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London’s Calling is Back This Friday!

London’s Calling, Europe’s largest community led event for Salesforce professionals, is back for 2021 this Friday 19th March (this year will be fully virtual). It has been an event highlight for Cloud Galacticos since its in augural event in 2016. And once again, we are proud to be sponsoring  the conference.

 

London’s Calling Team

Over the past 5 years, London’s Calling has grown in size and popularity. We believe one of the main reasons for its success is the awesome hardworking team behind it. So a big shout out to Francis, Kerry, Todd, Louise, and Amanda.

 

London’s Calling 2021 Sessions

We also think it’s the amazing diverse line-up of sessions by the people from the Salesforce Trailblazer Community.  And this year, our very own COO Paul Battisson will be doing a session on ‘Turn it up to 11 – Improving the Performance of Your Apex Code’. It’s on at 2.45pm, Channel Four, so put a note in your diary. There’s also of course some great sessions for the likes of admins, developers, and architects. Check out the schedule and take your pick.

 

Paul Battisson’s session at London’s Calling 2021

 

Ben Hammersley

Don’t forget to your get your ticket. It’s going to be a jam-packed day. There’s also going to be a Demo Jam before lunch. And a closing keynote from Ben Hammersley. He’s considered to be one of the world’s leading futurists, author, digital thought leader.

 

Shirtforce

Finally, London’s Calling 2021 t-shirt comes in a variety of colours – red, purple, and black. You can buy yours now via Shirtforce. More importantly money from each sale will go to charity too.

 

See you on Friday!

 

 

 

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Dreamforce 2020: Things We’ll Miss and Things That We Won’t

Dreamforce, for many in the Salesforce ecosystem, is the highlight of their events calendar. Though with the Covid-19 situation affecting people globally, the conference this year will be re-imagined. Say ‘hello’ to Dreamforce To You 2020: ‘instead of everyone coming to Dreamforce, Dreamforce is coming to you — to your kitchen, to your living room, even to your own backyard.’

A few of us at Cloud Galacticos have been lucky enough to attend in previous years. This blog is about what we will miss, and not miss, about Dreamforce…

 

Paul Battisson Presenting at Dreamforce 2018

Paul Battisson, CEO

What I miss about Dreamforce:

The thing I will miss most is speaking and talking to other speakers. I love going to Dreamforce to share the things I have been working on over the past year, best practices I have found to work, as well as push the envelope with some strange and crazy ideas (I have spoken about VR in Salesforce and did the first talk on Machine Learning at a Dreamforce). I will miss learning from people and having these great conversations.

What I won’t miss about Dreamforce:

The flight. As lovely as a 12 hour flight, plus a connecting flight, and lots of time in an airport is, I will not be missing that part. I do like having some uninterrupted reading time, but the meal is never as good as food made nearer ground level.

 

Salesforce Conference in San Francisco

Trailhead at Dreamforce

Neel Meghani, CTO

What I miss about Dreamforce:

I have only done one Dreamforce trip so far. I had heard how big it is but experiencing it for myself it far far exceeded expectations. The biggest thing I miss is the atmosphere itself. The atmosphere can be felt as soon as you arrive in San Francisco. The coming together of so many people with a common interest just gives the whole town a big community feel making you feel at home! Obviously being there presents a big opportunity to learn, gain knowledge and ideas, but most importantly it’s the social side part that I’ll miss.

What I won’t miss about Dreamforce:

The travel, plus the fact it’s all go – full steam ahead as soon as you arrive. You have to ignore the jet lag and just keep going. This all means the sheer exhaustion you feel when you leave lasts a good week after you return. I needed loads of R&R when I got back. That feeling I will not miss. So Dreamforce To You sounds awesome to me!

 

Salesforce Ohana Golden Gate Bridge Walk Dreamforce 2019

Ben Duong, Head of Marketing

What I miss about Dreamforce:

Dreamforce is a unique beast. Bigger and brasher in real life than you can ever imagine – you have to be there to understand. What I will miss about Dreamforce 2020 going virtual this year is being in San Francisco itself. I have been countless times (due to my dad and family living there), but ‘The City’ never fails to amaze. From the skyline (Salesforce Tower joins the Golden Gate Bridge in iconic terms) to the diverse range of cuisines available, to the many cool venues, Dreamforce was made for San Francisco.

