Dreamforce 2013 Recap #DF13

The Connected Cause Founding Partners NPO Engagement Party

Wow! Hard to believe Dreamforce is over. It went by so quickly! The Connected Cause had a blast this year with both Heller Consulting and Idealist Consulting attending the event.

We (The Connected Cause) were a sponsor of the NPO Engagement Party and specifically the photo booth. Here’s a pic of yours truly, along with the pic above:

The Connected Cause Founding Partners NPO Engagement Party Photo Booth Pics

Told you we had a blast!

Beyond the parties and rock shows, a big theme at Dreamforce this year was women in technology, from the keynote fireside chats with Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, to the many networking events for women and the #LeanIn chats, women were at the forefront of many sessions.
Below are the four different perspectives from employees at Heller Consulting. Some of them experienced Dreamforce for the first time, while others are veterans having been to at least 3 of the past Dreamforce events. Here are their thoughts on #DF13:

We start with Molly Redding a Consultant for Heller Consulting who attended her first Dreamforce this year:

This was my first Dreamforce and I have to say that I was pretty blown away by it all. There were many highlights for me but I’ll share a few that stuck out the most. First was the sheer size and scope of the convention. San Francisco’s population on a normal day is around 850K, so adding another 130K is a pretty substantial increase! Second was the range of information presented at the breakout sessions. Anyone with any level of experience using Salesforce in almost any way could find multiple sessions that would speak to them. Third was the incredibly innovative ways that non-profits are using Salesforce. City of Hope (a cancer research hospital) gave an incredibly inspiring presentation on how they’re using Salesforce to collect and track blood samples from all over the country and have them sent overnight to a lab in Maryland. And best of all was the people I met! Everyone was so friendly, helpful, and eager to tell you their experience with Salesforce. Although I was exhausted at the end of four days I’m already looking forward to next year!

This was also the first time at Dreamforce for Susan Wright, a Consultant at Heller:

I was really impressed by Dreamforce. There was a great balance of theory and applied tactical information. I loved the genius bars and the fact that I could receive some free on the spot consulting. My clients will appreciate that too. J I left the conference with a long list of things to research more and continue to learn about so that I can apply them in my work and my clients can benefit from all that I learned at Dreamforce. I’m also itching to watch the videos of sessions I was unable to attend. If I don’t watch out I could spend way too much time following up on things I learned at Dreamforce!

Anita Sakhuja another Consultant for Heller has attended Dreamforce three times. Here’s her thoughts on this years event:

This was my third time attending the Dreamforce and the best one so far. Most of my time was spent in the dev zone watching some of the most creative presentations at mobile theater and community theater. Some of the great apps showcased this year were about providing drag and drop building blocks to administrators who can now create sophisticated apps without writing code. I also grabbed some great books at the library in dev zone.
Also, I’m super excited about Salesforce 1 as I think it will change the way we think about technology in our implementations. It is all about making data available at our fingertips, which gives more power to customers and administrators since the data is available in the mobile app
I got to experience the power of communities through the hand on session on how to build communities in Salesforce. And I am already thinking of ways in which our nonprofit clients can take advantage of this feature to build their communities.
The seamless integration of Salesforce with Sharepoint was an impressive demo in the session “Make SharePoint Social and Mobile with Salesforce files.” The integration is available in this winter release and I’m looking forward to use it as it’s very powerful and will be game changer of the organizations that are looking for a document management system.
Now we come to the best part of Dreamforce for me this year; the focus on women in technology. With the girlygeeks networking dinner on Sunday and Sheryl Sandberg’s keynote on Wednesday I came out of Dreamforce incredibly inspired.
The entire event was a great experience and I am excited to use and implement all the cool things I learned this year> Let’s begin the countdown for Dreamforce 2014!

