LeeAnne Rimel talking about Trailblazers at TDX

Trailblazers at TDX with LeeAnne Rimel

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Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to LeeAnne Rimel, Senior Director of Admin and Developer Strategic Content at Salesforce. Join us as we chat about the TraiblazerDX 2024 Call for Participation and why you should submit.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with LeeAnne Rimel.

A focus on community at TDX

TrailblazerDX isn’t until March, but our team is already hard at work on all the great stuff we’re planning for you. TDX has always been a unique opportunity to learn directly from the product owners and engineers behind your friendly neighborhood platform and, this year, we’re excited to create even more opportunities to engage and connect. 

This year, we’re also programming all sorts of community-led content from Trailblazers like you. We want to dig into real-life use cases and implementations to see these products in action. That’s why LeeAnne asked me to come on the pod. She wants you (yes, you!) to submit a presentation and be a part of this year’s TDX.

TDX is not just for devs

TDX 2024 will be the AI developer conference of the year. We’ll be focused on how you can build the next generation of AI-powered apps for your business using Einstein 1. While Einstein AI is a big part of the picture, core platform technologies like user management, app building, dev ops, Apex, Flow, and APIs are all key ingredients in making these solutions work well.

As LeeAnne says, “not every session has to be an AI session.” And also, just because it’s TDX doesn’t mean you have to be a developer in order to present. We want to hear from admins, architects, and ISVs, too.

Different sessions in the CFP

There are all sorts of ways to get involved. There are theater sessions focused on a specific product with demos and slides, but there are also more intimate and conversational campfire sessions.

This year, we’re adding a new session type called the Deep Dive Panel. If you have a solution that you’ve built that could be interesting to look at in-depth, we’d love for you to share it at TDX. We’ll pair these real-world example panel discussions with customer experts and Salesforce experts to break everything down.

The TraiblazerDX 2024 CFP is open now, but it closes on December 1st. So learn more and get started here on your title and abstract soon and I’ll see you at TDX!

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Full show transcript

Mike:
TrailblazerDX is the AI developer conference of the year, where you can learn directly from product owners and engineers how to build the next generation of apps on the Einstein 1 Platform and take your career to the next level. So it only makes sense that we talk with LeeAnne Rimel, senior director of admin and developer strategic content, about the call for presentations for TrailblazerDX. Now before we get into that episode, I want you to get sure you’re following the Salesforce Admins Podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. That way, you get a new episode every Thursday right on your phone. So let’s get to that conversation with LeeAnne. So LeeAnne, welcome to the podcast.

LeeAnne Rimel:
Hi, Mike. Thanks so much for having me.

Mike:
It’s November, but we’re talking TrailblazerDX, which is in March.

LeeAnne Rimel:
It is, yes. We’re talking about TDX. We never stop working on the next awesome event for our Trailblazer community. And we came off of Dreamforce and we dove right into TDX planning.

Mike:
I mean, it’s nonstop. Right? All the time.

LeeAnne Rimel:
Nonstop. I love it.

Mike:
So let’s talk about TrailblazerDX. What do we have so planned so far? And what do you want to talk about?

LeeAnne Rimel:
Yeah. So I’m incredibly excited for TDX this year. Actually, you and me both, Mike, have been around since the first TDX, which was in 2016. And to take us down memory lane a little bit, the origin story of TDX was very much around let’s have a Salesforce developer conference and dive deep into product, connect with product owners, engineers, really make it about learning, about the technology, connection. And so we are really excited to have laser focus on those goals for this year’s TDX. And really, I think TDX has always been about learning, but really dive in deeper to that deep learning, more technical content, more technical presenters, more technical opportunities to engage and connect and network, so we’re super excited about this year’s TDX.

Mike:
Yeah. I always feel like TDX is kind of an in-person version of the podcast because I get to sit down with product managers all the time and talk to them about what they built and how they built it, and some of the concepts behind why they built things, like dynamic forms and stuff like that. And TDX is almost like you get to do that in person. You get to see the person that actually built the thing that makes you successful every day on stage.

LeeAnne Rimel:
Absolutely. So some sessions and some of the content will be things that maybe if you did go to Dreamforce, or watched some of the Dreamforce content, there will be some similarities there. And then at TDX, that’s what we’re going to do wall to wall, is these roadmap sessions, deep dive technical product sessions, solution oriented sessions, community led, Trailblazer led sessions focused on real life solutions that they’ve built, so we’re really excited to I think have that opportunity to have Q and A with PMs, have sessions that are really built around that model. So I think we’re looking at some different session formats and different ways to really cultivate that opportunity for discussion and Q and A, and asking questions of people who are implementation experts and also experts in the products, experts in the roadmap, so that we’re all walking away with some deep learning under our belt and really feel like we’ve gotten answers in key areas that we need to continue building.