What I won’t miss about Dreamforce:

Having to travel over from the UK, with it’s 8 hour time difference, the jet lag is something I won’t miss. Even with the great coffee and sessions on offer, it always takes a few days to adjust. Dreamforce 2020 going virtual may take away the jet lag, but I’d be happy with the disorientation if it meant being back in San Francisco!

 

Baldforce at Dreamforce 2018

Phil Walton, CEO

What I miss about Dreamforce:

There is a real and constant ‘buzz’ at Dreamforce. Maybe it is just the warm weather, jetlag, and strong coffee? But it feels like there is ALWAYS something going on. It’s not just the sessions, the learning, the parties, it is often the bits in between. The conversation in a shared Uber, the chat in a lift, the friend you make whilst lost in one of the venues.

As well as bumping into friends, & colleagues, you always have your eyes peeled for ‘celebrity spotting’. Whether it is ‘Salesforce celebrity’, the VPs, the Community team, your AEs, or if you are lucky, Marc or Parker. But also (queue name dropping, sorry) I had a chance chat with David Blaine (who now follows me on Twitter!?), breakfast with Billy Connelly, and nearly knocked over Iggy Pop. You don’t get that on a Virtual presentation!

What I won’t miss about Dreamforce:

The downside of the great things, is that there is so much you can not possibly see. There are 1,000+ sessions, last time I think I managed to go to one! So I always have regrets about missed opportunities, missed learnings. I guess I will still have that, but I can sleep in my own bed when it is all virtual. 

 

Fleetwood Mac at Dreamforce 2019

ABOUT CLOUD GALACTICOS

Cloud Galacticos is a Salesforce consultancy, and 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, York, 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?

 

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Best Practices and Thoughts on Virtual Events

Over the past few months we have seen a number of events cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and a number of events go virtual. Last week  Salesforce announced all its events including Dreamforce will now be re-imagined and virtual. Because of this, I thought I would share some best practices and thoughts on virtual events to help you make the most of them.

North England Salesforce User Group Virtual Event

Virtual vs In-Person Events

Firstly, let’s talk about the differences between virtual and in-person events. The biggest (and most obvious) difference is that it is generally a lot harder to network and meet new people. I have made numerous new friends and acquaintances over the years at conferences through just casual interactions. Queuing for lunch, waiting for a session to start or just sat next to someone at a session. You get to meet and interact with a lot of new people, which will obviously be much harder for a virtual event.

However, I would encourage you to use the remote nature of the event to your advantage when it comes to interaction with the speakers. It is not uncommon at an event to find it hard to ask a speaker a question or further information after the talk if there are a number of people all doing so at once. I cannot think of an instance where I have seen a speaker at a remote event not provide some form of contact details, so reach out to them if you have a question, comment, whatever. You are almost guaranteed to get a reply and it is a great way of making a new connection.

More Speaker, More Content, More Spaces

Virtual events however tend to have a much broader range of speakers and can accommodate a greater number of attendees. As an example, the talk I gave at the recent Xforce Summit had over 1,000 people attend. I don’t think I have been to a conference where any of the sessions for speakers outside a keynote had that many attendees possible. With no constraints on room sizes or availability, you are more able to attend any session you want. I have lost count of the number of times at Dreamforce I have been unable to attend a session because it was oversubscribed.

Finally, the biggest difference for most people is cost. Attending any conference can cost you for a ticket, travel, potentially lodging as well. All of these items add up and I know are a consideration for us when we look at events to sponsor and attend. Virtual events are likely to be cheaper (if not free like the Xforce Summit) for a ticket and also do not incur any of the associated expenses.

Allocate Time and Avoid Distractions

One of the primary benefits of events is that you have time away form your day work to focus on learning. It can be very tempting to work on other items in the background whilst dialled in to be productive. This type of multitasking does not work and should be avoided. If attending a virtual event, try to keep this in mind and focus on the session exclusively when possible. Just as if you were in a room during a talk you wouldn’t be doing something else, apply the same thought here.

One difference here though is you can take much better notes virtually than often is possible in person. Know how to take a quick screenshot for later and open up any additional reading material. This makes it easy for you to implement what you have learned afterwards.

