For the KIDS

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Alright, Community. We’re winding down from Dreamforce, an exhausting event, to say the least. There’s a lot to do and a lot to absorb at Dreamforce, but one of the themes that appears again and again at every Dreamforce is one of philanthropy. Marc Benioff is well-known for his 1-1-1 business model, in which businesses commit to devoting 1% of their time, money, and product to charities in need.

In the spirit of that mindset, I’d like to ask you, my fellow Salesforce community members, a favor. This year, I am working with the Extra-Life charity, a group that works to provide funds for the Children’s Miracle Network hospitals, specifically for children whose families cannot afford the medical treatment they need to live without pain or even survive. Our major event is this Saturday, and I am helping to raise money for this incredibly worthy cause.

There are not many things that are as life-changing as meeting the 10-year-old boy whose life you helped to save by raising money to pay for his surgery, hearing his words of gratitude, and receiving the deeply-heartfelt hug of a young life given hope.

Please, if you can help any amount at all, please consider donating to this cause before Saturday. You can do so by clicking here or on the banner image above, which will take you to a secure donation page. The entire donation will go to children in need. You can visit Extra-Life.org for any validation you may need, and of course, it’s tax-deductible.

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The New Way to Socialize at Dreamforce 2014

Influenza. Enterovirus. Ebola.

Ok, come back, it’s alright. Just reading the names won’t make you sick, alright?

It’s no secret that 2014 has been a bit of a banner year for infectious disease. And, not to scare anybody, but a LOT of us are about to all gather in a location with 150,000 other people from around the world, all at the same time. I don’t know about you, but that gives me just a liiiiittle pause.

But there is a solution! And it is a good one. Recently, the Harvard Medical School published its findings on the nature of hand-to-hand communications, and the likelihood of transmission of diseases in its different forms. The short version: fist bumps are a safer and cleaner alternative to handshakes.

That’s right, you read correctly. Harvard has officially stated that we should all be fist bumping.

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Absurd as it sounds, there is a very strong logic to it. When we shake hands, anything that is in our palms or on our fingers is instantly transferred to the receiving hand, and vice versa. The slight amount of moisture we always have on our hands practically ensures that the transfer occurs, too. There’s no “10-second rule” either; those bugs move instantly as they are practically shoved into waiting hands.

With the fist bump, however, the likelihood of transfer is much lower, because the contact is not so wide-spread, there is less moisture and pressure being applied, and because of the drastically-reduced amount of microorganisms on the outside of our fingers.

So I propose this, fellow Dreamforce attendees: the (un)official greeting of Dreamforce 2014 should be the Fist Bump.

Now I know what you’re thinking. “But Mark, that’s so unprofessional!” Ah, my friends, “professional” is what you make it. “Professional” is basically another way of saying “extremely polite”, and what could be more polite than not passing on the DreamPox?

No no, hear me out! We can make the Fist Bump professional, right? Let’s set some guidelines, ok? Nothing says “professional” like rules and guidelines, am I right?

The Professional Bump is straight-trajectory, no-frills, and quick contact.

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However, do not “explode” afterwards. This is tacky, and is therefore right out.

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Unless you’re doing it with a bald eagle.

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Maintain low velocity when jewelry is present. It is not professional to cause contusions.

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The “guided strike” is inadvisable, as it defeats the purpose and further invades personal space.

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Bumping in gloves is acceptable, so as to not facilitate the awkward pause of waiting for removal of said glove.

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Welp, here you have it, folks. If that doesn’t convince everyone to be slow-punchin’ at DF14, I don’t know what will. Just don’t be offended if I keep a bottle of Purell handy, ok? Love you.

So We Have DF14 Speakers. Let’s All Calm the F*$# Down.

hilary-protest-pakistanNo really. Calm down. Deep breaths. Hear me out. I’m not a fan of this move either (I’m a centrist who is largely apolitical at times, and this kind of divisive move rankles against my more peace-seeking sensibilities), but I think I know why they did it.

Nooo, no. Stop. Stop stop st… STOP. That’s not why. I kn… Yes I know you thin… LET ME FINISH.

Clearly the choice of Hillagore is a politically charged one. But before you go off the rails with cries of “WELL I’M NOT GOING TO DREAMFORCE NOW”… ok, before you go off any more of those rails… just… hear me out. Benioff is not so short-sighted; he had to know this was going to ruffle feathers, and a lot of them. Let’s face it, the Business Airspace has no small amount of planes that fly at Right angles most of the time. And our political landscape right now is metaphorically akin to something resembling the offspring of a house of mirrors, an electric fence of Jurassic Park-strength wattage, and a spotter tower filled with over-caffeinated snipers strung out on PCP. You don’t even have to take a wrong step and you’ll have bullets whizzing around your ears.

These are known quantities. Marc Benioff is well-known for being a left-leaning bleeding-heart liberal idealist, but he is most definitely not stupid. Therefore, it stands to reason that he made this decision despite knowing the reaction it would have, believing the gains would outweigh the possible backlash.

Where could the answer lie then? At the end of May, Salesforce received Authority to Operate by the FedRAMP, effectively opening its Government Cloud for business. Inviting two prominent Democratic Party representatives to speak is just good business for Salesforce, because it gets their foot in the door for the Government Cloud.

