No Dreamforce Wrap-up From Me
If you've been reading my blog for a while, you might have noticed that I didn't publish a post-TDX wrap up, nor anything in particular about Midwest Dreamin. And I'm not going to write a Dreamforce '23 wrap up either. Why?
It's Been Done
For starters, there's more than enough other content already out there on LinkedIn, the social media site formerly known as Twitter, the Trailblazer Community, Ohana Slack, and probably more. With the activity of some social posters you can practically experience Dreamforce in realtime, if you want to. By the time I would write something up it's practically stale!
And I am happy to encourage you to read some of the other excellent Salesforce blogs out there, many (or most) of which did have a wrap up. So I don't think you really need one from me.
Also—spoiler alert!—the content at Dreamforce is mostly marketing. [I hope this isn't coming as a great shock to you. If it is: You're welcome.]
I actually don't mean that as any sort of complaint. Really. Salesforce spends millions of dollars on Dreamforce and the purpose of the conference, from their perspective (as I interpret it) is to sell product.
It's a fun conference, incredibly well produced (think Disney level of attention to visual detail, but for a tech conference), with free access to a concert from a headline band (this year: Foo Fighters, my first time: U2), and interesting to experience. But the keynotes and the Salesforce-generated content are a chance for the company to make announcements about shiny new things and to generate interest and hype that will get good press and eventually result in profits. No more, no less.
The nonprofit keynote had a surprise visit from Sprinty the T-Rex, and that was pretty cool.
But it's hardly groundbreaking new announcements of features or products. And the actual "announcements" in the nonprofit keynote (to the extent that I paid attention) were all "AI blah blah" and "GPT blah blah." Nothing that we're going to be using for a while. (I'll write about that stuff when it seems actually relevant.)
Before COVID, when Dreamforce attendance topped 150,000 (not a typo!), there were thousands of sessions presented by community members (like me), so there was a massive amount of learning and technical content available. In the post-COVID incarnation of Dreamforce attendance is lower and the number of presentations from outside Salesforce has also been reduced. It's hard to say if it's a proportional reduction, honestly. But if you're really looking for technical learning, you can get it at dozens of Dreamin events for less cost, so I would argue that Dreamforce is just a different thing.
That's not to say you can't learn a lot of technical content at Dreamforce. You definitely can. You just have to learn to read between the lines of the session titles and abstracts.
Tons of Networking
So if Dreamforce isn't for the technical content, why did I spend the money on airfare and hotels?
I actually didn't think I was going to bother until the Trailblazer Community Team decided to have a Salesforce MVP Hall of Fame induction ceremony and an all-day conference for MVPs. How could I pass that up?
For me the event is about the networking. I saw and met tons of people. As an introvert, it's an amazing opportunity to sit down and go deep so that we really bond. (It's also incredibly overwhelming as an introvert, but that's a topic for a whole blog post sometime.)
But it doesn't feel like a Dreamforce wrap-up about all the networking I did would be that interesting...
If you weren't there, do you care?
Which brings me to my main feeling about Dreamforce recap blog posts: Do people care? If you were there, you don't really need the post. And if you weren't there, am I just lording over you that I was?
If you read this post and all the other Dreamforce content and wondered whether you were missing out, I'll leave you with this bit of advice: Dreamforce is something to experience at least once. It doesn't have to be next year and it doesn't necessarily have to be a regular thing.
In fact, I wouldn't even put it first on your list:
TrailblazerDX (or TDX) has a lot more opportunities for technical learning and is focused on developers and admins. And it's also run by Salesforce, so you get a lot of the Dreamforce magic, but with fewer crowds.
Dreamin events are far cheaper and easier to get to. Content is much more focused on admins and job seekers. You could probably attend three Dreamins for the same cost as going to Dreamforce.
Local User Group Meetings - These are, by definition, local and they're also free. Go meet other professionals in your area!
If you're involved in the ecosystem I would recommend you try out Dreamforce sometime just to say you have. But see if you can get an employer to pay for the airfare and hotels.