Time to pull out your suitcases. The countdown is on; Dreamforce 2012 kicks off in less than a week! As a nine year veteran to the conference, this isn't my first rodeo, so I thought I’d share some packing tips I’ve picked up from my time at the big show.
Tip #1 – Comfortable shoes. I know it seems obvious, but it can’t be emphasized enough. This year’s show is the largest ever. Sessions are spread out over several city blocks and your hotel may be farther away from the action than in year's past. Even with the addition of a shuttle service, you will be doing a lot of walking. Or maybe you're working at the Partner Expo and spending hours on your feet greeting potential customers. Trust me, they'll remember your happy demeanor much longer than that fancy pair of heels. And you better believe, I'm planning on flats for rockin' with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. If you end up with a blister, stop by the ReadyTalk booth (#1429) for a first aide kit.
Tip #2 – Aspirin. Speaking of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, you will most likely find yourself enjoying a few late night parties while at Dreamforce. I have both witnessed, and experienced, one too many heavy pours at these events. Don't regret that awesome night out by being unprepared the next morning. Also, if you fail to heed Tip #1 you'll need some relief for those aching feet. Seriously, don't leave this one to chance, pack some aspirin. Forgot the aspirin? The ReadyTalk first aide kit includes aspirin (booth #1429).
Tip #3 – Umbrella. I know it can take up valuable space in your bag, but if it rains, you will be very happy to have it. I've seen all kinds of weather at Dreamforce and rain can really put a damper on your day, pun intended. Maybe it's me, but it seems that taxis suddenly disappear and my hotel moves another mile from Moscone when it's raining. And it's no fun sitting in a breakout session dripping all over your neighbors. If you do skip this, I know several hotels have a limited supply of umbrellas that you can borrow if needed. The ReadyTalk first aide kit does not include an umbrella.
Tip #4 – Extra room in your suitcase. It took me a couple of years to get onboard with this one. I'm not a fan of the checked bag, but after having to leave behind a computer bag or two, I've finally learned my lesson. This show is brimming with great schwag. Check out my haul from last year. My little guy still plays with that duckie in the bathtub. And lets not forget room for a few souvenirs from San Francisco. I seem come home with a new cookbook from an amazing restaurant every year. Make room, you'll be happy you did.
Tip #5 – Business Cards. Smartphones and iPads are everywhere at Dreamforce, and it's all about socializing in the cloud, but sometimes you need to network old school. Bring your business cards. Lots of venders still do cool giveaways with the fishbowl, you don't want to miss out. Maybe you'll meet someone at a session or at a happy hour that you want to reconnect with. And sometimes, it's just easier to have that vendor card in hand when you go back to the office. I always carry a small stash with me throughout the conference.
Well that's it from me. Have you got any packing tips to add? I'd love to hear from you. Looking forward to seeing you all next week!