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Sanity, Selflessness and Salesforce: A guide to not losing your marbles at Dreamforce 2015

Dreamforce…

Inspiration. Imagination. Innovation.

Inanition. Indisposition. Enervation.

Houston… We have a problem.

Dreamforce is one of the largest tech conferences in the world. Over 160,000 people attending, and a place where even the most extroverted can find themselves overwhelmed.

With less than a week to go, do you have the knowledge you need to make it through without losing your marbles whilst helping others to keep theirs all in one place too?

Under promise, over deliver. There are over 1,600 sessions to choose from. All of which will be available on YouTube. If you haven’t worked out which sessions you want to attend, then do that right this minute. Yes, I’m bossing you about, but you don’t want to show up on Monday with no idea of what’s going on, as you’ll lose earlier said marbles right off the bat. And don’t have a meltdown if you can’t reserve a seat – 25% of seats are ‘secretly’ left unreserved to allow for walk-ins.

Book the sessions you want to attend, then book back-up sessions. Aim for 3 to 4 a day and then expect to attend 2 of them. Apptus has a great guide to the Agenda builder. But, you need to go with the flow here. If you run into Miss Piggy and are having a fascinating conversation about how Kermit keeps himself so green, then know that you don’t have to run off because you can catch that session online.

If you need help deciding which sessions to choose from, Dreamforce has a handy filter, where you can filter down to 17 industries, 21 roles, 20 products, 26 themes, and 3 levels.

In the same vein, book into every party you think you might want to attend and go, if Miss Piggy will let you. Don’t worry about being a flake here – everything’s oversubscribed, as they know people are trying to hit every party on the block. However, whenever possible, try to get VIP passes for guaranteed entry, fancy drinks and a good serving of grub. Check out the Apptus party calendar for up to-date info on the DF15 parties.

Get into the Zone. Make sure you give yourself time to head over to the Zones. Each Zone focuses on content for their respective audience and will provide areas to recharge – yourself and your devices! This year, Moscone West will host the Dev, Admin, Design, Analytics and SMB zones. If you head over to Park Central you’ll be in the Partner Zone, Palace will hold the Service Zone, Hilton will host the Salesforce U Zone and the Marriott will inspire you with the Foundation Zone. Do not mistake multiple zones for wormholes to Planet Vega.

My body is a Temple. But it won’t be if you keep grabbing all the junk food that’s being thrown at you.

At Dreamforce, you’re going to walk a lot. What’s going to make that easier for you? Comfy shoes? Baggy Hammer pants? A Hurricane stick? Whatever it might be – take it and wear it with pride.

You’re probably going to get a headache. Be it from lack of food, the air-conditioning, too much booze, non-stop chattering, walking into glass doors… Whatever it may be – what do you need for that headache? Advil? Tiger balm? Tracks of crickets chirping in the rain forest? Make sure you have it with you.

Coffee is everywhere! Over 5,000 gallons of coffee were consumed at DF14. And you know what? It’s not going to keep you going… Caffeine wreaks havoc on your blood sugar levels and makes you even more fatigued. It’ll boost you up, you’ll then crash and reach for another cup. Remember what it can do to your belly too… Uh-oh! Reach for an apple instead of that 2nd or 3rd cup. It honestly has more wake up power than a cup of Joe.

What do you need for energy? With all that chinwagging and shuffling around, you’re going to need to keep your energy up. Avoid the endless supply of junk food and sugary snacks. Pack your own snack in your pocket or backpack and drink plenty of water. You will get dehydrated and will have no idea that you’re so fatigued because you need water (…okay, maybe the 6 martinis and slow dancing with SaaSy til 1am come into play there too).

Find a zen place. This is going to be an intense 4 days. It’s important to take time to yourself and ground yourself. Your mind will be so scattered and you’ll be running on adrenaline, so any time you have a spare moment, go find a place to just sit and breathe. If you struggle with that, then why not try the Mindfulness Keynote on Friday?

Run Forest Run! Whether you’re a runner, or a walker… or maybe a hopper or a skipper, you will have the time to exercise at DF15. If you want to make the time, that is. San Francisco is a truly fabulous city and you’ll want to take advantage of its early morning bustle. The sessions don’t start til mid-morning, so get up early, have a good run/walk/hop/skip/jump, release that serotonin, clear your head, get a hearty breakfast and start your day off right. Salesforce’s Matt Wesson, lists some great running routes here.

Give: freely transfer the possession of (something) to (someone)

Whilst the parties and schwag are cool beans, the work the Salesforce Foundation does is incredibly inspiring.

Last year the focus of #DFGives was to donate over 1 million meals to the hungry. They ended up being able to donate over 3 million! This year, the goal is to donate 1 million books to schools and libraries around the world. You can bring a book to Dreamforce (focusing on grades K-12), or donate online.

Whilst altruism is admirable, you can also get something back for your donations… The Concert for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals is on September 17 at Pier 70 and promises an evening of joyous entertainment with performances from the Foo(d) Fighters, Gary Clark Jr, will.i.am and MC Hammer (get out those baggy Hammer pants y’all). Tickets can be purchased here.

What’s even more awesome, is you can see where the funds are going, as on Thursday, there’s a tour of UCSF Mission Bay – the biotech capital of the world – which is the home to the all-new UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. Sign up for tickets here.

There’s a new giving theme for each day of Dreamforce, and multiple events you can attend, observe or donate your time to. And don’t forget to do your bit for the environment and follow these handy tips on going green at Dreamforce (Kermit jokes aside).

The final countdown.

  1. Worried about networking? Firstly, check out my article on Expressions of Awesomeness and remember:
    • Every conversation is a possibility of something fabulous (maybe they know Kermit…?);
    • Give more than you take – leave some energy and space for them, as well as for you;
    • If you’re on your own and there’s someone less than 3 feet from you, then start a conversation;
    • Put yer bloomin’ phone away!!
  1. Still can’t get a last minute Dreamforce ticket justified to your boss? Get onto the ROI Calculator and Letter. There’s no chance of a ‘no’ after showing them this….
  2. Be clear about what you want to achieve and the steps to achieve it;
  3. Plan, plan, plan, then forget about it and go with the flow;
  4. Learn the campus and look for people in blue for help;
  5. Forgive me for too many Kermit references.

Hopefully, this will help you keep the inanition, indisposition and enervation at bay and bask in the inspiration, imagination and innovation that will be Dreamforce 2015.

~Henrietta and the team at CloudMyBiz

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One Response to Sanity, Selflessness and Salesforce: A guide to not losing your marbles at Dreamforce 2015

  1. Jason Blais September 13, 2015 at 8:57 am #

    I was ready for another typical ‘how to get through DF’ article but this one is awesome. Real…good…advice. This is my 3rd year and this advice is pretty much dead on to ensure a good experience.

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