Why You Should Submit a Dreamforce Presentation Idea

The year was 2014. I had just started using Salesforce a month prior, and I got to experience Dreamforce for the first time. Needless to say, I was quite overwhelmed! Before the Admin Zone existed, I remember superheroes decked out around the booths with helpful Salesforce employees and customers telling me that ‘I too, could be a superhero with Salesforce!’. Trailhead and Process Builder were announced! I also remember being blown away by the caliber of speakers from Vice President Al Gore, to Secretary Hillary Clinton, to will.i.am, to Neil Young, to Arianna Huffington. I also remember the incredible show that Bruno Mars put on. What I think I remember most about the conference, was the passion of everyone there. The Salesforce employees. The customers. The MVPs. And the presenters. Several thousand sessions teaching me much more than my Salesforce-newbie self could consume over 4 days.

Fast forward about 6 months to mid-2015 and it was suggested to me by a mentor to submit a topic to present at Dreamforce. While I had taken some classes in college to help me give presentations and work on public speaking, I was definitely nowhere near ready enough to present at a major tech conference like Dreamforce! I hadn’t even been a year long Salesforce user yet! While there were some topics that I was interested in, and I could begin to feel the passion of the Salesforce Ohana around me, I still didn’t feel that I was qualified.

Fortunately, I was talked into submitting 2 sessions, figuring I had nothing to lose. It was one of the best decisions of my professional career. After I got over the initial shock of not one, but both talks getting accepted however, the imposter syndrome really set in. Who am I? How am I qualified to speak? Why would anyone care what I had to say?

Self doubt aside, I had nothing to be worried about, since out of 150K+ people, there’s quite a few people that like just about any topic you can think of. I had the pleasure of presenting on one of my favorite topics to this day, Salesforce Connect (which I was fortunate enough to present again at DF the following year). The presentation I was probably most excited about though, took a bit from my personal story about getting certified, while also incorporating a hot new Salesforce technology, Trailhead. I was also fortunate to be invited to present this talk again in India 2 years later.

Pre-session selfie

Me and Jayvin, preparing to speak at Dreamforce 2015

YOU have an interesting story. YOU have experiences that no one else has. YOU have knowledge that needs to be shared with the rest of the Ohana. Just remember if your imposter syndrome is setting in (mine continues to this day), that a large portion of the attendees probably just started using Salesforce, or have yet to start using it, and have a lot to learn from you. Don’t be afraid to get your ideas out there and get your voice heard! Don’t be afraid to team up with a buddy and present together! It also helps only have to put together half of a slide deck and present half the time 🙂

If you get accepted, that’s great! You’ll get a chance to share your ideas, practice your presentation skills, pad your resume, and have a ready made presentation to potentially present again at a community conference! If you don’t get accepted, that’s ok too! It gets harder and harder every year, but worst case scenario, you’ll still have a solid presentation idea ready for a community conference and the chance to build on it for a future submission!

My tips for crafting a Dreamforce session idea:

  1. Pick a topic you are passionate about
    • This will show in both your submission and the actual presentation. Presenting, and making the presentation, is a lot more fun when you care about the topic
  2. Pick a topic you have some experience with
    • It’s a lot easier to present and answer questions on topics you have knowledge about
  3. Look for what’s hot in Salesforce and the industry
    • While there’s something for everyone, it may be easier to find traction with a topic about Flows or Lightning Web Components than Workflow Rules or S-Controls
  4. Incorporate something that is uniquely you
    • Why can only you present this topic? What experiences have you had that makes this special? This will shine through in the submission and the presentation as well
  5. Think outside the box
    • It doesn’t even have to be a topic about technology. Dreamforce offers many sessions about equality, mindfulness, and career development
    • If you do go the tech route, think about the amazing things you’ve done with the Salesforce platform. Show one of them off in a 20 min theater session or dive in deep in a 40 min breakout session!

No matter your experience or imposter syndrome, submit your ideas for DF19 before the deadline Friday night Pacific Time: https://developer.salesforce.com/cfp/df2019 

Best of luck!

Dreamforce ’18 Prep

With Dreamforce just around the corner, I thought I’d put together a list of my top Dreamforce tips both for newbies and returning conference goers. Let me know if there are any that I missed! And check out my recap from last year to get you psyched up about #DF18!

