After a gap of a year (family friends getting married on the same day as the event in 2017 — how inconsiderate) the 2018 Salesforce Tour London couldn’t come round soon enough. I’d been cut loose from booth duty this year so was able to volunteer for a few more activities, starting with Meet the MVPs in the Community Campfire. Once I’d completed this, it was straight over to the Developer Theatre to present a two-handed talk on Lightning Components with my colleague Chris Bacon. Even at 9:30am the numbers for the Admin and Developer theatre were huge.
It was great to see so many graduates from the Speaker Academy program that Jodi Wagner and I run talking in the theatres. The flip side is that it’s now more difficult to get my talks accepted, but that’s a champagne problem for sure.
Next up was the keynote, starting with the pre-show featuring Gemma Emmett receiving the coveted golden hoodie from Andy Lawson for her sterling work encouraging more women down the Salesforce architect certification path.
In the continuing story of Trailhead taking over the world, the Ulster Bank customer success story feature in the keynote was accompanied by a Trailmix, which I was pleased to see that I’d already completed! The second main feature of the keynote was the incredible story of ASTRiiD. This is a non-profit connecting people with long term health problems to employers, which feels like an excellent fit in the Salesforce ecosystem. Many companies experience short term pinch points during projects and the ability to scale up for a couple of months can really make a difference. The founder of ASTRiiD, David Shutts, was unable to attend the event, and sadly passed away a week later, but hopefully he was able to watch a livestream of the keynote to see how many much he’d inspired the Salesforce community with his work.
After the keynote it was back to the Community Campfire for me, to be part of the Salesforce Careers for Students panel. This is a topic that is very dear to my heart, given how difficult it is to find talented Salesforce admins and developers — if hunting won’t solve the problem then we need to start farming.
According to the official figures, there were around 12,000 registered, and judging by how difficult it was to get around the Expo Hall after the keynote, it felt like that many and more had turned up on the day. Even though it was a beautiful day, it didn’t look like many people had sloped off for the afternoon in spite of the temptation — if anything more people showed up.
One area that has changed quite a bit over the years is training. Back in the days of when it was hosted at the Royal Festival Hall, the focus was very much on sales whereas this year there were over 200 sessions to learn about pretty much anything Salesforce, and again these were packed out regardless of whether they were full-fledged breakouts or community led talks. As usual at a Salesforce event there were prizes to be had for earning Trailhead badges — I’m not sure how many Rob Cowell earned, but I’d imagine it was a lot:
The next item on the agenda for me as another Community Campfire session, this time a deep dive on Developer Groups with my fellow co-organiser of the London Salesforce Developers, Anup ☁ Jadhav. Once we’d finished there we bumped into another co-organiser, Jodi Wagner and decided that we had to get our picture taken with a virtual mascot:
This concluded the sessions part of the day, so I took advantage of the free time to watch the Dreampitch. I’m not part of a startup company and it’s unlikely now that I will be again, but I find these types of competitions really interesting. Not just from the perspective of hearing the pitches and maybe seeing the next killer app in it’s formative stages, but also to watch how the judges extract information from the presenters through well thought out questions — that’s a real learning opportunity in my book.
Reception and the BrightGen After Party
After the Dreampitch finished it was time for the cocktail reception in the expo. While feet might be flagging, this is a great time to catch up with customers and old friends from the community, and to make some new friends who have just joined the Ohana. While the closing of the reception marks the end of the day at The Excel, it’s just the beginning of the after parties. BrightGen hosted at the Piano Works in Faringdon, where we saw a great turnout from prospects, customers and our many contacts at Salesforce. There was also one special guest that you might recognise from the keynote pre-show:
Yes that’s me and LT Smooth sharing a moment — he’s clearly funny as well as a very talented musician and a thoroughly nice bloke.
Looking forward to 2019
The 2018 Salesforce tour was another extremely successful event, and I can’t wait to see what new features are added in 2019 — if you didn’t make it this year then make sure it’s inked in your calendar. It’s just a shame it’s nearly 12 months away.
I’m better known in the Salesforce community as Bob Buzzard — Umpteen Certifications, including Technical Architect, 6 x MVP and CTO of BrightGen, a Platinum Cloud Alliance Partner in the United Kingdom who are hiring.
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You can find my (usually) more technical thoughts at the Bob Buzzard Blog