Published: Nov 18, 2017
Over the past two weeks between Dreamforce and KronosWorks, I flew 10,000 miles and feel like I walked about the same. Salesforce’s annual conference drops 170,000 attendees over about 10 city blocks in San Francisco, while the Kronos version took place between the Aria and Bellagio hotels in Las Vegas. Between the two, I presented 4 times and participated in 2 panels.
At Dreamforce, I twice presented a session with Salesforce Community Cloud employees called, Best Practices for Developing Community Advocates. With a little time since those sessions, it’s occurred to me how successful online communities are like those in real life. A successful community:
needs a budget to meet the needs of its population
helps businesses (partners) and people (customers)
has a high percentage of people helping people
encourages and implements the ideas of its people
has local events promoted by citizens
is advocated for by those in it
cares for all...
With an influx of 170,000 people to the City by the Bay, supply and demand pushes the hotel pricing curve sharply in one direction, so even modest hotels were around $800 a night. I couldn’t personally justify a $4,000 company expense, so I opted to stay at a nice Marriott in Walnut Creek, a 40 minute subway ride to and from the city each day via underneath the bay.
Walking the long, bright white tunnels in the Powell BART station, I passed by many sleeping on the floor who had no dollars for nightly accommodation. There are about 7,000 homeless in San Francisco, and as I passed by some of them I wondered:
How did they get here?
What is their backstory?
Is there mental illness? Abuse? Bad luck?
In the week before Dreamforce, the company tweeted, How has Salesforce changed your life for the better? The tweet received many responses, and more live online. Through their Trailblazer program, people’s lives have been changed by the opportunity to learn Salesforce and land great jobs with their 150,000 customers. Some of the Trailblazer stories are truly inspiring, and gave me hope that things could turn for some of the unfortunate.
Last week at KronosWorks, I did a couple demonstration sessions of the Kronos Community and then hosted a panel with our top 3 customer contributors and our community manager. With them, you can definitely check the boxes of “people helping people,” “advocating for the community,” and “caring for all.” They have helped so many.
Panel members: Matt Sorrell, Mahren Mahilrajan, David Jonsen, and Melissa Spinella
By Wednesday morning at breakfast I was ready to go home, but was still thinking about what I saw in San Francisco. A young man sat down next to me. We chit-chatted, then he asked me what advice I had for a 20 year old. I said to be assertive and not hold himself back. I also mentioned gratitude, and that we were fortunate to be in such a beautiful hotel at a cool event. I added that many don’t have the opportunity we did. Then I told Justin about seeing and empathizing for the homeless I saw in San Francisco. He looked at me quizzically, then showed me a news article on his phone about homeless youth in his city. He was the subject of the piece. Through a series of unfortunate events, Justin found himself homeless in 2016. Through help from his community including an internship, Justin landed a job working for the city supporting their Kronos system. I was stunned. Justin said, “A year ago I was homeless, and now here I am.”
Now through our community, I’ll work to get Justin connected to Kronos experts, and to educational opportunities including KnowledgePass, which his employer subscribes to… Hopefully, Kronos expertise will help Justin continue to work toward his dreams and change his life for the better.