Dreamforce is back and better than ever after a brief hiatus (thanks COVID) but for many of us, this is our first Dreamforce and maybe even first work trip. As day 1 wraps up in the beautiful San Francisco, here are a few things I wish I would have known before my first Dreamforce.
1. Arrive early. Sessions fill up FAST and there is a line forming… already…. for next year’s keynote. Dad told me there was no substitute for being in the room where Mr. Benioff kicks off Dreamforce and Dad was right. We got to Moscone about 45 minutes before the keynote and ended up in a 4th or 5th satellite room. No one interacted with any of the speakers or even clapped when the presentation ended.
2. Day 0 is important. Check in the day before Dreamforce officially starts and get a lay of the land. There are multiple buildings that you will be walking to and from throughout the day and they all look alike. When you have 10 minutes to get to your next session, 40,000 people are in your way and the music is loud, you will thank me.
3. Wear comfortable clothes. Lululemon and DYM athletics (plus tons of other stores) make pants, not leggings, that look like dress slacks but are made from athletic material that will form to you. In addition, wear sneakers meant for walking or running.
4. Session not Sessions. Plan for 1-2 sessions on day 1. Dreamforce has 1,000 sessions this year and 40,000 people who want to see them. You will need to arrive early to get your seat (30 minutes for small sessions, 1 hour for keynotes) and most sessions are not in the same place.
5. Food. Take advantage of the food! Conference food has a bad reputation and Salesforce reimagined what conference food should be. It’s healthy, delicious, and dietary restriction friendly.
6. Bring a small bag. You will want a small bag to hold various items such as a notebook, items you win, stickers, and your phone. A big bag will get in the way, and you won’t really need it.
7. Your badge. It’s your ticket everywhere. Security is tight and they move quickly. Keep your badge on and always facing forward. Don’t be alarmed if a security officer grabs your badge while you are rushing to your next session.
8. Get contacts. You will be meeting so many interesting people. Get their social media! This is a work conference after all.
9. Breathe. Everyone is nervous. If you’re anything like me, big crowds and having to make small talk and connections with new people sounds like a punishment fit for the worst of criminals. It’s okay. We all feel this way. A friendly smile goes a long way.
10. It’s fun. Dreamforce is information overload and sensory overload, but it is a blast. Salesforce has crafted this event to be one that is filled with incredible entertainment and groundbreaking technology. Attend what you can and enjoy all Dreamforce has to offer.
Sarah Thanawalla is a graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas where she is also pursuing her MBA. Currently a Solutions Expert at Thanawalla Digital, Sarah is also the daughter of Salesforce MVP, Moyez Thanawalla. Sarah is passionate about women in STEM and is a proud member of the Salesforce Women in Tech group.