How to Do Dreamforce Remotely

The biggest event on the Salesforce calendar – Dreamforce – is now only four months away. Registration isn’t officially open yet, but you can get yourself booked in right now if you know where to look. Let’s just say that Salesforce left the registration site’s back door open, or at least left a note on the ground telling us that the key was under the mat.

So, are you planning on attending DF18? Maybe even trying to attend as a speaker? (If so, keep ’em peeled for the admin and dev calls for presentations opening very soon, on June 1st.)

Or maybe – like at least two thirds of the Salesforce Weekly team – you’re planning on skipping the event this year. Yes, that’s right, Mike and Ines are both going to miss DF18 (for very valid reasons!), and I’ve yet to decide whether to join them on the sofa in my pyjamas too.

It can often feel like the whole Salesforce world is at Dreamforce, and that can even lead to an expectation that if you’re in that world then you should attend (“be there or be square”). We think that’s unrealistic, perhaps even a little unfair, and that it certainly serves to distort the reality of what’s important and what’s not.

Sure – if you can make it to San Francisco and it makes logistical and financial sense for you to do so, then by all means go, go, go! But we also appreciate that for many of you (indeed for many of us), there are other priorities, and it can be a huge monetary undertaking for you or your employer to get yourself there.

So in this week’s blog, we wanted to address those of you who won’t be going. Maybe, like Mike and Ines, you’ve been before and are just planning on giving yourselves break this year, or maybe you’ve always wanted to go but have never quite been able to. Whatever the reasons, in this post we’ll outline a few tips, based on our experience, of how to ‘do’ Dreamforce remotely.

Get comfy on that sofa, flip open the laptop, grab yourself a beverage of your choice, and let’s dive in…

1) Don’t bother watching the keynote

At least not live. Let’s be honest – it’s all vaporware anyway at this stage. Whatever is announced probably won’t exist in a usable form for another year or two, so surely there’s no harm waiting an extra day or so to watch the recording and – crucially – have the benefit of fast-forwarding the bits you don’t care about, or the stories you’ve heard so many times before.

2) Spend the money on something else

Whether you’re travelling from Oakland or Oxford, LA or London, New York or New South Wales… Dreamforce costs a lot. Even forgetting the air fare for a moment (but only for a moment, as you’ll soon remember it when you check your bank balance), those San Francisco hotels are excruciatingly expensive during Dreamforce week, and you’ll need one for at least four nights. Ouch.

If it’s your own money you’re saving by not attending, treat yourself to something to help you get over the FOMO. (Perhaps some new pyjamas for your sofa viewing time?) And if it would be your company that pays for you to attend, get them to spend the money on your education and development instead. Take some training, maybe even do some new certs.

3) Go to a local event instead

If you (would) go to Dreamforce for the excellent community-driven content – and it’s San Francisco, so you’re probably not going for the reliable weather – consider attending your nearest Dreamin’ event instead. If you’re not in a Dreamin’ area and want something even closer to home, a lot of Salesforce Community Groups hold Dreamforce viewing parties (which usually means beer).

And if, for some unknown reason, you want to attend so that you can hear Salesforce’s official commercial spin (I shouldn’t laugh, there must be someone out there who enjoys this angle), then just go to your nearest World Tour event the following year instead. The content will all be the same.

4) Allow yourself to miss certain things

We think it’s OK for there to be some level of admission that, yes, you will miss certain aspects of the event by not being there in person. The traditional Dreamforce gala, the parties, the after-parties, the after-after-parties, and just the general overall city-swelling craziness. And it’s OK to miss those things, if they’re your idea of fun. Channel that FOMO and use that energy to try even harder to get yourself there next year.

But other than those things, you probably won’t miss a lot else. Certainly you shouldn’t miss out on any of the content. In fact, I guarantee you that you’ll be able to see many more sessions by watching the YouTube recordings at home than you would ever possibly get to in the flesh. There’s too much content to choose from, there are too many clashes, and the campus is so big that you’ll spend most of your ‘session time’ walking between distant buildings.

5) Get some work done

As we said earlier, most of the Salesforce world is at Dreamforce, or at least has their mind on it. So, lastly, why not use the week as an opportunity to get ahead of the pack? This is basically a free bonus week of extra work you can get done. Read the latest release notes, catch up on maintenance exams, do some Trailhead modules, or – whisper it quietly – do your actual job. That way you might just earn yourself enough bonus points (or pure, hard cash) to get to DF19.

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