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SurfForce – one kind of conference
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Martin Humpolec    

Last year I missed the very first SurfForce, but this year I made sure to attend. I even submitted an abstract and been selected. Ok, challenge accepted, let’s see.

The day before Jana asked me – when will you arrive tomorrow? And my answer was: I have no idea, no idea how big it’ll be and whether I’ll run away or have a great conversation with peers. The later was true, I stayed pretty late, but still missed the night pub crawl. 50 people around, just the perfect size to not be scared and still have plenty of people to talk to.

A Salesforce Community Event With a Twist

It really is a conference with a twist, I think it has – at least – four different parts and to my big surprise I enjoyed all of them.

Presentations

This was the primary reason I went there – to learn new things. The agenda was busy, at times even too much, not many presentations went really deep dive, mine included. Which is the reason that I still playing with the idea to organize really technical Salesforce conference in Czech Republic, will I have enough time next year to make it happen?

Inclusive community was a great keynote, playing on the note how important it is and what we can do to involve more women in IT. And not only women. I cannot agree more, at the same time have to think whether it is really important and whether it means that in all professions it has to be 50 : 50. I think we have this experience in Czech Republic and the memories aren’t great. I’m really happy that on most Salesforce events it is almost 50 : 50, passed the Equality Ally Strategies trailhead, happy to cooperate with Czechitas, but still – do we need to repeat it again and again?

Salesforce is serious with its 1:1:1 model and charities are included on most of its events. I’m still thinking how to include it in our user group as well, just need to think how to do it properly so it doesn’t put people off. At SurfForce we learnt about the importance of protecting the coasts, but you know – it doesn’t sound important as we have no ocean. At the same time this theme was the biggest highlight of the whole event.

Communities were the biggest theme at SurfForce. Sean Dukes had a great presentation about security and that you really have to know how to configure it. Lauren Touyet spoke about how communities, the whole Salesforce Ohana family with its Success Community and other sources, helped to change her career. Meighan Brodkey had a great presentation about community templates and I learnt quite a lot. How powerful the moderation can be, that you can help yourself with member criteria, that Partner Community app gives you extra components you can use in your partner community (it’s missing the knowledgebase components by default) and a few more. And I talked about things I learnt while implementing them – the most important message is, that it is super easy.

Agile methodology and DX by Chuck Liddell showed me that I really need to check Salesforce DX. I have the respective Trailhead on my todo list, but as I want to do it really properly I need to allocate to it more time. But it looks super powerful even for admins only, the possibilities to track your own changes and be able to easily return back in time, super quick tests and much more.

Penny Townsend was supposed to talk about project that went wrong; however, she had to cancel it. Paul Harris had similar talk and as I listened I realized the way to successful implementation can be pretty easy – just give your time to customer and really listen what they want. When you think you already know and rush to deliver, it can lead to failure. And I of course know this, it is just pretty hard at times.

Road to CTA from Matthew Morris was awesome talk and his presentation was way longer than allocated time – obvious reason why he failed at his exam 🙂 But great tips, how to structure your work even in your daily life, the benefits of being CTA and how much harder it is now as the platform continues to grow. Still not sure I want to tackle this exam as I don’t see the potential, but I’m probably really wrong. Just wonder whether being CTA means they would pass every Salesforce certification at 100 % 🙂

The day was incredibly busy with a lot of talks – and I hope presentations will be provided – as well as small talks, networking and evening chat at a bar. And the chat during dinner was even better.

Give back time

Yeah, protecting coasts, cleaning beaches, rubbish everywhere – we all heard about those huge „islands“ of rubbish in oceans which aren’t really islands, just places with close to no marine life. Looks like in Ireland they take it pretty seriously with cleaning group every 6km and meeting quite often. I thought – the chitchat opportunity, no real problem.

Oh man how wrong I was.

On Saturday we went to the beach and did a cleaning. Got a rubbish bags and gloves and off we went. 25 of us, small part of beach – about 50 x 100m. They cleaned it the week before, so it was obvious, it’ll be pretty clean.

I was right, at first. Small piece of plastic here and there, when I found my first bottle I’ve been pretty excited. About 30 minutes later and we had 20 big bags full. Terrible and really serious problem. Plastics, wires, bottles, shoes, you name it, we found it.

Surfing

I didn’t have time to learn surfing while we’ve been to Australia, great to have the chance now. It isn’t rocket science, just wait for the wave, paddle for a while to catch it and jump on board. I’m in pretty good shape, should be easy.

50 minutes later I was exhausted. I caught about 4 nice waves, never jumped on board but still enjoyed it tremendously. Need to repeat it soon, maybe we’ll skip winter holiday in Austria and will fly to Australia 🙂

People

Of course – people, the main part of this great conference. Around 50 of them including speakers, sponsors and organizers. I didn’t spend much time speaking with them, introvert, you know. But I had a great talk with a few of them, learnt from them about great applications – TaskFeed, Distribution Engine (just need something like this for client of mine) and NewVoiceMedia (it should work nicely on mobile as well).

Met people who have one or two certifications and are extremely proud about it, those who are Trailhead addicts as I’m, as well as those who have about every certification from Salesforce which exist, doesn’t do Trailhead and isn’t on Twitter. Each of them completely different, with each of them great talk not just about Salesforce.

Thank you guys, this was definitely one of the very important part of this conference to me.

Next year?

I plan to be back. Been surprised how many community talks there were this year, so I need to learn something about Einstein, which was completely missing. Have to find more time for surfing.

And what about you?



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Oct 03, 2017
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