Hurry! Offer Expires at 11:59 PM Central Time, July 31, 2018!

Want to Attend Dreamforce 2018, and Help Homeless Children at the Same Time?

If you had the chance to do something (that you do every year) and help a great cause at the same time, would you do it?

Yes, that was a rhetorical question, but do me a favor, answer it anyway.

My answer would be a resounding ‘Yes!’ I try to give back to the Salesforce community every chance I get. So I reached out into my network of connections in search of a pass to Dreamforce that I could auction off with the proceeds going to Project Night Night. I was very fortunate in that the first person I emailed replied back with a resounding “Happy to provide that for you.”

Today I’m thrilled to launch the 2018 edition of the “Attend Dreamforce, Help a Homeless Child” auction. The rules are pretty simple:

  1. Place you bid here.
  2. All entries must be received by 11:59 PM Central Time on July 31, 2018.
  3. The highest bid wins.
  4. Free pass covers conference registration fees only. All travel and other accomodations are the responsibility of the winner.

When registration for Dreamforce 2018 opens, the rate for a full Dreamforce pass will be $1,899.

One lucky winner will get a free pass to attend Dreamforce and many homeless children will get a NightNight pack from Project Night Night.

Please answer these two questions:

  1. Do you, or someone you know, still need a pass to Dreamforce, or want to save money on the pass you already have?
  2. Do you want to help children have sweeter dreams at the same time?

If you answered yes to both questions, please place your bids here. To see the current high bid, follow me on Twitter and search for #DF18PNN_HIGHBID.

The bidding will close at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, July 31, 2018.

If you happened to answer the first question with a no, please visit Project Night Night and consider making a donation.

Either way, please follow Project Night Night on Twitter and support their cause with prayers!

Thanks!

Advertisements

Come Celebrate a year of Salesforce Saturday in Chicago

Special Guest Post by Mary Tagler.

Mary Tagler

For Chicago, it all started with a Tweet.

The lovely Jen Nelson asked who ran our local Salesforce Saturday group and the answer was no one. At the time, I didn’t know a lot about Salesforce Saturday, but the idea intrigued me and I batted the idea of starting one around. Then I went to TrailheaDX in 2016 and met Stephanie Herrera. Her enthusiasm is infectious; the doubts and hesitations I had about kicking off a Salesforce Saturday group in my hometown transformed into ideas and excitement. I came back ready to make it happen.

So what is Salesforce Saturday? Started in 2015 in Austin, it has become a global movement to motivate and inspire our current and future Ohana while strengthening our community spirit. Spending your Saturday Salesforce-ing might sound strange as many of us spend our weekdays immersed in the system and weekends are our time, but I honestly look forward to every single one. It excites me to laugh, collaborate, network, and learn with some great people. I am so pleased to see new faces, satisfied when they find the help they seek, and elated when they come back for another one.

Our Midwest Dreamin’ 2018 Salesforce Saturday will be our one-year anniversary. In that year, I’ve meet some wonderful people and deepened relationships with others. We also grew from one Saturday a month to two and excitedly participated in the first Global Trailhead challenge.

Summer is one of the best times to explore Chicago. If you’re considering extending your Midwest Dreamin’ experience into the weekend, we would love to have you spend some of it with us at Salesforce Saturday.

Register for Chicago Salesforce Saturday, July 14, 2018 here.

Join the Chicago Salesforce Saturday group on the Trailblazer Community.

5 things you might not know about Skyvia – Salesforce data integration & backup platform

Special guest post from Alex Hirniy, Head of Skyvia Platform.

alex hirniy

Never heard of Skyvia? Here’s 5 things you should know to about them.

One: Skyvia is a product of Devart, a well-known vendor of a data connectivity solutions.

Devart is software development company with 20+ years of experience in creating the database tools for developers and administrators. The company has more than a dozen product lines and is trusted by over 40k of grateful customers, including companies from Fortune 100 and Fortune 500.

