Southeast Dreamin’ 2018– Event Write-up

The 3rd annual Southeast Dreamin’ event took place on March 15-16, 2018.  This is an event ran and organized by several Salesforce MVPs and active members of the Salesforce community in the Southeast region of the United States. Headed by Kristi Guzman, Southeast Dreamin’s main purpose is to provide learning and networking opportunities to attendees through Keynote speakers, user-led breakout sessions, and a fun scavenger hunt! It took place at the Buckhead Marriot in Atlanta, Georgia USA.

This was my first time going to this Southeast Dreamin’, and I was extremely impressed. I know that Salesforce tends to go all out with their larger events, and this wasn’t any different. The Buckhead Marriot conference space was large and accommodated all the attendees comfortably (I’d estimate around 200-300 attendees).

The Main Event

Keynotes: Southeast Dreamin’ hosted some high profile Salesforce employees to give keynote presentations. Eric Jacobson, VP Product Management @ Salesforce, and Molly Ford, Sr. Director of Global Equality Programs @ Salesforce, were the two main speakers for the event.

Eric started the day off by showing off some cool new features coming to Salesforce Lightning, and he got the crowd hyped. I’ve seen Eric speak at other Salesforce events before, and I really enjoy listening to his presentations because he knows how to read a room and knows exactly what people want. It also helps that his team works on a lot of upcoming  features that will make life easy for many Salesforce users. The most interesting upcoming feature that he demonstrated for us was ‘Lightning Layouts’ (final name pending). This is an enhancement on the current Page Layouts settings page in Lightning where it treats fields as Lightning components. It’s a neat feature that had many people cheering Eric on because it makes it easier to create dynamic page layouts. Instead of having page layouts with hundreds of fields, ‘Lightning Layouts’ can be configured to show different fields depending on core field input/selection, sparing further abuse to the scrolling button on your mouse and the eyes of your users. Ultimately, it provides for a cleaner interface and promotes better data quality (although you should still use Required fields and validation rules).

Molly’s speech was the final item on the list for Southeast Dreamin’, and it was a particularly inspiring keynote. As the Director of Global Equality Programs, she highlighted Salesforce commitment to ‘Ohana’. It showed many of Salesforce initiatives to promote inclusiveness and equality in the workplace and in society. I was moved by a short video shown during her speech where Salesforce employees part of marginalized minority groups talked about their struggles, the internal culture at Salesforce, and all that they are doing to help others. It was great to listen to Molly speak, and I felt proud of being part of such an inclusive community. As a Mexican-American, the Salesforce Ohana culture speaks to me because I strongly believe that it is through collective effort and activism that real progress can be made. This keynote was a great ending to Southeast Dreamin’.

There were two other smaller Developer and Pardot Keynotes going on at the same time.

 

Community-Led sessions:

There were over 20 different sessions, all led Salesforce MVPs and users. It was impossible to go to all of them, as 4 sessions were taking place at any given time. Some of the interesting ones were:

Learn Reports Through the NPSP Reports Workbook

Led by Amanda Styles, this session focused on important default reports that the Salesforce NonProfit Success Pack offers by default. They are intricate in nature, and can be easily customized by an admin to fully offer Non-Profit Management the data they need.

Spring Cleaning Your Salesforce Org

Led by Clint Buechler, this session was one I really wanted to attend because data clutter is an issue that faces almost every organization. Clint went over different ways and processes to remove junk from your org in order for it to operate more smoothly. Things to consider:

o   Identifying proper page layouts

o   Developing naming conventions

o   Remove Outdated fields

o   Create profiles and permissions sets

o   Schedule Data Backups

Lightning Rollout Reality

Led by Paul Blanchard, this session talked about certain facts to consider when transitioning to the Lightning experience. While most organizations would face little no performance repercussions to moving from Classic to Lightning, there are certain visual and functional aspects to consider, such as the navigation style of apps, reports and dashboards, and the new Files feature.

Salesforce Data Security for Junior Admins

Led by Ryan Reid, this gave a good overview of Organization-wide defaults, permission sets, profiles, and public groups. While this may seem elementary, I valued the fact that there were sessions like these because there were many Salesforce beginners attending the event.

Sorry To Interrupt: Troubleshooting and Debugging Lightning Component Issues

Led by Mike Topalovich, this was a session geared towards junior Salesforce developers showing popular and effective debugging methods, such as using your browser’s ‘Inspect’ option. Another great session for developers who had previous experience coding in different languages and are starting to develop in Salesforce.

Overall, session attendees seemed very intrigued and came out learning many new concepts from the breakout sessions. The fact that it was actual Salesforce users presenting was the best part for me. They ‘walked their talk’ and could empathize with certain pain points that other attendees might be facing, and could talk through real-world experience to answer questions.

Miscellaneous notes:

Southeast Dreamin’ 2018 was very well organized and left little to criticize. To help bring excitement to the event, the organizers published a Southeast Dreamin’ Scavenger hunt through the app ‘Scavify’. Attendees had to perform a variety of fun tasks, such as taking pictures next to partner booths and finding hidden items around the venue, and earned points when they completed the tasks. There was an active leaderboard that continuously updated throughout the day. At the end of Southeast Dreamin’, the top performers won cool prizes, such as Bose Speakers, Alexa Echo personal assistants, and a squid headdress!

Breakfast and Lunch were provided, and it did not disappoint! I was glad I didn’t have to go anywhere else to get food, considering the urban sprawl that is Atlanta.

One particularly annoying part of the Salesforce Dreamin’ was the lack of working Wi-Fi. There were many attendees that had to take conference calls but couldn’t due to the slow internet. Some of the users planned live demo’s and could not fully show features due to a faulty connection. I think this was a case of too much demand for way too little bandwidth. Hopefully this is resolved next year!

I’d like to thank Kristi Guzman, Amber Boaz, Kate Vickery, Chris Whitehead, Patrick Connelly, Phillip Southern, Chris Zullo, Stephanie Foerst, and any one else who was directly involved in planning.

Like any Salesforce event, there was a plethora of sponsors that also worked hard to make Southeast Dreamin’ a success, and I’d like to send them a huge thanks for their effort.

Closing Thoughts:

I had a great time at my first Southeast Dreamin’ event! The keynotes and breakout sessions gave me a lot of insight on new features and best practices. I had a good time meeting other Salesforce users, and I’m looking forward to attending the event again next year!!

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