What it takes to make a Dreamforce session

This year I’m presenting 3 sessions at Dreamforce. Each session is different, but the prep is remarkably similar. Here are the steps:

  1. Panic about being picked. Vacillate between being honored and horrified. Now all you have to do is take your topic and fill the time allotted with engaging and informative stuff. You may know your topic like the back of your hand, but you’ll still worry that no one else will find it interesting.
  2. Meet with your team. You’ll have at least one other person working with you on the session. Either co-presenters or Salesforce staff are there to help with gathering materials, reviewing slides, attending dry runs, etc. You will talk to these folks more than co-workers, family, and friends for the next few weeks.
    Keep in mind these folks aren’t all in your timezone. The eternal dance of “when can you meet?” has begun.
    Oh, and GoToMeeting will crash at least once during at least one of these meetings. It will happen. Just accept it.
  3. Figure out who’s going to talk about what. This is pretty easy if you’re the only one on stage but it gets exponentially harder the more people you add to the mix. Negotiations can get tense.
  4. Begin the slides. I think we can all agree that collaborating on a PowerPoint file is evil. There I said it. EVIL! Who has the most recent version? Can’t we just use Google Docs? If we do, what happens when we try to get the slides into the template?
    This step also means that you have to flesh out your idea in a visually appealing form. You are tasked with making abstract concepts like “fields” and “setup audit trail” into images, because no one (ever) wants to look at a bunch of text on slides.
  5. Email back and forth. Lots of email. “What if you do this part and I’ll do that part?” “Do we need fake data for this or do you have data you can sanitize and use?” “I can’t meet at 9am EDT on Wednesday. What about Thursday at that time?” “I’m gonna bring a banjo for that section on Validation Rules. That’ll work right?”
  6. Meet with the team again. Now you’re moving along! The PowerPoint deck is starting to have some meat to it. Folks are carving up the presentation into who’s gonna say what. You’re cruising!
  7. Dry Run #1. Your team meets with one or more Salesforce employees to to a rehearsal of the slide deck. You will be either waaaay under or waaaay over the time allotted to you. You get feedback.
  8. Tweak the slides. Now is the time when you start to really panic. There is so much to do and you have a day job, family, a life! When will it all get done? Never mind that you might have to make fake data to show a graph. The Excel RAND() function and DataLoader become your best friends.
  9. Dry Run #2. Better. It’s better this time. The team is transitioning between slides well. The visuals you’ve picked are interesting. No one hates anyone. You breathe a sigh of relief. The feedback is good. You’re firing on all cylinders. Just a few more things to fix and you’ll be ready to turn in the slides.
  10. More tweaks. Last minute review, one more logo, a better head-shot, do we need a comma there? Someone has to take the slides and put them in the official Dreamforce template.
  11. Slides get turned in just under the wire. You made it!
  12. You breathe. You breathe again. Whew!
  13. Now all you have to do is get to San Fran, find the venue, and don’t forget your banjo!

This year I’m only presenting 3 sessions. So, take those steps and multiply by 3. I’m pretty sure my husband is still speaking to me…but then again, I haven’t seen him in a few weeks.


Dreamforce Packing Strategies


Yep, this is me. No, I have not started packing…yet.

Image first appeared on DOGHOUSE | Your Brain On Travel.

MidWest Dreamin’ – A recap

MidWest Dreamin’ 2014 was a blast! The folks who organized (and I won’t try to name them all), did an amazing job! This regional user group pulled in over 400 (paid!) attendees! Amazing!

First, I want to mention the awesome sponsors of the event! Without these folks, this event would not have happened. When you get the chance, thank these folks for being a part of this amazing community!

SpringCM hosted a welcome party at their offices. Connections were made, friends caught up, and I may have tested out SpringCM’s awesome bean bag chairs. Thanks to the SpringCM folks for hosting us!

The event kicked off with a keynote from Peter Coffee entitled “No Services, No Silos”. As always, Peter’s talk provided food for thought. We live in connected customer world now folks. How will your organization address the needs of your customers? How will you compete?

After a short break, the sessions started. All told there were 20 sessions with a break for lunch. they covered everything from Admin tips and tricks, to Visual Flow, to change management. There was something for everyone. (Yes, I presented. Yes, it was awesome. Yes, I can’t wait to be invited back again next year!) The content for every session is available in the Success Community.

A quick note about lunch: Yummy!!

While the sessions were happening the Expo floor was open. There was quite a bit of traffic and the sponsors I spoke to were pleased with the interest. Lots of cool swag was given away and several folks took advantage of the “Ask an Expert” booth manned by community members.

The closing keynote, presented by Shawna Wolverton & Todd Enders, included a call to action for how YOU can participate in the Community:

Once the official events were over, the dinners, parties, and general merriment started. A good time was had by all!

Dreamforce ’13 – Sessions at which I’m speaking

This year I’m speaking at a total of 5 session!  Eeek! Come see me!

