Dreamforce this year was held Nov 6 – 9 in San Francisco. The last time for me was in 2012 so I was a little excited to go.
Overall, Dreamforce was a good experience. I met new people, some for the first time despite communicating on social media and Slack, and learned some new stuff.
Also, it was a bit meh. The crowds were larger than ever so getting anywhere was a chore and waiting in line for 2 hours to have a seat at the keynote was not appealing. The Booth staff at the developer area in Moscone West weren’t the people developing and managing those features like they had the last time I attended. No major new announcements and the ones that were announced were “incremental”.
- Around 180,000 attendees
- 3,000 sessions
- 200 or so exhibitors
- Numerous parties and happy hours
- Lots of Announcements.
The people, aka the “Ohana”, are what made Dreamforce great for me. Everyone was friendly and collaborative. I had dinner and drinks with various colleagues I hadn’t seen in a while. I roomed with Bill Powell who was kind enough to share his hotel room and is a great guy.
Struck up some conversations with people who may turn into clients. I didn’t go to seek out new business but some business cards were handed out.
There were way too many people for me. Long lines and endless crowds made the venues, at times, very hard to navigate.
Booth Staff Not Experts
For someone who’s very technical and likes to dive deep on areas of interest, the people staffing the various booths in Moscone West were disappointing. In past Dreamforces, they were staffed by team members or managers from that particular area. For example, the Apex booth would be staffed by Apex developers and managers. This year it seemed to be staffed by volunteers or Salesforce employees who were voluntold to do so.
For example, when I asked the “Apex” booth person what’s new with the new “Apex” compiler, they said “I’m not sure since I don’t work in that department BUT we have this power point slide in case anyone asked about it”.
Incremental Product Announcements
As I sat watching the Key Note, I kept waiting for the major announcement or reveal that Salesforce had always done but then nothing. They kept talking about the “4th Industrial Revolution” and how Artificial Intelligence is going to do this and that but we’re just not there yet.
My Lightning lets you customize and brand Lightning Experience for your org with your company’s logo(s), colors, and layouts. Useful but I wish they would focus on making the performance better!
My Trailhead lets a company create their own content, quizes, and trails using TrailHead for internal use such as bringing a new employee up to speed. It’s kinda like an LMS but not as sophisticated. It’s also a paid add-on and not available yet.
Commerce Cloud is Salesforce new eCommerce platform where a company can sells their products and services using it while being totally branded and customized as needed. The demo I received was actually pretty good and it was highly configurable BUT this offering comes via a previous company acquisition and as such isn’t native to the Salesforce platform. All those products, accounts, and other information you have in Salescloud have to be replicated into the Commerce Cloud.
Dreamforce is the biggest conference is the Salesforce ecosystem but perhaps it’s grown too big and another venue in another city would be better for the crowds and logistics. Instead of attending Dreamforce, I may attend smaller conferences such as TrailHeadDx or the various “Dreamin” events held by the community.
The biggest takeaway for me is that it felt like Salesforce is “maturing”. Their new product offerings are complementary, which is great, since someone could potentially run most, if not all, of their business solely on Salesforce. Also, Salesforce is polishing their existing products and platform using features like “My Lightning” and “DX” for developers.
What did you think of Dreamforce?