Dreamforce-2012Dreamforce, or the “Customer Company Revolution,” is Salesforce.com’s huge cloud computing conference, held Nov. 18-21 in San Francisco. Expect talks from Salesforce.com founder, chairman and CEO Marc Benioff, lectures from big-name executives like Marissa Mayer and Sheryl Sandberg, celebrity appearances by Deepak Chopra and Green Day, parties and of course, lots of sessions from Salesforce.com staff on how to improve your company’s ROI in the cloud, mobile, social media, customer service and sales.

Whether this is your first Dreamforce or the first one in years, its novel-length agenda and long list of corporate speakers may overwhelm you. Don’t let it, and follow the tips below to experience the best Dreamforce conference of your life.

  1. Don’t over plan. Yes, this is a tough one for type- A technologists.  However, if you really want to get the most out of DreamForce 2013 (DF13), your best bet is to not bury yourself too far into your schedule and checklists. You do that enough at home, right?  You’re going to be in San Francisco, so take time to see the big picture of what is happening around you at DF13, experience the atmosphere and enjoy the entertainment.  Let’s face it, irrespective of the subject you’re interested in or the trainings you “have” to take, it will be documented soon after DF13. If you must plan, be stingy with the time you are spending away from the whole experience.
  2. Grow your network.  DreamForce is the largest enterprise cloud computing event in the world.  As of the date this blog was written (Nov. 17), over 120,000 attendees are expected to attend this year.  It is the number one place to be if you are interested in meeting other enterprise customers, prospects and partners.  It is also an awesome opportunity to meet and speak to other like-minded entrepreneurs. One definite pit stop on your adventure to DF13 should be the “Mobile App Garage” to see the mobile apps that are coming out of the AppExchange ecosystem. Sweeten your networking appetite and join me at the App Bash on Wednesday evening at City View at Metreon Mall.  Before you know it, without much effort at all, you can easily make 20 or more connections during your DF13 experience.
  3. Attend keynote sessions. DF13 has an amazing line-up of inspiration and thought-provoking leadership talks for you to soak in. From Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to author and global wellness leader Deepak Chopra, you are sure to take home new ideas, discover fresh ways of thinking and learn more about the impact of technology on the world we live in.
  4. Know the lay of the land. When I attended Dreamforce last year, I found myself getting lost a lot and wasting precious time.  One saving grace was the DreamForce App. If you’re a first-timer or attending solo from your company, the Dreamforce App is a great place to meet people before you get to San Francisco. Perhaps you’ll meet someone who works for a company with a product you’re considering.  And because you are all about maximizing your entire DF13 experience, make plans to discuss the product or service at a specific time or use the app to look into sessions you’re interested in, instead of sitting at a booth waiting for someone to approach you.
  5. Socialize and have fun.  Green Day, Blondie and Salesforce.com Partner Parties: Need I say more?