Mike:
Well, you mentioned, you teased out a little bit of the change in the format. I also saw there was for the first time, a public facing call for presentation, so that’s new as well.

LeeAnne Rimel:
Yeah. So we’re really looking at: How do we feature alongside all of this roadmap, technical deep dive content that we get from our engineers, from our PMs, from our solution architects, alongside that, how do we partner that type of content track with also community led content from our practitioners out in the field, if you will, our Trailblazers, who are hands on with these products every day and have built and learned a lot of lessons and built successful implementations with many of these different features and products, so that we can learn some of those real life stories and use cases? And so we’re excited to see that. So yes, you mentioned the CFP. I’m going to do my little plug for the CFP.

We will have dedicated community space and track, and we’re really excited to feature our Trailblazer speakers at TDX, so I encourage all of you, I know you’re going to link it in the show notes, Mike, to go through and submit your session idea. So that could be a theater session, which might involve more of a product coverage, more demos, more slides, as well as a campfire is another session option, which might be more conversational, more of a panel, maybe more career focused, maybe no demos or slides usually in campfire, so more of a kind of intimate conversational vibe. And then we also have a new option on the CFP for a deep dive panel. So if you have a solution that you’ve built that is well-suited to do kind of a deep dive, technical walk through, and then are willing to participate in a panel discussion afterwards, we’re going to be introducing that on the CFP as well. So really look forward to seeing all of your ideas and session ideas come through the CFP.

Mike:
And the deep dive is a longer session version. So the amount of work and prep that would go into that’s a little bit more than a breakout. Right?

LeeAnne Rimel:
Yes. It would be a bigger commitment to be sure. If you were involved or attended TDX ’18 or ’19, we had a session type called the extracurricular. And this is not exactly the same, but it’s similar in many ways. It’s a longer session format. We would be working together to identify people who would be on the panel with you, maybe a Salesforce product manager could be on the panel with you as well. So we have this kind of combination of customer experts and Salesforce experts. And yes, it would be a longer form presentation, so definitely more of a commitment, but really meaningful sessions.

Mike:
I think when I’ve submitted for call for presentations for other events, I’ve always kind of wanted to know: What is the main theme, or what is the main vision that the organization has for this event? Can you kind of help summarize that up?

LeeAnne Rimel:
Yes. So TDX is the AI developer conference of the year. So really, a huge focus of TDX will be: How do you build the next generation of AI apps on our Einstein 1 Platform? So how do you build apps, AI enabled apps for your business? And a key part of that, it’s of course our Einstein product coverage, all of our new Einstein AI products that are coming out, as well as that core platform technologies, so user management, app building, devops, apex, flow, working with APIs, all of these core elements are incredibly important to build performant AI apps. And so I would encourage, not every session has to be an AI session, but of course AI sessions, very popular. But then these core technologies, what are those foundational lessons that help people build great apps? I mean, really going not back to basics, because we want to have some deep dive lessons, but going back to those fundamental tenets of: What do admins, developers, and architects and ISEs need to know in order to build performant apps that can be performant AI apps?

Mike:
I know you said admin, architects, ISVs, but it’s a developer conference. So if I’m an admin or an architect, should I submit to the CFP?

LeeAnne Rimel:
Absolutely. So we definitely will have great learning experiences for developers and admins and architects and RISVs, so please submit your session. I think there is absolutely a very important place for all of those audiences. So we do call it a developer conference, but it’s a wider reaching word developer that we’re using here for really all of our technical practitioners will be prioritized at this conference and learning first for sessions, whether that’s no code, low code, or code building, whether you’re thinking about architectural tenets of building, or you’re thinking about building partner app.

Mike:
One of the things that I’ve seen as a track leader at Dreamforce, and somebody that’s submitted for other events is, it’s real easy and I think sometimes people view it as beneficial to submit kind of 101 content because events are always looking for that, as opposed to the 301 content, where it’s a deeper dive and it’s super advanced. And it’s like, “Maybe the event organizer isn’t going to take this because it’s so advanced, and they’re going to be worried about putting 200, 300 people in a room. And my session isn’t going to do that, so maybe I just shouldn’t submit 301 content.” What would you say to that?

