Dreamforce Diaries

This is my Fourth Blog post as part of the series of articles I am writing called Dreamforce Diaries#DreamforceDiaries.

Dreamforce is the biggest and the most awesome event organized by Salesforce.

A lot happen at Dreamforce you learn, share your knowledge, and make connections, memories, and friends that you may cherish a lifetime.  This may surprise you; this Dreamforce had the biggest number of attendees of all time, so I reached out to some of the lucky people who got the chance to attend this year’s Dreamforce about their experience.

Here I share Awesome!! Dreamforce Experience of the following:

Samantha Safin (Member of #GifSquad)

Samantha Safin

Your experience at Dreamforce 2016?

Unfortunately, I had less time at Dreamforce ’16 than in previous years, but I packed a lot into that short time. I spent most of my time in the Admin Zone – volunteering at the Ask the Expert booths (one of my favorite pastimes!), running into so many members of the #Ohana, enjoying and learning from the multiple small theater sessions. I danced to Apex ‘n the Limits. I celebrated one of my best friend’s engagements. Perhaps the most memorable part of Dreamforce ’16 was getting to participate in the first ever NerdforceCon! I got to play DnD (Dungeons & Dragons) with friends from all over the country while at Dreamforce. Who else can say that their job allows them to do something like that? We had fun, all while raising money for a great cause. Two and a half days was not enough to do everything I would have liked, but it’s only encouraged ideas and excitement for next year.

Funniest moment of Dreamforce 2016?

Samantha Safin5.jpg

I laughed a lot at Dreamforce – there was a lot of joy. But the funniest moment may have been the Admin Lip Sync Battle. Everyone did a great job; I did not expect there to be costumes, though.

Gaurav Kheterpal (Salesforce MVP, Jaipur Developer User Group Leader, Dreamforce speaker)

Gaurav Kheterpal3

Your experience at Dreamforce 2016?

This was my 5th Dreamforce in a row as an attendee and a speaker. I’ve seen the conference grow both in terms of size and overall quality over the years. Of course, it’s a lot more crowded with nearly 150,000+ people attending this year but the overall experience is pretty much the same. I attend a lot of conferences every year and I’ve been to some of the biggest conferences in the world including Apple WWDC, Google IO, and several others – but the scale of Dreamforce beats everything.

Since I was presenting 2 sessions and was volunteering for multiple activities, it was an incredibly busy but satisfying Dreamforce 2016  for me. Of course, I did get time to interact with my friends from the community and that as always was the most satisfying part of Dreamforce for me.

Funniest moment of Dreamforce 2016?

Gaurav Kheterpal5.jpg

Not exactly a funny moment but I had a rare coincidence. I presented the same session in the same room ‘Building App Cloud Mobile Extensions with Swift’ at Dreamforce in the year 2015 as well as the year 2016. In fact, the best part was when I mentioned this during my session, there were a couple of people (I don’t know them personally) who attended my session both years. It was quite a special moment!

I’m looking forward to being a part of Dreamforce 2017!

Atul Gupta (5X Salesforce Certified | Leader of New Delhi Salesforce Developer Group)

Atul Gupta

Your experience at Dreamforce 2016?

My First Dreamforce – A dream which became a reality

Dreamforce 2016 was my first ever Dreamforce and it was full of great surprises and pleasant experiences for me. It is aptly named Dreamforce, it is a dream event for everyone anyway related to Salesforce. Be it Salesforce Users, Developers, Admins, Companies.

I had a blast. Let me tell you just a couple of awesome things (out of 100s) that happened with me at Dreamforce.

The #Awesome Roommate

Atul Gupta5

For any Indian guy, the biggest issue going to Dreamforce is the cost. San Francisco is a long way from New Delhi. But I got really really lucky with PerchTravel who gave me a free stay very near to Moscone Center. Thank you PerchTravel 😀

And the best part I got to share the room with the #AwesomeAdmin Bill Powell. Such a great guy. I still regret missing the Admin Keynote where he received the award and picture with him

Starbucks Surprise

Atul Gupta9Now another awesome thing that happened, I was cursing my decision of getting down near Moscone as my Hotel was 6-7  blocks away and I highly miscalculated the size of a block in San Francisco.

