Posted by: eliz_beth | April 8, 2014

DAB Where to sleep?

Yes, even though it is non-stop there are times you must sleep during Dreamforce! If anything for your own sanity and to keep up with all the amazing things you’ll experience.  Additionally you’ll want a place to drop off your swag, stash your clothes and take a shower.  Honestly this is easily your biggest expense getting to Dreamforce (short of airfare depending on where you’re traveling from).

Here’s some tips on how to save on lodging during Dreamforce:

  • Check for rates through your company travel program, if available.  You can lock in rates now if they are acceptable to you.
  • Alternatively, if you’re a member of a rewards program, look at your associated company’s offerings.  You may be able to apply your points to your stay or consider staying somewhere to maximize points for status and future travel.  I have come away from Dreamforce with enough points to cover vacation travel for my family before.  Whatever you do, do the math.  There are lots of tradeoffs to this approach.
  • Utilize various websites such as Orbitz, Priceline, etc to find rates that may be acceptable.
  • Wait until registration goes live.  Dreamforce reserves rooms called a room block at various hotels in the area.  With the room blocks, there are usually discounted rates available only through Dreamforce registration.  Additionally, there can be additional perks such as free Wi-Fi access that you would otherwise be charged for.  When registration goes live, there is a list of hotels, distance from Moscone, prices, and options available to choose from.
  • Do you know anyone who lives in the area? Friends, family?  Explore the option of asking to crash at their place.
  • AirBnB and other similar options- typically I’d say go for it, many people do and have success.  I will offer this note- there is a crackdown currently on the use of AirBnB where those who are offering spaces are being evicted as it is not allowed.  AirBnB is working with the city to get approval, but buyer beware if you’re looking at an apartment that is not owned by the person providing the space especially.  Rental agreements vary if they are allowed to sublet.
  • Roommates!  Even an expensive option can be more budget friendly with friends.  Coworkers, user group friends, Success community friends- lots of options are out there to meet people to share space with.  Check with the space to make sure you’re within their requirements (maximum # in room, etc).  When you register, if you don’t have a roommate yet but open to the option, get a room with two beds as you may meet someone between registration and Dreamforce to share with!
  • Rental agencies – there are many options to consider through a traditional rental agency.  I know many small companies who have saved on costs by renting a house instead of everyone staying in a hotel.  A company, a group of friends- doesn’t matter who.  If staying with friends, be sure to agree up front on costs, payment, and determining who gets what sleeping place to avoid issues later.
  • Youth Hostels – this is an extremely affordable option used by many visitors to San Francisco.  There is one actually next to one of my favorite places to eat on Mason.  Prices vary depending on choices but short of staying for free I’ve not heard of anywhere cheaper.  It is a great solution if you need to save money and just want a place to stash your clothes, take a shower, and get some sleep.

Those are some tips to staying in San Francisco.  There’s lots of things to consider while considering your options above as well.  Some of those include:

  • Distance from Moscone and Dreamforce Campus locations
  • Transportation options (is it on a MUNI line? A Dreamforce shuttle line?)
  • Your comfort level. Read up on locations in San Francisco- if you’re not a city person there may be some areas you will not feel comfortable in for various reasons.
  • Are you planning to attend late night functions/parties/etc? This could impact your transportation options in some cases or you may not want to have an hour plus commute.
  • Hotel benefits- free breakfast, free wifi, airport shuttles- all of these and more can make a difference in deciding where to stay,
  • Hotel differences- shared bathrooms with other guests, twin size beds, small rooms- if it is cheap, there’s usually a reason.  Not all hotels are the same of course so if you’re interested in one, research it or don’t be surprised you’re sharing a bathroom like you’re back in a dorm.

All told, if at all possible, I recommend staying somewhere near Moscone if your budget allows, at one of the official Dreamforce hotels as there will be shuttles  available to get around at least to those locations.  Within a short distance of Moscone there is usually the option of pedicabs as well.  I’ll write up more about your transportation options but will share that staying at Hilton Union Square is my location of choice because 1- I’m a loyal HHonors member, 2- Dreamforce rates are decent, 3-it has been a campus location for the past few years 4-lots of options for local food/shopping 5-the best brunch ever at Urban Tavern.  The hotel employees are great as well and the rooms are well appointed.

The one thing I do not suggest, is to expect to wing it and find a room at the last minute or when you get there.  Also, sleeping at Moscone is not an option.

If you have any lodging tips, please comment and I’ll add them to the DUB Central page!

Posted by: eliz_beth | April 7, 2014

Dreamforce Attendance on a Budget : Registration Savings

After 4 Dreamforces, I’ve picked up a few tips and ideas on how to make a vision quest to the cloud empire a reality.  I look forward to sharing with you what I’ve learned in these DAB posts and welcome you you as well to share your best tips.  No matter what, the earlier you can start planning your trip to Dreamforce, the better off you are going to be.

