I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community – Introducing Andy Boettcher

This is the twenty-fifth post in my blog series in which I will feature people I know from the community: Salesforce employees, MVPs, User Group Leaders, Partners, and honestly, anyone who I’m connected with who is willing to share with me the answers to five simple questions. I hoping that this blog series will help everyone out in the community get better connected to others who are either like them, can help them, are nothing like them, can’t help them, or are simply people they haven’t met yet! After all, a stranger is simply a friend you don’t know yet.

For me, one of the greatest strengths of the Salesforce Ecosystem is its people and the connections that are shared.

So, if you are brave enough, even if you’ve never met me in person, fill out this form and I’ll feature you in an upcoming post. (In case I have confused anyone, the questions on the form about our relationship refers to you, the reader, and me, the author, Eric Dreshfield, and not the featured person in this post.)  Just beware, by completing the form, you are giving me permission to use that information in a future post, as well as allowing me to interject some of my own thoughts into your responses!

And now I introduce Certified Salesforce Administrator and Force.com Developer, Salesforce MVP, and co-leader of the Minnesota Developer Group, Andy Boettcher.

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What’s your job title? Chief Architect, Demand Chain Systems (EFD – Back when I was going to college, Architects designed buildings. Now I think it’s safe to say Architects build designs…for systems.)

What does that mean you do? My role as Chief Architect at Demand Chain Systems is a wide one – I end up working with prospects in a pre-sales solutioning capacity, with our clients in ideation/solutioning discussions, mentoring my team, and helping guide the company to the latest technologies and approaches. (EFD – Uh…is ideation a real word? It sounds like your job is to really help a lot of people figure out how to get things done.)

How long have you been involved with Salesforce.com (as a customer and/or an employee)? I’ve been on the platform for about 7 years, 5 years with Demand Chain Systems. (EFD – 7 years…that’s almost half of the entire Salesforce has existed. I bet you’ve seen a lot of growth and changes.)

Bacon or sausage?  It’s bacon, or nothing!

What’s more important: Who you know, or what you know?  It’s all about who you know and what they know. One person cannot know everything. (EFD – YES!!! One more for the “Who” side! )

How did our relationship start, and when? The MVP program brought us together back in 2013. (EFD – Ah yes…we both became MVPs in 2013. Seems like we may have had a user group leader connection somewhere in there too.)

And now the bonus question – What’s one fact about you that few people know, that will surprise me and my blog readers? I’m a certified BBQ judge. (EFD – Well, that’s interesting. I really enjoy eating BBQ. Just ask Dale Ziegler, Mark Ross, Jarrod Kingston & Jennifer Wobser. #BBQForce.)

You can find Andy on Twitter, and be sure to check out his blog too!

Tahoe Dreamin’ – From Lake Michigan to Lake Tahoe

I planned my trip to Tahoe Dreamin’ about a month before the event. I was looking forward to seeing how the Western US took my Midwest Dreamin’ concept from the big city of Chicago to the ski slopes and mountains of South Lake Tahoe. Just a few short weeks later, I had accepted my new role as Advocacy Manager for Apttus, which suddenly meant most of my Tahoe Dreamin’ experience would come from interactions with people who visited the Apttus booth in the expo.

From my own, somewhat selfish point of view, I was not looking forward to that because I thought it meant I would not have time to spend with all my friends from the Salesforce community. For once in my life I was absolutely thrilled to be wrong. In reality, it meant that I got to spend time with NEW friends during the event, then new & established friends after-hours.

The Salesforce community is what makes events like Tahoe Dreamin so amazing. This event was not organized by Salesforce, rather it was organized and run by a small group of Salesforce community members, a small but highly motivated and passionate group of Salesforce customers and partners led by Bill Greenhaw, a Salesforce MVP and Leader of the Sacramento User Group.

Because of my new role, I did not have the opportunity to see the keynote, given by Shawna Wolverton, Vice President of Product Management, Platform at Salesforce, and Adam Seligman, Senior Vice President, Developer Relations, Salesforce, because our booth was busy, which is most certainly a good thing! From what others told me it was a great session with some flair that many of us would normally associate with the one and only, Parker Harris, a.k.a. Lightning Man. The keynote had Shawna and Adam wearing some awesome snowsuits!

Adam and Shawna Snowsuits

One that the next day Samantha Ready wore on the slopes!

Samantha Snowsuit

But fun in the snow isn’t what Tahoe Dreamin’ was really all about.

You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out. You do the hokie poike and you turn yourself around, that’s what it all about! 

What Tahoe Dreamin’ was really all about was the Salesforce Community, making connections and sharing knowledge.

Liz Gladstone put it this way: “Tahoe Dreamin’ provided the inspiration and community that Dreamforce does but in a setting intimate enough to talk with every single person.”

Shonnah Hughes had this to say: “Take Aways: Volunteer if you can, Speak up, get to know someone you don’t already know, Go to the after the event parties or gather your own group to party, ask questions, take lots of pictures and have the mind set that you are there to learn and have fun!”

Cynthia Saalfeld said this: ” I loved it!  I liked how well distributed the sessions were, not too short and not too long with a good break time in between sessions giving you time to visit the vendors and partners.   Moreover, talking to the speakers was possible and much more intimate than Dreamforce.”

Stuart Edeal (who came to Tahoe all the way from Minnesota!) wrote his own blog post about Tahoe Dreamin’.  He summarized the event this way: Attend regional events, and volunteer if you can. Share your challenges & successes. Accept invites for lunch, coffee, walks, etc. Ask questions, set goals, and enjoy yourself!

