Posted by: eliz_beth | August 15, 2014

Moving posts and comments in Chatter

I’ve had a couple of experiences where I needed to populate a group with information from a prior system into a new Salesforce org.  It’s not the most difficult thing to do but you do need to pay attention to details to do it right.  Recently I was presented with a question on how to move everything from one chatter group to another after the security was changed to allow customers in the group (which should not be open to customers).

So here are my steps for doing this if you ever come up against it in the wild-

1-      Get Group ID from Salesforce for old group and note it for later.

2-      Create new Group with correct permissions. Note ID.

3-      Open Dataloader. Click on “show all objects”

4-      Choose FeedItem

5-      Run export pulling all available fields and filter on the Group ID you want to export. This will pull all the original posts but not the comments.

6-      Take results from export, Replace the old Group ID with the new Group ID.

7-      Upload the new file. Be sure to save the success file. (If you run into problems, consolidate all success files when completed into one success file)  This file should be the original posts, with their create dates,

8-      Now you’re going to do comments. In Dataloader, choose FeedComments.

9-      Perform an export, selecting all the available fields and filtered by the Group ID.

10-   Open this sheet in excel. Open the success file from the prior step. You’ll need to do a vlookup to match the old post item ID with the new post ID. Once they are matched up, you can then upload them to the associated posts in the new group.

Note, vlookups can be tricky. If you’re not experienced with it or with excel much, I recommend only working on a few posts at a time until you’re comfortable with the process.

So, if the time comes and something similar happens in your org, or perhaps you’re bringing on another org and want to keep their group history, hopefully this will help you.  If you are dealing with files, it just adds another layer of complexity, but the same basic ideas apply.

Edited to add:

As Rhonda points out in the comments, you want to use the Dataloader for your extracts as it will give you the 18 character casesafe ID that is compatible with vlookup in excel. Vlookup is case insensitive and will assume 123abc is the same as 123ABC.  There’s ways to get the 18 character ID, but trust me, stick to dataloader for this task completely.

Posted by: eliz_beth | April 22, 2014

DAB : Food

Hello again!

One of the ways you can save money attending Dreamforce is taking advantage of all the food offered to you as part of your badge/registration. Note- this is based on past experiences which may or may not be the same for this year.  I’ll revisit this topic closer to the event as well.

Breakfast: At Dreamforce there is at least one morning (typically the Marc keynote) where you can pick up pastries and such for breakfast.  Consider breakfast offerings at your hotel as well, if you get a free breakfast with your room, take advantage of it.  At minimum, grab some fruit you can snack on later.  Check back later here and on the Dreamforce website for more details on breakfast offerings.

Lunch:  Lunch is provided every full day of Dreamforce.  Typically it is a boxed lunch of a salad or sandwich or wrap, with a side or two, dessert, and a canned drink.  Last year was a great change as they set it up so you could pick what you wanted from the different options rather than have to take a whole box where only one item was appealing.  There were Dreamforce lunch bags in your event bag (swag bag) to use each day to collect your lunch.  I really liked this new approach and hope it continues this year.  There are different locations at all the campuses to pick up and eat lunch, including taking advantage of the brilliant weather on Howard Street and Yerba Buena Gardens.  Don’t be too late for the lunch period because once it’s gone, it’s gone.  Hopefully it’ll be a bit smoother this year with the feedback of last year’s experience.

Dinner:  Technically Dreamforce does not provide dinner, but you can squeeze dinner out of the evening Expo hours where there are typically appetizers and the such provided.  I have seen everything offered- from a baseball themed night with park foods to beef wellington squares, and of course there’s usually options for beverages including free beer, wine, and usually a special drink created for Dreamforce.  Most of the after parties (parties hosted by various companies after hours) will have food as well, so consider checking out a partner and grab some dinner that way as well.

As for snacks- well, that’s harder to come by during the day.  You might find someone passing out mints or candy bars- but your best bet here is to bring your own.  Next post I’ll talk about some tips for not breaking the budget outside of what Dreamforce typically provides.  My first Dreamforce I returned home and turned in my expense report.  My manager called me into his office asking where the receipts were for food.  Between my hotel choice and eating at Dreamforce and going out to different parties and events- I had 3 meals expensed for the week: when I arrived in town, one evening when I needed a break from everything, and before I left town at the end of the week.

Will it completely save your budget? Nope, but every little bit can help if you’re attending Dreamforce on your own or working on reasons why they should send you to the best week ever for Salesforce users!

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: 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 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…

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