Instead of going over justification and ROI on Dreamforce I encourage you to check out the information Salesforce themselves have published along with the score of blog posts on how others justified it to their management team.  Let’s say everyone is on board with you going one way or another.

My first tip is to preregister.  If you preregister for the early bird rate, that is savings in the hand already. Dreamforce will go up in price periodically so the earlier you preregister and/or register, the better.  You can preregister here  with no upfront cost.  As of now until April 15th, the preregistration will lock in a price of $899 US.  In years past when formal registration opened, if you signed up early you would get a code in your email to use to guarantee the early bird price you registered for.

Other ways to save on registration costs is to look for discount codes and contests.  I’m not aware of any discount codes yet for this year but you can check with your favorite vendor or watch social media for updates. Often the codes come out closer to Dreamforce (but when prices have increased as well).

One contest to look into entering currently is:

Salesforce.com Salesforce1 twitter contest
Other companies such as Marketo, Bluewolf, and Kona have held contests that included passes to Dreamforce in the past.  Keep in mind your odds of winning – it’s not a foolproof way to get to go to the best conference of the year, but it might be your ticket.

Also- check with your Salesforce account executive/account manager.  They may be able to help, especially if you are trying to send a group from your company.

The last option I know of is to sign up for a keynote/expo badge.  It is free but very limited in what you can access – mainly the primary keynote with Marc and the main expo.  You’re going to Dreamforce to learn, I recommend getting the full badge as your top priority.  There are plenty of other ways to economize without having to compromise why you’re there in the first place.

So, tip number 1- sign up early to get the best rate for registration. Talk to your AE for additional options and watch social media for contests and discount codes.

–If you know of a contest or discount code, please comment below or contact me directly at the link above. I’d love to share the information!

 

 

Posted by: eliz_beth | March 4, 2014

Breaking out of the mold

Recently I rented a car for a trip.  Now, I love my car, a 2005 Subaru Outback LLBean edition, but decided to put the miles to Florida and back on a rental instead.  I went to pick up the rental and was given a 2014 Avenger which I thought was appropriate as we were heading to Disneyworld (who owns Marvel).  I got into the car and took notice of the differences between it and my Subaru.  I turned it on and the first thing the car does is tell me that it is way past due for an oil change and service.  Score one for technology as I informed the company and they provided a different car, a 2014 Chrysler 200.  The counter agent remarked that it was basically the exact same car as the Avenger and when I got into the 200, I had to agree.  The only changes were cosmetic at best.

Which of course got me thinking about Salesforce orgs- how they are at their very base exactly the same thing.  Some are developed and grown to be dedicated to a specific job or process, some are grown to encompass everything a company needs.  There were some things about the car that made me miss my Subaru- no heated seats, radio controls in different places, how it handled, how it just rode on the highways.  The 200 wasn’t a bad car, but it wasn’t the comfortable and known instance of my Subaru.

It dawned on me that comparing the cars was a lot like comparing Salesforce orgs.  There is always going to be things I love in one that may not be there in another- but with the beauty of the platform… they can be added there!  I’m not going to redo a 200 in leather to match my Outback, but I could add power of one to the objects in a new org to provide the same analytic advantages.  The continuing opportunity to learn how so many use and want to use Salesforce keeps me on my toes as a consultant and encourages me as a fan of the platform to see what else could be done.

It’s good to get out of the routine, to see things from another perspective and incorporate what you learn from it into your own work and life.  I’m excited to get to do this for our clients and just to have more experience to share with the community!

Posted by: eliz_beth | February 24, 2014

One Month In…

One month into being a Salesforce consultant and I couldn’t be happier!  It has been a change but a very welcome one.  If you’re thinking of going into consulting here’s my thoughts on it:

  1. If you’re not going solo, be sure the company you work for is one you really care about and respect.  Take time to learn about them, talk to mutual contacts, and see what the buzz is about them in the community. 
  2. Talk to different people in the company.  Do they know what their role is?  Do they have answers to your questions, if not, what is their response?  Are they engaged in your conversation?  Do you want to spend more time with them?  The last question can make a huge impact on a choice especially in a small company.  Keeping in mind who they present to you is representative of them.
  3. Do you like the challenge of multiple projects at once, encompassing all sorts of different levels of design and features?  It is never boring, that I can promise!

    That’s some initial thoughts – each situation is going to be different.  I am still adjusting in some ways but it’s more about growing into the differences and getting myself into a groove.  I have excellent coworkers, excellent management, and excellent customers. I’m being challenged to come up with new ideas and ways to make improvements to Salesforce orgs to help our customers succeed.  It’s an honor and I’m glad I chose this path!

Posted by: eliz_beth | January 20, 2014

In the beginning…

First I apologize for the long absence, but would like to invite you on my new journey- today I begin my newest Salesforce related adventure- life as a consultant! I start with Basati today as a Customer Success Manager. While I’ll post on various salesforce topics, I’ll try to put into words my experiences as a consultant- working the other side of the table so to speak. It is an experience I’ve been looking forward to participating in for a while and I appreciate Basati giving me this opportunity!

Why did I want to become a consultant? Here is a list of my reasons why, in no particular order:

1- I wanted to work with customers again
2- I wanted to create in Salesforce again
3- I wanted to be constantly facing new challenges
A- which would make me learn more
B- allow me to apply all that I have learned
C- would be anything but boring!
4- I wanted to work with a team who brought their own flavor and experiences to the table.
5- I do enjoy working from home!

The main reason I had held back from consulting before is typically it involved a great deal of travel. With the cloud being what it is and the savings by not traveling, clients can get more bag for their buck and the door is open to folks like myself who are not interested in heavy travel at this time. If you’re interested in becoming a consultant but don’t want to travel, trust me there are more and more options opening each day.

Do you have any questions about being a consultant you would like me to address or review in the coming months?

Posted by: eliz_beth | January 13, 2014

New year, new adventures…

Hello! Thank you to those who have been checking in here. After a few changes I will be back here to post on all things salesforce!

2014 is going to be an #awesome year! I hope you will join me on the ride!

Posted by: eliz_beth | November 20, 2012

That’s what friends are for…

Once upon a time, I pondered how to make a text field stand out on a screen- not using an image, or going with a visualforce page, or using code. Hey, if you don’t dream big, why bother?

I’d forgotten the conversation honestly, but my friend and fellow MVP Brad Gross had not. Today he has an excellent post on a very interesting hack to do just what I was wanting to do. As he notes, don’t get carried away with it and limit where you do use it. I love that it is such an out of the box idea and hack.

Another great example of the community sharing and helping each other to the betterment of all. He’s helped me, he’s shared the information with the community, I’m sharing here to direct you there– it’s the community circle of life. *queue Disney soundtrack*

Brad, I owe you a beer! Thanks for coming up with an interesting solution!

Posted by: eliz_beth | September 11, 2012

What all the cool kids will be playing next week at Dreamforce!

Preparation for Dreamforce 2012 is in full swing. All the kids in Salesforceland are checking their email for party invites, double checking their RSVPs, revising their agendas over and over again… with all this the regular social channels are all a buzz with the excitement.

Tonight I was looking over twitter when I saw some posts popping up about Dreamopoly from various Appirio employees which referenced a Top Secret URL.

Wait a minute… come on Appirio, first you’re the team to join, second you set the bar for the most awesome party (and hardest ticket to get) at Dreamforce, now you’re teasing us with a game with a top secret url?

So after a moment of pouting I decided I would figure out this top secret url. It wasn’t too hard :) so I shouldn’t have pouted! Appirio has created what will be THE game next week at Dreamforce! A great way to cross the line between physical (you get cards) and social (there’s a site and you need a twitter handle). You’re going to have to meet people to win. It is going to be a lot of fun! One of the cards to collect is socks– SOCKS! If you’re new to the community, Marc Benioff’s socks were quite the thing two years ago- the company who sold them had their site Benioff’d – everyone was hitting it trying to get some of the fancy striped socks!

So without making anyone else wait– you can check out the coolest game to hit Dreamforce since Chatter Bingo at DF10 right here at www.dreamopoly.com Check out a YouTube video explaining how the game will work as well.

Thanks to the awesome and creative gang at Appirio for creating such a cool fun event for everyone to participate in! It’s a great mix of many of the things that make Dreamforce great!

And thanks too, for the invite to the party of Dreamforce for figuring out the link. Now, to go finish my Chatter Me Maybe filk…

Posted by: eliz_beth | July 16, 2012

Thoughts when Registering for Dreamforce 2012

Because you ARE going to Dreamforce, right? It is the Salesforce event of the year and no where will you have a better opportunity to learn more about the options and tools available to you.

First- I want to state that I do not work for Salesforce. What follows is my opinion and understanding of how the process is set up currently, and what I recommend you do to ease your registration now and in the future.

If you have attended before and:

have access to the address equal to your username – you’re set. Follow along with the prompts, and be sure to reserve your hotel room and training.

do not have access to the address equal to your username The best suggestion I have for you is to follow the instructions for registering for the first time below. Salesforce has changed the policy where before you could modify your email address and username. They didn’t have to match either- so many have registered with a company address but changed the email address to something else they have access to or to a new address for a new job. When trying to register for Dreamforce, it is going to assume the username is also the correct address. If you have completed the registration process but find you can’t access the site or other problem, you can contact registration directly for assistance.