Tip Number 1: Come in with 3 things you want to learn about

With over 3000 sessions to choose from, 150K people, and a seemingly unlimited amount of things to see, it’s important to have goals to focus on. Whether those goals involve making a new connection, learning about the latest and greatest products, gaining a new skill, or reinforcing your existing knowledge, I highly recommend choosing 3 major things you want to focus on. For me this year, that’ll be Lightning Components, Salesforce DX, and the Integration Cloud. While it’s great to try to learn everything, especially if your employer is paying for you to be there, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and for that reason it’s important to focus on what you really want to focus on and come away with something you can bring back to your company. Now that Agenda Builder is live, use the filters to build a session that will accomplish your goals. Check out Salesforce’s Agenda Builder tips if you’re having trouble!

Tip Number 2: Give yourself some free time

Marc Benioff likes to joke that there are 3000 sessions and he expects you to attend every one of them. Not only is that not possible, I wouldn’t recommend packing in as many sessions as you can, since you can find most of them on YouTube after anyway! I’d refer you to Tip #1 and only add the sessions that you find most important and interesting. In addition to the sessions, there’s also usually an Admin Meadow, a Developer Forest, and more Trailhead themed locations surrounding different products and industries. These areas are great for getting quick demos, meeting new people, and completing your Dreamforce quests to earn swag. There’s also an expo hall that has a ton of great sponsors that offer solutions to help you improve your Salesforce implementation. Make sure to leave some gaps in your calendar to take advantage of these Dreamforce only opportunities.

Tip Number 3: Make sure to network

While you probably won’t have time to meet all 150,000 attendees, try to connect with a few people if you can! Salesforce MVPs such as myself are always up for meeting new people and sharing our love of Salesforce! Circles of Success sessions are also great ways to meet people to talk about certain topics of interest of specific industries. Just walking around the Trailhead zones, you never know who you might run into!

Tip Number 4: Have fun

While there’s a ton to learn at Dreamforce, there’s also a lot of fun to be had! If the smiling mascots and passion about technology and innovation doesn’t do it for you, the week of Dreamforce is also packed with parties! Check out the lists and make them part of your plan. There are also some pretty light hearted sessions such as the #AwesomeAdmin Lip Sync battle, which yours truly won last year, and #AwesomeAdmin Karaoke so don’t be afraid to let your hair down and have some fun with your fellow attendees! The conference also takes place in San Francisco so try to make some time to enjoy the city!

Tip Number 5: Dreamforce is more than a tech conference

While Salesforce has been consistently named one of the most innovative tech companies for several years in a row by Forbes, co-CEO Marc Benioff has said that “the business of business is improving the state of the world”. Nowhere is this more prevalent than at Dreamforce. In addition to learning about the latest and greatest technology, there are sessions such as a talk on Global Sustainability with former Vice President Al Gore, a session about Ethical Responsibility with Salesforce Chief Equality Officer Tony Prophet, and many others surrounding Equality and Diversity. These are also valuable topics to bring back to your companies and to incorporate in your work and personal lives and part of what makes working with Salesforce so special.

Bonus Tip: Use hand sanitizer

This is a bonus tip but something that I seem to forget every year. In your Dreamforce bag that is provided for being an attendee, there will be a bottle of hand sanitizer. MAKE SURE TO USE IT! The Dreamflu is a real thing! With 150,000 people in close quarters, you can bet that unfortunately not all of them will be as you are so using this hand sanitizer is a great way to help ensure that you can get back to work the next week.

Have a great Dreamforce!

I WITnessed Success

Closing out the longest vacation of my life to date (3 weeks), I stopped for a few days on the way back from India in Chicago, where I was able to attend not one, but two, Salesforce conferences (and enjoy some Chicago Deep Dish pizza)! The first conference was the one that started all the community events, Midwest Dreamin’, and the second was the first ever Salesforce conference focusing on Women in Tech, WITness Success.

Even though Midwest Dreamin’ had many other focuses other than WIT, I found myself drawn to the ones that focused on it anyway. It included a keynote by Ayori Selassie speaking about AI/Einstein and a session that really made me focus on my privilege, led by Shonnah Hughes and Rakia Finley. This session had each attendee fill out a privilege card, and then asked you to try to form a group subject to some rules. It was definitely a unique experience as I checked more and more boxes and realized how many things I take for granted, that other people don’t have, and how many things I don’t even think about that affect people negatively on a regular basis.

Screen Shot 2017-12-27 at 10.03.26 PMScreen Shot 2017-12-27 at 8.42.16 PM

After the conclusion of Midwest Dreamin, it was time for the first ever WITness Success, a conference focused on Women in Tech across the Salesforce community. After an Allies dinner, the opening keynote was none other than Ayori once again! She shared some of her experiences and talked about how she is passing on lessons to her daughter about how to thrive in society.

