Dreamin’ All Over the World

It’s been a crazy few months for me! I had the pleasure of presenting at a User Group for the first time in my hometown of Phoenix, Arizona and also achieved a few new certifications on my road to become a Certified Technical Architect! I’ve even started tracking my progress here! I also got recognized by Salesforce on their blog! Probably the most amazing thing that I’ve had the privilege of participating in during the last few months though, was speaking in the first ever Latin American Salesforce Community Conference, Punta Dreamin!

In my first ever trip to South America (or international travel on my own), I was eager to experience as much as I possibly could. I had the great fortune of running into Angela Mahoney at the airport who was a tremendous tour guide in Montevideo! I also had the privilege of meeting my co-coach for RAD Women who was in from Bolivia, Nadim Diaz!

The conference itself was located in beautiful Punta del Este and included a packed house with people from all over South America. A few others along with myself also joined from the United States. Some of the incredible people I got to meet were some of the developers in Uruguay who have done tremendous work with Salesforce directly (helping to develop the Success Community and developer.salesforce.com backends).

Knowing that Spanish was the native language, I had to brush up on my Spanish beforehand and actually enjoyed preparing a slide in Spanish and communicating in a foreign language. It also gave me a much greater appreciation of anyone who comes to America where English is NOT their first language. Given how many grammar mistakes I made, it will definitely be easier to be more forgiving of it now.

 

 

After the conference, I traveled with Lyric Hartley to Buenos Aires, Argentina where we met up with Dario! While I was unsuccessful in finding a tango partner, I had a great time exploring a few of the beautiful places (and delicious food) that South America has to offer.

I’m truly blessed to have the opportunity to travel around the world and share my love of Salesforce and technology with people everywhere! Even though our cultures may have some differences (we arrived at a club that was just opening at 1:30am), it’s wonderful to be able to share experiences and values that unite us. The #Ohana is truly present everywhere you go.

Special shout out to the organizers of the event: Aldo Fernandez, Andrea Morales, Bruno Diaz, and Fernando Israel for their incredible work to make the event a success!

I highly recommend you to check out highlights of the event and consider making a trip down to Uruguay for #PD18! Details to come at Forcelandia!

 

 

Salesforce Analyst Summit

To start off the new year, I had the pleasure of being invited to the Salesforce Analyst Summit 2017 in San Francisco. You can check out the full coverage at the hashtag #SalesforceAR but I’ll do my best to provide a good recap!

Unbeknownst to me, Salesforce has an entire Analyst Relations team that puts on their Analyst conference every year. Think the folks from Gartner, Forrester, etc. that analyze all types of software out there to compare them. This is their chance to hear about Salesforce directly from Salesforce!

Intro Overview

The first day was relatively short as most of the analysts were just arriving in town but it started off with a tremendous summary by Polly Sumner, Salesforce’s Chief Adoption Officer. She started off strong with some summaries of what she’s seeing from customers out there and what direction Salesforce is going to meet those customer needs. She had several great points such as “The person that responds to me the fastest has the highest chance of winning my business” and that companies are now asking themselves the question “What is our strategy so we don’t get Uber’d“. While many people, myself included, are doing our best to make predictions for 2017, Polly had a great summary with the overall Salesforce direction for the coming years.

SalesforceTransformations.png

Among the things that Salesforce is focusing on for the coming year shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone:

  • Intelligence – in the form of Salesforce Einstein
  • Speed – in the form of the Salesforce Lightning Platform
  • Productivity – in the form of Quip
  • Mobility – in the form of Salesforce1
  • Connectivity – in the form of IoT Cloud on the Thunder platform

Polly also pointed out that while Salesforce has primarily focused on B2B (business to business) in the past, they are going to be taking a larger focus on B2C (business to consumer). She also raised the notion that all the products that the clouds focus on won’t be separate, but rather there will be customer specific specialists. “We’re in a world where people are going to cross over very quickly, the tools will enable them. You’ll have to become one of these modern companies or you may not be a company soon.” This notion of connecting all the products would become a common theme that I was happy to hear!

Equality

It wouldn’t be a Salesforce conference without a focus on Diversity and Equality. Salesforce invited none other than Chief Equality Officer Tony Prophet to speak about his story and his mission. “How great to be a company to write these words and actually mean them… A corporation can be a platform for good in society. What is the magic of Salesforce? This is a big part of it.” – Tony Prophet

AgeOfEquality.png

Tony also shared some Salesforce transparency statistics and answered some questions from the crowd. He also shared that he believes that while Salesforce is nowhere near the finish line, they have made progress in diversity.

