A Newbie’s Guide to Dreamforce. Hint: You Can Go For Free. And You Will Learn a Ton.
Next week is the largest SaaS event on Planet Earth: Salesforce’s Dreamforce. (The SaaStr Annual ’17 will be #2). I’ve been going since 2005, from ’06-’11 as a vendor, and ’12-today as a participant / speaker / etc. I went first in ’05, when I knew nothing about SaaS. Back then, I think it just took up part of Moscone West. But even then … it was eye opening.
Bottom line: if you are in the Bay Area, you need to go. At least for one day. (If you aren’t in the Bay Area, you may need to go too, but I’m assuming it’s too late).
First: get a free Expo+ pass. You can get one here. This will get you into a lot of good stuff. Go to the Cloud Expo, where the vendors are. Just see how they do it. Learn from there. Learn about field marketing. Learn how they market and present themselves. See how it’s done. Then, go to at least one keynote (it’s free, again). This will help you understand how SaaS looks, feels and acts at Scale.
With a free pass you still get access to:
- Test drive thousands of customer success solutions and partners at the Cloud Expo.
- Dive deep into Salesforce with select product and solution keynotes.
- Relax, have fun, and give back at the Dreampark.
- Create positive change at the Day of Compassion Keynote.
- Join the conversation at the Women and Equality Keynote
The paid passes are sold out, and that means a lot of the more detailed sessions you can’t get into, including a lot of the start-up and dev focuses sessions. But it’s OK. The free Expo+ pass is plenty to learn from. Especially if you haven’t been before. Plenty.
Second: meet people. This is chaotic at Dreamforce, with 1X0,000+ people there … but my favorite part. Hang out at the “Dreampark” and the spaces between Moscone North and South. You’ll meet people. It won’t be as structured or as easy as a smaller event, but it will still be great. Try to go to a party or two. Most are private, but a surprising number of them are open. Attend. Meet people. Learn.
I actually just bump into a lot of people on the streets. Dreamforce shuts down a big chunk of San Francisco. It’s super fun to jump bump into SaaS folks I haven’t seen in a year or two. Because they are all there.
Learn about Salesforce Itself. Because it’s the Big Fish, the #1 player in SaaS. Yes, I know you think you know about Salesforce. But you don’t. Watch and learn how the #1 SaaS company on the planet operates. How they market themselves. How they do Customer Success and customer happiness. Take notes. And. Copy at least 3 things you like that they do. Bring those 3 things back to your company.
I’ll be there all days, and doing 14 start-up interviews on Friday morning in Moscone West with Salesforce-for-Startups. So that’s one place to find me.
You gotta do it.
And then. Decompress. And get ready for 10,000 founders, VCs and VPs at the ’17 SaaStrAnnual.com Feb 7-9th. It will be just as big, for the founder community at least.