Later we heard from Nora Poggi, who produced a documentary on tech companies founded by women.

We also heard from Cheryl Porro, SVP of Technology and Product Delivery at Salesforce, who shared a truly inspirational and personal story, of her journey to get to where she is today. She also shared some insightful statistics on why gender diversity is so imperative.













While all of these women had things in common both with me and with each other, it was clear that in their own ways, they had to fight far ever than I ever had to in order to accomplish what they had achieved. I left after the speakers, having been truly inspired.

In the afternoon, I attended a few other sessions, and in more than 1, experienced what it felt like to be the only person of my gender in the room, something I imagined was a frequent occurrence for many of my fellow conference-goers. While it was uncomfortable at first, I’m glad I got to experience what that was like. It definitely opened my eyes a bit and gave me a much better appreciation of what women in tech probably experience on a regular basis.

I attended a few different panels where women shared their unique experiences of achieving success in the male dominated tech industry.

It is so exciting to see the increasing number of success stories across the Women in Tech community. Also amazing to know how powerful the community is within the Salesforce Ohana. This conference was also important as it took place the same day as the violent riots by white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia. If nothing else, that proved that it is more important now than ever to continue supporting diversity and inclusion. I am thankful for everyone that had a hand in putting the conference together as well as giving me this very insightful experience. Without a doubt, I truly WITnessed success!

As the conference was wrapping up, and I realized I had picked up a shirt that was a bit too form fitting for my taste (again giving me empathy for what many at the conference experience on a regular basis) I had a few take-a-ways.

  1. We have a long way to go in the fight for gender equality
  2. Walking in someone else’s shoes for even just a couple of hours will give you a tremendous insight into where they’re coming from
  3. There are many things that everyone can do to help today

If you are interested in learning more about helping in the fight for gender equality, there are a few things I would suggest. If you’re in a position of influence, consider following Salesforce’s lead and looking into the gender pay gap at your company. Think about different recruiting pools you can tap into in order to help make your workforce more diverse.

If you’re more of an individual contributor, consider looking at your own professional network and see if you’re getting influenced by a diverse group of people. One way to help with this, may be to play Mary Scotton’s Diversity Your Feed Bingo.

If you’re really inspired, you can even be like Abhilasha Singh and many other amazing WIT leaders and help organize your own WIT events, as they did across India one week after the WITness Success conference!

After attending the first ever WITness Success conference, I would love to be able to attend in 2018 and hope you’ll all join me! It’s taking place in Denver, Colorado on July 27th-28th. Be sure to follow @WITnessSuccess for all the updates. Hope to see you there!

Dreamforce 2017

As the new year begins, I’m finally getting a few minutes to reflect on Dreamforce 2017. It was my 4th Dreamforce with my 4th different company, after having made a few positive career moves in the last few years, and my first Dreamforce since my inaugural one that I wasn’t presenting at. It was also the first Dreamforce that I had experienced that didn’t seem to have some sort of ecosystem altering announcement (Wave/Analytics Cloud in 2014, IoT in 2015, Einstein in 2016). Despite the lack of a major announcement, Dreamforce 2017 was anything but dull, as there were still a ton of exciting features being shared and teased that I’m looking forward to!

My Dreamforce began with the Women’s Network Dinner. If you didn’t get the chance to attend this year, I highly recommend it for next year. It was a great opportunity to hear from some impressive women that have accomplished a tremendous amount in their careers! They shared life lessons that can everyone can learn from regardless of your gender or background. My particular favorite was a quote from Amy Weaver, Salesforce’s President of Legal and General Counsel.

Day 1

Moscone West

After being greeted by some friendly mascots, I started checking out all the demos and interactive exhibits in Moscone West, including a pretty impressive IoT enabled city built by LEGO! I also swung by a session on my new favorite IDE, Illuminated Cloud!

I also finally got the opportunity to meet the man himself, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff!

Main Keynote

Speaking of Marc, while usually his keynote takes place on the second day, I thought it was a welcome change to move it to the first day. I personally like hearing new products get announced and explained to get some context before checking out their respective demos.

One of the new product announcements was something I’d been hoping to see for a while, myTrailhead!