4 years ago Devart entered the cloud data integration market with Skyvia – at that time a simple Salesforce data loader tool. From that time the product has evolved greatly. Now Skyvia is a full-featured cloud data platform suitable for solving a wide range of business data-related tasks. Skyvia supports over 30 major cloud applications & databases and has over 20,000 of devoted users from companies of different sizes and industries.

(EFD – Are you one of the over 20,000 already using Skyvia?)

Two: All-in-one platform for a wide range of data-related tasks

Skyvia is an all-in-one cloud data platform with support for all major cloud and on-premise data sources. It solves a wide range of data related tasks, including no coding data integration for automating data workflows, managing data via SQL from web, exposing data as an OData endpoint, and protecting it via a secure cloud-to-cloud backup. Skyvia is an intuitive and easy-to-use web product that provides a convenient GUI to configure and automate your data-related tasks.

(EFD – Check out the supported data sources…it’s quite a list!)

Three: Easy Salesforce integration and backup

Skyvia’s goal is to automate routine tasks and data flows and save your time. It is a completely no coding solution both for IT professionals and people without any technical skills. You can use Skyvia to integrate Salesforce data with multiple cloud and on-premise data sources, ETL your business data to a database for archiving or analysis, expose database and cloud data via OData to access it directly from the Salesforce interface via Salesforce Connect, etc. All the integrations are configured in an intuitive UI and can be flexibly scheduled for automatic execution.

In addition to data integration, Skyvia platform offers a daily automatic backup for Salesforce. Skyvia stores your backups in a secure Azure GRS storage, and at any time you can restore your data directly from web browser in just a few clicks.

(EFD – Backups stored in Azure – wait a sec, that’s Microsoft!)

Four: We value our clients by delivering the best support

Skyvia team adheres to customer-oriented approach. We use best customer success practices in order to help our customers with on-boarding and assist should they have questions later on. Our customers address us the way they like: at our Support portal, via an online chat in the application, or just schedule a demo/on-boarding call with a technical specialist and management.

As a result, we help our customers to set up their accounts and solve even the most difficult scenarios quickly and seamlessly.

(EFD – The support portal looks similar to the Salesforce Trailblazer Community Answers forum.)

Five: Skyvia future plans

Skyvia’s mission is to provide a universal product for solving all the data related tasks in one platform suitable for companies of any size. We constantly improve Skyvia’s usability, performance, add support for more connectors, and we plan to significantly increase the number of supported cloud applications in near future. Customer satisfaction is our number one priority.

Currently, our team is developing a new product – a visual designer for automating workflows in a company and providing a true trigger-based integration. Find us in Facebook or Twitter and keep updated about our future releases and improvements, or try Skyvia right now.

(EFD – Check you their story, and be sure to check out the app.)

EFD – Thanks, Alex, for bringing the value of Skyvia to my attention and allowing me to share it with others.

5 things you might not know about Salesforce ISV Partner StatX

Special guest post from Prasad Raje, Founder & CEO, StatX.

Prasad Raje

Never heard of StatX? Here’s 5 things you should know to about them. (EFD – I had never heard of them until getting connected to them leading up to Midwest Dreamin’ 2017.)

One: StatX is to desktop browser apps what Salesforce was to on-premise apps.

Salesforce was built on the promise of “No Software” and was one of the pioneers of business apps in the cloud. StatX is taking this to the next level of “No Desktop”. We are a pure mobile app because this is the ubiquitous computer that is in the hands of 2.2 billion people and mobile use and traffic now exceeds desktop. (EFD – I wonder how many people are reading this post on a mobile device right now.)

Two: StatX is a complete re-thinking of business mobile apps.

Our design philosophy for StatX is that we do not want to re-create a miniature web app on mobile. Users do not want to click and explore or spend as much time in mobile apps as they do on the desktop in a web app. StatX is a complete re-think from the ground up of the mobile use case in a simple, beautiful, easy to use app. (EFD – So StatX is kind of like mobile phones were back in the 1980s…a totally new approach to an old problem.)