Think about it. Salesforce is, at the very least, a database of businesses and/or people, with the ability to expand far beyond that, into things such as ERP and project tracking. It’s a collection of DATA. What government agencies are going to want to collect data? Well, you’ve got intelligence agencies, but they’d never let another company track their data. Probably the same story for the IRS. But then there’s Social Security, Housing and Urban Development… social programs and infrastructure. And historically, which party puts more money into social programs and infrastructure? Hillagore’s Party.

I’m not talking about whether or not anyone should put money into those programs. I’m simply saying that Salesforce and Marc Benioff know who their demographic is for the Goverment Cloud, and they’re marketing to that. Hillary is already pretty much THE shoe-in for the Dems in this upcoming election. If she wins, and had a marvelous experience at DF14, it’s a huge feather in Salesforce’s cap, business-wise. There will be a lot of money to be made. This is a business decision.

Sure, they could have invited Paul Ryan or someone like that to get the opposing viewpoint, but there’s a few reasons why they won’t. One, I think Benioff would have a hard time playing mediator; he’s not unbiased and he’s wise enough to know that. Two, it wouldn’t accomplish their business goal, and might actually take away from a positive Hillary experience.

Yes, there will almost assuredly be protestors at the conference, but please don’t count yourself among them. You’ve got better things to do at Dreamforce than waste your time accomplishing nothing except rubbing elbows with other people who think the same way you do. For the record, I’d be saying the same thing to the other side, were the tables turned.

Salesforce is an inclusive platform; it’s remarkably democratic (and I mean that in the general definition of the word, not referring to the party) in that it gives a lot of power to individuals in how they set up their business software. It enables ANYONE with sufficient intelligence to maintain their business. There are no politics on an Account page, no party lines drawn in how you configure your workflow. Salesforce, and therefore Dreamforce, is about working TOGETHER, not about being divided. So don’t let yourself fall into the Us vs. Them trap, because there’s no room for it at my table, and there’s no room for it at Dreamforce.

Live broadcasting tonight!

Justin.tv_

 

Let’s try a little experiment, shall we?

Tonight, starting at 9pm Central Time, I’m going to be working on a redesign of a Visual Workflow for tasks to deploy to production. The twist? I’m going to be doing my work LIVE on the air for everyone to see!

I’ll be using a site called justin.tv, which is specifically designed for this sort of thing. Many different kinds of artists and designers use justin.tv to broadcast their creation process, and so I shall be doing the same.

I’ll be talking through my visual workflow work, as well as taking questions, so consider this a two-birds-one-stone kind of event; you can watch how visual workflow is made, and/or take the opportunity to ask an experienced Salesforce admin and visual workflow designer any questions you might have. The questions don’t even have to be visual workflow related! I’ll help out any way I can, if I can.

If you want to ask questions, you’ll have to create an account on justin.tv, but the good news is that accounts are free. If you get routed to a page asking if you want to pay for a Pro account for $9.99 a month, this is NOT NECESSARY, so don’t feel obligated.

When 9pm rolls around, click this link (http://justin.tv/salesforceyoda) OR the justin.tv logo at the top of this article, and it will take you there.

And now, a little FAQ:

  • What is justin.tv?

Well, have you heard of twitch.tv? If you have, justin.tv is the predecessor to twitch.tv, and is run by the same people. It’s basically the same thing as Twitch, but for things that are not games.

If you haven’t heard of Twitch, justin.tv is a live-streaming site. It lets people from around the world broadcast whatever they want (within moral guidelines of course) for free, for other people to watch. People can broadcast for free, and people can watch for free. And I mean free as in beer!

  • But the site is asking me for money…

Don’t worry about it. Click back and find the Sign In button at the top. I make no money from this, and in no other way get any reimbursement from Salesforce or justin.tv. Yes, justin.tv and Twitch have subscriber options where the broadcasters can make money, but I am not using that functionality.

  • If you’re not getting anything for doing this, why are you doing it?

Multiple reasons in this answer. One, I really like helping people, and having an “open office hours” of sorts appeals to me. I may not be the best admin, but I’m no slouch, if I may say so myself. This is my way of contributing.

Two, people love to watch people. It’s in our natures. And we love watching people do things that we do. I know that I would love to watch someone work in Salesforce; I looked to see if anyone was doing this sort of thing, because I wanted to see it! Since I couldn’t find anyone, I figured, why the hell not.

Three, visual workflow is a bit of a beast. It’s difficult to explain how you put a Flow together with text alone. By livestreaming it, people can watch and understand the process, and ask questions if they see something they don’t quite get.

  • How do I do (X) in Visual Workflow?

Woah there, Silver. Save your questions for the livestream.

  • How do I talk to you or ask questions once you’re streaming?

You’ll have to sign up for a justin.tv account, but once you do, you’ll be able to post in the Chat on the right side of the screen.

  • Why so late at night?

Believe me, trying to livestream with a toddler demanding your attention is not really possible. Trust me when I say it’s best to wait until after her bedtime.

  • If you’re doing your work live, doesn’t that put your company’s data at risk?

That’s why I’ll be working in a non-full sandbox. Cuz I’m smaahhht, see? Smaaahhht.

  • Ok, Mr. Smarty-Pants, what if we see you doing something dumb in the livestream?

Oh, I’m definitely human. I make mistakes. If you see me doing something in Salesforce that you think would be better done in another way, or is something that is just plain stupid, call it out! Let me know! I’m a big boy, I can take it. Even the best have their off moments, and I’m not even the best, so I expect my off-moment quotient to be higher.