Friday, May 13, 2016

Midwest Dreamin’ 2016 – Will the Real Salesforce Please Stand Up?

Live Admin podcast MD15

Salesforce’s Admin Evangelists – Mike Gerholdt and Gillian Madill - yukkin’ it up for the Live Admin Podcast with Brian Kwong.


I didn’t really know what to expect when I walked in to my first Midwest Dreamin’ three years ago.

I was already familiar with (what I thought of as) the greater Salesforce ecosystem - via our local and suburban Salesforce User Group meetings, and of course, the Dreamforce hyper-mega-extrava-ganza in San Francisco. 

I’d also been to a couple of the Salesforce Chicago World Tour events, so I guess I was thinking Midwest Dreamin’ would have the same overall flavor. The usual recipe kicks off with a big keynote, then some vendors to visit, maybe some lasers (yeah, I’m a sucker for a good soundtrack and some lasers…blame the 80’s), and additional sessions about Salesforce features, new apps, etc…

And I had noticed a bonus - Midwest Dreamin’ would happen on a sunny day at Navy Pier, instead of the (literally) sole-crushing cement bastion of McCormick Place. Sounded inviting, so why not?

There were similarities. We were there to talk about, hear about, and continue to learn about all things Salesforce.

But the surprise was that it really was a completely different experience – in some very important ways. I came away from my first Midwest Dreamin’  transformed - my own personal investment in the Salesforce community was revitalized, and my perspective changed forever on what it means to be a part of it.

Why did it have that kind of impact on me?

Because Midwest Dreamin’ is a User Group Hosted Event. And that makes all the difference.

It means that even though Salesforce has a supportive presence there, the Users (with a capital “U”) are running this show. They’re making all the decisions about the event, curating the content of the breakout sessions, even asking the keynote speakers for specific content based on feedback in the user group meetings throughout the year. This is the no-BS zone of the of the Salesforce community – a place where I could ask real-world questions and have dialogues with other professionals that were working on the same problems I was. I heard directly from administrators and developers about the platform features they liked (and didn’t like), the apps they used, the partners they trusted, and everything in between.

Peter Coffee -SFDC VP for Strategic ResearchKeynote speaker Peter Coffee (Salesforce VP of Strategic Research) chats with Women in Tech. Peter is often voted “guy I’d most like to have a beer with while designing the future state of - everything”.

The networking is like nothing else. The environment and pace is conducive to deeper conversations, and gives us all the chance to really get to know each other.

The session content is lively and personal, and carefully thought out. After all, the session leaders know they are presenting to their peers in the industry, their clients – basically their neighbors - throughout the Midwest. Delivering quality content for the users is really the mission of all of the user groups, and this event is the pinnacle of that dedication.

Melissa VanDyke - @MVDSFDC


Chicago’s own Melissa VanDyke (apparently) receives inspiration from above, and warmly shares with her fellow administrators and business analysts.



Brent Downey - Admin Hero

Brent Downey takes a few moments off the session stage to answer specific questions.




Midwest Dreamin’ is where the our greater Salesforce ecosystem really gathers, looks each other in the eye, and connects.

The laser presence is minimal, but the memorable conversations, the learning, and the friendships I’ve made there have been the most lasting and personal of my career.

So don’t wait - make your plans to be there this July 21-22 . I’m confident you’ll be glad you did.

Brian Kwong -The Wizard

Gillian notices the Wizard Hat. Brian is pleased, but not distracted.