I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community – Introducing Rebecca Fontanilla

This is the forty-third post in my blog series in which I 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 graduate of the first-ever Salesforce Admin BootCamp, Rebecca Fontanilla.

2016_grad_rebeccafontanilla-33-of-91  2016_grad_rebeccafontanilla-84-of-91

What’s your job title? University Program Expansion Coordinator – Technical Development, on site at Google contracted by Zenith Corporation. (EFD – Wow…straight out of college to working at Google!  That’s Awesome!)

What does that mean you do? As a Program Coordinator, I am responsible for engaging in technical outreach and creating developmental programs to promote Google’s presence on campus. In addition to scheduling and conducting training programs with advocates, I assist in virtual set-ups and prepare for interview sessions. As a recent graduate, I believe the people I’ve met (whether they be students, co-workers, or professors), have helped shaped me into the individual I have become. This is why I’ve chose to be in the role that I am in today. I serve as the person I wish I could have met while in college. (EFD – That’s a really cool role. You get to help others just like you, but give them a step up on the competition in what is most certainly a fierce job market. Congrats to you…and kudos to Google for recognizing the need!)

How long have you been involved with Salesforce.com (as a customer and/or an employee)? My relationship with Salesforce sparked in January 2016 when I attended the Salesforce Admin Bootcamp at the University of San Francisco.  (EFD – That was a great program. I got to enjoy the closing festivities of the program as I happened to be in San Francisco at the time and Jennifer Wobser invited me to attend.)

Bacon or sausage? It’s Bacon or Nothing!

What’s more important: Who you know, or what you know? Neither. One of my college professors always told me that it doesn’t matter who you know, but who knows you. I gave his advice some thought and it speaks volumes. You could know x amount of people but if no one knows you then, do you really know them? (EFD – Hmmm….interesting. I never thought about it that way before, but it’s still about the people, and making connections, right?)

How did our relationship start, and when? I think we met through Cheryl Feldman, who I met through Jennifer Wobser. I remember I would have hour long phone conversations with these two ladies about career tips and I believe they e-introduced us. They advised me to follow you on Twitter, and being the social media lover that I am, of course I had to. (EFD – And then we met in person in January, 2016, at the closing reception of the Salesforce Admin BootCamp. It was great to see you at Dreamforce recently too!)

And now the bonus question – What’s one fact about you that few people know, that will surprise me and my blog readers? In January 2015, I went to Peru for a sports-based immersion and learned how sports has transformed some the youth in Peru. This trip was such an eye-opening experience. I used to play soccer when I was in kindergarten all the way up to my senior year of high school. I always thought of soccer as just a recreational activity, but the youth in Peru view soccer (sports in general) as an outlet from their day-to-day routine. Most spend their days perfecting their soccer skills in hopes of being recruited to play in the United States. I played soccer with a few of the children (ages 4-18) and I have never felt so out of shape in my life. These kids are truly an inspirational for self-betterment. They are so content with the little that they have but they make the best of what is offered to them, and that is true happiness. Also, side note: I am in the process of finishing my personal blog, but no surprise I’m creating a website for my personal brand. I guess it’s a little surprising that I haven’t had a site for my personal brand. I’ll probably post the link to my site next week after I clean it up a bit. Oh, I also don’t have a snapchat…is that weird? (EFD – Personal branding is SUPER important! Good for you in recognizing that so early, and doing something about it. I’ve never been to Peru, or played soccer!  And I don’t have a snapchat account either. I need one of my kids to explain snpachat to me, I guess. I don’t get it!)

You can find Rebecca on Twitter.

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I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community – Introducing Ben Bolopue

This is the forty-second post in my blog series in which I 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 2-time Salesforce Certified, Ben Bolopue.

ben-bolopue

What’s your job title? Salesforce Administrator, Quanex Building Products. (EFD – When Ben completed my form with all his details he actually listed his job title as: Salesforce Administrator/CRM Geek/Salesforce Kool Aid Consumer. I suppose that means he’s “All in” with the Salesforce platform and ecosystem.)

