My friends would tell you I spent last week at “Skynet”, or “Dream-con” or some other weird concoction of made up half-technology names. Or maybe what the border guard I saw coined as “that Dreamworks thing”. However, I actually spent last week at Salesforce’s Dreamforce ‘18 conference in San Francisco. And wow, what a week!

#DF18 was a whirlwind experience as per usual (I’m a second year pro, of course), but now I’m back at home stewing over and digesting what I saw and learned. I’m chock-full of great ideas and information to reflect on because A LOT happened and I’d love to share my takeaways with you.

5. Networking & Events

Everyone knows that Dreamforce is full of events of all types, from cocktail parties, to VIP events, and of course Dreamfest, but the real benefit of these events is talking to people and getting new perspective on your business.

Dreamforce brings together Customers, Partners and Salesforce employees. As Salesforce calls it, the “Ohana” (family). Meeting people from all walks of life and learning about how they use Salesforce to achieve amazing business results is really inspiring. It helps me think outside the box and get new ideas and perspective on how we’re all collectively looking to make people’s lives easier, and enable them to get the experience they expect. We’re working to make agents even more proficient by deepening our integration of our powerful Usage Analytics and Machine Learning inside the Lightning Console.

Coveo hosted its own event, “Relevance on the Rocks”, a cocktail party at The Cavalier Restaurant. It was a packed event at a pretty swanky venue. What I enjoyed most about it, was spending time with people who’ve been realizing the benefits of the Coveo Platform and our Salesforce integration, but also those who are looking to transform their disconnected customer service experiences into engaging and unified interactions across all their touchpoints. Understanding user behaviour across your entire enterprise and applying Machine Learning to continuously improve and enhance each new experience. Talking with people that are part of such an active and engaged community really makes you understand your contribution to the growing Salesforce Economy.

4. Sessions

As a Product Analyst, in between hosting demos at our booth in the Service Cloud Lodge and meeting with customers and prospects at our private meeting space, it’s super important for me to check out speaking sessions to see and hear what’s new and interesting in the latest Salesforce release. I need to keep my finger on the pulse and this is a great opportunity.

Some big themes in Service this year were: Automate, Assist, & Educate. Salesforce is extending their Einstein offering in Service Cloud with Next Best Action and Article Recommendations, to help automate user tasks and provide helpful information when an agents need it. I’m super excited to explore how Coveo might be able to integrate with these new features.

Also, it’s nice to see that we’re not the only ones obsessed with relevance! It’s no wonder we see more and more leaders realizing the benefits of relevant-rich experiences. Personalization and Relevance is no longer an option. It’s expected!

3. Keynotes

Salesforce keynotes are HUGE! If you’ve never seen one, then it’s hard to explain the scale, but let’s just say getting in and out of one is, um… challenging.

What I love about keynotes, is that you really get to see some top notch presentations and demos by both Salesforce and partners. This year I was sure to catch the Einstein and Service Cloud keynotes.

In fact this year, my colleague David James and I were lucky to be part of the #ServiceTrailblazers group with VIP seating, swag, and a post-keynote hangout.

Some interesting moments featured Einstein Vision helping a Field Service Agent identify and replace a tire on a car (remote-controlled and driven by Einstein… not the real one of course, the mascot) using AI to decipher a live image and Einstein Voice Assistant showing how dictation of notes and follow-up tasks can be easily understood and actioned by just speaking into your phone or other voice-activated speaker (e.g. Alexa).

It’s very clear that intelligence is at the very core of these new features, and of course the same goes for Coveo. We’re very proud of our extensive investment in AI and Machine Learning and the deep integration we have with the Salesforce Platform. This is part of what makes us great partners.

2. Metallica

I’m not a metalhead or a devoted Metallica fan, but man… they were pretty AWESOME! The show was of EPIC proportions and literally rocked the city in ways only Metallica could.

As a “part-time” musician (as my business card reads – if you have one, you know this is truth!), I have respect for any band that can put on a show of that proportion and keep everyone engaged. The music was loud, the band was on-point, and the spectacle was, well…  spectacular! Huge screens, video montages, psychedelic effects, and a finale with enough fireworks to wake the city!

The truth is, I don’t think I would ever have seen them if it wasn’t for Dreamfest, so thanks Salesforce for a most excellent night of Rock!

And finally…

1. Spending Time with my Team

At Coveo we really embrace a flexible and remote-working culture. My team for example is spread across three time zones in multiple cities: San Francisco, Quebec City, Montreal, New York, and even Paris.

Since I work from home, most of the “face-time” I spend with my team is through video conferencing. It’s great that technology can connect us so quickly and easily, but nothing can replace real face-to-face, in-person conversations. So Dreamforce is a great opportunity to get together and plan for the future, but also to share real moments together as a team.

Whether it’s grabbing a lunch in-between sessions and hanging out on the top of the Metreon or Thai food and drinks with the team at the end of a long week, it’s a great way to really connect and this is what I think makes a company great. Real people connecting and making great stuff. That’s what I think we do at Coveo, and what Dreamforce is all about. Connecting people, sharing experiences, and inspiring another year of awesomeness.

Be sure to check out our awesomeness, by downloading Coveo for Salesforce on the AppExchange.

Get in touch and let me know what you think by connecting with me on Twitter @neilkostecki or LinkedIn.