Dreamforce 2017 was my fifth Dreamforce, my second one as Salesforce MVP and Dreamforce presenter.
Dreamforce Began Way Before November, Now It’s Showtime!
The Dreamforce journey for me, like many other presenters, started back in June when we were all submitting our ideas for the Admin and Developer track Call for Presentations (CFP). Then we waited to hear our fate in August to find out if our session ideas were accepted or not accepted. It’s the same feeling you got when waiting for the letter to see if you were accepted by the college you applied for. This year, 1 out of 3 proposals were accepted. I was excited to be a second time presenter but disappointed that the topic I really wanted to present and share with others in the Salesforce ecosystem was not accepted. Then it’s off to the races as you prep your session content, work on the deck, do multiple practices of your presentation solo and do dry runs with your session manager. What you see as an end product of a 20- or 40-minute session as an attendee at Dreamforce, know that it took the presenter several hours in the making.
I presented in an Admin Theater session at Dreamforce ’16 with 3 other MVPs, Chris Edwards, Mike Gill and Rakesh Gupta in the MVP Process Automation Showdown. The Process Automation Product Manager at the time, Shelly Erceg, told me that the idea was great and she wanted to see us come back in 2017. So, I got together with the guys and we decided to give it another go but this time we wanted to expand the love and include others to share their process automation solutions. I had a great brainstorming session with Gillian Bruce, Scott Kozinchik, Arnab Bose and LeeAnne Rimel to discuss the concept, how to best run the session with 8 competitors, (I mean, presenters) and how to up the fun factor for the Admin Theater. We did our own CFP where people submitted their use cases and process automation solutions. We had a committee vote and we accepted the top 4 ranked submitters. With that, we were a team of 8 with MVP Leyna Hoffer, Amanda Matczynski, Martin Humpolec and Michael Barnes joining the team. We were geographically dispersed so coordinating meetings to talk through logistics and two dry runs each with the 8 of us were challenging at times. I really appreciated Chris Edwards running this with me as my co-organizer. I also want to thank the designer of all Trailhead badges and designer extraordinaire, Amanda Cheung, for being my designer advisor for our customized Process Automation Experts t-shirts. Thank you to Gillian Bruce for getting them ordered with plenty to distribute and for the nice trophy.
Thank you to Alex Edelstein, Sr. Director Product Manager of Process Automation for being our emcee. He really held up his end of the bargain. Check him out as he was getting the crowd going before the start of Process Automation Showdown #2.
Thank you for all who attended the sessions, Process Automation Showdown #1 and Process Automation Showdown #2, and for your support. Hope you had as much fun as we did putting this on for you and was inspired by the creative solutions using process automation tools.
Congrats to Leyna for winning the trophy.
For my second Dreamforce session, I was approached by Shane McLaughlin to co-present his platform session, “Work(Flows), Processes, Triggers & More. See the Forest For the Trees.” We worked together collaboratively using Quip and Google Slides, did a couple virtual meetings and a dry run and we were off. My proudest moment was learning that the number of registrations for our session, at one point, was the second highest, beating Michelle Obama’s keynote! (She ultimately beat us, but that’s okay because she’s awesome.) In fact, due to the overwhelming number of attendees waitlisted, our session was moved to a bigger room. Despite that, I heard that there were still people waiting in a long line outside of the session room in the attempt to get in.
Instead of the usual Q&A at the end of a session, we instead did a reverse Q&A where we asked reinforced with the audience what they just learned in our session using the interactive quiz tool Kahoot (Thanks, Rebe de la Paz for introducing that tool to me at Southeast Dreamin.)