5 Most Important Questions to Start a Salesforce.com Deployment

When starting out or restarting a salesforce.com deployment, there are many questions, and many people making requirements for the tool. Using examples and discussion, join us as Brad Gross, President of Information Logistics and a Salesforce MVP, demonstrates the five most important questions that should be asked for every requirement and request.


Analytics Snapshots: Common Use Cases That Everyone Can Utilize

Have you heard about Analytic Snapshots, but been intimidated about setting your first one up? Or, are you simply unsure of how you can use them? Join us as we show you how setting up a snapshot can be as simple as performing three easy steps. Several use cases that virtually every organization can take advantage of will be discussed, such as tracking user logins over time, measuring Chatter adoption, reporting on changes to key fields, and more! Step-by-step instructions for setting up your own snapshots will be available so you can put what you learn into practice immediately.


Admin Tips & Tricks To Up Your Game

Salesforce admins are not created equal! Join us to hear from some of the best of the breed and steal their top tips that got them there. These super stars will fire off as many tips and tricks as possible.


Salesforce professionals are here to stay!  

More and more Salesforce.com administrators and beyond have made careers for themselves and companies ARE looking for you! Come see and meet some folks that have included Salesforce.com knowledge and skills as part of their career paths and opportunities



Internet Zen

My father forwarded this to me last week. He knows me so well.  Enjoy!

Geek Mediation Session

From The Joy of Tech.

Salesforce Community Tour

Back in August 2011, Elizabeth Davidson and I presented at Dreamforce.  Interestingly, I was not aware that the presentation was recorded!

For your viewing pleasure: Salesforce.com Community Tour

Why I’m Paying My Own Way to Dreamforce This Year

Cross Posting my Guest Post from the Salesforce.com Blog:


I’m attending Dreamforce on my own dime this year. Why? I’ve left the land of the permanently employed to become a contractor; I have a stable 9-to-5 gig, but I’m paid hourly. Given that my contract expires 12 days before the beginning of Dreamforce, neither my contracting company nor the company I’m contracted to, will pay for my trip.

So I’m doing it on my own. Which begs the question: Why would I ever choose to pay my own way to a professional conference?

The answer is pure and simple: I find Dreamforce to be extremely valuable, both to my career and to my work/life balance. Here’s why.

Over the years I’ve met amazingly smart folks who are as passionate about Salesforce as I am. They come from all walks of life. They’re executives and individual contributors. They are my friends. While they may not know it, these folks helped me gain the courage and self-confidence to leave my previous employer for greener pastures, and I am grateful to have them in my life. These are the connections that make me laugh and help me solve challenges year-round.

Aside from the hours of formal training available, Dreamforce offers more intangible training benefits everywhere you look. While sitting at lunch you can learn how a large multi-national corporation handles cases—or hear how a small mom-and-pop e-commerce site tracks leads. You won’t see this stuff in whitepapers or hear about it in a classroom, but chances are you can take these ideas back to your org and be a hero. It’s a training bonanza.

Fun Fun Fun
Dreamforce is fun! There, I said it. Who would think that a professional conference could offer so much in the way of entertainment and laughs? Between the parties, the friends, the music, and the general “amazingness” that is San Francisco, what’s not to love?

Dreamforce is a week of learning, networking, and fabulous good times. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. So yes, I’m paying my own way—and I’m 100% OK with that.


Dreamforce ’10 Tweetup

Don’t forget about the Dreamforce ’10 Tweetup!

Here are the details:

  • When: December 6th from 6pm to 9pm
  • Where: The Press Club, 20 Yerba Buena Lane, San Francisco, CA 94103
  • Who: YOU!
  • Please RSVP here so we know you’re coming!

I can’t wait to meet everyone there!

Winter ’11 – a haiku

Rather than outline the finer points of the new features that came out with Winter ’11, I wrote a haiku.

winter eleven
a welcome gift from the cloud
administrators rejoice

Apologies to all my English teachers and real poets everywhere!

If you’re looking for a “real” blog post about Winter ’11 here are some of my favorites:

And then there were three

I’m 1/3 of a three person team.  We became 3 in June and the addition of a third person caused some friction.  I suppose that was to be expected, but I don’t think any of us expected the level of friction we’ve experienced.

As such, we’ve had a series of meetings to come to an agreement on how we’re going to operate as a group.  Here are just a few of the questions we’ve had to answer in order to become a team.

  • How does work get to us?
  • What constitutes work?
  • How do we prioritize work?
  • How do we document work?
  • How do we plan?
  • How do we account for break/fix work in our planning?
  • How do we track dependencies on other departments and teams?
  • How do we remain transparent to the rest of the company without double entry of tasks?
  • When is a unit of work ready to be worked?
  • When is a unit of work done?
  • Who’s responsible for collecting requirements?
  • What form do those requirements take?
  • How do we track work?
  • How do we keep each other accountable without hurt feelings?
  • What role does management play?
  • How do we celebrate our successes and learn from our failures?
  • What is the definition of an “all hands” scenario?

I’m sure there will be many more meetings and we’ll end up iterating.  The whole point is to begin to come to consensus on these issues.  Wish us luck!  🙂

%d bloggers like this: