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Getting The Most Out Of Dreamforce

by David Brock on September 16th, 2016

In a few weeks the annual migration to Dreamforce will occur.  I’ve only been to a couple of events bigger than Dreamforce, but it’s an “interesting experience.” Somehow, I’m certain the city of San Francisco sits a little lower in the water with the 150-180K people that converge on Moscone Center during the few days.

I was asked my tips for getting the most out of Dreamforce.  I’m not sure I’m a good source of advice, but I thought I’d share my experience.

1.       Develop your plan and schedule well in advance,  There is so much happening, so many interesting sessions and people, spread across San Francisco.  If you don’t develop your plan well in advance, you’ll miss out on a huge amount.

2.       Don’t focus on just the “Dreamforce events.”  While Dreamforce is the draw, a lot of other companies have seminars/workshops/discussions in the proximity of Moscone Center.  Some are quite excellent, make sure you take advantage of them.

3.       Set meetings with people you want to see.  My typical day at Dreamforce is:  3 breakfasts, 2 morning coffee meetings, 4 lunches, 1 afternoon coffee meeting, 3 cocktail parties, 2 dinners and a late night workout in the gym.  Last year, in the whole event, I only had time to attend 2 sessions.  But since Dreamforce attracts so many people I want to see or those who want to meet with me, it’s an awesome place to get together and accomplish a lot with a lot of people.  Check out if the people you are interested in meeting will be attending.  Arrange meetings well in advance.

4.       Make the meetings walking meetings.  This is a change for me over last year.  As you can see from the previous point, I spent most of my time at Dreamforce in restaurants.  There are two huge disadvantages to this.  First, all the restaurants, bars, cafes, Starbucks anywhere close to Moscone are packed with other people doing the same thing.  You either spend too much time waiting for a table or you have to go someplace several miles away (and Uber is overwhelmed during Dreamforce).  Second, as you would guess, the caloric intake is overwhelming.  You get a lot more done and feel better by making your meetings walking meetings.  Plus you see some of the cool areas that are being built up south of Mission or by the Embarcadero.

5.       Do take time to see some of the “main tent” and workshops sessions.  There is so much cool stuff to learn at Dreamforce.  Some interesting keynote speakers, Marc Benioff is fascinating—but see him talk about social programs–not the latest coolest products.  Go to at least 2 sessions that you normally would not choose to attend.  To be honest, if you stay on one track, e.g. sales, marketing, customer service, you start hearing too much of the same thing over and over.  Go to a few sessions most distant to what you do every day and listen to them.  You’ll learn a lot and be able to figure out how to apply some of the ideas to your role.

6.       Be prepared to walk, stand, sit — a lot.  Make sure you have a bag you can put all the “stuff” into, leaving your hands free.  Wear comfortable shoes and comfortable clothes.

7.       Go with an open mindset.  Maximize your learning opportunity, meet new people, have fun!

If you’re going, it would be great to meet up–we’ll go for a walk 😉

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