What does that mean you do? I’m the (goal) keeper of all things CRM related. On paper… I’m to facilitate the development and upkeep of CRM based systems/processes intended to standardize and/or improve the overall efficiency of day-to-day operations in: Customer Service, Quality Assurance, Tech Services, Sales and Marketing… and whoever else wants in really. In reality, I do my best to pull from my experience as a Continuous Improvement Coordinator and lifelong geek in order to make people’s work lives better, easier, more enjoyable and efficient. All via Salesforce, of course! (EFD – Oh boy…you’ve got it bad, but it really sounds like you LOVE your job and all the ways you can make an impact at your company.)

How long have you been involved with Salesforce.com (as a customer and/or an employee)? I first logged into Salesforce back in November of 2011 and have been my company’s Admin ever since. Literally… the first time I logged into (ever even saw the login page of) the system, I did it as an admin. Don’t get me wrong, Salesforce being as intuitive as it is, I was able to find my way around it pretty quickly. Also, I was fortunate enough to attend a week-long “Beginning Admin” class in Minneapolis a few months after I took over our org. It was HUGELY helpful in getting my feet wet with some of the more complex features of the system. It was definitely a zero to 60 in under three seconds kind of experience, though!  (EFD – Starting your Salesforce career as an Admin…wow, and having to figure some of it our on your own. Whoa…and Trailhead did not exist back in 2011 either.)

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

What’s more important: Who you know, or what you know? Wow… Personally I think it’s more a matter of how you use WHAT you know to help WHO you know. Loads of people are experts in some or most parts of “something”. Which is great, but unless those folks are able to make huge, sweeping changes that make a difference in some part of life for the masses using their knowledge of said “something”, the impact (specific to their area of expertise) they have is most likely going to be highly localized. Now… if that same expert made it a point to share, even a small amount of their knowledge on a regular basis, the ripple effect kicks in and the potential impact of their efforts can grow exponentially. (EFD – Uh, So that’s a “both”?)

How did our relationship start, and when? I believe it was early Spring, 2016, and our relationship started the same way as almost all relationships… on Twitter of course! You play a large role in the Salesforce Community and post wonderful Tweets involving bacon. It was really just a matter of time before a conversation started between us! Long story short, knowing that you’d been around the Salesforce block several times and that you seem to also recognize bacon as a food group, I wrote you looking for insight and guidance. You, in turn, responded with kindness, openness and the insight and guidance I sought. Thanks, Eric. (EFD – Ok, so this is supposed to be about YOU, but thanks for the kind words, none the less. )

And now the bonus question – What’s one fact about you that few people know, that will surprise me and my blog readers? I contemplated being a vegetarian for a time. I was young and highly impressionable. Not to say there’s anything wrong with being a vegetarian, but for those that know me… it’s probably the last thing you’d expect me to think! You see, when I was little (5-6 years old-ish) my family was pretty poor. We lived with my grandfather who was a retired farmer and whose farm had sat unused for probably 25 years at the time. I’m not sure whose idea it was, but somebody decided that a good way to save some money, would be to purchase a calf from a neighboring farm, raise it and (eventually) eat it. Somewhere along the lines, this cow became mine. At least to me it was. I named it Leon and made it a point to spend time with him whenever I could. Leon being a gigantic cow and me being a little boy, I wasn’t able to do things that most kids would with their pets. There were no games of fetch, no going for walks and yard clean-up was never less than a two person job. My parents, seeing how attached I’d become to Leon and not having accounted for how much a cow would cost to raise, decided to sell Leon back to the neighboring farm. I-Was-Devastated. Shortly after I watched the farmer come to take Leon away, I overheard a conversation about how “the steaks probably wouldn’t have been very good anyway” and how “it would’ve cost too much to have a butcher come out all the way out for one cow”. Putting two and two together, I realized what Leon actually was and where he was headed. Almost made a vegetarian out of me. Almost! (EFD – I actually know someone who did become a vegetarian after realizing that hamburgers came from cows!  As for me, the only way I could be a vegetarian is if Bacon was a vegetable, but we all know Bacon comes from pigs, which are most certainly NOT a vegetable.)