Diversity.png

Some highlights from the Tony Prophet Q&A:

Q1: How far Salesforce will to go in their equality stand in terms of investors and customers given the current political climate and not having everyone agree with you?

A1: “Over the arc of time, nothing bad can come from standing for good…These have been our values from the beginning of the company and they aren’t going to change based on politics” – Tony Prophet

Q2: Do you have any target numbers you’re looking to get to in terms of diversity?

A2: “We’re not done and there isn’t really a goal of setting a finish line but rather continual progress” – Tony Prophet

Einstein, Internet Of Things, and Commerce

The full day of coverage started off with 3 key components, starting with an overview of Salesforce Einstein by Einstein GM, John Ball. At a high level, they’re creating a bunch of different models for each customer and determine the most optimized one for that specific customer!

John also shared some of the current and future Einstein features coming down the road! I’m definitely excited to start getting my hands on some of these things and to see them in action. As Salesforce continues to develop this technology, I’m excited by its potential.

Next up was EVP and GM of IoT Cloud, Woodson Martin, to talk about what’s coming from Salesforce regarding the Internet of Things. The biggest take I got out of it was the tagline “Know your device. Know your customer. Connect the two”.

Since the devices don’t have the right context to make the right decisions for the customer experience, IoT Cloud seeks to bridge the gap between devices and customers. They also showed off a pretty sweet demo!

Salesforce then brought up CEO of Commerce Cloud (formerly DemandWare) Jeffrey Barnett and SVP of Product and Engineering Rohit Goyal. The biggest highlight for me was learning what Commerce Cloud really is and does!

It shocked me how many customers are already using it and their observation that in today’s environment, 1/4 of all transactions are touching multiple devices before completing.

To put it into perspective, Twitter averages a little over 300M users per month. John and Rohit also shared that they plan to add more opportunities to integrate Commerce Cloud with all the other clouds (continuing that theme of uniting the platform) as well as make more APIs public and leverage the existing Salesforce Developer community! I talked to Jeffrey and he said at this time there are no free Developer editions but hopefully that will change in the future.

A couple other topics that were discussed that weren’t of as much interest to me (but may be to you) were the focus on the different industries Salesforce is taking, the renaming of ISVs to AIPs (Application Innovation Partners), the notion that Salesforce is expecting a 10X increase in consultant demand by 2020, and the Salesforce Ignite program, that allows Salesforce to differentiate the customer experience by focusing on the human factor in addition to the business and technical sides that others solely focus on.

Salesforce Clouds

The final part of the day was dedicated to sharing info on the 6 key clouds, providing both an overview with some of the product leaders as well as drill down on the specific clouds. Here are my highlights on each one but you can check out more slide details on the #SalesforceAR hashtag!

Adam Blitzer – EVP and GM Sales and Service Cloud (@AdamBlitzer)

  • Taking what used to be manual and rules based and making it intelligence based
  • Sales Cloud Roadmap: Focusing on Lead to Cash, Intelligence, Inside Sales, and Productivity
  • Service Cloud Roadmap: Intelligence, Lightning, Conversation, Field Service
  • Q: What’s your hardest challenge?
  • A: A lot of directions we can go in. Hardest challenge is probably making the right bets. AI is the biggest opportunity we have, and business software in general has. Releasing AI is going to be a v1. It’ll be interesting when you put it in the hands of users to see if it meets expectations.

Matt Tippets – VP Marketing Cloud

  • Marketers will become the most responsible for managing customer journeys
  • Marketing Cloud Roadmap: AdTech and MarTech, Intelligence, B2C Transformation, Cross-Cloud Journeys

Ketan Karkhanis – SVP and GM Analytics Cloud (@karkhanis)

  • “No human being can analyze all the data out there. We can’t even ask all the questions”
  • “Analytics needs to be actionable and shape behaviors”

Mike Micucci – SVP and GM Community Cloud (@mikemicucci)

  • How do we extend the core of CRM and connect to customers and partners?
  • Community Cloud Roadmap: Personalized Experiences, Answers Einstein, 1:1 Engagement, Productivity

Adam Seligman – EVP and GM App Cloud (@adamse)

  • “Want to deliver a unified customer platform”
  • “Want Salesforce to be an incredibly friendly platform for programmers”
  • 1.6M Trailhead badges earned
  • App Cloud Roadmap: Lightning, Meta-tenancy, Data & Events, Developer Experience

One of my biggest takeaways was from the App Cloud drill-down. They talked about SalesforceDX and how they’re focusing on Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) for Developers right now, but the goal will be to developer an #AwesomeAdmin experience as well! It will be using Git and have the ability to rollback behind the scenes without having to expose the command line. I’m very excited for this to become a reality!

