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!

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I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community – Introducing Lauren Touyet

This is the forty-seventh 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 founder of Salesforce Ohana Coffee, and Salesforce FanGirl (her words,  not mine), Lauren Touyet.

Lauren

What’s your job title? Senior Systems Analyst, DocuSign, and Host of Salesforce Ohana Coffee! (EFD – DocuSign?!?  I love DocuSign. I’ve used them for a few years to manage all the sponsorship agreements for Midwest Dreamin’!)

What does that mean you do? Obviously, I talk about how amazing Salesforce is but I also am the only Salesforce professional in Europe for my company so I wear a few hats: I am a trainer, making sure we are using the system the way we should and stopping the bad habits; I am a sounding board for all the ideas the business has; I am an Admin who solves problems with Salesforce, I am a ninja who fixes all the gremlins in the system; I am a process adviser making sure processes match the system design and finally I am a gate keeper of our security making sure the apps and plug ins we install are above board. (EFD – I have just one question, ok, maybe three: 1.) With all that stuff you do, how do you find time to sleep? 2.) If you are the gate keeper, who is the key master? and 3.) What prompted you to start Salesforce Ohana Coffee, and what is it all about?)

How long have you been involved with Salesforce.com (as a customer and/or an employee)? I started using Salesforce when I was order processing in my old job. We used it for discounting customers’ orders – that was back in 2009. I remember the training we received (it was nothing fancy) but I remember thinking finally a system we can use that doesn’t have the hassle of chasing Sales people for approval codes. From there I tried to learn as much as I could. In 2011 that company was rolling out email to case and a few managers encouraged me to apply for the Salesforce admin position, and the rest, as they say is history!.  (EFD – Hey! It sounds like you may not have been an “Accidental Admin”! )

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

What’s more important: Who you know, or what you know? While is it definitely imperative to know your stuff, you can’t be expected to know everything which is why who you know is so important. That’s why I love the community – if I get stuck I can reach out and I know they all have my back. To me, the community is more than people who do the same job as me, they are family and my best friends! I know that is silly to say about people who are half way around the world and who I only see at Dreamforce but true I talk to the Ohana daily. That is why I love Ohana Coffee so much. I meet up with my friends to talk work, life, events and everything else! (EFD – I guess that answers my 3rd question from above. One word of caution – if you join the Ohana Coffee sessions, be aware that Lauren says she will post unflattering pictures of everyone on Twitter. It’s true…check out the pics below!)

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How did our relationship start, and when? I followed you on twitter for a while and then we met at a Dreamforce party, however I didn’t know it was you until after the party! But our relationship definitely grew when you started attending Ohana Coffee and we got to chat more and share stories and experiences. The timing is hard to pinpoint. I was twitter stalking you for a good while before Dreamforce, but wasn’t sure if you were a catfish. So I would say the Dreamforce Party on a rooftop (I think it was the Apttus party.)  (EFD – And now I’m Googling “catfish” to see what that really means. Should I be insulted, or flattered?)

And now the bonus question – What’s one fact about you that few people know, that will surprise me and my blog readers? When I was a kid, I used to work on movie sets in Ireland with my Dad. We would rewire the stars’ trailers as they were brought in from America and were a different voltage! I have worked on the sets of “Michael Collins”, “Mrs Browns Boys”, “Veronica Guerin” and “Agnes Brown”. (EFD – So you might have rubbed elbows with some celebrities…and now you are a celebrity in the Salesforce ecosystem! It’s really true: what goes around, comes around.)

You can find Lauren on Twitter. Be sure to also follow Ohana Coffee.

I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community – Introducing Launa Saunders

This is the forty-sixth 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 co-leader of the San Diego Salesforce User Group, and Salesforce MVP, Launa Saunders.

launa-saunders

 

What’s your job title? Manager, Sales Operations, Illumina, Inc. (EFD – I had to look up Illumina…I knew you worked there, but really didn’t know much about the company. According to their website: “Today we are a global leader in genomics – an industry at the intersection of biology and technology. At the most fundamental level, we enable our customers to read and understand genetic variations. We strive to make our solutions increasingly simple, more accessible, and always reliable. As a result, discoveries that were unimaginable even a few years ago are now becoming routine – and are making their way into patient treatment.” I’m still not sure what the company does! It’s a biotechnology firm.)

