with session locations: Dreamforce is spread across venues located within about 500 metres. It is great if you can reach SFO on Sunday, and take a walk and place all the venues.

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  10. Carry sufficient business cards: You will be meeting tons of people during the event. Make sure you have sufficient business cards for all the new friends that you are going to make.

  11. Be active in Dreamforce Chatter Org: Once you are registered, you will have access to Dreamfroce Chatter Org. Use the Chatter discussions to get all your questions answered, to get most recent updates about the event, and also to help other attendees.

  12. Weather in November in SFO: The weather in November can be quite chilly with high around 60F (15 C) and low around 50F (10 C). Make sure you have a light jacket available at all times.

  13. On Thursday at 1 PM there is an interesting closing Q&A session with Marc Benioff and Parker Harris. Try to attend this if your flight schedule permits. It is an open session with the Salesforce founders for everyone to ask questions about Salesforce direction.

  14. Another highlight of the last day at Dreamforce this year is the session with Deepak Chopra. Deepak Chopra is a world renowned physician, a holistic health/New Age guru, and an alternative medicine practitioner. This should definitely be a captivating session.

  15. For Senior Management executives Dreamforce has introduced a special Leadership pass this year. This is available at USD 1000. Some of the benefits of the Dreamforce Leadership Pass include priority keynote access, a reserved section at the Dreamforce Gala, exclusive time in the Cloud Expo and use of a VIP lounge.

  16. Salesforce also offers Pre-Conference trainings on the weekend before Dreamforce. These are hands-on comprehensive full day trainings. Details are available at link

  17. In addition, Salesforce is also offering discounted certification exams at the Hilton Union Square on Monday, November 18, 2013 starting from 7:30 AM.

  18. Dress Code: You will be doing a lot of walking during the event. So make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes. You may also want to be dressed in Business Casual (or formal), since you never know who you may run into.

  19. Carry a Tablet/Smart phone/laptop: During the event you will need to schedule/reschedule meetings and coordinate with other attendees. Wifi is enabled in the entire complex. Laptop may be difficult to carry along everywhere, so Tablets and Smart phones are good options to manage your calendar.

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If you are not able to make it, it is not too late to start planning for Dreamforce 2014. The next years Dreamforce is scheduled from October 13th to October 16th.

For any corrections/suggestions, please contact Naveen at ngabrani@astreait.com