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Cloud Galacticos at London’s Calling 2020

Now in its fifth edition, London’s Calling is Europe’s largest community led event for Salesforce professionals. At Cloud Galacticos we are firm believers in supporting the Salesforce Ohana. We’ve been attending the conference since the start and it’s amazing to watch it grow. So we’re proud to announce that we will be Community Sponsor at this year’s London’s Calling on Friday 20th March.

Keynote Speaker Julian Treasure

Due to increased demand, the event will be at The Brewery, in the City of London. It’s a larger space to fit in more sessions and people. This year’s keynote speaker will be Julian Treasure. He’s a sought-after and top-rated international speaker who has spoken at multiple TED events. You can see one of his talks on being a better listener here and I am looking forward to hearing what he has to share.

Salesforce Community

Paul Battisson at Londons Calling 2019

The sessions will be grouped into ‘tracks’ to help you focus, such as Marketing, Admin, and Developer. So pick the track that suits you and get learning. As well as all the learning, London’s Calling is a great place for people in the Salesforce community to connect, catch up, and also let their hair down at the after-party – which Cloud Galacticos is proud to be sponsoring this year.

‘10 People You Should Meet’

Cloud Galacticos Infographic Stickers

As per previous events, there will be a strong contingency from Cloud Galacticos in attendance. And as per last year, we will be doing a special ‘10 People You Should Meet’ at the event. It was a great success and people enjoyed trying to find the people on the list – each of whom had a sticker to hand out.

Prizes

So if you’re lucky enough to get a ticket for this year’s London’s Calling event, keep an eye out for one of our Team Galacticos staff and come and say ‘hello’. Don’t forget to ask for an infographic sheet – there may be prizes…

Keep an eye out on our Twitter and #LC20 during the event! And read about last year’s event here.

 

London’s Calling, Friday 20th March, at The Brewery in London

https://www.londonscalling.net/

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Highlights from Dreamforce 2019

As the dust settles on another Dreamforce and his jet lag fades, our head of marketing Ben Duong writes about his highlights at this year’s event:

Dreamforce 2019 is the sixth time I’ve attended what undeniably the main Salesforce event of the year – even with all the new upstarts like TrailheaDX and various Dreamin’ events. As per previous years, this year’s Dreamforce had a jam-packed line up of sessions, speakers, parties, and much more. Add to that around 170,000 international attendees, it’s always going to be a full-on four days.

 

#Flying Solo

The main difference this year was that I was flying solo (normally it’s in attendance with the CEO of Cloud Galacticos, Phil Walton). This meant taking a different approach whilst attending the conference. First thing I did was to sign up to the ‘Dreamforce Ohana Golden Gate Bridge Walk’ – which I discovered through the Twitter community and Eric Dreshfield. It was a great pre-DF19 social meet up. I met various members of the Salesforce Ohana from Brazil, Japan and Ukraine. I also ended up bumping into them again at various times during the week which was nice. Mainly, it was good catching up with James Ellis who is a regular at our North England user group.

 

#SalesforceOhana

Continuing the theme of meeting my #SalesforceOhana, there was an EMEA Trailblazer Get Together. It was a casual meet up of the #TrailblazerCommunity from the Europe, Middle East and Africa regions. As well as familiar faces from the UK, I also met people from Spain, Switzerland and Morocco. And of course, one of the main party highlights was the UK & I reception party at the rather grand Hibernia Bank.

 

Learning

I attended some of the main keynotes, including the opening keynote with Marc Benioff; the Partner keynote; and Marketing keynote. I got a good overview of the latest updates relevant to me and Cloud Galacticos. I also went to a few useful sessions relating to marketing such as, ‘5 Tips for Writing Awesome Salesforce Community Content’ with Lucy Mazalon (Salesforceben), and ‘5 Lessons Learned from Interviewing 50+ CMOs’ with Ian Faison and Benjamin Wilson (The Mission).

 

Mindfulness

Most attendees find Dreamforce overwhelming. It’s a perfect cocktail of four full days of sessions, parties, hoards of people and lots walking. Luckily, this year there was a dedicated area of calm in the guise of the Plum Village Centre in Moscone South. I managed to do a 90-minute meditation workshop which helped centre myself again and was ready for Dreamfest that evening.

