It’s Your First Dreamforce. What Should You Expect?

Yay! It’s your first Dreamforce!

You’re pumped to finally be part of the magic. I bet you’ve already looked at a lot of other blogs to learn how to be ready before you landed here.

These are a few of my recommendations to make it a more memorable experience.

Comfortable Shoes

You want to wear comfortable shoes your feet are already used to, so don’t buy what you plan to wear a couple of days in advance. Take your old, ratty sneakers if you have to. I even recommend bringing two pair of super-comfy shoes if you can. Trust me, your feet will thank you for it. Having two pair of shoes helps reduce foot fatigue and keeps you feeling refreshed all around.

You’ll do a lot of walking over the four or five days of Dreamforce (I logged over 40 miles last year), and your dogs are going to be really tired by the end of the first day. Keeping foot-fresh should be one of your top priorities.

Bring extra socks and change them during the day too. It’ll help, I promise.

Crowds, Chaos and Pandemonium

Rumor has it Salesforce reduced the number of attendees this year compared to last. Even if this is true, be ready for plenty of chaos and pandemonium. The entire Dreamforce campus will be really crowded, with most people looking at their mobile device to figure out where they’re going next, so pack your patience along with those shoes.

Some people will be friendly and some won’t. It’s just how it is. Deciding to be one of the friendly people now will go a long way to enjoying the whole experience.

Remember to smile at other people and maybe even strike up a conversation with a stranger or two while standing in a line. You never know who you might meet by chance.

Don’t Overload Your Schedule

My first year, I filled my schedule to the brim with all the great sessions I wanted to attend, and barely made half of them. Give yourself plenty of time to get to your next session. Remember; crowds, chaos and pandemonium, not just on the street, but in the hotels where sessions are held too.

Twenty minutes to get from one place to another is not nearly enough time unless those sessions are in the same hotel. Give yourself the time to get there and find a prime seat.

You should also have some empty time to just wander an area you’re interested in. The Admin, Developer or Expo halls have a lot to see. Having free time to stroll through them might open up some unexpected opportunities to learn something, or meet someone new.

Stay Hydrated and Well Fed

It’s going to be easy to skip a meal or forget to drink water. Bring high-protein or complex carb, non-sugary snacks to keep the hangries at bay. It’ll go a long way to helping you retain the patience you’ll need.

Staying hydrated will help reduce headaches and fatigue too. There will be water stations all over the place… Use them!

Don’t Carry a Laptop

Unless you absolutely have to have it with you, leave your laptop at the hotel. I carried mine with me the first year I attended and only pulled it out of my bag once. It was more of a ball and chain than it was the tool I thought it would be.

Instead, carry an analog journal to take notes, or have a good note-taking app on your phone.

Our team will be using Quip to share session notes with each other this year. The app is so good it’s earned a permanent place on my phone’s home screen.

Don’t Be Afraid of Your Heroes

If you cross paths with someone from the community who inspires you, take the opportunity to introduce yourself to them. Naturally, be polite when doing it and respect any conversations your hero may already be involved in, but by introducing yourself, you could be opening the door to a friendship or opportunity further down the line.

The community heroes are heroes for a reason — because they enjoy helping others learn and grow.

I crossed paths with Mike Gerholdt very much by chance my first Dreamforce and was totally star-struck. I wish I’d taken a few more minutes to chat with him than I did. Don’t have the same regret I do.

Say hello, thank them for inspiring you and ask them a few questions you’d like to know about them. Wrap it up by asking if you can connect with them on social media.

Keep Yourself Safe

There are many areas of San Francisco I’d call questionable when it comes to your safety, especially after dark. Don’t walk if you don’t have to. There will be plenty of Uber and Lyft in the city. Getting yourself into a questionable circumstance could be scary at best and harmful at worst.

Know your surroundings at all times and keep your head on a swivel.

Take Lots of Pictures

Finally, take lots of pictures and share them with your friends and family, and on social media, using the #DF19 hashtag. Your pictures will remind you of the magic you experienced and keep you pumped through the year until you get to go to your next Dreamforce.

Feel free to connect with me through social media in the menu above and let me know you’ll be at Dreamforce. I may not be a hero, but I do love connecting with other people who have a passion for Salesforce like I do. I might even know someone who can help you out. You never know…

Hope to see you there!