Here I was dragging my bag through the blocks and in front of the Starbucks near Moscone Center and I heard someone scream “Atul”, I stopped and looked back and it was Ryan Headly. You know him as the Vocalist and Guitarist in ApexNTheLimits

http://www.apexandthelimits.com/

It was so great seeing a familiar face after a long flight. I went to Starbucks with him and I saw Rachel Rogers, Vocalist in ApexNTheLimits sitting there.

It was so awesome to see her and Ryan. This was just the start, I was telling them how I am totally lost in the city and there Rachel spotted this awesome group people passing the Starbucks, she ran and invited everyone in, and thank god she did. I got the chance to meet

Jeff May

Francis Pindar

Dale Zieglar

Brent Downey

Jodi Wagner

And other awesome people. Here’s the group photo and the twitter status

https://twitter.com/rrogers09/status/782992156654874625

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Fantastic. I never thought I would meet all these people together in one place. This was enough to make my Dreamforce Trip totally worth it.

The Unexpected Lunch 

Atul Gupta4

There I was among all these awesome people and quite overwhelmed to meet all of them in the first hour of arriving in San Francisco.

And there came another surprise, I got invited to a lunch with Chris Duarte. I first thought they were just joking but then they told me to meet in the lobby of a nearby hotel.

I still needed to check into the hotel. But I said yes. How can I lose a chance to have lunch with ‘THE’ Chris Duarte I was feeling giddy as a kid in a candy store.

Here’s an awesome video I made of the lunch and games we played.

https://www.facebook.com/atul31/videos/1186753778030589/

And then I met Zachary Jeans and David Liu. It was great meeting Zachary again almost 6 months after his #SFIndiaTour in May.

Atul Gupta10

Funniest moment of Dreamforce 2016?

Atul Gupta7Spectacles Trouble

Let me tell you the story behind those white and red glasses, yes a lot of people were curious about them.

As soon as I got down from the Cab I took from Airport to Moscone Center, I realized I left my Glasses in the cab. Thank God I had an extra pair with me. So these became my glasses for the rest of Dreamforce.

I’ve more awesome stories to tell but let’s keep them for a detailed post.

I just need to make sure that I get that post out before the next Dreamforce:-P

You can see all my fantastic updates, pics and adventures by going to the following Twitter feed links

https://twitter.com/search?q=%23df16%20atul31gupta&src=typd

https://twitter.com/search?q=%23df16memories&src=typd

Tom Blamire (Member of #GifSquad)

Tom Blamire

Your experience at Dreamforce 2016?

Dreamforce 2016 was my first ever which kinda scared me in a way. My personal goal was to get a betterer understanding of Lightning, best practices and what were the things that the ‘cool kids’ were using. I can honestly say that Dreamforce allowed me to do this plus a whole lot more. I made friends with people that I had never met before who were from all over the world which I still keep in touch with to this very day. This was an experience that I will always cherish and remember for the rest of my life. As a result of Dreamforce 16, a few of us have set up the #GifSquadForGood who are supporting the i.am.foundation by selling t-shirts. Again, something I never would have never done without meeting some of the awesome people I now call friends.

Funniest moment of Dreamforce 2016?

Tom Blamire14

Tom Blamire13.JPG

Funniest moment for me was meeting Amy Oplinger. Amy is an intelligent, brilliant, caring and an infectiously funny person to be around. As a result of meeting Amy, on a Thursday night, she managed to get us a queue jump at the MapAnything party which was awesome as we got to meet Forest Gump. Moving from there, we tried to get into the Bourbon Force party but couldn’t so she decided to make our event at a bar nearby. After a few tweets, we ended up with our own party called #DougForce attended by about 15 or so people. By the way, if you’re reading this Doug, you’re awesome!

Benjamin Bolopue  (Salesforce MVP | Member of #GifSquad | Dreamforce Speaker)

Ben Bolopue

Your experience at Dreamforce 2016?

This was my 5th Dreamforce. My first four were nothing short of amazing and this year was no different! The people, the learning, the giving back and the overall sense of Ohana’. All things that can only be found in San Francisco, CA during one week of every year! This year I came a few days early uptake an Advanced Admin class. It was GREAT!  SO much learning spread over three days. Coincidentally, I ended up sitting next to a couple of WONDERFUL ladies that live not more than 30 minutes from my house in Minnesota!

I’m happy to say that thanks to that class and some hardcore studying, Becky MillerKate Bennet and I all now have our Advanced Administrator certification!