Pre-Dreamforce Activities – The Calm Before the Dreamforce Storm
There was a Admin Track Presenters Happy Hour at Salesforce East. It was great to hang out with fellow presenters before the Dreamforce craziness starts. There were Trailblazer photos. I got to meet the Release Readiness gals, Elna Miller and Jacinta Burke IRL. We all received a little gift bag with a signed thank you card, confetti popper, wine and an Astro Awesome Admin cookie! Mike Gerholdt gave a small speech thanking the Admin Track presenters; Gillian Bruce was awarded the Mr TJ award from last year’s award recipient, Rebecca Saar; and of course, there was confetti at the end of the event. It’s an Salesforce Admin-hosted event, after all. They are all about the fun.
Dreamforce – “We are All Trailblazers”
Dreamforce was attended by 170K people with 2,700 sessions.
My focus this year for sessions outside of some of the main keynotes was to learn about communities, Lightning components, and Salesforce DX.
The message at this year’s Dreamforce is that we are all Trailblazers and we have the power of making changes. Trailblazers are customer innovators, technology disruptors, and global shapers. They are people like you and me. (So cool to see me in Benioff’s Keynote on the Trailblazer slide along with Daniel Peter and my gals, Rebe and Shonnah Hughes!)
Marc shared the Trailblazer story of fellow MVP, founder of Salesforce Saturdays, and co-founder of PepUpTech, Stephanie Herrera. I watched it with tears of joy for Stephanie. And good for you, girl, for inviting Marc to Texas Dreamin’!
Marc introduced the concept of the fourth industrial revolution. “The fourth industrial revolution is reshaping every business, industry and economy, and the customer is at the center of it all. Salesforce is delivering breakthrough technologies like artificial intelligence to empower Trailblazers to deliver customer success, develop their careers and contribute to society in meaningful ways.”
What is the fourth industrial revolution, you ask?
Taken from Trailhead…In the forthcoming book Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Klaus Schwab and co-authors Nicholas Davis and Thomas Philbeck note that, “The Fourth Industrial Revolution is a way of describing a set of ongoing and impending transformations in the systems that surround us, and which most of us take for granted every day.”
To help Trailblazers drive customer success in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Salesforce introduced new feature offerings, such MyEinstein, MyLightning, MyTrailhead (more to come on what they are).
Inspirational Keynote from the Former First Lady Michelle Obama
Was seated around 8am for Michelle Obama’s 9:30am Keynote on Day 2 of Dreamforce. I was surprised how I was filled with emotion as former First Lady Michelle Obama walked into the room with Marc Benioff. She was very poised, funny and inspirational.
She spoke first to the children in the audience: “I love you. You inspire me…You can do anything you want in this world.”
She spoke about the importance of education for children, the importance of listening, having women, especially young ladies, to find their voice and about gender equality. “If the men in the room see no diversity in the boardroom, it’s time to change who sits at that table.”
“It’s not enough to walk through the door of success if you’re not reaching back and pulling others with you.”
Developer Keynote Isn’t Just for Developers
While I am not a developer (I identify more as an Administrator), I like understanding the technical capabilities of Salesforce and what’s upcoming in the roadmap. Wade Wegner talked about building apps quicker, highlighting recent Winter 18 enhancements including Salesforce DX, enhancements to lightning components, dynamic components on a lightning page.
Zayne Turner killed it in her first Dreamforce keynote demonstrating integrating apps using platform events, configuring orchestrations using Salesforce IoT, Heroku, adding a flow component with a lightning component via the lightning app builder onto an app page.
Leah McGowen-Hare wraps up the keynote by talking about how you can make your apps smarter with myEinstein: language (Einstein sentiment, Einstein intent API, build on intent API by building bots), vision (object detection and image classification with Vision API) and analytics data. Make your APIs conversation enabled using bots and adding them into service via snap-ins. Leah showed the Einstein Prediction Builder and pull up a prediction already available to look at the data – “It’s like a cooking show, we already have one pre-baked for you.” She showed the ability to use lightning components within Quip using Lightning Out. Leah also showed how to configure dialogs using Einstein intent API to train the bot.
These ladies are my sheroes!
Watch the Salesforce for Developers Keynote now:
The Inaugural Trailhead Keynote!
