Herding Cats

“Herding Cats for DF12”

This was the subject line of an email I recently received, and I couldn’t agree more. With a group of five attending (plus potentially a few more with keynote-only passes), the five sessions that I’m speaking in and obligations to meet up with people, there is a lot to coordinate for my Dreamforce trip this year. And I know that I’m not alone. So here are my Dreamforce 2012 tips to keep your sanity.

  • Calendar EVERYTHING My Google calendar for the week of September 16th looks like a rainbow exploded on it. I have all my meetings, sessions and social events color-coded. This gives me a clear understand of where my free time is to fit in any last minute events, as well as holding locations for all events. Which leads me to my next point…
  • Fill your schedule – Yes, it may seem overwhelming to have packed days, but that is why you are going (and don’t worry, there’s time at night to unwind). The best advice that I can offer is to fill your schedule & then miss a session if you must.
  • Know the power of your smartphone – If you don’t already, figure out how to use the map function. Know how to display both your work and personal calendars. Make sure you have the contact information for everyone that you’ll be traveling with. Download any relevant apps (for example, the Dreamforce one — not available yet, but look for it in a week or two). And while we are on the topic of smartphones…
  • Buy an external battery! I’m a huge fan of the NewTrent products, but there are tons of options out there & you most certainly don’t want your phone to die mid-day with no power supply in sight (especially if it has your whole schedule on there).
  • Comfortable shoes and a small bag – I know that people emphasize this one, but only because it is so important. I even wrote about it last year. The days at Dreamforce are long & you will want to be as comfortable as possible. This means comfy shoes, a light bag and layers of clothes.

Looks like 5 is my magic number for Dreamforce this year. Five people from my company. Five sessions to present in. Five tips to my readers for Dreamforce. Too bad it’s my sixth time going…

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4 Comments to “Herding Cats”

  1. These are awesome points. I need to grab an external battery for sure.

    My one asterisk – wear nice (comfortable) shoes. Only chefs, nurses & marathoners can get away with odd footwear.

  2. I agree with every single one of your five! I also believe in the importance of rolling with it. Yes, your calendar looks like a rainbow, but some of the magic at this conference is that you’ll get spontaneous opportunities that will conflict with even the most carefully worked plan. Being flexible will allow for unexpected #Awesomeness. That’s how I met you, for example! Thanks for the post!

    • Jen – Fair point. That’s what I was trying to allude to when I suggested filling your schedule & then missing things if you need to. Personally, I color-coded my must attend (as in, I’m presenting), can’t miss, social, meetings and other – hence the rainbow. But yes, the magic of Dreamforce often happens outside of sessions.

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