My Debut at Dreamforce

The last week of September saw a big family reunion in the Bay Area. Yes, you guessed it, I'm talking about Dreamforce 2018, a reunion of the Salesforce Ohana. This year I was privileged to attend my very first Dreamforce in San Francisco, along with 8 of my other colleagues from Arxxus.

My preparation for Dreamforce started almost 3 months before the main event. Salesforce had invited developers and admins to submit presentations for Dreamforce to win a spot. There was fierce competition for the 50 odd available slots with over 2000 entries being submitted, and unfortunately I was not lucky enough to be chosen. But, thanks to Arxxus, I still ended up with a golden ticket.

Bootcamp

This year's Dreamforce was special for many reasons, not least as it marked the first ever pre-Dreamforce boot camp, where I was given the opportunity to interact with and learn from various experts on the Salesforce platform.

The boot camp itself offered four developer specific tracks. I participated  in "Developing Applications using Salesforce DX and Heroku Pipelines" - a 3 day session offering hands-on experience on Heroku and Salesforce DX.  One invaluable part of the course was the energetic discussions we had with Andres Perez and Douglas Ayers. As a Technical Instructor at Salesforce, Andreas oversees various technical courses across the globe, while Doug as Technical Curriculum Developer is responsible for the content of such courses along with Trailhead content. We also had an opportunity to interact with the product managers for Heroku and SFDX, gaining insights into these products and their roadmaps for the next year. Other highlights included the SPiN party and bagging my first swag of Dreamforce in the form of a bottle with Bluetooth speaker.

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The Main Event

After 3 days of deep diving into Heroku and SFDX, I was all set to for my debut at  the main event. With over 170K trailblazers registered, I anticipated long queues in the first half of Day 1 to collect my Dreamforce badge. But to my surprise, it took less than 10 mins until  I was ready for my first session of the day at 8:00 am. Between all the sessions, workshops and interesting talks around, I soon realized my agenda builder would be working overtime. As always the highlight of Day 1, and indeed the whole conference, was the highly anticipated keynote by Marc Benioff and other senior personnel. This year the keynote included the introduction of Customer 360 and Einstein Voice, both exciting developments for the ecosystem.  


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While my days were occupied with sessions, workshops, and talks, the evenings were filled with various networking opportunities in the form of APAC on Tour, AppBash and the Dreamfest with Metallica to name just a few. These events let me put faces to names and voices, make new friends and catch up with old buddies.

If you think Dreamforce is all about keynotes, new product announcements, sessions and networking, then you need to think again. It also has a lot to offer in the way of learning. At the Trailhead zone I earned my unique DF18 Trailblazer badge, featured in my first magazine on the cover page of The Exchange, cracked all the 8 mini hacks on offer and  interacted with a variety of ISV partners to get to know more about the apps they have to offer. As interesting as these activities were in themselves, the real fun was getting to unlock various swags items while learning more about the platform.


After a full on week attending sessions, learning tips and tricks from platform experts, making new friends and walking over 55 kilometers in 4 days, it was time for me pack my bags and head back to Sydney with learnings, memories and lots of swag. I'm really happy to have had the opportunity to represent Arxxus at Dreamforce and  am already looking forward to 2019.

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Rachel Ginty