My focus is on making software, coaching Agile/Scrum teams, and being a husband and father--definitely not on blogging--so please do not expect very frequent posts here.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The biggest software conference in the world: Dreamforce closing thoughts

I’ve been at Dreamforce 2014, the yearly conference for, all week.  With over 120,000 attendees, I’ve never seen an event like this.  Just some quick thoughts on Dreamforce:
  • Thanks to all the sponsors, vendors, and partners for doing a good job selling to me without overwhelming me.  The conference was already overwhelming; I didn’t need some vendor’s rep I’ve never heard of before giving me some hard sell.  Thanks for the t-shirts, USB drives, and most of all, the explanations.
  • Bringing in Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Adams, Arianna Huffington, Eckhart Tolle, Neil Young, the Beach Boys, Bruno Mars, and Cake was way over the top and not all that relevant.  The Hawaiian greeting was ridiculous.
  • Also, all the appeals for charity were over the top as well.  I could criticize their approach, but I will let Davis Guggenheim and Robert D. Lupton do that; besides, I am all in favor of private companies donating in whatever way they choose.
  • The session speakers, with two exceptions, were excellent and really knew their stuff.  A few of the sessions were a bit too basic, which was surprising given how little I know of
  • Much thanks to Salesforce for hiring ample staff.  I never was at a loss of where to go or what to do, and there were plenty of people in the sessions, handing out food at meals, and in every other way imaginable.
  • Also, the check-in system worked great.  The staff knew just what to do whenever someone couldn’t get in.
  • The conference’s size is a weakness. Sessions were a half-mile apart, the keynotes were full a half-hour early, the vendor/partner areas were massive, and the opportunity for personal connections with speakers was limited. 
  • The Dreamforce/Salesforce Success web site works great.
  • The official WiFi was surprisingly good everywhere—it almost always worked.  I can’t imagine the work that goes into such a IT effort.
  • There needs to be a better way to choose sessions.  The Agenda Builder online lets me filter and search, but that doesn’t do me much good when I am browsing and really have no idea what to pick.  Maybe a system with a bit more guidance and direction is in order?
All in all, it is impressive that can pull off such a large conference. Overall, if you are into, this conference really does a good job in a lot of ways—including its value for the price.  If you are learning Salesforce from scratch, the online tutorials are a better place to start.  There are many; here’s one.
I don’t expect to go back to Dreamforce—but I am curious as to how big it can get!

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