A few other comments I heard were: “Great venue”; “Fabulous food”; “Well organized”; “A little smoky at times, but it was in a Casino, with awesome scenery!”; “Bill Greenhaw and his team did a fantastic job pulling the event together”

I guess it’s safe to say I feel a little bit like a proud grandfather, having just watched a grandchild succeed gracefully in his first piano recital. Great job, Team Tahoe Dreamin’! I hope this becomes an annual event!

I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community – Introducing Celeste Keller

This is the twenty-first post in my blog series in which I will feature people I know from the community: Salesforce employees, MVPs, User Group Leaders, Partners, and honestly, anyone who I’m connected with who is willing to share with me the answers to five simple questions. I hoping that this blog series will help everyone out in the community get better connected to others who are either like them, can help them, are nothing like them, can’t help them, or are simply people they haven’t met yet! After all, a stranger is simply a friend you don’t know yet.

For me, one of the greatest strengths of the Salesforce Ecosystem is its people and the connections that are shared.

So, if you are brave enough, even if you’ve never met me in person, fill out this form and I’ll feature you in an upcoming post. (In case I have confused anyone, the questions on the form about our relationship refers to you, the reader, and me, the author, Eric Dreshfield, and not the featured person in this post.)  Just beware, by completing the form, you are giving me permission to use that information in a future post, as well as allowing me to interject some of my own thoughts into your responses!

And now I introduce the quadruple Salesforce certified Salesforce Saint, also known as Celeste Keller.

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What’s your job title? Senior Salesforce Administrator, Puppet Labs (EFD – Puppet Labs?  Do they make puppets and marionettes? No…I checked LinkedIn. Puppet Labs “develops automation software that frees IT professionals from mundane tasks, giving them time to develop innovative technology strategies that help their companies grow.” And that’s a direct quote from their LinkedIn profile!)

What does that mean you do?  Everything! User support, new configuration from requirements gathering to rollout, a little bit of Apex (mostly stealing code), release communications after each Salesforce release… (EFD – Ahhh…sounds like you’re a “Solo Admin”, and stealing code is cool, just don’t get caught!)

How long have you been involved with Salesforce.com (as a customer and/or an employee)?   I became a Salesforce admin in 2007 – I believe what my boss said was, “Learn this thing, and tell the rest of us how to use it.” Back then, I was doing Sales Support and random other things, and it was just one of many hats that I wore. Over time, it became my actual job – and the awesome career that I now love. In 2012, I started a Salesforce blog – because when I geek out over something cool that I just learned, there’s usually no one around to share it with! Shameless plug: check it out my blog.  (EFD – You are what some people might call an “Accidental Admin”…but you’ve gone even further with that. As for the shameless plug for your blog, if you hadn’t mentioned it, I would have! It’s a must read, in my opinion!)

Bacon or sausage?  Can’t I have both? Don’t make me decide.

What’s more important: Who you know, or what you know?  Both – in a perfect world what you know, but its not realistic to think knowing someone doesn’t help 🙂 (EFD – Uhhh…so that’s a “What” or is it a “Who”?  I might be slightly confused here.)

How did our relationship start, and when? I’m pretty sure it was the Success Community, and in the fall of 2014. (EFD – “Pretty sure”?  I guess I really made a great impression on you! {That’s sarcasm, in case you couldn’t tell}  Seriously, I’m not sure I really remember either!  We are both pretty active on Twitter and in the Success Community, but I think the first time I met you in person might have been at Dreamforce 2015! )

And now the bonus question – What’s one fact about you that few people know, that will surprise me and my blog readers? This will be surprising to anyone who works with me as well, and has seen me in my uniform of jeans + t-shirt over the years. I have season tickets to the Opera, and love to get decked out in a gown and tiara for every show! (EFD – I have never been to the Opera…I think I have this stereotype that all Operas are in Italian and that I wouldn’t understand it.)

You can find Celeste on Twitter, and please be sure to check out her blog!

The Dreamforce Hackathon…from an outsiders point of view

So a certain person (who shall remain nameless) managed to get me into the Dreamforce Hackathon for a couple hours….it was quite the enlightening experience. I saw many things:

I saw Adam Seligman…live and in the flesh. I’ve been connected to him through Twitter and the Success Community for a few years, but never had the pleasure of shaking his hand, until now.

I saw Reid Carlberg…I’ve met him before, but it was great to see him again….same goes for Josh Birk.

I saw Pat Patterson…never had the pleasure in person, and can never say that about him again!

I saw April Nassi, but of course she’d be there! She’s the queen of the Developer Community!

But enough about people. That’s not what the Hackathon is about.

It’s about creativity and passion.

I saw plenty of that. There were dozens upon dozens of teams of developers coding away at what could become the next best thing since sliced bread. There were men and women of every shape, size, color and ethnic background, all striving towards the same goal…building a great App. It was an awesome thing to witness.

One other thing I noticed there, besides people eating and coding, coding and coding, sleeping and coding (or perhaps dreaming about coding) was another fine example of what the Salesforce community is all about. It’s people helping people, sharing ideas, sharing knowledge.

Sure, this is a competition, and a few people are going to win some serious cash, and others will just leave the Hackathon with a cool new App, and some sleep deprivation, but from the outside looking in, it’s all awesome, and has inspired me to dig into the world of the Developers.

One last thing, before I close out this post:

I hope the Dreamforce Hackathon continues for many years to come!