As a die hard and self proclaimed #TrailheadAddict, there was not a doubt in the world that I would attend the first Trailhead keynote to support the Trailhead team and to learn more about what is upcoming. This keynote was so touching and authentic. What the video did not capture was the roaring applause and cowbells that were ringing when Sarah Franklin walked onto the stage. You can tell that she was really moved by the love. (BTW, I got all the feel just watching the keynote again.)
Sarah Franklin, SVP Dev Relations & GM Trailhead kicked off the keynote, celebrated the 2.5 million Trailblazers in the community, talked about the education accessibility and equality gaps and celebrated Trailhead and 4 million badges that have been earned in one year’s time. She also recognized and award Jesse Grothaus, former military vet who changed his life with Trailhead, with a golden hoodie.
Samantha Ready talked about how far Trailhead has come with 320 badges as of the release before Dreamforce. Some of the new/upcoming features include a skills based profile, account merge (yes! you can consolidate your badges into one!), your own custom branded vanity Trailhead URL.
Sarah recognized Trailblazer Sandi Zellner, formerly a music teacher/classically trained musician (and my fellow female Trailhead addict). Sandi shared her inspirational, courageous story.
Kris Lande announced myTrailhead – your own branded Trailhead, created content for employee empowerment, allowing companies to create a culture of learning. 71% of workers today are disengaged. The tool features Trail Maker (allows you to create your own content), Trail Mixer (share the guided learning paths), Trail Checker (rate and reward learning) and Trail Tracker (motivate and track your team’s progress).
Chris Duarte, Trailhead editor-in-chief, comes up to the stage with Alisha Keys’ “This Girl is On Fire.” She describes writing content with Trailheart. “All of us in the Salesforce Ohana know exactly what it was like to be new to Salesforce. That’s why no matter where our careers take us, we always leave a trail for others to follow.” You do this with the Trailheart formula: Be human, have fun, be purposeful and give back. Trailheart is about giving back. Here are a few examples: #TrailHead4All, Girl Develop It, Salesforce Saturdays and PepUpTech.
Chris shares Nicholas Grant’s story, a college student in the Bronx who attended the boot camp by PepUpTech. He earned 5 super badges, became SF certified and landed job as a Salesforce Consultant, only to return back to the boot camp as the instructor. That is Trailheart!
Watch the Trailhead Keynote now:
Equality Summit: Changing the Face of Entertainment
I was excited to attend the equality session with Oscar nominee and Golden-Globe winning actress Taraji P. Henson.
The session started with the group of girls singing awesome acapella. So cool!
Molly Q. Ford kicked off the session and shared her story and journey and how she came up with the idea in a powerpoint presentation in 2014 that sat on her laptop for over a year. This little idea became what is now the Equality Summit at Dreamforce. Wow. How inspirational. Thank you for taking your idea and making it a reality. Leyla to Molly after getting approval from Marc for the Equality Summit, “Giddy up, get this going!”
I loved Taraji in Hidden Figures. She was very honest, funny, sincere and authentic. Here are some great quotes from her session.
“I wake up every day ready for the fight. I can’t wait for the naysayers.”
“We’re all human. Why can’t we just leave it at that?” (Re: why people label movies “black”. People don’t say let’s see a white or asian movie.)
“You need a fighter in you. Everyone needs that Cookie spirit.”
“Some are loud fighters (Cookie). Some are quiet fighers. But we are all fighters. Fight until your voice is heard.”
“If you are blessed, you need to be a blessing.”
Watch the recording now:
Equality Summit: Authentic Leadership
Amy Weaver facilitates the panel on authentic leadership with Janet Foutty, CEO, Deloitte Consulting, Bozoma Saint John, Chief Brand Officer, Uber, and Sallie Krawcheck, CEO, Ellevest.
Amy shared that she received advice that would move her towards traditional traits of a leader: was told to be louder, more aggressive and was cautioned many times not to be nice. “It overlooked that there can be a power in the softest voice in the room. Leading with kindness is a strength, not a weakness. In order to succeed, you don’t need to play like a man.”
