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November 04, 2013
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8 Tips to Make Your Dreamforce Experience a Success: Advice for Newbies

In less than a month, there will be 100,000 plus attendees descending on San Francisco for the annual Dreamforce conference. Over the last few years Dreamforce has become more than a conference. The event literally takes over San Francisco and brings with it some of the best speakers (this year features Sheryl Sandberg, Deepak Chopra, and Marissa Mayer among many others) music (Green Day at AT&T park) and of course hundreds upon hundreds of sessions designed to help improve your skill set.

This year will be my fourth time at Dreamforce and in those years I’ve (hopefully) gained some helpful knowledge worth sharing with Dreamforce newbies. Below are a few tips. Enjoy!

1. Shoes and Layers:

I know this seems obvious but it’s always worth repeating. Comfortable shoes are a MUST for Dreamforce. There will be times you need to walk several blocks to get to your next session because Dreamforce expands far beyond the Moscone Center. Along with shoes, pack a coat. San Francisco gets chilly, especially in those early morning hours as you’re grabbing a coffee or at night when it’s a cocktail! Layers are necessary.

2. Use the Dreamforce App:

It’s helpful to look up sessions, check the schedule, etc. Definitely worth a download to help bring some order to the often chaotic Dreamforce.

3. Create a Plan of Attack for Each Day:

Given that Dreamforce is such a massive event, I found it helpful to look up session locations in advance and I could then plan my day accordingly. No sense scheduling a meeting seven blocks away when you’re near Moscone for the entire day. Give yourself enough time to get from place to place. When scheduling meetings with vendors, I make sure to buffer in extra walking time. In terms of transportation, Salesforce has a shuttle that makes the rounds at several hotels across the city. I used it last year and found it helpful. (My hotel provided the shuttle map and schedule.) You can also try BART depending on where you are. Hailing a cab around the Moscone area is very difficult…..too many people, not enough cabs so I suggest finding other ways to get around.

4. Packing Essentials:

Since you’ll be hanging at the DF campus all day, I recommend bringing a water bottle, a snack and of course, a charger. If you do however, need some juice for your iPhone, there are lots of sponsors providing power. Backupify for example has a recharge lounge located in in the South Upper Lobby. Some of the vendors on the expo floor will also have power stations set up so you can always snag power at a booth (although you may then feel obligated to hear a sales pitch!). I’ve also discovered that if I’m on the expo floor and out of snacks, one of the sponsors is definitely handing out some type of yummy treat in their booth. Gotta keep the blood sugar high!

5. Hit up the Expo:

And speaking of the expo floor, don’t forget to check out the HUGE tradeshow. There are lots of amazing Dreamforce sponsors that have been preparing for months for Dreamforce and they’re ready to show you the latest and greatest. Salesforce has a crazy, awesome partner community so you will definitely want to see what these companies have to offer. This year the expo was expanded to two areas – Moscone North and Moscone West.

6. Network, Network, Network:

There are thousands of Salesforce admins, marketers, engineers, and more so remember to tap into the wealth of knowledge. Have you checked out Dreamforce Chatter yet? There are lots of groups to join. Then of course there are sessions, lunches, and receptions where you can meet lots of like-minded people

7. Go Party:

In addition to the exceptional sessions, there are lots of parties to attend. Seriously, here is a sample list and a guide.

8. Grab a Bite to Eat:

You’re in one of the best cities in the country so be sure to get out to some great restaurants and bars. FirstRain pulled together a nice list of watering holes “So you need to take your client out to drinks” and a couple years ago, Eloqua created a fun list “The Ten Best Walkable Destinations From Dreamforce” which includes some restaurant recommendations.

Attending Dreamforce 2013? Backupify will be there with LOTS going on. Be sure to stop by booth 2206 in the North Expo Hall.

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