After the three day class, I started the actual conference with my first breakout session “Requirements Drive Processes. Processes Drive Solutions“.

What an amazing opportunity! Both of my breakouts were standing room only and the reception, according to the surveys, was really great! I went in with the simple intention of leveraging my career as a Continuous Improvement Coordinator to help others in Salesforce Administrator roles. As my “Process Twin” Jennifer Lee knows all too well… Processes need to come first!

Side note: If you haven’t already, you NEED to check out her blog and make it a point to listen to the Automation Hour. Anyway…

In all, I spoke seven times. Twice during breakout sessions, and five times with Squire Kershner in the Automation Station. (Squire’s a GREAT guy!)

. Our presentation was a combination of process improvement (my part) and process mapping (Squire’s part). While Squire’s part got into the nuts and bolts of process mapping and the use of Elements.Cloud, my part was really a condensed version of my breakout session presentation.

I can honestly say, there are few experiences I’ve had that were so humbling. I’m truly grateful for the opportunities I was granted and can only hope that I didn’t squander them!

In addition to speaking, I had the (hopefully not) once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play with Apex and the Limits to officially open up the Dream Park! What an AMAZING experience! Being from all different parts of the world (Minnesota, Texas, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and Australia!), we’d never actually played together prior to Dreamforce. Not while everybody was in the same room and with their actual instruments anyway. That said, after a series of video calls and countless hours of playing along to practice tracks, everything came together just splendidly! This was yet another experience I’m truly grateful to have had. In case they’re reading this… Rachel, Ryan, Mark, Peter and Brian, thank you all for that amazing experience!

So that brings us to Wednesday. The highlight of this day was ABSOLUTELY “The Administrator, a Dramatic Reading of #AdminFiction” in the Admin Meadow Theater. John Graf, Nana Gregg, Samantha Safin and me reading a scripted story about Clara Oswald, Ashildr, Nespax, and the Temporal Ministry of Gallifrey. I was fortunate enough to be asked on board as the ad-hoc troupe’s narrator. Think of the story line as Star Wars meets Dr. Who meets Salesforce meets (specifically) the plight of the Solo Admin/BA.

For many, Wednesday night was the night they spent a couple hours trying to get to the Cloud (Cow) Palace to see U2’s concert, then another couple of hours trying to get back. For me, it was the birth of what many hope will be just the inaugural year of #DougForce. Long story short… A group of folks from the community, all being either semi-connoisseur level fans of bourbon whiskey… or just fans of bourbon whiskey… or just great people…, had been trying to figure out when we could all get-together and kick-off what we were going to call #BourbonForce.  It just so happened that there was an event being hosted by (company name left out on purpose…) that touted a time where all attendees would be able to sample and enjoy several types of bourbons. It SEEMED perfect! We all met in front of the venue and commenced waiting for the doors to open. We waited… and waited… and waited… After what was literally a couple of hours, we asked what the hold-up was. Turns out the event was over capacity and they could only let people in that were 1.) on the guest list and 2.) taking the place of somebody that was leaving. The communication was horrible. The line was getting longer by the minute. The evening was slowly dying on the vine. So… we decided to walk a couple of blocks to a place most of us had passed on the way to (intentionally not named location). It was the best thing we could’ve done.

The group of us took up three tables. Each of which was highly visible to passersby, several of which at least one or two of us knew. The crowd shrank and swelled over the course of a few wonderful hours filled with laughs, idea sharing, story-telling, and comradery. People from all over the world sat with us at one point or another. Some of them had nothing to do with Salesforce. They were just there! It was brilliant and I don’t know that any of us will ever forget the very first… #DougForce.

Thursday started out with NerdforceCon16. An AMAZING event organized by the wonderful people over at nerdforce.co Picture a room full of these incredible people. Some playing board games. Some playing a live-streamed game of Dungeons and Dragons. Some just standing around chatting with good friends over a cup of coffee. Everybody, though, was there in support of the event. You see, this wasn’t just any gathering… it was a fundraiser, too! In addition to their Dream Crate auction concluding (Adam Olshansky grabbed the winning bid!), their DF16 fundraising came to a head as well. Something like $900 was raised during the event alone! Oh… the money? Yeah… It was being raised in support of the Extra Life Charity (healing kids through playing games!).
Unfortunately, I had to leave this event early due to an allergic reaction I had. Long story short (again…), after realizing idiopathic anaphylaxis was coming for me… I made my way to the store on the ground floor of the Marriott; purchased one of every anti-histamine they carried, found a place to sit and waited for my symptoms to subside. I’m not sure exactly how long I sat there, but I do recall Samantha Safin stumbling upon me and stopping to see if I was OK. Sam had to head home a day early and was on her way to the airport. Thank God she stopped by. The brief conversation snapped me out of the stupor I’d found myself in and directly afterward I was able to convince myself that I needed to stand up and walk around. (Thanks, Sam.)