The day was concluded by talking with some of the Salesforce partners and talking about how much the Partner ecosystem has grown!

Summary

Last but certainly not least, the day was concluded with a fireside chat with none other than Salesforce co-founder Parker Harris. He took some Q&A that I unfortunately had to leave early for to make a work meeting but I got some good insight from him before I left!

“We do have these clouds but Engineering is one unit for us. We’re well positioned to get the people to work together. My job is to get the people to work together and execute the architecture across all of the business units” – Parker Harris

“It’s not just the products we’re creating but the culture that we have” – Parker on how Salesforce is so successful in recruiting in the competitive Silicon Valley

He also came back to the theme of unifying all the clouds to create one end-to-end experience. This is something that really excites me and reinforces the notion that Salesforce can be a complete customer platform rather than just specific products. Parker is confident that this will help sustain Salesforce’s growth as they hope to reach the coveted $10B mark in fiscal 2018 (Feb ’17-Jan ’18)!

TrailheaDX

I just got back (i.e. took a 5 minute bus ride home) from the first ever Salesforce developer conference, TrailheaDX! Just wanted to share my thoughts and help anyone who missed it feel like they were part of the experience as well!

OpeningBanner

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first signed up for the conference as details were a little hard to come by. I entered with an open mind and right away identified the forest, or “Trail” theme that was present (TrailheaDX get it?). There was also a pretty sweet Dev Zone setup similar to what you’d find at Dreamforce with a very “Developer” theme present! There were a bunch of great demos available including one of my favorites on IoT from Josh Birk (@joshbirk). There was also one by Christophe Coenraets (@ccoenraets) on Bot integration, the #AwesomeAdmin team on Process Builder, and some partner demos including Amazon Web Services, Slack, and Microsoft. Normally I tend to stay away from sponsor booths unless I’m interested in the swag but I actually sought some of them out to see some of the cool stuff they were demoing. There was something for every type of developer regardless of whether you focus on declarative development, programmatic development, or sit somewhere in the middle. I stuck to more of the code focused development but there were options for all.

Keynotes

There were some exciting pre-keynote talks with the always entertaining hosts Peter Coffee and Leah McGowan-Hare. They interviewed Salesforce customers and employees such as Mary Scotton, Samantha Ready, and Chris Duarte! Sam mentioned the new Trailhead Superbadge feature that is now available!

There was also a surprise live appearance by the Salesforce MVP parody band, Apex & The Limits (@ApexNTheLimits)! It was their first time presenting live all together and they did an amazing job. Check out the footage captured by Salesforce founders Marc Benioff and Parker Harris!

The keynote itself got the conference started with a bunch of demos including showing off some IoT demos with Thunder, MetaMind, Lightning App Builder, and Lightning Components. The Summer ‘16 release was looked at and the Winter ‘17 roadmap preview was talked about as well! Both Marc Benioff and Parker Harris made appearances as well as Alex Dayon, Shawna Wolverton, Adam Seligman, and Sarah Franklin. Marc made an announcement of a $50M incubator that Salesforce has created to support innovators in the community who want to build apps with Salesforce. There were also 130 viewing parties all over the world that took part and got to say hi to the conference via webcam!

I was fortunate enough to be asked to participate in the intro video and even made it into one of the keynote slides 🙂

Check out some more keynote details here!

InKeynote

Sessions

Regardless of what type of developer you were, there were some sessions for you! True to the Trail theme, there were some campfire sessions to have some more intimate discussions. I happened to attend a pretty cool one on Inclusion in Tech with Mary Scotton (@rockchick322004)! Highlights from that discussion below. Unfortunately due to capacity, I wasn’t able to get into a couple of the other campfire sessions as they were first come first served and I didn’t get there early enough. I also missed out on a building bots hands-on training since they didn’t want to violate the fire codes. Understandable but I was a little disappointed about missing that one (fortunately the workshop was posted online!).