You can find Ben on Twitter.

I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community – Introducing Kris Salava

This is the forty-first post in my blog series in which I 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 3-time Salesforce Certified , Kris Salava.

kris-salava

What’s your job title? Salesforce Consultant, Redpath Consulting. (EFD – I featured Nick Lindberg in my last post…he works at Redpath too!)

What does that mean you do? I work with non-profit organizations, assisting them with implementing and managing their Salesforce Orgs. (EFD – So you  provide the technology that helps NPOs help others. That’s cool!)

How long have you been involved with Salesforce.com (as a customer and/or an employee)? I’ve been in the Ecosystem for about two years.  (EFD – Two years, three certifications….nice ratio!)

Bacon or sausage? It’s Bacon or Nothing!

What’s more important: Who you know, or what you know? Who you know is most important. What you know is important, but if you are the only one that knows what you know, it doesn’t get you very far. You have to share with others to move forward. (EFD – I like that response!  Share your knowledge!)

How did our relationship start, and when? We met at Midwest Dreamin 2015, introduced by a member of the Study Group I am working with for Salesforce Administrator certification. (EFD – Midwest Dreamin’ 2015…let me think. That was the year with Dan Darcy and Peter Coffee as keynote speakers, and no band.)

And now the bonus question – What’s one fact about you that few people know, that will surprise me and my blog readers? I love to be involved in things, but if I don’t put myself in a position where I am accountable to others, I might skip it to relax at home instead. That’s how I became treasurer and then president of our local MOMS Club in the early 2000’s and how I became a Girl Scout Troop Leader. So I volunteer to lead when given the opportunity. (EFD – That’s awesome! Girl Scout Troop Leaders really have an opportunity to make a huge impact on the future!)

You can find Kris on Twitter.

I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community – Introducing Nick Lindberg

This is the fortieth post in my blog series in which I 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 4-time Salesforce Certified and Salesforce MVP, Nick Lindberg.

Nick Headshot

What’s your job title? Director of Nonprofits, Redpath Consulting. (EFD – So you direct nonprofits? How do you know where to you tell them to go?)

What does that mean you do? Dreaming and building tools via Salesforce for nonprofits all while running the team at Redpath to carry out our nonprofit projects. (EFD – Oh!!!  I get it now. You help nonprofits become more connected to their donors and clientele, while making them lean, mean, efficient machines. Except for the mean part…I hope!)

How long have you been involved with Salesforce.com (as a customer and/or an employee)? I’ve been in the Ecosystem for over 7 years now. Five years as an accidental admin for a nonproft, and now 2.5 years, so far, as a partner.  (EFD – You and I have been in the ecosystem about the same amount of time!)

Bacon or sausage? It’s Bacon or Nothing!

What’s more important: Who you know, or what you know? To me, it is all about who you know. By knowing others, you have a group of people you can lean on and look to for knowledge. There is no way one individual can know everything there is to know about Salesforce or life for that matter. Collectively, through who you know, there is a greater chance of building out the what and potentially discover things you didn’t even know were possible. (EFD – I don’t think I could have said it better myself.)

How did our relationship start, and when? I first heard of this amazing Salesforce Kevin Bacon character also known as Eric during User Group Roundtable calls back in the beginning of 2014. During the calls, there would be a lot of conversation about various ways to run a User Group or referencing previous conversations. He was the person who would chime in and say he had a bookmark of the conversation topic and would in turn post them to the Success Community after the call so we all knew where the information was. From those calls, I just knew he was one solid fella and I needed to get to know more about him.

Afterwards, there were many occasions that the relationship really started to take off. From exchanging tweets back and forth, to chatting about how awesome it is to be an Admin after the Admin Keynote during Dreamforce 2014, to many awesome conversations during the MVP Summit 2015 & Midwest Dreamin’ 2015.

