In our Meet the Galacticos series so far this year, we’ve met project managers, COOs, Senior Salesforce Consultants, and Developers. And as 2020 draws to a close, we meet the man behind the magic at Cloud Galacticos, our CEO, Phil Walton. I caught up with Phil via email to find out more about him and his experiences.
Phil Walton, CEO
Hi Phil, thanks for finding a few minutes in your busy schedule to help people learn a bit more about you. Can you give us a bit of background about yourself and your history with Salesforce?
I started using Salesforce back in 2004. It was simple back then. There were help files and a 250 page ‘Salesforce for Dummies’ book which covered EVERYTHING! So I see myself as rather fortunate, that I got to experience Salesforce early, and learn in steps as Salesforce grew.
After attending Cloudforce events and User Group events in London, I kept asking why there weren’t similar events happening elsewhere in the UK. One day someone called my bluff and said I should set one up in my home city of Manchester, so I did. I also spent a lot of time on the Answers forum, working with Appexchange, writing my Salesforce blog, and because of this was first awarded as Salesforce MVP in Christmas 2013. I am now in the MVP Hall of Fame as ‘MVP for life’.
What made you decide to set up Cloud Galacticos?
I had been a freelance Salesforce Consultant since 2005, so the company has been going since then. But with a few rebrands and updates, we re-launched as Cloud Galacticos in 2017. I wanted a brand that reflected the high skillset of the team. The term ‘Galacticos’ can be used as superstar, or in the football/rugby world as an exceptionally skilled and celebrated player. A bit over the top, but it made a point.
It was also a great chance to work together with like-minded people. When you have a small team like this, you can work a lot faster, and smoother, and in a friendly and respectful environment.
You’ve worked on a lot of Salesforce projects through the years, can you tell us about some of your favourite or memorable ones?
I have lost count of the hundreds of Orgs I have looked at and worked upon, the number of Clients, Users, and industries. There’s been so many great people and experiences. But I feel you only learn from the difficult situations – the easy wins are a bonus, but don’t help you to grow. I look back at some global rollouts where a year of work all hinged on a go-live in an evening/weekend. Where the deadline was tight but we all piled in to make it happen. Or where a mis-communication could nearly have ruined a project and a working relationship. These things happen in business! But it is how you react to a potential issue that marks you out. And having an experienced team that has battled through the tough times, makes us ready and prepared for whatever lies ahead.
Looks like you’ve done a lot of travelling and have been to a few Salesforce events around the world, can you tell us some of your highlights?
Yes, I have been very lucky to speak at Salesforce events on five continents in the last few years. Some of the team went to India Dreamin in 2018 and 2019. It was a fantastic experience to travel with friends and colleagues, meet people in person that we had ‘e-met’ on social media and Trailblazer Communities, and spend time with some of our extended team. I travelled to Uruguay and Argentina for Punta Dreamin in 2018, my first trip to South America. Everyone was so welcoming, and the steaks and red wine were amazing.
Closer to home, I am looking forward to the chance in 2021 to get back to in-person meetings with the local Salesforce Communities. You can’t beat them!
Aside from Salesforce and running Cloud Galacticos, what else do you enjoy doing?
Normally I enjoy running. When the first lockdown happened, it didn’t feel enjoyable anymore, so I tried weight training. I am not sure if it will last, but I have already had to buy new t-shirts to fit!
I enjoy spending time with my family (my wife and two young sons). There is always something going on. Last month on a bike ride we ‘discovered’ the remains of a 5th century Saxon defensive fortification.
What tips would you have in working with clients remotely, or working remotely in general?
The ‘new norm’ has been just ‘norm’ to me and most of Cloud Galacticos for the past 10 years. I think the key is communication. You don’t get those visual signs that you get from being sat next to someone in an office – verbalise them. If you need something, be prepared to ask. When you have done something amazing, be prepared to tell people. If you are unavailable, feel free to show a notification. Reinvent the water-cooler/coffee break moments.
While I believe 90% remote is great, 100% is not so great. We all need that in-person catch up, with clients, colleagues, friends, and family. For those hospitality businesses that can survive Covid, I think they will be very busy when the coast is clear and we can all meet in person. See you at the party!
ABOUT CLOUD GALACTICOS
Cloud Galacticos is a Salesforce Consulting Partner with an all-star team. We are user and developer group leaders, bloggers, MVPs and all round Salesforce nerds. We have people all over the UK including Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield and London. If you are looking for a Salesforce partner with experience who can help you make the most of your org, why not give us a call?