How Dreamforce Changed Red Argyle

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Garry and Tom enjoying Dreamforce 2009

As we set our sights on the home stretch leading up to Dreamforce, we’ve blogged about How to Get Ready, What to Do, What Apps to Load on Your Phone, and How to Get the Most out of Dreamforce.  I was hoping to touch on how Red Argyle was changed a bit in this entry.

It’s hard to talk about how Red Argyle was changed by Dreamforce without talking about how I was changed first.  Leading up to 2009, I’d been to a lot of trade shows and events.

Then came Dreamforce.  I’ll never forget that first night.  First was the opening reception.  Reception was kind of a misnomer, more like opening “party”.  Free food, beer, expo floor open, tons of people, music… excitement!  About 20 minutes into the show I saw a Salesforce employee walking around and I remembered seeing him in a video.  I said hello and he struck up a conversation.

It was none other than Tom Wong, Dreamforce Chair at the time.  We talked for 15 minutes! I was amazed, he was interested in what I had to say!  An hour after that, I found myself at the Dreamforce Tweetup.  Another attendee actually hand made name tags for us all!  That night I made friends, most of whom are now among my closest.  That was also the night that I met Mike Gerholdt, who also blogged about it here.

Some major takeaways from that night:

  • Salesforce cares about people.  We’re not just “attendees”.  Prepare to be respected and heard.
  • People care about people.  There’s a lot of nice people in the world, and Dreamforce tends to bring many of them together.  Look for your future best friend at Dreamforce this year.
  • There was nothing unique about that night.  That story was my first night at Dreamforce in 2009.  Every day and night since, that magic has always been there, look for it.

Zooming out to consider what Dreamforce has changed in a company context, the honest truth is It’s debatable whether there would even be a Red Argyle if we had never attended.  Here’s a few reasons why:

  • The learning we had at Dreamforce, both technical and business gave us the gumption to start and run the company.
  • Networking introduced us to friends and mentors who’ve helped us along the way, not to mention some of our best clients.
  • Going to Dreamforce exposed Red Argyle to a global, vibrant, diverse ecosystem.  It challenged us to think bigger.  Had I never been to Dreamforce, our Salesforce experience and ambition would be limited to upstate New York.

On an operational level, doing business in the Salesforce ecosystem should be run on a 51 week fiscal year, with the 52nd being Dreamforce.  It is the event for the year for Red Argyle, and much of our effort is based on results from the previous year’s Dreamforce, or preparing for the next one.

I’ll close with one final thought.  If you go to Dreamforce, let yourself be changed.  Accept the challenge, and even seek it.  Find new friends, mentors, and people to help.  Be bold and set your sights high.  Let your imagination run wild.  When you return home, hold onto your changed self and see what kind of change you can bring within your company.  You might be surprised!

After all, they don’t call it Dreamforce for nothing!

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