Hidden Dreamforce: Tips for Dreamforce 2012 You Won’t See Anywhere Else

Event Marketing


There are lots of guides to Dreamforce. And I mean lots of them. To start, salesforce.com does a great job compiling lists of sessions for different tracks, industries, and other themes. These are a great way to get started, especially when picking your agenda.  Other guides I’ve seen include:

And there are plenty more.

That said, most give advice that would be relevant regardless of the conference. And the ones that do get more specific tell you about the same restaurants you will find on OpenTable or Yelp anyway. I’m not saying they are not valuable, but probably only to a first-timer. The best I’ve seen is Appirio’s 10 Things Not to Do at Dreamforce, which helps you avoid wasting time on things that aren’t going to yield the best return of your time at Dreamforce.

So, what do I think belongs in a Dreamforce Guide? Glad you asked:

Cool Things To Do (Other Than Parties) & Other Stuff You Need To Know:

  • Choose The Dreamforce Music – This is a killer collaboration between Spotify, Heroku, and Facebook. The only thing I wish is that we could vote items down, because if I have to hear the Someone I Used to Know song again I may jump off a building (and it’s currently #8 on the list).
  • You can screen-print a cool salesforce.com related image on a t-shirt at the User Experience Area in the Dreamforce Developer Zone. Get here early before this runs out.
  • Focus your session time on people that would be hard to see otherwise. To help, I’ve compiled a list of the Famous Marketers at Dreamforce. If you aren’t in marketing, I suggest trying to find the big names from your industry that will be at the show.
  • Get to the keynote early. And if you can’t get to the keynote early, watch it from a viewing party (Marketo’s having one with our customers, though there are some other public ones) instead of being in an overflow room or standing in Howard Street.
  • What should you do if you get to your session and find out it’s too full and you can’t get in?  I suggest heading to the LAM Theater (formerly Novellus Theater). It’s centrally located, has the best sessions, and is really large so you likely won’t have any trouble getting in. We’re doing two sessions in this room where will be giving away gifts and have big names (like Brian Clark of Copyblogger) in our sessions.
  • FirstRain is cracking me up this year with their S**T that Dreamforcers Say and Letters to Marc Benioff.  Check it out.
  • Have some fun on Howard Street and Moscone South – Rumor has it there will be a putting green and I’m sure there will be a cool Graffiti Wall (I’m sure since we’re doing it). Also, check out the great music line up.
  • Did you see the amazing Appirio Server Ninja game? It’s so much fun (like Fruit Ninjas but ‘SaaSier’.)
  • Wonder where people get their cool salesforce.com clothes and bags? Check out the bookstore in the Lobby of Moscone South. It’s easily missed if you enter the Keynote from the North side.
  • DesksNear.me will be providing a big space with free coffee, power outlets, desks and much more from 7:30am – 5:30pm Sept 18-21 at Desks Near Me Hosted Coffee Shop @ 678 Folsom St.
  • You should download the following to your phone BEFORE Dreamforce: Dreamforce App, Mobile Party App, Dreamopoly, Partyforce
  • Block time on your calendar now to support volunteer activities. I suggest skipping a session (they’re all recorded and posted on Youtube after the event anyway) to help one of many great causes.
  • You can pick up your badge on Monday. Though I can’t figure out if it’s at Moscone West, North & Hilton Union Square 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM (North) OR if it’s just at North from 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM. I know sponsors can get theirs starting at 8am, but don’t know if everyone can get them this early. Regardless, I’m positive you’re good to go after 2 PM if you show up at Moscone North.
  • After you get your badge, pick up your Dreamforce bag. Now head to a quiet place and go through it. Every year I look through it after the event and wish I had done it sooner. Often there are coupons for prizes or other treats you need to redeem on site.   Also, here you will likely find the line-up for the partner sessions inside the Cloud Expo. These are under promoted sessions can often have great content so I always check out this list first thing.
  • Enter the contests. Seriously. Most of the companies exhibiting at Dreamforce will scan a few hundred to a few thousand people at Dreamforce. With prizes like cars, trips, and cash, your odds end up pretty good. Worried the contests are rigged? I can tell you that at Marketo we have to clear everything by our legal team, which means we follow contest rules 100%. I think most others do too. This means good odds for some pretty amazing prizes.
  • Checkout Salesforce Trivia Live. Note: They just filled all the seats, so you can’t be a contestant any longer, but it’s still fun to watch.
  • Get your photo taken at the Community Meetup Lounge in the Atrium of the Marriott. There will be a professional photographer from 1-4pm on Wednesday and Thursday. Here is the rest of the Community Meetup Lounge Schedule:

The Parties & Other Hot Events:

Okay, so you know to wear comfy shoes and to go hang out somewhere other than your hotel room, but some super critical tips everyone forgets to mention are:

  • WEAR YOUR BADGE AND BRING ID. Oh, and make sure they match. I watched dozens of people get turned away from parties because of this last year.
  • Register for the parties prior to the day of the event. Many parties get filled or shut down registration. Others have a line just for those that register. If you want a chance at getting in, either know someone or have a pre-reg pass to get in.
  • Go to one of the parties at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Why? It’s going to be shutting down for 3 years, so now may be your final chance.
  • VIP is the way to go with events. How do you get on a VIP list? Well, first reach out to any of the companies you purchase from that are sponsors of the event and see if they are hosting VIP portions at their events. Then look for chances to win attendance. We have a page set up where you can apply to win access to our VIP event – Speakeasy VIP party. Why VIP? It varies per event, but often means you won’t be waiting in line, ample seating, higher end alcohol, short bar lines, and upgraded food.

There are a bunch of lists for Dreamforce Parties. Here are some I’ve stumbled across:

Did I miss anything? Did this help? Let’s continue the share of all the inside secrets to Dreamforce. Would love ideas and comments below.