Salesforce is essentially making Trailhead available to your company to personally brand and create learning modules for! I believe that Trailhead and gamification of learning are part of what make working with Salesforce so incredible, and if I can now customize a gamified platform to meet my company’s needs, I can just picture the endless possibilities! While this feature won’t be available until sometime later in 2018 and will come with an (in my opinion fully justified) additional cost, I’m excited about the possibilities for it. This will make training my users SO much easier and hopefully reduce a ton of the support tickets that my team and I receive on a regular basis.

This was actually just the first of the “my” series of products announced during the Keynote. myEinstein (customized AI), myLightning (custom UI branding), mySalesforce (customized app for your company), and myIoT were also discussed.

The other announcement that got me excited was Salesforce’s partnership with Google. As an employee of Google and an active participant in the Salesforce ecosystem, it makes me incredibly happy to see my two favorite tech companies working so well together! It also means that Salesforce is going to be getting deeper integration with Google products such as Gmail, Calendar, and gSuite (Docs, Sheets, Slides) so I’ll definitely be following this closely in 2018!

Day 2

Michelle Obama

My second day started off with a pretty cool fireside chat with former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama! She talked about how important education is for everyone and also shared some stories about people she met all over the country while her family was in the White House and how even though many people disagreed with her, they were all trying to do their best and still had something to offer. In today’s climate, I think it is more important now than ever to listen to as many viewpoints as we can, even if we don’t agree with them all.

Einstein Keynote

After seeing Michelle Obama, I was able to get a great seat for the Einstein Keynote in the same room. One of the first pieces of info they shared was that 80% of all records in Salesforce are created in Custom Objects. As customizable as the Salesforce Platform is, it seemed like a believable stat to me. They followed this up by going in depth on myEinstein, which will allow Salesforce admins and developers to take advantage of Einstein AI on their custom objects! In particular, you can start making predictions on your custom records based on fields that you specify. It comes at an additional cost but you can play around with it for free today on Trailhead!

They also shared something they’re playing with regarding summarizing text. I haven’t had the chance to experiment with Einstein personally yet outside of Trailhead, but I’m very excited with the direction that it’s going!

Developer Keynote

After Einstein, I went to one of my favorite sessions at Dreamforce, the Developer keynote. While there weren’t any major announcements here, I was definitely excited to hear that Lightning Components can now be dynamically displayed in Lightning Pages. Lightning Base Components also continue to get more powerful (similar to Visualforce apex tags, think apex:form, apex:inputField, etc). As someone who is trying to get more into Lightning Component development, I’m extremely encouraged that Salesforce continues to make it easier to make the transition.

They also introduced the capability of being able to style Visualforce pages like the Lightning UI by simply adding lightningStylesheets=”true” to the apex:page tag. Between that and the apex:slds tag that automatically imports the Lightning Design System without needing a static resource, Salesforce once again continues to make it easier and easier for developers to make the switch to Lightning Experience.

Zayne Turner also showed off how Platform Events work and Leah McGowan-Hare shared some updates on Einstein Bot capabilities.

If you’re interested in checking all the entire keynote and the technology discussed, there’s a great Trailmix for you!

Trailhead Keynote

After the Developer Keynote, it was time for the first ever Trailhead keynote! Over the last couple years, Trailhead has exploded to note only encompass over 300 badges, serve as the theme for all of Dreamforce and TrailheaDX, but has turned the concept of “the Trailblazer” into a central message for Salesforce as they continue their massive growth.

The center of that message, is the platform that started it all, Trailhead. The Keynote kicked off by talking about that very growth. Over 4 MILLION badges had been earned on Trailhead as of Dreamforce. Trailhead also announced a bunch of new features including Trailmixes, which allows you to combine your favorite modules together and send them to others, as well as the long awaited Account Merge, to ensure that you never lose your progress! My favorite feature was the vanity URL though, which makes it easy to show off your Trailhead progress on your resume or social media. Check mine out! https://trailhead.salesforce.com/en/me/adammvp

We then got a demo of the very exciting myTrailhead, which lets you create your own personalized Trailhead modules that you can use at your company!

The last major component may be in my opinion, the most important one. I’ve always believed that addition to the great technology, Salesforce’s advantage has always been their community, the people that are out there to help out out of the goodness of their hearts. The Trailhead team has capitalized on that industry advantage by formally introducing the key that has helped build Trailhead into what it is, Trailheart.

Trailheart is the motor that makes the Trailhead engine run so smoothly and sweetly. By focusing on making learning into a conversation that EVERYONE can participate in, Salesforce has an instant competitive advantage that everyone else is just playing catch-up on. When myTrailhead becomes Generally Available, companies would greatly benefit by trying to capture this concept if they want their internal Trailhead modules to be nearly as successful as the Salesforce developed ones.

