This blog is part of a blog series to highlight Salesforce Community Champion, from user group leaders, developer group leaders, and members from around the world #Ohana
From San Francisco Bay Area, Daniel Peter - Salesforce MVP, and Bay Area Salesforce Developer Group leader would like to share with us how Salesforce Developer Group in Bay Area is doing!
Hi Dan, tell me about yourself, which Developer Group you lead, and are they any co-leaders in your group?
My Name is Daniel Peter. I’m a Salesforce MVP with 22 Salesforce Certifications. I’m a Lead Applications Engineer at Kenandy.
Currently, I’m running Bay Area Salesforce Developer Group group solo, with the help of amazing Salesforce people like April Nassi, Jessica Langston, Regina Walton, and Mallory Leggere.
How do you become Developer Group leader? would you share your journey when starting your the group??
I started the North Bay DG in Sonoma County, CA in 2013 since I was living in Sebastopol at the time. This was a really cool group with some interesting industries (like the wine industry) that use Salesforce. I passed the torch on this group to Jason Curtis when I moved closer to San Francisco in 2014.
In 2015 the Bay Area Salesforce Developer Group in San Francisco was in need of a new leadership. David Schach was running the group at the time, and he took a job at Salesforce, so he could no longer run the group. This has happened more than once with that group!
Shannon Hale and I both heard about the group needing new leadership, so we took it on as co-leaders. I really loved this group and would drive an hour to attend sometimes before I was living in the area, so I was excited to contribute to it. Eventually, Shannon had to step down as her company had her traveling out of the Bay Area quite a bit.
How often your group meetup?
The last Wednesday of each month.
How long have been your group established?
I believe this was the first DG ever established, and I think it predates the formal DG program as we know it now. It goes back to 2010 on meetup.com. The early meetups were held at the Salesforce office in San Mateo. This even meetup traveled around to other locations like New York and San Jose because it was the only meetup at the time.
How big is your user group member, and how many members attended the meetup in average?
There are 2,774 members of the group. A typical meetup will get 75-300 RSVPs and about 50% of the RSVPs actually show up. Since it is a free event, there is a high drop-off rate. Fortunately, we plan for this, so we typically end up with a full house.
In a nutshell, we get about 100 showing up. Here is a graph our growth over time. The blue arrow is when Shannon and I rebooted the group:
What have you learned as a group leader?
I’ve learned that our group members are incredibly talented, and I love having them present topics. It always amazes me. I have learned how to plan and promote events. I have improved my public speaking skills. I have learned that there is tremendous value in getting developers together “just to hang out”. You never know what conversations will flow.
What do you love being a group leader?
I love the networking it brings. I have met so many people leading the Bay Area Salesforce Developer Group. I love being able to create something that gives value to others. When they thank me for a successful meetup, it feels great to have been a part of it!
What do the challenges become a group leader and how to overcome it?
It is always a challenge coordinating everything. I’m a developer, not an event planner! Getting the speakers and the dates to line up, and having enough lead time to promote is always a challenge.
The best way to overcome this is to brainstorm with others for ideas well in advance and try to get a big roadmap built out, even if it is rough.
Tell us what is unique about your group
We are located at Salesforce HQ! This means we have easy access to many Salesforce employees as guest speakers. This makes for great content. We are also the oldest, and one of the largest groups. However many other groups have grown to be our size now, so size is no longer that unique.
Share us tips that make your group success
We follow a pretty regular formula, that seems to work great:
30 mins of networking, with food and drink, 15 mins announcements/news/jobs, 90 mins of content. Networking and taper off at the end. And of course, some short breaks sprinkled in for grabbing a drink or hitting the restroom.
In addition, you need to strike a balance between surveying the group for topics, but also pushing them topics they might not have thought of. Some of the best topics are ones you didn’t realize you wanted to know until you heard about them.
What would like to see your group in the future?
I think once a year or so it is nice to tackle a social issue or soft skills area instead of just talking code every time. Last month we had a Women in Tech meetup which brought a huge number of new women attendees into the group. Coding is important, but it’s not the only topic important to Salesforce Developers.
I’m looking forward to doing something like this in the future. Also, it would be super cool if we could have a meetup at the top of the Salesforce Tower on the Ohana floor in the future!
One last thing you would like to share with the community
Follow us on Twitter: @ForceDevMeetup
Subscribe to our youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/BayAreaSalesforceDeveloperGroup
...and if you are ever in the San Francisco around month end, stop on by. You can even be a guest speaker!
Simplysfdc comment: Thanks Daniel for sharing Bay Area Salesforce Developer Group, that's awesome to be in the same city with the HQ !!