A Dreamforce Rookie’s Take on #DF17

Written by | Nov 16, 2017

I’ve been working in the Salesforce ecosystem for under a year and lucky for me, I had the opportunity to attend this year’s Dreamforce. I heard a lot about the event before I left, but nothing prepared me for the reality of the conference.

As I walked towards the entrance of Dreamforce, the energy was magnetizing. The streets of San Francisco were flooded with individuals with large badges hanging from their necks, donned with Salesforce backpacks and other branded gear. We were all funneling towards the same destination.

At the entrance of the event was a faux rock arch structure topped with some familiar characters, Astro and Einstein. But this was just the beginning. Underfoot, what was traditionally a normal San Francisco street had been transformed, covered with fake green grass. Camp rangers acted as our guides, directing us towards the Customer Success Expo. I looked around. There were tents and hammocks, a rock climbing wall, picnic benches and chairs. The entire space truly felt like a world in and of itself.

Upon entering the Customer Success Expo, you could hear the buzz of voices reverberating throughout the room, a DJ playing music could be faintly heard from the center of the expo. Companies were prepping their booths, including pulling up demos, and organizing swag and informational materials.

And then the customers entered. As you walked through the aisles, you would hear about all of the different technologies available within the ecosystem. To say they covered the gambit is an understatement.

This was my first Dreamforce and already it was surpassing all of my pre-existing conceptions of the event. Here are some of my top highlights from the event:

  • Marc Benioff’s Keynote: Benioff discussed the future of Salesforce and the trailblazing endeavors of the greater Ohana. From AI to My Trailhead, the ability to personalize continues to grow. Benioff also spotlighted Adidas as an example of a customer using the ecosystem to drive success. It was so cool to hear him recognize the success of one of our customer’s firsthand.
  • The Sessions: Dreamforce quite literally takes over downtown San Francisco. Sessions were hosted at multiple hotels and covered a spectrum of topics. There were sessions on the usual suspects like Sales, Service and Marketing Cloud. But some sessions had a more unique focus, such as interesting ways customers are using Community Cloud (including partner relationship management), as well as how Salesforce CPQ can benefit from B2B commerce. Not only do these sessions allow you to hear real life stories about customers using the platform, but you can see how they are using Salesforce and the ecosystem in action.
  • Customer Success Expo: I briefly touched on this, but the Expo was brimming with technologies. It was crazy to see this whole economy that has been built up from one platform, and how collectively as an ecosystem we’re changing business as we know it.
  • Industry Focus: Walking around the Salesforce Campground, there were several industries that had a particularly strong presence. Consumer goods, software and media, manufacturing, and health and life sciences industries were spotlighted throughout the grounds.
  • Dreamforce Extends After Hours: Despite long days in the Expo hall, Dreamforce continues well into the night. From large events like Dreamfest to partner-led cocktail parties to a local piano bar (where the CloudCraze crew enjoyed a tune…or two), the energy of Dreamforce is non-stop. And Salesforce customers and people in the ecosystem are obviously passionate. Idea sharing doesn’t stop during the day. It continues throughout the evening.

This event made it very clear. At the heart of the Salesforce ecosystem are the people. While it may seem cheesy to dub them trailblazers, these individuals are truly changing how we engage as leaders and companies, how we engage as communities and how we engage with our customers. I feel this shift every day in our office, but it was outstanding to see how pervasive this culture is throughout the ecosystem.