Three: StatX relieves pipeline anxiety.

StatX with Salesforce brings sales progress to the user instead of requiring constant attention, keeps teams in sync in real-time for faster communication on deals, presents deals and dashboards visually together for efficient consumption, enables easy succinct updates on deals on mobile to improve sales data quality and improves user adoption of Salesforce. See it in action in this demo video or try it for yourself by downloading the mobile app or try the Test Drive in AppExchange. (EFD – You’ve said a mouthful there – a very important mouthful: in sync, real-time, faster.)

Four: StatX is like Google Now™ for Business.

StatX also connects to other data sources in the cloud like QuickBooks, MailChimp, GitHub, Google Sheets or even desktop Excel to bring visual, succinct information to mobile for fast consumption, change updates and easy collaboration. We have built a general platform that we can build connectors to any REST API in the cloud – eventually we will open this for 3rd parties. (EFD – Check out the integrations page on their website for more details.)

Five: StatX founding story.

StatX was founded by Prasad Raje and Pablo Bellver. Prasad had previously sold his enterprise cloud software company (Instantis) to Oracle. Pablo had co-created Google Now as one the first engineers on the team. They joined forces to create StatX to bring relevant information to business users on mobile (full story). (EFD – Check you their story, and be sure to check out the app.)

EFD – Thanks, Prasad, for bringing the value of StatX to my attention and allowing me to share it with others.

5 Things About a New Integration for Dealing with Documents Within a Salesforce Iframe – DaDaDocs

Special guest post from Irene Samozdran, Content Marketer, PDFfiler.

Irene Samozdran

Never heard of PDFfiler or DaDaDocs? Here’s 5 things you should know to about them. (EFD – I had never heard of them until seeing them at the Chicago World Tour in June, 2017.)

One: About PDFfiller and how we created the DaDaDocs integration

Let me introduce you to PDFfiller, a company that has been on the document solution market since 2008. We provide a PDF editor, eSignature solution and form builder combined in a single platform. This year we crossed the benchmark of 300,000 customers and decided to take on the strategy of building partnerships with other companies our customers use. Lots of our clients use Salesforce every day. They often struggle with the document management, having to download every document, edit it in another application and upload the results back to Salesforce. This is why we created DaDaDocs for Salesforce. (EFD – I had a great conversation with Gal Steinberg from PDFfiler at the Chicago World Tour. So good, in fact, that it led to DaDaDocs becoming a sponsor of Midwest Dreamin’ 2017.)

Two: What DaDaDocs brought to Salesforce

The main job of the DaDaDocs integration is to simplify complex workflows with documents, cut them down to minutes rather than hours and run every issue entirely within the Salesforce iframe. In a single integration, Salesforce users get an intuitive PDF editor, eSignature platform and form builder for data merging and collection. It means that any problem with documents – adding a customer’s notes to an offer, sending documents out for signature, using data from Salesforce objects to generate contract templates – all these issues can now be solved without leaving Salesforce. We’ve organized a comprehensive kit that should streamline complex business processes on the back end, so you won’t ever have to worry about paperwork again. (EFD – It sounds complex and somewhat confusing, but after watching the demo on the website, it looks like they made it easy! )

Three: Guiding customers through configuration

We understand how complicated setting up a new app can be, which is why we provide full customer support 24/7. When a new customer gets DaDaDocs at the AppExchange, we provide a 7-day free trial. They receive an email with detailed instructions for getting started and a link to contact customer support directly. Our support team is happy to walk anybody through the configuration process. (EFD – Customer support can make or break a deal…just like it can make a meal great or take a restaurant off your list completely!)

Four: How we believe in contributing to IT self-education

At PDFfiller we believe in self-made success. This is also the reason we support educational projects in local IT-communities. Our engineers conduct regular meetups, participate in conferences where they can share their experience and everyone can learn from common mistakes. (EFD – That’s what I like to call giving back to help others grow and learn.)