Over the past year our relationship has blossomed into a friendship. He’s really taken on #raynasunset as a way of remembering my daughter Rayna. It seems at least once a week there is a post by him or reposting someone else’s sunset with the hashtag. Beyond that, we had the chance to organize Midwest Dreamin’ 2016 together and our weekly Friday calls were something I’d look forward to each week. There have been countless times I’ve gotten to know more about him both professionally and personally and realized just how awesome he is. What else can I say, he’s a solid fella. (EFD – STOP IT! You’re embarrassing me….and this post is supposed to be about YOU, not ME!)

And now the bonus question – What’s one fact about you that few people know, that will surprise me and my blog readers? Where to begin. There are so many :). The one I like to use is when I was growing up, it took me seven years to pass the beginners swimming class. I was a foot taller than my instructor. I was determined to pass no matter what. (EFD – I can safely say I do not know any adult that I’m a foot taller than…sadly, I do know many who are a foot or more taller than I am!)

You can find Nick on Twitter.

I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community – Introducing Parth Vasani

This is the thirty-ninth post in my blog series in which I 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 triple certified, leader of the Pune, India, User Group, Parth Vasani.

Parth_Vasani

 

What’s your job title? Salesforce Developer / Consultant, Eternus Solutions Pvt Ltd. (EFD – Eternus Solutions got its start in India in 2010, and has been experiencing great growth since then. They have enjoyed success helping clients in a wide variety of industries, both for-profit and not-for-profit, and they established a United States presence in 2016. To learn more, visit their site. That’s what I did!)

What does that mean you do? I’m involved in mainly all things development, but there are times when I do admin stuff as well, overall I make clients happy and and help them understand the possibilities of the platform. Apart from the usual work, I deliver Salesforce passionately and strongly believe in giving back to the Salesforce community. I have trained and mentored more than 600 students and 800 end users. I am happy to share that some of them have been working on Salesforce platform now and certified admin and developers. I am a big fan of answers community and quite active on it. I lead the Salesforce User Group in Pune (India) and have 180+ community members with 80 (on an average) attendance and have been doing this for about a year. I also lead Pune Marketing Cloud User Group which is the first Marketing Cloud user group in India, and should be having its first meeting soon. Apart from User Groups , also lead Pune Salesforce Students Developer Group and Surat Salesforce Developer Group. (EFD – You are one busy man! Kudos to you for all you do to mentor future Salesforce Community leaders. #ForewardLookingStatement #MyOpinion – I wouldn’t be too surprised to see you making the ranks of Salesforce MVP in the future.)

How long have you been involved with Salesforce.com (as a customer and/or an employee)? I started working on the platform in 2012 while I was in college. Salesforce was introduced to me by one of the genuine and well known personalities in the Pune IT industry. He advised me to explore Salesforce and my first reaction was “Wow! You just need a computer and an internet connection to start with”.  Salesforce has been a really great company and a platform to work with. There was a time when I only saw all darkness after completing my college, it was only because of the Salesforce that I landed with my first job. From that very day, I decided to contribute selflessly to students, and end users (also known as the community) to switch them to Salesforce , train them and certify them. I hope to be able to continue to transform lives so that they can serve the same community. (EFD – Yes! Another life transformed by the power of the Salesforce Platform. And another person dedicated to giving back to others. That’s what it’s all about – helping others!)

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

What’s more important: Who you know, or what you know? Its all about collaboration, but both of them are important. Who you know, because the power of the community is stronger than anything. Its like you build the network and connect with others to help the community to figure out what to do and then its all about giving back and helping others find their success. On the other side, you need to be up-to-date with your knowledge and I have learned a lot from the community and learn everyday. If you don’t know, you need to learn, only then you can help the community and this is how “What you know” is also important. (EFD – When I first started this blog series, my opinion [there’s that word again!] was very strongly “Who you know” is way more important, but as I feature more and more people, and hear their views, I’m thinking now that they are nearly equal in importance.)

How did our relationship start, and when? My first exposure to you was via Twitter. I asked for your help and you responded immediately. Also we are connected through the User Group Leader community which itself is a vibrant community. I hope we can meet in person one day soon. (EFD – Twitter…oh yes. The “great connector.” I take pride in trying to respond personally, and quickly to anyone who reaches out to me, asking for help. As for one day meeting in person…I’m sure that will happen at some point. I’ll be at Dreamforce 2016…2017…2018…2019…I think you get my point.)

