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


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trailheadx 2020 Roundup

A little over a week ago, Salesforce held its reimagined version of trailheadx. The videos for this are now live for you to watch and catch up with if you missed anything. A number of the team attended online and have shared their thoughts and highlights below to help give you some ideas of what to go searching for.

Mike Gill – Architect

My first TrailheaDX was a little different than expected. Having been to many Dreamforce’s over the years I made a mental promise to myself to to attend “TrailheaDX”. Gift a little Pandemic I was able to live up to the promise and attend a virtual version of the conference.

The format was condense and focused, I set aside some time to kick back with the iPad, watch, and learn some stuff. It was executed flawlessly. I had no connectivity issues at all compared to previous years trying to watch Dreamforce, which was a pleasant surprise. Maybe I got lucky there? Either way, here are some of my highlights:

App Development with Salesforce DX

As someone who lives in VSCode and sfdx cli daily this was a good session, the session presenters did a number of polls during the session asking questions like who has tried things like unlocked packaging and scratch org – it’s clear that these technologies are still in the nascent phase of maturity and people are only just getting their feet wet.

One of the key take-aways which isn’t new but worth keeping in mind – Adoption of DX doesn’t mean you have to go all in.

True to the code (TTTC)

And my other session – well would have been rude not to mention this one. I’m sure this is a big favourite of lot of people. I love it because it puts product managers on the spot quite literally. Parker is the master of deflection and deferring the relevant person on the product manager panel.

True to the Core

There were plenty of great comments and promises! I noted this one from Parker Harris himself:

We all know that file storage on the platform is something which if you don’t take care of, the costs sky rocket … maybe there are more efficient and cost effective storage coming our way…

And as promised by the man himself, “we’re not trying to make money on data storage… I promise you”

Neel Meghani – CTO

I was excited that TDX was virtual this year even though I had planned on attending in person for the first time. This was also my first Salesforce virtual event. I was very impressed how slick the UI was and how good the streaming and chat were.

The content was brilliant with some excellent new functionality revealed. Already very excited to learn more about Salesforce Anywhere, and to get my hands of Code Builder. The stand out sessions for me were ‘Digitizing your Business with Automation’ and ‘Unlock Developer Productivity with Modern Open Tooling’. This last one in particular showed me some plug-ins that I hadn’t previously discovered.

Salesforce Code Builder

Salesforce Code Builder – credit https://developer.salesforce.com/blogs/2020/06/introducing-code-builder.html

So that’s what Mike and Neel had to say about their experience of TrailheaDX 2020. Did you attend? What are your thoughts? Let us know on Twitter!


Neel Meghani, CTO – Meet The Galacticos

Continuing our series in which we get to meet and learn more about the Cloud Galacticos team, say ‘hello’ to Neel Meghani, our Chief Technical Officer. I caught up with Neel via email to find out more about him and his experiences.

Neel Meghani, CTO

Hi Neel, thanks for finding a few minutes 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 was first introduced to Salesforce around 2004. I was working on a large migration project at a national newspaper on the very new force.com platform. I then transitioned from general IT to concentrating on Salesforce, even then I saw the potential for the technology could have. I then moved into the world of finance in the City where I bumped into Phil Walton. Since working with Phil, I have experienced working with many of the various clouds in different industry sectors, from potato farms to health care!

Wow, that is a long time working with Salesforce! You were also the first official Galactico that joined Phil. How long ago was that and how did you start working together?

I first met Phil in 2010 at an asset manager where we worked together on a couple of projects. We both put our heads together and managed to overcome major challenges with a very large data migration including attachments. Since then I have been known as the man to go to where data is concerned! 

Neel and Phil at India Dreamin 2018

Aside from Salesforce and working at Cloud Galacticos, what else do you enjoy doing?

I’m known by my friends, family and colleagues as the go to guy for all things fitness and nutrition. I have been a keen bodybuilder since the age of about 16. It my way of letting off steam and pushing myself. Although in recent times I have taken tips from our CEO Phil and started running. I’ve not found it easy! 

Also, I am also always hungry for technology and gadgets. I always jump feet first when something new and shiny comes out! 

Can you tell us more about your role as CTO and what it involves?

Officially I am responsible for delivery of all projects. But I’m glad to say that every day is different. With a small leadership team we cover all roles from sales all the way through to developing and delivering projects. 

So it sounds like your day is spent with a lot of time interacting with clients. What would be your top tip for working with people when remote?

Working remotely means I spend a lot of time on the phone. I find I need to have a dedicated space for work without distractions. I also recommend ensuring you have a good connection to the internet and a headset is a MUST! Also ensure you keep regular hours and take regular breaks. I have found over the years it is almost too easy when working from home to stay at your desk thinking “I’ll just get these few bits done” and then before you know it it’s 8-9pm! 

You recently passed your non-profit consultant certification. I know you have given us a write up of some tips, but do you have any study tips for exams in general?

I used a mixture of Trailhead and focus on force training guides. I especially like to do a number of practise exams along the way to see where I am lacking knowledge. Also, never assume you know the basics/fundamentals. Brush up on that knowledge also just to be sure! 

Neel with the team at Salesforce World Tour London 2019

Finally, what about tips for anyone starting out with Salesforce?

I have been asked this question many times! As Salesforce has become more popular, friends and family who have largely ignored what I do have come to me down the line as they are now using Salesforce in their place of work.

Firstly developer orgs are a brilliant! When I first realised I could have more or less the full product for FREE to learn on I was blown away. That along with Trailhead, the learning path is free and fantastic. Remember to also take advantage of the community and the user groups. There is a whole world of friendly people out there who are more than willing to help you along the way!


Thanks Neel for your time and insight into your life. We have quite a few other team members to interview in due course. Watch this space.