Why So Many Nice People?

Salesforce is the best. I may rave a bit much, but my enthusiasm is well-placed. Salesforce sets the bar high in corporate social responsibility (see my favorite article on this, from another fave–SSIR.)

Salesforce has also cracked the code on building a Success Community that is an actual community. My all-time favorite entry in the Success Community says it all. It’s the question itself that is so remarkable: “Why [are there] so many nice people here? Tell me why? All my questions are solved by you guys.”

It’s so true… the number of smart, helpful, kind, interesting people is impressive: 2,240,149 Members currently contributing to the Community.  And they are really contributing.

“Why [are there] so many nice people here? Tell me why? All my questions are solved by you guys.”

2016-08-08 08_31_09-why there are so many nice people here_ - Answers - Salesforce Success Community

The best answer, liked by nearly a thousand people, was provided by Steve Mo, who is definitely someone you should know.

The Success Community is built on Salesforce’s own Community Cloud product. You can learn more about Community Cloud on Trailhead in the Communities Basics module.

Trailhead: fun, free, fabulous Salesforce making

When I first heard the concept of using Salesforce for a custom program management build (nonprofit use case) I had no idea–absolutely no clue–what that would look like. Fairly soon I had the aha! moment: when I thought about “selling” a GED program to a single mom, or a “selling” a visit to the free health clinic for a teen girl, or “selling” a personalized brick to a donor (okay that one’s pretty straightforward) … Salesforce made perfect sense.

But how? I had a strong background in dealing with big data (thanks MS in Applied Psychology!) and had dabbled in MS Access. But 1) getting a Salesforce product donation is like getting a free puppy and 2) firing up a new Salesforce org is like landing in China.

My solution was to write a small grant request (capacity building grant from our community foundation) and hop on a plane to San Francisco for Dreamforce! I was exceedingly fortunate to meet a brilliant Salesforce guru whose significant other overheard me asking some specific questions in a Circles of Success session. I had no idea what I was doing, and it was pretty clear. They took me in under their wing and I had a crash course in Salesforce making.

Fast forward just one year, and Salesforce rolled out Trailhead! So now, a newbie can start off on a facilitated journey in learning how to make Salesforce–it’s amazing.

All you need to use Trailhead like a maker is to fire up a “developer org”–your own, personal, FREE and fully functional version of Salesforce. Create one or more to try your hand at making Salesforce.

Some cool things to know about Trailhead:

  • It’s free
  • You get points for completing challenges
  • Trailhead checks your challenge work by connecting to your developer org and looking to see if you actually did the challenge correctly (so cool!)
  • You can earen badges and certificates and much more
  • Sometimes Trailhead runs fun contests and incentives–check them out on Twitter (they’re someone you should know!)
  • You can add your badges to your LinkedIn profile

Tons more details here, but really–just dive in!



Someone You Should Know

Quick and evolving list, most are Twitter handles. Follow them! 

Marc Benioff is the big guy at CEO

Benioff’s Shoes for a different kind of insight

Jen W. Lee posts great blog content

Steve Molis is brilliant, hilarious, and shoots very straight

Summer 2016 MVPs

Brilliant Partners

Cloud for Good and their CEO, Tal Frankfurt lend a lot of support to the Salesforce Success Community

Appirio offers insightful content

The Mothership

Salesforce Trailhead inspires, and sometimes has cool incentives (Chris Duarte is Editor in Chief of Trailhead–definitely someone to know!)

Salesforce Support will answer questions

Salesforce Developers send out great nuggets of info

Salesforce Careers–where you can find your #dreamjob

It’s free like a puppy.

Salesforce is complex sophisticated. I am certain you could make something on the force.com platform that would launch a spaceship. At the very least, a rocket. I’m certain it’s already been done, what with the Internet of Things (IoT) now giving us doggie doors that sense Fido approaching and can log animal behavior in your own SF org. (I promise I heard about this on a ButtonClick Admin podcast.)

But firing up a new Salesforce instance can be tricky. Combine Harvester

An amazing colleague likens Salesforce to a combine harvester. It’s the opposite of, like, Dollar Shave Club where you just get a product delivered to your door that does its job straight out of the box.

If you have heard about how amazing Salesforce.org is, as part of Salesforce’s 1-1-1 model, you are probably aware that many 501(c)3 organizations can get some sweet product donations through the Power of Us program. Here’s where the issue becomes really clear (but this happens in corporations of all kinds, to be very clear. )

Can you see this conversation taking place?