Finally we hear from Mary Pustejovsky, Heller’s Salesforce MVP who has also been to Dreamforce three times:

Wow. If I had to sum up Dreamforce 2013 in one word, it would be WOW. This was my third Dreamforce, and every time they seem to top themselves even more. How could they top the amazing Plaza last year where they shut down Howard street, had greenspace, tables, and a life-size chess set? Build a huge inflatable structure over it so people could still rock out without getting wet!

How could they top Red Hot Chili Peppers last year? Do Green Day AND Blondie at AT&T Park, including an after party with MC Hammer!

How could they top announcements last year about Salesforce Canvas, Salesforce Touch, Work.com, and Marketing Cloud? Well, there were big announcements about Salesforce 1, Salesforce A (a mobile app JUST for admins, available now!), the Exact Target Marketing Cloud, Pardot (which blew me away), amazing demos on Heroku, the list goes on!

There were over 1,250 sessions, so it is pretty impossible for anyone to attend them all, but here were just a few of my highlights:

  • Marc Benioff Keynote. Always exciting and interesting, they kicked it off with Huey Lewis and the News, some amazing videos on what the Foundation is doing, and how Salesforce is helping the country of Haiti vastly improve their infrastructure. You can watch all of it here, or the tear-jerking videos here. That was followed by some really inspiring customer stories and the announcement of Salesforce 1, as well as Salesforce A. I’m particularly excited about Salesforce A as it shows that Salesforce is really looking to improve the experience for the admins who are out there every day, working to keep their organizations running.
  • Sheryl Sandberg Keynote. You can also watch that here. Super inspiring, and great message for women AND men. There were many men in the audience and I found them to be just as impressed as I was, if not more. Sheryl did a great job of talking about how we need to have these conversations—we shouldn’t be terrified of them, because that just means that we stay silent and nothing changes.
  • Future of Salesforce Files. Last year they announced Chatterbox, which wasn’t really ready for prime time yet. This year I saw a demo of a much more fully-baked solution. The idea is that people need to be able to access their documents directly within Salesforce, and make sure they have the most recent version. If you’ve used services like Dropbox, Box, SharePoint or Google Drive, you understand the benefits of having document storage in the cloud. The great thing about Salesforce Files is that it will appear in your Chatter feed, and integrates with all of the services I’ve mentioned above (and more). Very exciting and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!
  • Working the “Genius Bar” at the Success Community Zone. This was an area where MVPs staffed a desk, taking any walk up question that came to them. I got to help lots of people, and the desk was always hopping with people coming and getting questions answered. It was great to be part of such a wonderful community. It was especially great when I told people I didn’t work for Salesforce, I was just volunteering because I like helping people! I think all the MVPs agree with me—we do it because we like to help.
  • And finally, seeing old and new friends, meeting new people, and making connections! Dreamforce has great sessions where you learn a lot, but it was so great to see past clients, people I’ve worked with in various capacities, and meet people who I’ve only known through Twitter or talked to on the phone. No matter how connected our world is digitally, nothing will ever replace the face-to-face interactions you have with people.

Whether it was your first time, or you are a veteran and have attended three or more Dreamforce events or if you just watched to social streams, what did you think of #DF13?

Monika McMahon

About Monika McMahon

Monika joined Heller Consulting after spending 8 years in the Boulder technology startup scene. She is an expert in Social and Digital marketing, adopting and implementing new (and old) platforms for organizations ranging from ecommerce, SaaS, and nonprofits. Monika not only understands how these platforms work but how to use them to meet business objectives. When she is not educating and sharing her online talents, she can be found enjoying the music scene in Denver.

2 comments

  1. Bryan Giese

    I’m in both of those photos and can assure you that everyone involved was letting loose after a full day of brain exercise on the Dreamforce campus. If you threw a rock you’d hit 8-10 amazingly smart people, easy. One of the best parts was being able to listen to groups talk about what could be possible with a little effort. All the possibilities and infinite directions our technology options can take us.
    It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all that heady talk, but it was well worth it. I can’t wait to get back for next year. I just hope my voice holds out next time.

  2. Susan Kenna Wright

    Can’t wait for next year!

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