Getting free swag is an art.
Sure, any scrub can grab a few shirts at Dreamforce. If that’s your goal, this guide isn’t for you. This guide is for the overachievers out there looking to bring home a horde of swag.
These are the swag secrets I’ve accumulated through years and years of hard work. I hold nothing back here. Using these secrets, I’ve been able to easily get over 60 t-shirts and multiple big ticket electronics such as iPads and Beats headphones in a single Dreamforce.
Some of these secrets came at great sacrifice. One year I literally broke my back and could not walk for a month because my bags were too full of free stuff. I kid you not. It was worth it.
Without further ado, here are my swag secrets:
1. Realize that random drawings are not random
The highest quality swag often comes from these “random drawings”.
But you need to realize that companies pay big bucks to have a booth at Dreamforce for a reason: to make big $$$ back on leads. They’re not going to “randomly” pick “Non-Decision Maker Nelly” and give him an iPad if there’s no chance he can help close a deal.
If you’re chasing a big ticket item, maximize your chances by talking the sales rep up at the booth and giving them a chance to potentially close a big deal. More time at the booth and more questions shows them you’re a serious lead.
Don’t be a bad person and lie about it though. Trust me, the swag gods remember.
2. Get lots of sleep and arrive early
Getting swag is not easy. While others are still recovering from late night Dreamforce parties, you must be up early and ready to go. Your best swag runs will come right when the booths open.
No lines, full swag stock, and hungry, hungry, booth people. Memorize exactly when the expo halls open and be there 30 minutes early.
3. Prioritize official Salesforce gear
I’ve been doing this long enough to know that Salesforce passes out the best swag. It often has the cleanest designs, softest material, and overall is a step above the rest.
I also know that Salesforce swag always runs out.
So if you have an opportunity to get Salesforce swag, drop whatever you’re doing and get it. You can always come back later for the tier 2 stuff.
4. Be nice and don’t beg
Some companies make it really difficult for you to get their swag. Oftentimes, you’ll be in a position of weakness because you can’t convince the rep you’re a potential lead.
Don’t give up. Find creative ways to help them. Your team might have zero interest in mobile, however down the line this might change. Or perhaps maybe you know a colleague or friend who would be interested.
Getting swag is a game of give and take. Don’t always take. Find ways to give and you’ll find yourself with bigger swag bags.
5. Find the hidden swag
Don’t skip over a booth because you don’t see free t-shirts near them. Oftentimes companies hide their swag inside storage units and only bring them out to worthy visitors.
Take your time to chat up the sales rep and afterwards politely ask if they have swag. They’re usually more than happy to give you some!
6. The Expo Hall is not enough
Yes, you’ll get a ton of swag at the main Expo Hall and even the Admin/Dev Zone in Moscone West. But don’t underestimate the other Dreamforce areas too such as Dreampark and the Marriott Marquis. You’ll even get swag at nearby restaurants from companies sponsoring mini-events there.
These shirts are often among the best and rarest. Plan accordingly.
7. Don’t be afraid to double dip
Come back to the same booths a second or even third time to maximize your swag. Sometimes, booths run of out swag only to refill later. Also, some booths have multiple shirt designs.
I estimate you’ll receive 25% more swag by making multiple runs.
8. Follow Twitter like a hawk
Many of the best swag giveaways happen online in Twitter. Photo contests, scavenger hunts, etc.
Carve out some time to check your Twitter feed for the latest contests. I recommend following all the official Salesforce accounts as well as the major sponsors.
Most people are too busy finding swag in person to realize how much treasure there is online – take advantage of the reduced competition while you can!
9. Skip sessions
They’re all recorded and posted online anyway =)
Just don’t skip mine!
10. Bring a big empty backpack
You’ll easily pull 20+ shirts a day using these secrets and you’ll somehow need to carry all of them.
Minimize your non-swag backpack inventory. Planning to bring your favorite water bottle? You can hit the water fountain instead. That’s precious space and weight you’ll be using.
Very important: do not forget to empty your backpack at the end of each day!
And with that, I now retire from the swag industry. It’s too dangerous for me to continue after revealing a tell-all of this magnitude. T-shirt donations greatly appreciated (size L)!!
P.S. I’m giving out 500 free t-shirts this Dreamforce!
That’s not a typo =)
And I’m not talking about my personal stash either.
I’m GIVING AWAY 500 t-shirts. Yes, to YOU!!
Find me at Dreamforce, and get a shirt! Or, stop by the Pluralsight booth in the Moscone West Dev Zone. Tell them David sent you. We’ll both be giving out shirts throughout the week!
More details coming soon. HUGE thank you to Pluralsight for sponsoring these shirts! Yes, these are official SFDC99 t-shirts sponsored by the one and only Pluralsight, my partners in crime for publishing the Apex Academy!
If you’ve always wanted an SFDC99 t-shirt, this might be the best chance you’ll ever have in your entire lifetime to get one. I’m not even kidding. MUST!!
People often say the key to success is to “follow your passion”.
I’ve always felt conflicted about this. The saying almost makes it seem like you don’t have control over your paths to success. What if your passions don’t have realistic ways of supporting yourself?
And how do you even find your passion? Not everyone is fortunate enough to have the time or opportunities to experiment with a buffet of jobs.
Are you just destined to be mediocre?
I believe passion must be developed. You can will yourself to become passionate about something. The first time I drank beer, I hated it. Yet now, I love it!
Did I fall in love the very first time I used Salesforce? Certainly not. Did I loathe it? Definitely not. But I stuck with the platform, found areas of it I especially enjoyed (like coding), and built on that. Over time, my love for Salesforce grew.
But there will be times where your love plateaus or even wanes. Love can be so fickle. These are the times that truly test you. Stick with it. Make a concentrated effort to find ways to fall in love again. Rekindle that relationship with a spicy new date. You could say it’s not that different from supporting a long-term relationship with a friend or loved one. It takes work.
In short, sometimes I believe it’s better to approach work with the philosophy of the “arranged marriage” instead of the western “romantic” marriage =)
Give it a shot!
Once again the JVS is offering a Salesforce admin course for FREE! WOW!
This is an in-person course that meets 6 hours a day, 5 times a week in San Francisco, California.
More info on the course and how to apply. