I went to Dreamforce this year for the first time. Whoa. What an intense, intense thing that is. Its a thing. I would start my day at 7:30, walking out the hotel lobby and not end my day until 8,9 or midnight depending on my energy levels. People around me were clocking 15K to 20K+ steps on their fitbits. That's like seven to ten miles a day!! I had to ice my legs and feet at the end of the day. It was worth it. I cannot thank my client enough for sponsoring my trip, I made so many valuable connections, learned so many things, and just had fun!  Here's my list of things that I did to prepare, then my list of what I will differently next year:

  • Getting Ready:
    • Read Blogs: Read seasoned Dreamforcer's (MVP people) blogs about how to prepare.  Thank goodness for Cheryl Feldman's post about the appropriate bags to carry - that cross body bag suggestion was key for me. Kept business cards handy, along with the essentials, hand sanitizer, a back up charger for my phone, my wallet, and the phone itself. Especially since my hotel was about half mile from all the sessions and meetings, having what I needed before leaving for the day was key.  Be Prepared.
    • Bought Stuff: I worked hard to find what I like to call york pants, you know, the kind that look really nice and professional but you could do yoga in them - yoga + work = york. Or is it woga? Either way, this was the key to my personal happiness while at the conference - because I am more about function than form. "It" has to work first, then look pretty.  The pants I got were so wonderful, I should probably go back and buy a few back up pair. Be Comfortable.
    • Asked People: I texted and emailed and asked a lot of my friends and clients who'd been before me, what they recommend to do.  They gave me all sorts of information about how to navigate, what to do, what not to do, and each person's advice varied based on their perspective.  So although not all advice was implemented, I was glad for it because it made me adjust what my plan was at various times. Be Flexible.
  • Next Time:
    • Sessions: Next year I will focus on those sessions where I want to meet the presenters and be able to ask questions or say thanks to those in the community who helped me this year.  Since all sessions are recorded and made available, I won't stress myself out about getting to each one.  This was advice I was given, but did not heed at first, after the first day, I was like "That's why she said that (duh)".  It can be overwhelming to think that you are missing out on a session that's 7 blocks away - the logistics alone are stressful. But I am going to value the people over the content.
    • Expo & Zones: These are areas I should have spent more time in, especially the Dev Zone.  If you are someone who does work on the system or needs to design proper system architecture, then these are the areas to focus.  There is so much hands on learning in these areas and you can start to learn about new features and capabilities before they are officially announced, it jump starts your learning.  Also gives you a chance to ask experts in a way that you'd normally not get the chance ton and even better its face to face.  Plus this is where swag happens, so if you want *stuff* these areas are the places to be.

I will update as I remember things that stand out after a I've let my experiences soak in a little more.