And now the bonus question – What’s one fact about you that few people know, that will surprise me and my blog readers? I Love Music and am a Violinist! Still learning it but playing it on low notes suites me best now.  (EFD – A budding musician…very nice. I started on the piano when I was about 8 years old, moved onto clarinet and saxophone through out my middle school and high school days. Making music is challenging and great fun. I’ve always heard the violin is NOT easy to play. Good luck with that.)

You can find Parth on Twitter.

I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community – Introducing Gaurav Kheterpal

This is the thirty-eighth post in my blog series in which I 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 Salesforce Mobile Architect and Salesforce MVP, Gaurav Kheterpal.

gaurav-kheterpal-salesforce-mvp

 

What’s your job title? Head – Mobility at Metacube. (EFD – I had to Google that one: Metacube is a Software Engineering Services company with experience in developing enterprise applications for a wide spectrum of domains including global trade management, supply chain analytics, manufacturing analytics, business continuity planning, CRM, content management and eCommerce.)

What does that mean you do? I head the mobile practice at Metacube – leading several native and hybrid app development projects, a majority of which involve Salesforce and/or Heroku. I’m involved in day to day account management, technical architecture, design and overall well being of multiple projects. Apart from that, I work as a community evangelist – I love to be involved in organizing and speaking at community-driven tech events and meetups all the time. I play a key role in mentoring new hires for Force.com development. (EFD – It sounds like you wear many hats. That seems to be a growing trend in the Salesforce ecosystem.)

How long have you been involved with Salesforce.com (as a customer and/or an employee)? I started off with Salesforce in 2007 so it’s been 9+ years on this amazing journey and still counting. We’re a Salesforce partner (Product Development Outsourcing). It’s been a very rewarding journey for me as well as the company – I was recognized by Salesforce as a Developer Success Story in June 2015 and I’ve spoken at leading events such as Dreamforce (every year since 2012) and Salesforce World Tour (2015). I lead the Jaipur DUG in the pink city of India!  (EFD – Wow!  You’ve made quite the career for yourself. Congratulations!)

Bacon or sausage? Eww…a pork product?  No thank you!

What’s more important: Who you know, or what you know? It’s a bit tricky but I’d go with who you know and what you and they collectively know. After all, it’s a community and the essence is collaborative learning. (EFD – I used to think it was all about who you know, because chances are someone you know, or someone they know can answer all the questions, but the longer I write this blog series, the more I’m thinking the two are equal and intertwined.)

How did our relationship start, and when? I think we’ve known each other virtually for quite some time now. I’ve obviously followed you as an inspirational figure in the community – a Salesforce MVP and I’m hoping you’ve noticed me do a few things for the community as well. It’s also helped that we both are User Group leaders. (EFD – We connected on LinkedIn in September, 2012, which was even before I was first named an MVP, so our original connection must have been either the user group leader connection or simply Salesforce community interaction.)

And now the bonus question – What’s one fact about you that few people know, that will surprise me and my blog readers? As a child, I’ve acted in several TV plays and I’m still a part of a hobbyist theatre group focused on social awareness on several grass roots problems in India and globally. (EFD – You’re quite the person…doing good things all over the place!)

You can find Gaurav on Twitter.

The 2016 Dreamforce Newbie Survival Kit

Dreamforce. It is very appropriately named.

Thousands of people dream about attending, and once they get there, they feel this inexplicable force that draws them back year after year. 2016 will be my sixth 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 mode 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, or 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.

2. Wear comfortable shoes. You will walk 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!

3. Wear comfortable clothing 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.

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! 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 isn’t just an 8am to 5pm event. 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 “Dreamforce Newbie Reunion Breakfast” (Shameless plug…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.)

6. If you can, take advantage of the preconference 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. Dreamforce doesn’t just happen in San Francisco. Dreamforce happens all over the globe! Attend a Salesforce World Tour or Essentials 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. 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!