Five: The philosophy of businesses going green starts with a paperless office

We started this company without a big idea but eventually understood the obvious truth right in front of us. Taking all your documents to the cloud and running a paperless office is the first step to green entrepreneurship. We believe it’s important to do your part for better and cleaner environment. We’re proud to provide a product that helps businesses make that change. (EFD – I used to think that going paperless was far-fetched idea that wouldn’t happen until way out into the future, if it could happen at all. With technology like Salesforce and DaDaDocs, the future just might be here now.)

EFD – Thanks, Irene, for bringing the value of DaDaDocs to my attention and allowing me to share it with others.

The Dreamforce Newbie Survival Kit, 2017 Edition

Dreamforce. The name says it all.

Thousands and thousands of people dream about attending, and once they get there, they feel this inexplicable force that draws them back year after year. 2017 will be my seventh year attending Dreamforce, and if I have my way, I will continue return every year, just like the Monarch Butterfly’s annual migration to Mexico, Florida and southern California, except that I use an airplane and BART for my modes of transportation, since I don’t have wings!

Here are a few tips that I think all first-time Dreamforce attendees should know:

1. Leave the laptop at home – If you must bring it to San Francisco, leave it secured in the safe at your hotel room. You will quickly find that it becomes very heavy to carry around with you all day, even if it’s one of the ultralight laptops. Opt for a tablet if you have one or even just your smartphone if you are comfortable taking notes on a small device. (Please note – I do NOT always practice what I preach, and I usually pay the price for that. If you must bring your laptop, opt for a backpack or messenger-style bag that can cross your body, not just hang off one shoulder. You don’t want to end the week with a definitive lean.)

2. Wear comfortable shoes – You will walk more than you think. WAY more than you think. Many of the sessions are held in Moscone Center, which is actually three different buildings each with at least two floors of convention space. There are also sessions scattered about the city in various other locations including a theater and many hotels. If you are not used to walking a lot, get on a treadmill or get outside and start walking now! You might even want to bring more than one pair of comfortable shoes…just be sure they are not brand new. Breaking in new shoes at Dreamforce is a recipe for sore and tired feet!

3. Wear comfortable clothing – Be sure to dress in layers or bring a light jacket. San Francisco has beautiful weather nearly all year. It never really gets terribly hot or very cold, but with the proximity to the ocean, the chances for a breeze are pretty good, and once the sun goes down, the air could get a little chilly. This will be especially true this year, since Dreamforce in in November. For me, being from the Midwest, this is what I call camping weather. (Hmm…that fits in nicely with Trailhead!)

SFO DF17 Weather

 

4. Network –  a.k.a., talk to people. Don’t be scared. Talk to everyone you can. Talk to the person on your right when waiting in line to go into a session. Talk to the person sitting to your left once you get inside a session. When you take a break to eat lunch (included in your conference registration) be brave and sit near people you don’t know…and start a conversation! (Be sure to eat! Be sure to stay hydrated as well. With all the walking and mental exercise you’ll be getting during Dreamforce, you’ll need all the nourishment you can find!) Back to talking to people –  Just do it. Outside your comfort zone is where the magic happens. You’ll never know who you’ll meet. Out of the 45,000 + people at Dreamforce 2011, I managed to sit down for lunch at a table with one of my brother-in-law’s co-workers. (Cue the Walt Disney music: It’s a small world after all!) If you are shy, take the high-tech approach to networking. Bring a surge strip with you and hang out at a charging station between sessions – one surge strip could mean five instant connections.