What does that mean you do? Currently my focus is on the strategy of our CRM from the technical perspective. When I first started at Illumina, I was a Sr. Business Analyst in the GIS department. Now that I am in Sales Operations I am able to tie the needs of the business to the IT infrastructure. (I speak in Salesforce talk to our Admins: “WFR”, “FLS”, etc. oh yeah, and “LOL”). (EFD – I bet sometimes your Salesforce Admins and users make you also say “WTF”, and then you reach for a drink! #WhyAdminsDrink)

How long have you been involved with Salesforce.com (as a customer and/or an employee)? I have been managing Salesforce systems since 2007. I started off as an Administrative Assistant responsible for running the department metrics, out of Salesforce. When I started (at this particular company) every employee was assigned the Admin profile, and had the ability to change layouts, fields, etc. I couldn’t run metrics successfully since we would come in and find that someone had changed a picklist value the night before, or removed a field altogether. I became a member of the Salesforce Community and eventually taught myself Salesforce through trial and error (and a little help from SteveMo of course). Eventually I submitted a project plan to revamp Salesforce, including removing everyone’s admin rights. Since then I have worked in multiple orgs with various titles, but it always comes back to the strategy and improving adoption.  (EFD – Ouch! “every employee was assigned the Admin profile” Yeah…that’s calls for another drink! #WhyAdminsDrink)

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

What’s more important: Who you know, or what you know? It’s definitely who you know, the community proves that! I don’t have to be an expert on everything Salesforce, but if I go to the community, I know someone will be and I can reach out to them with questions, advice, etc., I can then pay it forward and share my knowledge. It’s what makes the world go ’round (plus I like to avoid being a “jack of all trades, master of none”. The community is my Rolodex of experts to reach out to when the time comes) (EFD – Ooo…Love that: “The community is my Rolodex of experts.” WOW!)

How did our relationship start, and when? Well, we are both UG leaders, and inducted as MVPs at the same time (Spring ’13), so that’s when it started. But you were the first MVP that I had a beer with at the first MVP Summit in 2013, so you were the “welcome wagon” of sorts.  (EFD – A fellow user group leader and an MVP class mate…or is that glass mate?  Either way, it’s been great knowing you since 2013!)

And now the bonus question – What’s one fact about you that few people know, that will surprise me and my blog readers? While raised in San Diego, I wasn’t born here. I’m actually from a small farming community in central California. My family is still there. We have a massive ranch there where I learned to farm, shoot, raise bees, you name it! My Dad taught me to live off the land if need be, so he keeps me grounded. I love the beaches and sun in San Diego, but nothing beats a campfire in the middle of nowhere underneath a million stars. (EFD – I live out in a rural part of Southern Indiana, after growing up and living most of my life in suburban areas near large cities. I really like being able to go outside at night, look up and see millions of stars! I totally agree with that!)

You can find Launa on Twitter.

I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community – Introducing Aldo Fernandez

This is the forty-fifth 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 brains behind the first-ever Punta Dreamin’, Aldo Fernandez.

aldofernandez-profile

What’s your job title? Technical Architect, Litify.com. (EFD – I had to look that company up. According to their website, Litify is the world’s best business management platform designed specifically for law firms. And it’s built on the world’s leading CRM platform…Salesforce, of course!)

What does that mean you do? I work as a Technical Architect for Litify.com, a Salesforce startup based in NY, where we are building end-to-end products for the Legal Industry like Referrals, Intakes and Practice Management tools. Daily, I’m back-to-back with multiple Product Managers and Development teams, helping to meet business requirement with the Platform’s best practices on development, automation, integration, security and customization scenarios. (EFD – That’s a pretty wild commute from Uruguay. I’m guessing you work remotely.)

