It is that time of year again. Dreamforce 2014 is just two months away. There will be a ton of logistical details coming out about Dreamforce from Salesforce.com such as the sessions, events, speakers, etc. Additionally, there will be (and already have been) many useful blog posts from Salesforce.com, Salesforce.com MVPs, previous attendees, and others. Some of the posts will describe the benefits of attending and reasons you can justify going. This post describes the benefits of attending Dreamforce and the types of activities and sessions that maximize the usefulness of Dreamforce. I am a technical solutions architect, so this article focuses on aspects of Dreamforce that are useful to developers.
Connect With Other Developers
Dreamforce is filled with developers of all different levels. If you are just starting out you can connect with other devs who are also just starting out and share experiences and you can connect with more experienced devs and learn from them. The more experienced devs can also learn from the newer devs, by understanding their problems and helping. The connections that you make at Dreamforce are just the beginning. You can continue to communicate with the developers that you meet throughout the year.
Meet Your Favorite Internet Characters
There are many different online channels that make up the Salesforce online community (twitter, SFSE, community, dev boards, etc.). Many of the most active people in the community will be at Dreamforce. At the last Dreamforce, I was fortunate enough to have a breakfast with some of my favorite SFSE characters. (FYI, we’re doing it again this year).
At Dreamforce, you’ll have the opportunity to put faces to name, reminisce about things that have happened in your online community, and go into further detail about topics of interest.
Sessions Are Far More Beneficial In Person
It is great that Salesforce.com makes the Dreafmorce sessions available on Youtube, and in the years before my first Dreamforce I rationalized that the Youtube recording were just as good as being there. That is not correct. Attending in person is far more beneficial. You get to have side conversations with other attendees, continue discussions in the hallways, and further discuss things with presenters. Some of the side conversations lead to other conversations later, etc. Additionally, there are hands on sessions where you can learn by doing, guided by experts.
Bond with Coworkers
Dreamforce is an excellent place to bond with coworkers and create a stronger team. In addition to learning along side of them at the various sessions, there are a ton of outside events and night time fun to be had. In between sessions, you can enjoy some down time, sharing your experiences and discussing how what you’ve learned can be applied at your job.
Idea Melting Pot
The Developer Zone is an amazing place. There are so many developers and different activities. You can see what other companies are up to and what other devs are doing with the latest and greatest technology. It is very important to understand how the state of the art is being used and, if applicable, what competitors or others in your domain are doing. If you want an idea for your own side project or business, Dreamforce is an excellent idea catalyst.
There is no other event like Dreamforce for an SFDC dev. You may attend Dreamforce after working a long arduous project, or may be in the middle of one (hopefully not!). You may be in a good frame of mind and already full of energy — Dreamforce will make it even better, believe it or not. I visualize it as Dreamforce has the effect of making your health meter blow by the full (100%) mark.
Keep it Going
After Dreamforce is over, you will have gained an incredible amount of knowledge and other benefits. You can (and should) have knowledge sharing session(s) with your coworkers when you return from Dreamforce. At a minimum, your coworkers who did not attend can benefit from you communicating the main points about what you learned and your thoughts on where the platform is headed. You can make sure that your current and future work is headed down a path that will succeed.
Salesforce.com does an excellent job of supplying online resources for learning how to develop on their platform. Dreamforce goes far beyond just the pure book/online learning in so many ways. The benefits of attending for developers are a sound investment that is guaranteed to pay off.
I’ll be at Dreamforce this year and hope to see you there too!