If you have never registered for Dreamforce before:

USE A PERSONAL EMAIL ADDRESS TO REGISTER! Create a free one from gmail or another provider if you need to. The key here is to register (and therefore set your username) with an address you will have access to independent of your employment. This will ensure if you do change jobs/companies/company changes names, you will retain your details and history in Dreamforce app. However, be cautious of your company’s policies regarding this type of use if they are paying for your attendance.

If you can, do register with a personal address of some sort- remember this is part of the information that will be shared when you badge is scanned so a special account may not be a bad idea, or utilize Gmail’s + option for easy filtering.

Why should I keep to a personal address?

Glad you asked. Basically the personal address for username will allow you to continue to interact in the Dreamforce org with the same history and access to various groups without taking additional steps to reestablish connections. As long as it is allowed, by Salesforce and/or your employer, use something that you can take from job to job and don’t lose your history in the app.

Any other registration tips?
1- DO IT ALREADY! :) If you’ve not registered, get on the ball and do so.

2- Reserve your hotel. Unless you must use corporate travel to book your hotel, check the prices and availability on the site. I have found the rooms to be at a much better discount than through our travel company. Depending on the numbers, show your boss how much you can save to help justify your trip as well. Note- when registration went live, if you skipped hotel selection, it was locked out. Now, if you skip or if you didn’t choose before, you can go back and add it in the app. If you have any further changes to make such as changing your hotel or test registration- you’ll need to contact them directly for assistance.

3- AGENDA BUILDER IS COMING!!! Soon it will be time to select sessions. This year there are more sessions than ever and more available times to attend them. Agenda builder is going to be busy but if you want in to one of the popular sessions, the earlier you have access to agenda builder, the better chance you have of getting in. There is always stand by seats, but why take chances?

4- The Dreamforce App is the place to be! To meet new friends before you set foot in San Francisco, to getting ideas about best practices and solutions to problems- the Dreamforce app can not be beat in my book. For myself, it has been worth the price of admission just having the access to the community. Also in the app will be announcements, chances to catch up with a vendor or partner, sharing of the various gathering.

If you have any questions, feel free to comment below (I’ll do my best) or refer to Dreamforce registration:

For more information, please contact Dreamforce Registration and Housing:
U.S./Canada: +1-866-855-3818
International: +1-650-226-0793
Email: registration@dreamforceSF.com

Posted by: eliz_beth | April 17, 2012

Why I’m going to Cloudforce

Next week I am heading to Cloudforce DC with fellow MVP and friend, Amber Neill. We’re taking the train (go green!) and of course made sure we’re on one with wi-fi available. Why are we taking the time to attend a one day event in our nation’s capital? And why would our employers encourage us?

1- Community. I know I say this a lot, but there is nothing better than the community spirit with Salesforce users. When you’re like me and the only person who understands the nuts and bolts of Salesforce in the office, the opportunity to talk shop with others is always welcome and beneficial.

2- Knowledge. I knew before they posted the sessions that I would be able to leave DC with new knowledge about Salesforce. Now that they have posted the sessions, my problem is trying to decide which to attend! Salesforce is committed to sharing the knowledge needed to utilize their systems. They want you to push the limits and find new ways to make the platform work for you to improve your business. In terms of coloring in the lines definition of thinking, Salesforce draws some dotted lines for you to get you started, then offers an eraser and cheers you on to move those lines wherever you want on the page.

3- Inspiration. I love hearing Marc Benioff speak. He is always inspiring and renews my spirit and enthusiasm for working on the platform. He will not be speaking at Cloudforce DC, that will be Vivek Kundra, EVP of Emerging Markets at Salesforce.com and former CIO of the United States. I’d looked forward to hearing him speak at Dreamforce last year but he was unable to attend. I’m certain it will be a great keynote, long as he refrains from #nextslide we’ll be tickled I think!

4- Connections. I get a ton of, well, spam emails pushing this product or that service for our Salesforce org. The Expo at a Cloudforce is a great way to connect with potential partners and vendors, get a face to face meeting with them to discuss their product and see if it will be a possible fit for your instance. It is also beneficial to hit the official Salesforce areas to see how you could expand your use of Salesforce, see a feature you may be considering turning on, or get ideas on how others use the platform.

5- Happy Hour. After a long day where you’ve learned a lot, a last opportunity to share what you’ve learned or just hang out with some interesting people is always welcome. Come join us at #CloudforceDCHH to wind down before heading home or back to your hotel!

I can’t wait to attend Cloudforce DC and hope you’ll be joining us! Cloudforce is free, so especially if you’re in the area, come on over and check it out!

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