How long have you been involved with Salesforce.com (as a customer and/or an employee)? I’ve been working with Salesforce since 2008. I started for a partner as a developer on a 3 month integration project with no big expectations. Then I started digging deeper on the platform and learned that Salesforce was much more than just a CRM. So yes, you can say I was seduced by the Force.  (EFD – You have a year more than I do on the platform. It’s very interesting to see how many different directions people can take their careers with the Salesforce platform.)

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

What’s more important: Who you know, or what you know? What you know is very important but I think who you know (and learn from) wins. It’s amazing how you can learn things from the most unexpected people. (EFD – Score another victory for the “who”! I wonder just what that score is. For my next post in this series, I’ll review the stats!)

How did our relationship start, and when? I was studying for the CTA exam in the lounge area of a Hostel in San Francisco during Dreamforce, (2013, I think) and I noticed your Salesforce t-shirt and started talking about local Salesforce User Groups. You encouraged me with ideas to our Developer User Group in Uruguay which I really appreciated. In the name of our Community, Thanks Eric! (EFD – Yes! I remember that chance meeting in the hall of the Hostel. What a great conversation, and if memory serves me correctly, Zachary Jeans was there as well. How exciting it is to see that now you’ve taken the user group idea even further and launched Punta Dreamin’, the technical conference for Latin America’s Salesforce Community.)

And now the bonus question – What’s one fact about you that few people know, that will surprise me and my blog readers? I used to be a professional football(soccer) player in Uruguay. It didn’t worked; I was a better student on Engineering School than on the pitch. (EFD – Wow…now I know 2 people who were professional soccer players before starting a career that got them involved with Salesforce!)

You can find Aldo on Twitter.

I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community – Introducing Ryan Lorenzen

This is the forty-fourth 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 four-time Salesforce Certified, Ryan Lorenzen.

rlorenzen

What’s your job title? Salesforce Solutions Architect, PayPal. (EFD – That sounds impressive. When you get your paycheck is it deposited into a PayPal account?)

What does that mean you do? I’m the Salesforce solutions architect for PayPal’s largest business unit, Global Operations. The user base we support consists of 1300 users based in APAC, EMEA, and NA who work in sales, account management, business support, product integration, and underwriting…to name a few. I also lead a team of awesome admins based in the US, India, China, and Ireland. Everyday I get to talk to people all over the world and help design solutions for them. For a kid from Nebraska, that’s pretty cool. (EFD – That IS really cool!  So there’s more than just corn in Nebraska…)

How long have you been involved with Salesforce.com (as a customer and/or an employee)? I’ve been using Salesforce for about 11 years and have been a System Admin for the past 7.  Got my start as a user while working in Sales Ops.  (EFD – 11 years…I bet you’ve seen a change or two-hundred!)

Bacon or sausage? I love bacon. I love black pudding more. (Blood sausage, popular in the UK/Ireland) (EFD – Uh…not sure I’d eat anything with “blood” in the name, but to each their own!)

What’s more important: Who you know, or what you know? To me, they’re equal.  Those who are talented and surround themselves with the right people will be successful. (EFD – I used to think who you knew was more important than what you know, but the more I publish this post and see other people’s views, the more I tend to agree with your statement that they are equally important.)

How did our relationship start, and when? Our relationship started on Twitter, in the Summer of 2015, I think. I was sitting at 100 followers and DM’d you to ask how you managed to amass 3k followers. Since then, I’ve got your advice on other things as well, which I really appreciate. I look forward to meeting you in person someday. (EFD – And since then, you’ve increased your followers like 12-fold, and I’ve not quite doubled mine. Hmm…the student might be performing better than the teacher. I’m looking forward to an in-person meeting with you someday 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 came very close to being a Firefighter.  I went to college for computer programming, but I barely graduated and failed to find a job in that field.  I gave up on software and spent 2 years in my city’s Firefighter hiring process.  I passed all the tests, and right before the final interview, I realized it wasn’t for me and withdrew.  I’m fortunate to have found a career that I truly love, and I still get to put out lots of fires, just in a different way.  (EFD – While the fires you put out now may not be life-threatening, I’m sure some of them feel just as exhilarating and stressful as fighting an actual fire might be.)

You can find Ryan on Twitter.

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.

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.