Trailhead is continuing to grow and develop new features. The one that is most interesting to me, is the concept of earning credentials on the Trailhead platform. We’ve already seen some of this come to fruition with Superbadges now comprising the entirety of the Platform Developer II technical exam. As someone who is also looking to increase my credentials in my quest of continuing my learning, I’ll be keeping a close eye on this space.

Day 3

Success Cloud Keynote

I started off Day 3 by checking out Salesforce’s newest Cloud, the Success Cloud! This essentially entails the different approaches Salesforce can take to help you as a customer achieve success. It can range from a light touch (such as taking advantage of Trailhead and the Trailblazer community) to an in depth analysis (using pre-built accelerators and Salesforce internal architects).

We heard some different customer stories and got some nice flair as well with a special appearance by Despacito singer Luis Fonzi and some lucky winners who got the chance to meet Star Wars stars Mark Hammill and Billie Lourd!

True to the Core

After stopping to see my team at YouTube present on how we moved to Lightning, I headed over to True to the Core.

True to the Core is one of my favorite sessions every year, as we get the chance to hear directly from the Product Managers and ask them and Parker Harris questions on the future of the platform. They’re usually brutally honest and it is refreshing to hear what they have to say outside of the marketing and flashy lights.

As always, there were some pretty cool things coming down the pipeline, and my favorite was probably the concept of dynamic page layouts, both at the lightning component and the field level. If you’re interested in a deeper dive, check out the Salesforce Weekly recap!

Admin Keynote

One of the most exciting keynotes at Dreamforce, and the last major session I attended, was the Admin Keynote!

My favorite announcements were that we’ll soon no longer be landing on Recently Used records on an Object tab, Lightning will have text wrapping in list views, and there is a new Lightning Report Builder for building reports!

We also saw some more demos of the myLightning custom branding capabilities, Einstein prediction builder, dynamic Lightning components, and Platform Events launching a process in Process Builder.

My recap doesn’t begin to capture the atmosphere though. The #AwesomeAdmin community is like no other and I highly recommend you attend this keynote yourself next year! Admins are tremendously passionate about the Salesforce Platform and as long as Salesforce continues to emphasize their low code capabilities, I’ll continue being a firm believer that anyone can be a Salesforce master!

There was a custom made Admin Trailmix for the keynote as well that you can check out!

Day 4

Having Fun

On the final day of Dreamforce 2017, I attended an Analytics workshop in the morning and focused on having fun. My main event was the Lip Sync battle that I attended and participated in. Since I sing in the shower anyway, I figured it would be fun to come out of my shell a little bit and do some lip-syncing in public.

People seemed to like my rendition of Taylor Swift and I was off to the finals!

For the final round, I decided to do a classic I grew up with from the Backstreet Boys.

People seemed to enjoy this as well and I got a cool trophy! I had a lot of fun and will most likely be back to defend my title next year!


As always, I got to say hi to my Ohana as well! Seeing all these fellow Salesforce enthusiasts is one of my favorite parts of Dreamforce every year!

Thoughts for next year

I spent most of my time at keynotes this year, and while that was helpful, I missed out on some of the more in depth sessions to really dive into topics I’d want to learn about. For those planning for Dreamforce 2018, my suggestion would be to try to pick at least a couple sessions to go to on topics you really want to find out more about. In the mean time, check out the sessions from 2017 here!

The other thing I noticed was similar to previous years, I contracted the “Dreamflu” and was sick for a few days after Dreamforce. I also noticed that for the 3rd in a row, I barely touched the free hand sanitizer that Salesforce provided with the backpack. My suggestion would be to take full advantage of this under-appreciated perk and keep yourself healthy!


Overall at Dreamforce 2017, while there was no paradigm shifting announcement, I liked that there was still a strong focus on improving the core of the platform. The Salesforce ecosystem is stronger than ever and looks to continue growing into 2018 and beyond. The platform continues to be more customizable than ever and I’m looking forward to AI continuing to allow people to focus on more implementations and creating things as Einstein figures out some of the org’s problems and pain points. Dreamforce 2018 is coming up at the end of September and will be excited to see everything new that Salesforce continues to create!

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.


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!


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


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.


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!


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)!


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!


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.


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!



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!


Force Bot


Trailhead Bot


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.


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.


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!