Along with our CEO Justin, I recently attended two important events in the Salesforce Calendar for those in and around London – the Salesforce Partner Forum and the Salesforce London World Tour. These events are valuable to many attendees for many reasons, but here are my thoughts on why they’re both “must attend” entries in my annual calendar, and also some experiences from this year’s events.
The Partner Day
As an ISV Partner, we at MobileCaddy hugely value the Salesforce Partner Forum, and in fact, its “bang for buck” is so high I can’t recommend it enough for those selling into, and with, the Salesforce ecosystem. This year’s forum was once more held at The Brewery in Morgate, and as usual – for myself at least – it kicked off with the inhaling of some caffeine whilst catching up with friends and acquaintances from other ISVs and SIs.
It wasn’t long though until we were called through to the main hall for the morning’s keynote. This was full of some real feel-good numbers, especially relating to the continued opportunities for partners and the ongoing drive into certain target industries. I was delighted to see Neeracha Taychakhoonavudh – EVP Industries, Salesforce – on the stage again, we’re big fans of hers at MobileCaddy.
Another highlight for me of the keynote was to see the appearance of Salesforce Supermums in the form of an interview with Deborah Carlyle(sp?). I’ve met Deborah a few times at the local London Trailblazer Community groups, including the ever-educational and important Women in Tech meets. The Salesforce Supermums is an incredible program, and one that’s actively looking for experienced mentors for their courses, so if this could be you, get in touch!
Following the keynote, the day split into tracks, and our decision was to divide and conquer. I had been swift to claim the Developer track and made sure I took full advantage of all the great talks that were laid on for us. Highlights from this track, for me, were the open conversations that came up during the Q&A segment of a talk on the newly announced AppExchange Partner Intelligence and the enhanced analytics available to AppExchange partners. The questions were all answered in a very transparent and open-minded way, and show some wonderful potential in these areas. I was also pleased to catch the session on platform events, and how these can be used in modularising packages. This has definitely ignited fires within the MobileCaddy developer teams following my debrief to them after the event.
World Tour Admin/Dev Theater Speakers’ Dinner
For me, the Partner Day ended with mingling and chatting with various folk at an evening put on by Salesforce for those who were speaking the next day on the Admin and Developer theatre stages. Not only are events like these a good chance to chat to folk that I seldom see face-to-face due to geography, but it was also a great opportunity to meet some of the people that are usually just behind Twitter or Slack avatars. In this case I finally got to meet Melissa Shepard who I mostly knew from the Good Day Sir podcast slack community (and involvement with Ladies Be Architects). Oh, and if you’ve not heard of the Good Day Sir podcast then I highly recommend giving it a listen.
The Main Event
The next morning started early for me, and I was at the World Tour venue before 7:30 am; I don’t know if it was just excitement, or perhaps anxiety knowing that later that afternoon I’d be speaking for the first time in front of a World Tour audience. But despite being super-early it couldn’t have started better – I bumped straight into Will Turner – who I know from the London Trailblazer Community groups, and he had with him the “Forward-Looking Statement” t-shirt from Shirtforce; it’s always good to start the day with a friendly smile and hug.
I then headed up to the main expo hall in search of coffee to prep myself for the sessions that I wanted to catch during the morning, including “A morning with Lightning Champions”, and a session from Streetlink on “Using the Salesforce Platform to end Rough Sleeping”, the latter of which included a segment on their self-register community mobile application that was built on top of our MobileCaddy product. The plan was to take in these two sessions, and then head to the main keynote… but this was not to be. One of the amazing things about events like the World Tour is the chance to catch up with clients (current and future), partners, and friends, but this is a double-edged sword, and before I knew it my quick jaunt to grab a coffee had turned into a series of awesome conversations. When I finally looked at my watch I realised I’d missed both the sessions, and also that the doors to the keynote had already been closed.
I was far more strict with my afternoon’s agenda however, and caught several entertaining and educational sessions across both the Developer and Admin theatres – these are where I find I see the most valuable content, for me at least – and caught talks on (among others) building SFDX CLI plugins, Unit Tests, and leveraging base components and the Lightning playground to quickly prototype Lightning Web Components.
My agenda for the day included just two more sessions, mine on Debugging Lightning Web Components with Browser Tools, and one on getting involved with Trailblazer Community Groups hosted by Amanda Beard-Neilson and Claire Jones. During the latter, it was humbling to see just how active, welcoming, and generous the community groups are. It was also fantastic to be approached following the talk by a few people who wanted to know more about the Community conferences (they’d come to me as I was mentioned during the talk for my involvement with the London’s Calling event). If, dear reader, you’re not a member of a local Trailblazer Community group, or haven’t attended one of the community conferences then I urge you to correct this, they’re incredible opportunities and forums to learn, share, and network.
Debugging LWCs with Browser Dev Tools
And so to my talk, and as I mentioned this was my first at a World Tour, and though not unfamiliar with public speaking I’d been aware that all the sessions throughout the day on the expo theatres stages had been very well attended and were mostly subject to standing-room-only… anxiety was heightening and I was genuinely concerned that my talk’s abstract would only attract a handful of nerds. These fears were soon diminished (thankfully), and as soon as I’d be mic’d up I looked up to see a sea full of faces… phew!
The talk was based around how devs (and admins) can use the tools in the browser to improve the prototyping, communication, design, and debugging workflows when dealing with Lightning Web Components. I was using an example component from one of our up-and-coming products that focuses on the Manufacturing industry, so the talk content was truly on covering tips and tricks that we’ve been using internally when building out Lightning Web Components. Following the talk, I was truly flattered to be approached by several audience members who thanked me for the talk and wanted to ask some follow-up questions (which in turn went on to be conversations that went on for at least 20 minutes). A recording of my talk is here;
My day ended on the Appirio boat party, which was as fun as usual (thanks Appirio) and all in all it was another couple of brilliant days. In fact, my only regrets were missing the talks in the morning and not getting a chance to catch up with folk that I wanted to see… but I guess that these two things in themselves conflict with each other when merged with two days of jam-packed content.
These two dates really are a highlight of my Salesforce calendar and are certainly worth attending. The value to me, as a part of an ISV, is huge; the technical and business content on offer is extremely valuable, and this would ring true for SI partners also. And as for Salesforce customers and end-users, the Expo is choc-full of sources of useful information, whether in the form of sponsors’ booths or official Salesforce stands. I guess I’m saying the World Tour is an event that caters for a broad slice of the ecosystem, and should be in your calendars for next year.