In terms of some more traditional sessions, there were a wide array of those as well! I saw several sessions on the agenda regarding Introduction to Apex and others on Advanced Process Builder for the more declarative oriented developers. Being more interested in the coding side, I attended two different sessions on the Lightning Component Framework, the first of which talked about how XML and CSS fit in and the second one discussed where JavaScript and Apex came into play. It definitely helped me understand a bit better how all the puzzle pieces fit together and was a nice refresher on some of the object oriented principles baked into the framework.

On Day 2, I attended a pretty sweet session with Christophe Coenraets (@ccoenraets) where he talked about how bots are becoming the new apps and showed off some bot integrations with Salesforce to Slack, Facebook Messenger, and the Amazon Echo. Even more amazing, you can download all the code and more as a package from this site here and recreate the demos yourself! This was probably one of my favorite sessions I’ve ever at a conference and I’m very excited to start playing around!

forcebot

Force Bot

trailheadbot

Trailhead Bot

code

Diving even deeper into the programmatic capabilities, a couple of engineers decided to recreate the demos using the React JS framework. Unfortunately I’m not the greatest when it comes to JavaScript so while I was able to follow along at a high level, looking at the code there in small chunks didn’t do me a ton of good. Still pretty cool to see some of the capabilities and I’m sure the JS gurus that were in attendance appreciated it!

The last session I went to was a Q&A with the Salesforce Platform team. The team answered questions from several audience members, including a few challenging ones from some of the MVPs, and did their best to convey what was coming (within the bounds of Safe Harbor/Forward Looking Statement guidance of course). They didn’t reveal a ton but did talk about how they’re looking to make changes to the deployment UI (change sets) and also add a bunch of other features. They were only able to say that it’s coming “soon” though.

panel

Swag and Friends

Outside of the learning and keynotes at Salesforce conferences, I’m always interested in collecting swag and meeting up with friends from the community that I mostly only know through Twitter. At TrailheaDX, I was able to do both! I came away with a sweet new water bottle and pair of socks for watching a demo and earning a badge while on site, a new backpack, some study materials (including a Lightning Experience Guide, Lightning Components developer guide, and cheat sheets), and a pretty sweet Rubik cube from the CRM Science team.

In terms of friends, I also did pretty well! I got to hangout with the always fun #AwesomeAdmin team, the Developer Relations team, and Team Trailhead from Salesforce, as well as meet a few of the MVPs I had only known virtually, and even snap a few selfies with some of them! I also got to meet Abhilasha Singh who came in all the way from India! Pictured below are me with Misty Jones (@MistyRaeJones) in from Arizona, Jen Wobser in from Arkansas (@crmsalesgem), Abhilasha Singh in from India (@Sweety_abhi), Kristi Guzman in from North Carolina (@KristiForce), and in the last picture Ryan Headley in from Wisconsin (@lifewithryan), Nana Gregg in from Texas (@nanahg3), and Katie McFadden also local to San Francisco (@katiesmcfadden).

There were also a couple of pics in trail gear taken that didn’t have me in them 🙂 Feel free to check those out here!

One More Thing

It wouldn’t be a Salesforce event without a little star power, and this one was no different. We got to watch a show from Lenny Kravitz and a fireside chat with the one and only Steve Wozniak! As an Apple fanboy, I was ecstatic! The concert was pretty awesome and Woz shared some anecdotes about hanging out with Steve Jobs, pulling pranks, his love for technology over business, his thoughts on the current state of technology, some good and bad experiences with recent Apple products, and how far he thought AI would get in the future. I definitely enjoyed hearing him speak and got inspired to go buy his book.

Conclusion

Overall I’d say it was a very successful conference! I’m guessing for next year if Salesforce puts it on again they’ll probably want to pick a bigger location, and I’ll definitely make sure to get in line for the really popular sessions a bit earlier. I got some sweet swag, great networking, learned some more info I can take back to work to help my company, and had a fun time hanging out with people who love Salesforce like I do (#SaaL). Regardless of your flavor of development, TrailheaDX had a place for you. I hope they do put the conference on again next year and I’ll make sure to be in attendance!

ClosingBanner