The panel provided great insights, lessons learned on how to be authentic.
“Diversity is not bringing in people of diverse backgrounds in and telling them they need to behave as middle aged white men.” – Sallie Krawcheck
“I don’t like the idea of quitting/running. If the environment is not conducive to me, let’s change it.” – Bozoma Saint John (Check out her Twitter handle: badassboz)
Watch the recording now:
True to the Core
This is the MUST SEE session of Dreamforce. I was so disappointed that I had to last year because it conflicted with my session. This is a session hosted by Parker Harris and Shawna Wolverton. This session covers what is on the roadmap for “true to the core” features with Q&A opportunity with the product managers themselves. Always a treat.
Shawna handed out pony stickers in lieu of features (LOL). Not everyone gets a pony. That’s right, Brian Kwong…
There are too many goodies coming along so rather than summarize them here, I recommend that you watch the recording below.
I am, however, super excited that my idea for CMDT made the list and is slated for Summer ’18 (#ForwardLookingStatement)!
If you want to get to the meat of the session, start at the 9:30 mark:
I’ve always identified myself as an Admin, so this keynote is near and dear to my heart.
Parker Harris kicked off the Salesforce for Admins keynote. (Love his I “cloud” Admins shirt.)
Parker recognized Trailblazer Scott Luikart for his contributions to a school, focusing on LGBT youths and awarded him with the coveted golden Trailblazer hoodie (#LifeWithGoldie).
It was really awesome to see three women, Shawna Wolverton, Gillian Bruce and LeeAnn Rimel, rocking demos of Salesforce features in a keynote. Way to go, ladies!
Additionally, my girl, Shonnah Hughes was highlighted as one of the three Trailblazing admins in the keynote for her work at Mia. Gillian Bruce demoed what Shonnah has built in her org. LeeAnn showed us how Girl Develop It uses Salesforce for its volunteers.
Watch the Salesforce for Admins Keynote now:
WiT Diversity Event
We had our first in person WiT Diversity event at the Quip office (Thanks, Quip for sponsoring!) Shonnah walked us through a privilege exercise. We all missed our other co-leader, Toya Gatewood, tremendously. We love you, Toya! She was not able to attend due to a last minute work conflict. Unfortunately, I missed the rest of the event due to a conflict.
I has the privilege of attending a Lightning Roundtable discussion with Shawna Wolverton and Mike Rosenbaum and members of the team. We shared our feedback about Lightning Experience and discussed what may be preventing companies from migration from Classic to Lightning.
Lightning Flow Builder Happy Hour
I was lucky to be invited to an intimate gathering of Flownatics to learn about the future of Lightning Flow. Salesforce will replace Flash that is used by the Flow Cloud Designer, which will require a major overhaul of the UI. What I am sharing with you is subject to change (#ForwardLookingStatement) and I do not know when this will be released but I assume this is a ways out. The end result UI looks much like Journey Builder with colored and different shapes for the flow elements with the ability to group flow elements together into functional groupings. There were discussions of enhancing the debugging tools for flow, (you can debug as a given user and see where the issue lies within the flow itself) and making it easier to document and collaborate within flow. Are you annoyed with flow elements all over the canvas, with no rhyme or reason? They will be introducing a snap to grid feature. It’s cool that flow is getting a makeover to look it more 2017 and not 1990 and getting more love!
Salesforce Tower Tour
Dan Ballinger had the brilliant idea of getting us into a tour of the Salesforce tower. Erica and Holly were able to secure 10 seats for MVPs via a lottery. So, here I am thinking, “I’m not going to win this thing. I’m not that lucky and I don’t win lotteries.” To my surprise, I was among the 10 who got to go up to the 61st floor, hard hat and all!
Dreamforce is also an annual family reunion where you get to see many of your Salesforce Ohana in one place. I had fun at Dreamforce. Until next year at DF18, my friends…