Program Manager: I can’t make heads or tails of my info. Are my afterschool program kids getting free lunch programs at school? Are the GED participants hearing about our job fair?

Tech Manager: There’s this thing called Salesforce, and it can do that and more. And it’s free! All we have to do is download it.

I’m thinking you can figure out what happens next. Puppies, and this includes free puppies, have to be walked every day–several times a day. They have some data hygiene cleanup issues–every day. They need to be trained, and socialized, and most importantly they will want to sit on the sofa, right on top of you, on Family Movie Night. You can see the parallels.

For the love, and to avoid massive future messes…think through maintenance and support before acquiring any new technology, including product donations.

Tons of related resources can be found online; here are two right from Salesforce:


Becoming a Connected Nonprofit

Presented at the Salesforce (DC) World Tour 2016

This presentation was given when I was the director in a national nonprofit. I had the joy of leading a team filled with an amazing set of creatives/technicals who made absolute magic happen.

“Magic, you say?” Yes, friend, magic. Because, here’s the inside scoop: what is “Salesforce” is a vast ecosystem of natively-built (force.com) and acquired (ExactTarget, BuddyMedia, Radian6, etc) tools all tied together. But some things that should talk to one another in a seemingly-native-fashion (Sales Cloud to Marketing Cloud) really don’t…yet. You can configure some fancy connectors, and yes you can do that yourself, but realize that it’s a sophisticated process.

So my magic-making team migrated a destroyed Salesforce org to a new one, configured the Marketing Cloud connector, built a website that sent tons of info to SF, connected it all to our mobile app… there’s so very much to be done that can create that “360-degree view” of your constituent… but it’s a lot of work! In the end, though, it’s so very worth it.

BSF Salesforce.org 2015 DC World Tour Connected Nonprofit

Custom Objects: The Basics, Tips and Tricks

DF PrezPresented at Dreamforce 2015, Admin Theater

WHY would I stand in front of 200+ people, in the most stressful visible, high-traffic breakout area–the Admin Zone Theater at “The Largest Software Conference on Earth”–to share this presentation at Dreamforce 2015? Because so many people contribute, in so many ways, to freely sharing Salesforce build deets and best practices. SO many individuals willing to give a 30 minute phone call or a chat in the hallway to a nonprofit solo admin (which I was at the time) … so many people answering questions in the Success Community and Power of Us Hub… so many Twitter chats, freely-shared blog posts… the list is endless. Basically, the people of Force.com are good people.

So, in the spirit of being Good People, I shared this presentation at DF15. I will not lie, it was a … different… Dreamforce experience to be sure. Fairly high up there on the stress-o-meter. BUT. The goal was to dive into the AWESOME value custom objects play for a nonprofit/smaller/solo-admin org. They’re almost too easy to configure… like I could build, let’s say, one a minute if I tried. (And create spaghetti junction too, right?)

Unfortunately, Admin Zone sessions aren’t recorded. But I can share the deck, and I can tell you some of my favorite things

  • That “awesome blue rectangle” referenced on slide 10–check it out and see what kind of a time saver it is. It’s surprising how many admins don’t know it’s there!
  • Slide 11: it’s hard to give a presentation on custom object visibility and not basically say… “go to Trailhead and they will teach you everything about custom objects and it will be way more fun.”
  • Same with Slide 12… go to Trailhead for all the good stuff on custom objects.
  • Here’s my favorite Schema Builder “gotcha” and said so well by Trailhead:

Any field you add through Schema Builder isn’t automatically added to the page layout. You will need to edit the page layout to specify where the field should be displayed.

Check out the presentation deck here:

Custom Objects The Basics Tips and Tricks


What is Salesforce Maker?

uh2NP1470431023Maker, says Wikipedia:

The maker culture is a contemporary culture or subculture representing a technology-based extension of DIY culture[citation needed] that intersects with hacker culture (which is less concerned with physical objects as it focuses on software) and revels in the creation of new devices as well as tinkering with existing ones. The maker culture in general supports open-source hardware. Typical interests enjoyed by the maker culture include engineering-oriented pursuits such as electronics, robotics, 3-D printing, and the use of CNC tools, as well as more traditional activities such as metalworking, woodworking, and, mainly, its predecessor, the traditional arts and crafts. The subculture stresses a cut-and-paste approach to standardized hobbyist technologies, and encourages cookbook re-use of designs published on websites and maker-oriented publications.[1] There is a strong focus on using and learning practical skills and applying them to reference designs

DIY + Hacker + Force.com = Salesforce Maker