The Friday of Dreamforce (as always) was a mixed bag of the last few amazing sessions/keynotes, sad goodbyes, and excitement to return home to my family that (while it was an amazing week), I missed dearly. Those last few pictures with Community members from around the world. The last few handshakes. The last few hugs. Dreamforce Fridays can really be the pinnacle of both the best and… I don’t want to say “worst” so I’ll say toughest parts of what the event has to offer its attendees.

I feel I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that through every outstanding experience I had this year, a member of my beloved GIF Squad was present. This motley crew of 11 (including myself) has become a daily source of help, humor, and humanity. Try as I might, I’d be hard pressed to come up with a better example of Ohana within the Salesforce community. We watch out for each other, cheer each other on, and, seeing as only a hand full of us live less than a several hour car rides from the next closest squad member, we offer each other a pretty incredible level of friendship and support. It’s events like Dreamforce and other Regional Salesforce-related events that really brought us all together. Now… less than a full year after we all started falling in together… we have our own site, Slack channel, and even our own fundraising site!

If you’re reading this, and have never been to Dreamforce, make it a point to get it on your calendar for 2017. I’ve never encountered another experience where there’s so much learning, personal and professional growth, and #Ohana cultivating crammed into such a short amount of time. It’s truly been an amazing experience every time I’ve gone! If you DO go. PLEASE… look me up. If we don’t know each other, introduce yourself.  I love getting to know new folks! If we do know each other… well then you already know how excited I am to shake your hand and (most likely) pull you in for a great big Stuart Edeal-like hug.

Funniest moment of Dreamforce 2016?

Ben Bolopue 8.PNG

So… No matter how thoroughly you prepare, and (for most) no matter what similar prior experiences you may have, I don’t think that anything can really have you 100% ready for a gig like opening the Dream Park at Dreamforce with Apex and the Limits. I’ve played in front of big crowds before. Sometimes having practiced way less than I had prior to Dreamforce. For this gig, it wasn’t a matter of forgetting the notes or words to a tune (although I did that a couple of times, too!), it was a matter of forgetting the actual items I needed to bring on stage! Things like my glass slide and my extra capo. These are things that there’s just no excuse for forgetting. Ryan, on the other hand, unfortunately, forgot something not so obvious.

You see, with certain types of guitar straps, the strap itself is secured to the neck of a guitar with a rather thin (yet strong) piece of string-like material. Sometimes this is a piece of nylon twine or strips of leather. 99 out of 100 times, this little string never leaves the strap it’s intended to secure a to a guitar. Sometimes, though, these little things slip off straps, never to be seen again. Regardless of how Ryan’s little string slipped off his strap and didn’t make it to the stage. This was a somewhat major problem. Upon discovering this, we had to do some quick thinking. As luck would have it, I was wearing a pair of tennis shoes. The laces of which ended up making a perfect “interim string”. Thankfully I don’t move around too much on stage and it didn’t matter that my laceless left shoe kept falling off. If you pause the video of that performance at just the right moment, you can actually see my shoestring holding Ryan’s strap on his guitar!

I Hope you liked my blog post as part of the series of articles I am writing called “Dreamforce Diaries”.

In case you missed first blog: (https://nitinguptasalesforce.wordpress.com/2016/11/13/dreamforce-diaries/)

In case you missed the second blog: (https://nitinguptasalesforce.wordpress.com/2016/11/27/dreamforce-diaries-2/)

In case you missed the third blog: (https://nitinguptasalesforce.wordpress.com/2017/01/08/dreamforce-diaries-3/)

If you also want to share your experience with Salesforce Community, please contact me.

If you like my Blog, please share it on Facebook and Twitter.

I will be introducing other ambassadors soon and will be sharing their stories too.

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