Going to Dreamforce 2016 in San Francisco?
The key ingredient to a successful Dreamforce comes down to planning, and what you want to get out of the week from a networking, product and vendor knowledge perspective. While Dreamforce may appear to some a week of parties (And there are plenty to be sure), personal experience has shown that doors opened and relationships forged make the post-Dreamforce recovery well worth the effort.
In our third year of representing FinancialForce Australia/New Zealand at Dreamforce here are some hand-picked tips from colleagues and personal experience:
- APAC on Tour
As a Salesforce customer, partner or employee, APAC on Tour is the ideal way to connect with like-minded Dreamforce attendees from APAC, with a very strong contingent from Australia/New Zealand. Unless you have access to a Time Turner or a Tardis you may not get to all the sessions you want, so plan your time wisely around the keynotes and other sessions during the day and the multiple networking evening events. You will have access to the exclusive APAC on Tour welcome reception and the APAC on Tour Club Lounge (Free WiFi and refreshments) opposite Moscone Center. For more information log into the Salesforce Success Community and check out the groups “Dreamforce APAC on Tour” and “ANZ Attendees at Dreamforce” for details.
With the Dreamforce 2016 official opening on Tuesday 4th October, a good way to start the week on Monday evening is at the Cloud Crowd event. Check out ANZ Attendees at Dreamforce for upcoming details.
- Getting there & accommodation
Allow additional time/cost getting to/from the conference zone as transport will be at a premium, as will costs with your typical Uber charges being at surge rates for most of the conference week. If you have not yet booked your flights then get on it soon. While the seats on the Qantas Sydney-San Francisco official Aussie Dreamflight are full, if you post on Dreamforce APAC on Tour in the Salesforce Success Community someone is bound to be able to help you out. As part of the Salesforce registration process you can get access to accommodation. Be aware that with over 100,000 people descending on San Francisco, accommodation will be at a premium with some hotel availability being not particularly close to the action. Most hotels may already be booked out by Salesforce and other forward planners, but when we last checked there was still reasonably priced accommodation on VRBO and AIRBNB within walking distance of Moscone Center. If the city is all booked up, check out these 4 awesome Bay Area spots to consider that are convenient to commute from.
- Mobile phone calls, data plans & PokemonGO!
Don’t be like the poor Japanese Olympic athlete in Rio faced with a hefty mobile phone bill after chasing Pokemon. Get on to your mobile plan provider’s US Travel Pack before you travel – for calls, data and, once there, get onto WiFi zones wherever possible at your hotel, the conference center, ERPcentral and of course the APAC on Tour Club Lounge. If your provider’s data plan is not up to the challenge or your need to chase Pokemon (Or indeed keep connected/working while away from WiFi zones), then you can check out some of the US Cell Network providers for pre-paid SIM call/data plans. AT&T and T-Mobile have stores opposite each other a short walk from Moscone Center on the corner of Market & 3rd Streets.
- Travel Money, credit cards and exchange rates
To make your Aussie and Kiwi dollars stretch further the two best tips I’ve learned are to use an FX Fee Free credit card such as 28Degrees Mastercard and/or a Travel Money Card from your Bank or the Post Office. Be careful with your credit cards usage though. Having had my credit card scammed for $4k on a previous trip to San Francisco I am now a big fan of using a Travel Money Card and ATMs.
- What about a Flat White, Latte or Cappuccino?
Worried you may not be able to keep up your caffeine intake with a Flat White, Latte or Cappuccino while in town? Fear not fellow Antipodean, only a short walk from Moscone Center at 66 Mint Plaza (Corner of Jessie & Mint Plaza), the baristas at Blue Bottle Cafe know how to make an antipodean Flat White, Latte or Cappuccino. The best tip for early risers is to get there just before it opens. The queues and wait time can be long, but for a coffee like at home it is worth the wait. Tell them Trevor from Sydney sent you.
- Things to see and do on either side of Dreamforce
If you’ve been able to wrangle an extra day or two on either side of the Dreamforce conference there are a ton of sightseeing opportunities in San Francisco. Top on many people’s lists are cycle tours and cycle hire, Alcatraz, Fishermans Wharf, the Cable Car and of course the Golden Gate Bridge. Don’t forget Chinatown or Russian Hill with Lombard Street (The “Crookedest” street).
If you’re happy to go farther afield and have a full day available then maybe a wine tour to Napa Valley, Sonoma, a trip to Muir Woods or down to Monterey. Even though the Hayne Plane is no longer a contender perhaps even catch the 49ers playing Dallas Cowboys on Sunday 2nd October. You can find tickets on VividSeats or StubHub.
- Berocca & Tim Tams
Over the past few Dreamforce trips a colleague/friend has been heard to say “Leave your liver in a jar at home” and “The only reason Aussies & Kiwi’s are still alive is due to Berocca”. All joking aside, there will be plenty of Salesforce, Partner and Vendor parties throughout the week, so apart from packing our Berocca, a great piece of advice when it comes to flying the ANZAC flag would have to be “Don’t be that guy/girl.” Pace yourself, hydrate and try to eat healthy(ish).
Our North American cousins are wise to us on the Aussie staple of salted axle grease (aka Vegemite, or Marmite for the Kiwi’s), and while it may seem like taking Coals to Newcastle, a recent hit with some of my US colleagues are Tim Tams. They do appear to have the plain milk chocolate type available so far at some places in the US, so the flavoured ones such as the Zumbo Coconut Cream are a big hit. Maybe trade them for Milk Duds?
See you in San Francisco at Dreamforce 2016! Check out more FinancialForce blog posts on Dreamforce 2016.