 

Dreamfest

Being a big music fan, Dreamfest is always one of my highlights, having managed to see the likes of the Foo Fighters, Blondie, and U2. This year was no different, with Beck supporting Fleetwood Mac. It was held at the baseball stadium which is the perfect venue for any music event.

 

Dreamforce 2020

At the end of each Dreamforce, most attendees would say that it was the best yet. Furthermore, they can’t wait to do it all again next year. And you know what? They’re right!

See you in San Francisco 9th to 12th November 2020…

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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…

‘Glastonbury of the Tech World’

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…

#FlyingSolo

This year I’ll be #FlyingSolo and representing Cloud Galacticos – a Salesforce Silver Partner consultancy. 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!”

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North Africa Dreamin 2019

Last month was the inaugural North Africa Dreamin event in Morocco. Here’s what our CEO, Phil Walton, had to say about his time at this new event…

Phil Walton talking about "The Free Stuff" at North Africa Dreamin

The first African Salesforce community event” was too tempting a tagline to turn down! When fellow MVP Houssam SAOUDY invited me to speak, I was very excited about my first speaking trip to Africa, and being a part of something unique.

A Friendly Welcome

Immediately on arrival, Houssam, Doria, and Abdelhakim, introduced themselves, and I felt welcomed into the local Ohana of a country I had never visited, and a continent I hardly knew. Note, as well the main languages in Morocco being Arabic, Berber, and French, I had zero skills with Arabic and Berber, and my french is pretty awful. Thankfully we all spoke Salesforce, and had the combined skills of friendliness and openness.

Casablanca by night, the location for North African Dreamin

 

Sharing “The Free Stuff”

On the day of the conference, I noticed many of the sessions were in French which made me worry that my session might need some local input… So Mehdi, one of the event volunteers (and Salesforce Consultant & Trailhead Ranger), joined me on stage for the presentation and helped with any translations and also helped chip in with some good content, thanks again Mehdi!

My session ‘The Free Stuff’ was an updated version of a presentation I have given a number of times. This latest update also seemed to be well received I am pleased to share. The most important part of it is that it’s an evolving session. I vary the content depending on the audience, location, and feedback given. I made a point of prompting the audience to share their most useful Salesforce resources – in return for some Manchester United swag – which then helps the audience and helps me for the next version!

Phil Walton presenting "The Free Stuff" at North Africa Dreamin

 

Any mention of North Africa Dreamin would not be complete without a (detailed) review of the food. I think this was my 9th community event in five continents, and it may win the Best Food prize! Lunch was a spectacular spread of Moroccan food! Thankfully it was spread over one and a half hours in two large banqueting rooms to allow me to sample everything. The Moroccan tea in-between sessions was sweet, minty and refreshing. We then went out for an evening meal with some of the speakers, sponsors, and Salesforce visitors, which was immense! Complete with belly dancers – thankfully I managed to avoid being dragged up to join the dance. Others were less lucky, I think all social media evidence has since been deleted..!

North Africa Dreamin Food

Photo Credit Cyril Louis

Dreamin Events Near You!

So why should YOU attend a Dreamin’ event? You don’t need to travel to a different continent (although coinciding an event with a holiday/travels is a great idea!), but check out Dreamin events in and around your home country such as*

Singapore – Singapore Dreamin, 15th January 2020

Japan – Japan Dreamin, 25th January 2020

Canada – Banff Dreamin, 13th March 2020

UK – London’s Calling, 20th March 2020

Spain – DreamOle, 24th April 2020

USA – Texas Dreamin, 16-17th July 2020

France – FrenchTouch Dreamin, 24th September 2020

* There are many many more Dreamin events to choose from, plus new ones all the time, so keep an eye out and give them your #TrailblazerCommunity support! 

In my opinion, these are the events when you can really learn new things. You can easily attend five or six plus sessions in a day, no queuing, no registering for each session in advance and joining a line to get your seat. No long treks against the tide to find the session location. It is also easier to meet people. With the average attendance being 200-300 people, you can easily introduce yourself to people, and get a chance to chat with speakers, Salesforce attendees, community leaders etc., that you struggle to do at a World Tour or Dreamforce. Hope to see you at a Dreamin event soon! 

 

Featured image based upon the following image of Casablanca and the event logo.