I presented today’s Red Argyle logistics meeting to prep our staff for Dreamforce. Tom and I have been to three, with Dreamforce 12 being our 4th Dreamforce. However, both of the staff that are attending are about to experience their first. We found ourselves going back to basics, and I thought “I should put this out there to help any first timers prepare for Dreamforce”.
1) Arrival Logistics – Get Them Sorted
What time should your flight arrive? What method of transportation are you taking? The BART Mission St. stop is in the neighborhood of the Dreamforce campus and costs under $15 to get there from SFO. A taxi will set you back about $40 to drop you off at your hotel. Do you know exactly the name, street address, and reservation number for you hotel? Have supporting documentation ready in case there’s any issues at the establishment.
2) Get your Badge as Early as Possible
Arriving early? Go pick up your badge. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself when you see the lines on Tuesday morning.
3) Get your Schedule on Paper
Wifi and Cell coverage are hit or miss with 50K+ people all sharing the same internet in a few block radius. I like to print out a 1 page cheat sheet and tuck it into my badge pocket so that if I can’t connect, I always know where I need to be next and when that is. Also check out the maps of the Dreamforce campus so you understand the proxmity of the different buildings.
4) Security, security, security.
This is a big one. People lose stuff ever year. I have a slightly OCD Ritual, I always keep the same items in the same places and check them every time I make a move, which is often during Dreamforce. Cell phone, wallet, laptop, chargers all in their correct places before walking away.
On your devices, password protect all of them. Put your name on them. Tape a business card to your laptop, on your phone, take a picture of your business card and make it your unlock screen background. If someone finds your locked phone, they know how to find you.
When walking around at night, be aware of your surroundings and buddy up. There’s plenty of like minded people about who will be happy to walk with you to keep everyone safe. San Francisco is a safe city, but you can never be too careful.
Dreamforce is pretty casual. Wear comfortable shoes that can handle long walk and a sudden monsoon. It rains often, hard, and unexpectedly in San Fraicisco. I always pack an umbrella or rain coat as well.
I’ve been to 3 Dreamforces and got sick at two. Take every precaution possible to avoid germs! Wash your hands zealously and use hand sanitizer before eating. It’s crazy, there’s 50,000 people to shake hands with, just be careful and hope for the best. Tom likes the homeopathic Oscillococcinum herb to help boost up his immune system. Again, you can never be too careful!
7) Pace Yourself
You can’t do it all. Do your best but don’t spread yourself too thin. You’ll be back and will have more chances to enjoy it 🙂 I also do something a little unconventional. Between around 4-6 every day I take a powernap/regroup time for myself. Go back to your room and sleep for 30-45 minutes. Your body will thank you and you’ll feel a lot better for the evening’s activities!
If you’re flying out, give yourself a TON of extra time. You should be leaving your hotel no less than 3 hours before your flight is scheduled to leave. Traffic is unknown and I’ve waited in line for over an hour in airport security. Also, check flight status often due to the erratic weather, I’ve had many changes. Best to stay on top of it.
Hope this is helpful and gives a little more insight and helps you be as prepared as possible for this year’s Dreamforce!
Garry (and Tom)