Tips from a Dreamforce Veteran
September 21, 2018
This year marks my 10th straight Dreamforce conference. Over the last decade Dreamforce has changed a lot! In 2009, my first year, there were about 20,000 people. The entire conference fit comfortably in Moscone North and South and the road between the two was still open to traffic. Contrast that with the 150,000 people who will take over San Francisco for this year’s event.
Over the years I’ve discovered a few tricks to make the conference easier.
Drink good coffee
Coffee makes everything easier and several years ago our CEO Abhinav discovered Caffe Central in the basement of the Westfield. It’s only a short walk away if you enter through Bloomingdales on Mission Street. Blue Bottle does great coffee too but that’s not so secret anymore and you’ll queue around the corner.
Take the bus
As the conference has grown we’ve ended up staying in AirBnB’s several miles away. Uber is of course helpful but a trick I learned last year was to take the bus. For a fraction of the cost, the buses come frequently and get you right downtown and walking distance to Moscone. Heading home at the end of the day can be a bit trickier. My advice is to walk 4-5 blocks away from the conference area and it will be easier to get an Uber or bus from there.
Don’t overload your agenda
You’ll be tempted, especially as a Dreamforce first timer, to fill up your schedule from morning to night to make the most of being there. This presents several challenges. Logistically, getting from session to session is a slow process with so many people around. Often you’ll meet some really interesting people and get chatting and learning -- this is one of the best organic aspects of Dreamforce. All of the sessions are recorded and available after the event, so take your time to relax and see the sessions that make sense to see in person, particularly the keynotes.
Don’t party too hard
Dreamforce has parties galore. You can fill your week with 2-3 events per night. The drinks are free and it’s easy to overindulge. Think of your future self who has to get up early to do it all again. Stay hydrated and you won’t end the week feeling like a trainwreck.
Visit Salesforce Park
This year I’m looking forward to something new! Recently Salesforce Park opened. This elevated park next to Salesforce Tower looks amazing and is just a few blocks from Moscone.
Enjoy the serendipity
Dreamforce attracts people from all over world. Take the chance to chat with the person next to you at a session, or sit next to some random folks at lunch. These connections can make a good experience a great experience and you never know who could be a valuable contact in the future.