5. Dreamforce “After Hours” – Be prepared for some long days. This isn’t just an 8am to 5pm conference. Sure that’s when most of the keynotes and breakout sessions occur, but there are also many opportunities for networking before and after those hours thanks to many partners sponsoring parties. Your one stop shop for all things Dreamforce is the Apttus Dreamforce All Access site. And don’t forget about the Success Community, with its many Dreamforce related groups like “New to Dreamforce” and “Dreamforce Newbie Reunion Breakfast” (Shameless plug number 1: That’s a group that I am organize, and it’s purpose is to help Dreamforce first-timers make a connection or two, while helping to raise money for Project Night Night. Want to attend the breakfast on Monday, November 6th from 6:30am to 8:30am? Register here.)

6. Training – If you can, take advantage of the pre-conference training opportunities, and if you are considering getting a Salesforce certification, Dreamforce is the perfect opportunity for that too, and at a discounted price too! Once you get your certification, tweet it out with #ThisOneIsForYouTamiEsling, use the same hashtag in the Success Community and on Facebook too! Doing so will make your celebration of certification a tribute to the late Tami Esling, a Salesforce MVP who passed away on March 5th, 2016, who made it her mission to help people get certified.

7. Go Global – Dreamforce doesn’t just happen in San Francisco. Dreamforce happens all over the globe! Attend a Salesforce World Tour or Trailhead Live event in your area. Look here for an event near you. Join a user group in your area and attend the meetings regularly. Look for awesome regional, Community led Salesforce events, and attend those too! The Salesforce Community is an awesome way to expand your knowledge and increase not only your network of people, but also the resources you can count on to help you solve problems.

8. All Year Long – Dreamforce isn’t just a week during the year. Thanks to the Success Community it’s a perpetual event. Get active on the Community and share your struggles and your successes. Get connected with the people you will meet BEFORE you get to Dreamforce and make friends that last a lifetime!

So why do so many people attend Dreamforce year after year? In a word, because it is AWESOME!

Shameless plug number 2: I’m doing a fundraiser for Project Night Night that doesn’t involve eating too! Last year I shaved off my beard for Dreamforce and raised over $2,000 for Project Night Night. This year, I’ll shave it off again if I hit $3,000 or more, and if I top $6,000, I’ll shave my head too! You can donate to that campaign here.

Want to meet up with me at Dreamforce? Tweet me!

Hurry! Offer Expires at 11:59 PM Central Time, September 30, 2017!

Want to Attend Dreamforce 2017, and Help Homeless Children at the Same Time?

If you had the chance to do something (that you do every year) and help a great cause at the same time, would you do it?

Yes, that was a rhetorical question, but do me a favor, answer it anyway.

My answer would be a resounding ‘yes’. I try to give back to the Salesforce community every chance I get. So I reached out into my network of connections in search of a pass to Dreamforce that I could auction off with the proceeds going to Project Night Night. I was very fortunate in that the first person I emailed replied back with a resounding “Happy to provide that for you.”

I’ve had the 2017 edition of  “Attend Dreamforce, Help a Homeless Child” contest running for a while now. The high bid (at the time this blog went live) is $500. Keep in mind that the current rate for a Dreamforce pass is $1,799. One lucky winner will get a free pass to attend Dreamforce* and many homeless children will get a NightNight pack from Project Night Night. (*Conference fees only, sorry – travel and other accommodations are the responsibility of the winner.)

Please answer these two questions:

  1. Do you, or someone you know, still need a pass to Dreamforce, or want to save money on the pass you already have?
  2. Do you want to help children have sweeter dreams at the same time?

If you answered yes to both questions, please place your bids here. To see the current high bid, follow me on Twitter and search for #DF17PNN_HIGHBID.

The bidding will close at 11:59 PM on Friday, September 30, 2017.

URGENT UPDATE: If you already have a pass to Dreamforce and you are the winner, you can simply contact the Dreamforce Registration and Housing Hotline:

U.S./Canada: +1-866-855-3818
International: +1-650-416-8832.

If you happened to answer the first question with a no, please visit Project Night Night and consider making a donation.

Either way, please follow Project Night Night on Twitter and support their cause with prayers!

Thanks!