Last year was my first year attending Salesforce's annual Dreamforce conference. I've been to a lot of BIG conferences and tradeshows – E3 (in it's glory days), ComicCon, CES, and others. Taking over entire city blocks, every hotel in the city and multiple parties every night, nothing is quite like Dreamforce.
There were a few mistakes I made as a Dreamforce newbie that will be sure not to do this year:
- Lunch. Last year, I left the convention center to track down food. The first day I didn't realize that Salesforce brings in lunch, second day I just didn't time it right, but the third day I figured it out. Lunch is served in Moscone and most of the session hotels. The quality is good and it's convenient. Plus, you don't have to walk any where (see bullet #2). I'll be six and half months pregnant this time around; guarantee, I won't be missing lunch.
- Walking. The awesome thing about San Francisco is that you can pretty much walk anywhere. There's also BART and buses. I was smart enough to know that getting a cab would be nearly impossible, so I never planned on doing that. What I didn't account for was that walking anywhere near the convention center would take twice as long because of crowds. Plan to walk but plan for it to take longer than normal.
- Party Hopping. There are a lot of parties happening during Dreamforce. There are big ones and small ones and open bars and cash bars and DJs and live bands. Last year, I tried to attend them. This year, I'll be more selective and attend the parties where ReadyTalk's partners and customers will be hanging out. This will most definitely include the Cloud Connection Party that we are co-hosting with Astadia.
- Dinner Reservations. San Francisco has one of the best culinary scenes in the country. If you want to try any place trendy or popular within a four mile radius of Moscone, then you better get a reservation or be prepared for a wait. Have a group larger than 6? Plan on getting a couple of cabs and checking out places further out.
- Pack for Cool Nights. The weather in San Francisco in September is amazing. It's the time of year when the city finally gets it's version of summer. The days can be beautiful but the nights are still cool (remember, it's on the water), so don't forget to pack a sweater or jacket for the evening.
What am I forgetting?
If you'll be attending Dreamforce, stop by the ReadyTalk booth, #1429, and be sure to join us at the Cloud Connection Party.