Preparing for the Annual Pilgrimage to San Francisco for Dreamforce 2019

With Dreamforce 2019 starting next week, our head of marketing, Ben Duong writes about what he’s looking forward to as he gets ready to go to San Francisco…

This year’s Dreamforce will be my fifth time in attendance, and I’ve seen it grow year-on-year to the ‘mega-conference’ that it has become. Each year is unlike the year before, as Salesforce is a company that embraces change and the latest technological advances. I guess as our CEO, Phil Walton, once described it, Dreamforce is the ‘Glastonbury of the tech world’.

With around 170,000 attendees from across the globe, over 2,700 sessions and workshops, plus hundreds of parties, and much more spread over four action-packed days, it can be pretty overwhelming. As you can guess there are plenty of great blogs from the Salesforce ecosystem highlighting their tips on ‘how to survive Dreamforce’. My blog is more about what I’m looking forward to and of course a couple of tips…

This year I’ll be #FlyingSolo and representing Cloud Galacticos. It’ll give me a chance to go out of my comfort zone and try things I haven’t done in previous years.

Golden Gate Bridge Walk Dreamforce
Photo Credit: Zachary Jeans

Salesforce Ohana

Meeting and connecting with fellow trailblazers outside of the sessions/parties is always one of the highlights. So I was excited to hear about the Dreamforce Ohana Golden Gate Bridge Walk (which has been going since 2014). What a great chance to get up close to an iconic San Francisco landmark, get some exercise and meet new people?

UK & Ireland Ohana

With hundreds of thousands of people coming to Dreamforce, you could be talking to someone from New York one minute, then someone from Japan or Morocco the next. It’s also nice when you do meet someone from your own country. That’s why the UK&I Reception event is always one of my highlights, not just because it’s normally in amazing venues (this year it’s in a historic bank building considered to be ‘the finest building in the City’), but it’s a chance to catch up with your peers as well as meet new ones.

Inspirational Speakers

Alongside the thousands of awesome sessions, there’s also a few high profile speakers attending the conference. The one thing they have in common is that they are doing amazing things in their field. This year we’re spoilt for choice, with Tim Cook (CEO of Apple), Megan Rapinoe (World Cup and Olympic Champion), Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women), and of course, 44th President of the United States of America, Barack Obama.

Dreamforce 2019 Speakers
Photo Credit: Salesforce

Dreamfest

As well as all the learning, networking and walking, Dreamforce is a great chance to let your hair down and enjoy some great music, and all for a good cause. Previous years have seen the likes of the Foo Fighters, Blondie, U2, and Metallic entertain the crowds. And this year is no different with Fleetwood Mac. Expect lots of singalong crowd-pleasers. All the while raising money for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals.

All in all, this year’s Dreamforce continues the conference’s programme of amazing speakers, sessions, parties, and much more. If you’re lucky enough to be attending – and #flyingsolo – come and say ‘Hello’!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @TheNorth / @CloudGalacticos for live Tweets during the conference!

Finally, here are some tips from the CEO and COO of Cloud Galacticos:

Phil Walton, CEO

“Don’t be afraid to travel around Dreamforce on your own. I used to do a lot of backpacking around the world, and when I travelled on my own I met people all the time – when I travelled with a partner or friends I met hardly anyone else apart from those friends! Especially at an event like Dreamforce where there really are lots of ‘friends you haven’t met yet’, people are welcoming if you can pluck up the courage to say ‘Hi, I’m [insert name here], I don’t know anyone at this event, what do you hope to learn here/where are you from/how long have you been working in Salesforce’ etc. Be brave!”

“Don’t expect a holiday! By the time you arrive you will probably be tired and possibly jet-lagged. For me the time difference is 8 hours, it’s like travelling to Australia. There will be early sessions, a full daytime schedule, many miles of walking, then the evening partying starts. Repeat that for four or more days… Oh, and don’t forget the jet lag, and not sleeping properly. You will be shattered – if you do it right!”

Paul Battisson, COO

“If you enjoy a session or feel you have learned something from it, try and find 2 minutes to wait around after the session is done and thank the speaker. It can be hard for speakers to know whether the session they’ve just given has been well received or not. Taking that time to say thanks can make their day. And don’t feel shy about waiting to ask for questions or advice! Speakers are only too happy to help and you may end up making a new friend!”

“Enjoy some of the more relaxing elements of the Dreamforce experience. Sit in the Dreamforest (the blocked off block of Howard) and enjoy the live music, meet the Pawdot Puppies, and attend a meditation session. It doesn’t have to be all mayhem and madness!”