A serial attendee’s guide to surviving Dreamforce

Kate Fletcher

November 11 ∙ 6 minutes read

How to navigate the world’s largest software conference

Every year, there’s one event in your annual calendar that fills you with both excitement and dread. This for me is Dreamforce. Excitement that it’s here again, and along with it the opportunity to live, learn and evolve with Salesforce. Dread that so are 170,000 other Trailblazers (what Salesforce call its community of users) – with San Francisco becoming grid-locked as a result.

If you’re new to Dreamforce, you’re in for one hell of a ride, and here at SalesTrip we’ve taken it upon ourselves to help you navigate it just that little bit easier. I’ve written a previous blog about other Salesforce events where I consulted with members across the Salesforce ecosystem on how to get the most out of them for the benefit of both you and your business. But this time around I’ve talked to the Salesforce architect and developer community to gather their thoughts. Before I get to that though, here are a few facts about Dreamforce:

What is Dreamforce?

-Dreamforce is Salesforce’s annual customer event held in San Francisco, this year from 19-22 November

-Taking place across four days it’s open to the entire Salesforce community, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies

-It began as a conference in 2003 and is now the world’s largest software event hosting 170,000 people from around the world, as well as an additional 13 million online

-Aside from the highly anticipated keynotes featuring the likes of Barack Obama and Emilia Clarke from Game of Thrones, there are an additional 2700+ breakout sessions

Tips to surviving Dreamforce

James Melville is a Salesforce Certified Technical Architect, one of only a select group across the world. In fact, Salesforce even refer to the group as “rare gems”. The credential is the pinnacle certification for those who demonstrate the knowledge, skills and capabilities to design and build high-performance solutions on the Salesforce platform.

In order to get more varied insight into Dreamforce, we asked James along with Salesforce developer Attila Wolf what tips they would give someone attending for the first time. Here’s what they had to say.

Don’t plan too much: The Dreamforce schedule is always bursting at the seams. It’s tempting to book as many sessions as you can but Attila recommends limiting it to 3-4 sessions per day.

“Enrol in the breakout sessions you want to attend on the Dreamforce agenda-builder in advance of the event. This requires a little forward planning but will ensure a seat is held for you. If you decide to attend at the last minute, you’re unlikely to get in.”

If you’re a Salesforce developer, why not check out Attila’s session this year: ‘6 Lightning Web Component tips for Aura developers’ on Thursday 21st in the Developer Theatre at Moscone West. 

Check out the new Architects stream: a personal one from James is to visit the inaugural Architects stream at Dreamforce this year. If you’re looking for sessions that balance technical innovation with practical guidance, then head here. 

Wes Nolte, CTO at SalesTrip, agrees:

“The stream should help us to understand the integration of Tableau Analytics (Salesforce acquired the company for $15b this summer). In the world of corporate travel, businesses need greater intelligence on what return they can expect from travel spend, enabling them to make smarter decisions on whether travel is warranted and ultimately, to deliver better traveller experiences. What Tableau brings to the analytic capabilities of the Salesforce platform will be crucial in turning travel and expense spend into a strategic tool for company executives.”

For sessions to watch out for in the Architects Vista, James will be participating in the first ever Dreamforce TechnoJam. Hosted by Ladies Be Architects and ISV Meetup, six AppExchange solutions were the eventual winners of a tough selection process to showcase the technical strength of their product. Think Salesforce’s DemoJam but a much deeper dive into the build of the product.

You can catch this lively, audience-judged competition on Tuesday at 5pm. Good luck James!

Beat the Trailblazer masses: undoubtedly one of the best things about Salesforce is their community of customers. Anyone can be a customer Trailblazer and they represent the pioneers, innovators and lifelong learners who propel technology to transform their company. Be prepared to be swamped by thousands of them at Dreamforce – and get there first.

As Attila recalls: “If you are interested in exploring the Trailhead area in Moscone West, I recommend doing so on the first or second day to ensure it is still full of content and products. It tends to be pretty depleted by the last day. Especially if you’re after one of the much sought after Salesforce dolls (who doesn’t love Appy?).”

Unmissable sessions

Lastly, I thought it’d be useful to highlight a few key sessions that SalesTrip is particularly looking forward to. In fact we think they’re unmissable.

‘AppExchange Partner Keynote: Succeed in the fastest growing cloud marketplace’

Of course I’d recommend the AppExchange keynote taking place on Tuesday 19th at 4.30pm. It’s not everyday you’re asked to be up on stage with top Salesforce executives. 

Hear from Woodson Martin and special guests, including our Founder & CEO Manoj Ganathapy about his own (painful) experiences of corporate travel and expense management – and how SalesTrip is doing for business travel what Salesforce did for CRM.

There’s also the opportunity to hear from travel industry veteran Matt Bray on ‘Revolutionising the corporate traveller experience’. Matt will be hosted by Salesforce’s Evan Stowers to discuss how end-to-end business travel apps are simplifying corporate travel by linking fragmented trip booking, trip management and trip expenditure with customer and revenue data into one single app.

The very fact that you’ll be at Dreamforce points to your own experience of corporate travel. Whether you’re a seasoned business traveller or only do it once every year for Dreamforce, you’ll be having to justify the cost and time associated with your trips. And SalesTrip can help you with this.

This year, stick Fleetwood Mac on expenses. Who will it be next year?

And being in the same room as Obama? It’s just part of your job.

All that’s left to say is enjoy. Dreamforce really is a unique experience if you operate in the software world – and it’s in San Francisco after all, where there’s plenty of fun to be had too. 


Kate Fletcher