LeeAnne Rimel:
Submit it. We need it. Looking at, I’ve spent a lot of time, Mike, I’ve spent a lot of time looking at the numbers, if you will, for all of our events. And I spend a lot of time looking at who comes to Salesforce events, and to TDX, or to the Trailblazer Forest and tracks of Dreamforce. And there is a wide range of skill levels and a wide range of expertise levels with all of our products and features across all of our audiences. So there are absolutely admins and developers that are attending these events who have successfully built many flows, or know what they’re doing, and they want to see these niche solutions that may be much more advanced, or maybe much more technical.

They want to go beyond maybe the learning tools that have already been available to them. And so I think definitely submit those. I think we’re going to be looking for very much a breadth, so if you feel very well-versed to present an amazing flow 101 type session, please submit that. If you want to share some really edge cases of how you are pushing the limits with Salesforce technologies and building great solutions with them, and it is more advanced and it requires an existing skillset, submit that as well. We’ll be looking for the whole breadth of level.

Mike:
Yeah. I’ve always felt like if you’ve gone to an event and felt, I could be presenting all of this, then that’s what you should be doing, so that the event gets to that next level, so that more people like yourself can get farther into the learning journey, as opposed to letting it sort of plateau. What, if people are sitting down and kind of looking at their first quarter of the year, what else? We have sessions planned for TDX, how is that whole experience kind of planned out? What are we doing more of?

LeeAnne Rimel:
Yeah, more learning. I mean, that’s if there’s a TL;DR, it’s going to be more deep technical learning. That’s going to be the experience this year. We’ll of course have workshops. We’re going to have hopefully more workshops, more breakouts, really deep diving into more learning, more sessions. We will still absolutely have wonderful opportunities to connect and to network. So having special programming for some of our attendees, and having Q and As, and having spaces and opportunities to connect with your peers and with other Trailblazers and with product owners. Of course, we’re going to have fun. That’s always one of our values.

Mike:
Do you know the band? Do we know the … Is there a band?

LeeAnne Rimel:
I do not know the band.

Mike:
That’s okay. It’s fine.

LeeAnne Rimel:
But the really having fun, diving in, connecting with the community partners, activities, events, so we’re really excited about that, and then of course, giving back. How can we always build giving back into our experience? So I think if you’re coming to TDX, I think it’ll feel different than last year. I think TDX has not been around as long as Dreamforce, and I think we’ve always kind of been open to really listening to our customers and our community, and fine-tuning and shifting and changing and growing TDX. And so I think this year, we’ve heard very much from our community that deep learning, connecting with experts, that’s what I want at TDX. And so that’s what we are working on right now to really prioritize and deliver.

Mike:
Okay. So LeeAnne, it sounds like step one is really thinking about if you want to submit to the call for presentations. Can you give us just a quick overview of that and when it closes?

LeeAnne Rimel:
Yes. So the call for presentations, often called the CFP, so we use those interchangeably, the CFP is open right now. It opened at the beginning of November. It is closing on December 1st, and it is not a quick thing to write your title and abstract because you want to be thoughtful. We pick the sessions based on great titles and abstracts, and so you want to be thoughtful about it. So give yourself some time to sit down and really workshop and work on your title and abstract and make sure it represents the content you’d like to deliver. So the next step for all of you is to … I recommend visit the CFP blog. It’s got a great overview of the CFP and adds additional clarity and reiterates some of those points that I made around the session types and what type of content is the right fit for each session type. Read the blog, start working and start thinking about your session that you’d like to submit, and send us your submission. I think we really want to see your submissions and we really want to learn from our community and make sure that our attendees have the opportunity to learn from our community.

And so, Mike, I think you had an excellent point earlier when you said, “If you’ve ever been at an event and you said, ‘We need more X content, or I could be delivering this content,'” please do it. We want fresh, new faces. We’re very excited to open this opportunity up and to learn from our Trailblazers. So please consider submitting your CFP. Read the blog first, I do recommend. It just offers some helpful insight.

Mike:
Awesome. Well, thanks so much, LeeAnne, for coming on the podcast.

LeeAnne Rimel:
Thanks for having me, Mike.

Mike:
TrailblazerDX is an AI conference for admins, developers, and architects. I can’t wait to see some of the things that are going to be presented there. Now please share this episode with somebody because I mean, seriously, sharing is caring. And I love the podcast. Do you have thoughts on this episode? Let me know in the Trailblazer community. I’ll link it in the show notes. You want to learn more about everything that you heard today? Check out admin.salesforce.com for show notes and a transcript of the podcast. So that’s it for today, but stay tuned because next week, we’re joined by Shannon Tran, who gives us her take on career growth and not chasing titles.

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