I hear this question A LOT from people – “should I go to Dreamforce?”
Of course, my initial reaction is “uhhhh…yes!”, but there are some great reasons why I *do* go and why I *don’t* go. The reasoning for each person is absolutely different, but having some context to aid your decision is definitely a good thing. *smile*
Why DO I go?
#1 Networking and Camaraderie
Working with the Minnesota Developer Group, there are ~300 individuals that I can regularly network with for new ideas, approaches, and technologies, but we all have something in common: we’re all here and in a lot of the same circles. Being able to just strike up a conversation with a random person who happens to be hovering near a vendor booth you are eyeing has yielded some of the most worthwhile and contextually awesome conversations that I have ever had about Salesforce.
#2 Collaborative Learning
Apart from attending sessions, I had also volunteered recently at the MVP “Ask the Experts” booth. I very much enjoy helping others with questions, but at the same time very seldom do you help someone and NOT walk away learning something – technology, approaches, or use cases.
#3 Bluntly: Drinking the KoolAid!
As silly as it sounds, everyone needs some topping off. Upcoming products and features are excellent, but just the raw energy radiating from Moscone gets your brain engaged. For the most part, you are unplugged from “the day job” and can focus on expanding your toolset and honing your skills instead trying to balance that while racing to the next client issue.
Why DON’T I go?
#1 The parties
Yeah, there is a lot of nightlife and I always end up walking away with some hilarious story about “remember at Dreamforce when we…”, but me personally…I can’t stay out all night and still be sharp enough to enjoy the next day. It’s only a few days!
#2 “Seeing the sights”
If you try to catch a trip to Alcatraz or some other destination during the week – while awesome as it sounds, you will fail and regret both experiences. Save the sightseeing for the following weekend or just another time.
#3 To escape reality or wander aimlessly (not have a plan!)
Despite all of the glitz and glamour, I go to Dreamforce to learn and discover. My career and clients depend on my knowledge and ability to bring new and different solutions to common problems – if you don’t walk out each day learning something, you have wasted your time.
If you’re going – shoot me a tweet (@andyboettcher) and let me know, maybe I’ll see you at an interesting vendor booth….*smile*