A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend my very first Forcelandia. This was the fifth year for the event, and it was also the first year it was sold out. I must admit, I was pretty pumped. Not only was this the first Salesforce-related conference I was attending, but I was excited to get a glimpse at the developer side of the Salesforce landscape. I may have played ACDC’s “Thunderstruck” a few times on the way down, you know, just to get in the mood.
Forcelandia is a conference that may appear intimidating at first glance to the new Salesforce admin, as it is mostly tailored to the developer. Having attended though, I can say I got tremendous value out of the experience as a newbie. Below are some of my takeaways:
Opening Keynote with Dan Appleman and Don Robbins
Forcelandia kicked off with a “Good Omens” themed keynote by Dan Appleman and Don Robbins, with Appleman portraying Crowley (the demon) and Robbins portraying Aziraphale (the angel) in the battle between good and evil in the Salesforce landscape. Considering festivities began at 8 in the morning, I thought it was a great way to get people’s attention, not to mention increase “Good Omens” viewership. For me, the best part of the keynote was when both Appleman and Robbins broke character to talk about their careers and entrances into Salesforce. It was in these moments that Robbins brought up something that stuck with me and continues to be a theme in my Salesforce career: don’t focus on your successes or failures to determine how well your doing, just keep going. It’s a comforting message, especially if you are where I am; furiously studying for your first certification and sometimes finding yourself overwhelmed by the robustness of Salesforce.
Salesforce Consultant Soft Skills with Rafael Hernandez
For those out there interested in a career in consulting, this was a great session. Rafael Hernandez gave an overview of his career journey, a perspective made unique because of his experience migrating from Mexico to America and still learning the language while orchestrating his breakthrough into the tech business. Hernandez emphasized the importance of putting the focus on soft skills; as an example, he discussed his own experiences interviewing engineers who would be considered top-notch in the technical skills department but lacking in the soft skills department. For Hernandez, it was the soft skills that ultimately won out in determining whether someone was compatible for a position. Additionally, Hernandez touched on some of the skills that will make any potential consultant successful, including curiosity, the ability to prototype, and getting out of your comfort zone.
One of the best takeaways for me happened at the very end. An audience member asked him “What is something you wish someone would have done for you as you adjusted to life in America and the American workforce?” Hernandez replied, “Just treat me the same as everyone else.”
Salesforce – Development Best Practices for Large Data Volume with Anshul Verma
I will admit, from a technical perspective, I did struggle to understand a portion of the sessions. Anshul Verma’s session on managing large data volume was probably the one I could follow the closest, and the one that gave me the most insight on the Salesforce infrastructure. In this session, Verma explained at what point record-count wise you should be concerned about how the data within your org is structured (around 5 -10 million records). He also went over both strategic and tactical suggestions of how you can manage your volume, as well as the role of data archival. I found this session most beneficial from where I am sitting; working for a startup, it is important to have the foresight to anticipate any challenges we may face managing our data and at what point data archival should be implemented (by the way, Verma indicated during the session that data archival is a strategic method for data management and should be implemented from the beginning, so yeah, I better get on that).
There was so much more I took away from Forcelandia and more that ruminated in my brain after I left. I got tons of opportunities to interface directly with session instructors and socialize with other admins and developers. At one point during lunch, I was even told by a fellow admin that I should not get up from the table until I open a Twitter account, which I did (thanks Kristen 😊). By the end of day 2, I was overwhelmed and excited. I wanted to go home and try all the flows, read more about declarative automation and figure out what the heck CPU time is.
Ultimately, I came away with much more knowledge in my arsenal than I had before, even if I don’t understand it all just yet. I plan to be back next year!
For more information on this year’s Forcelandia sessions and speakers, visit http://forcelandia.com/.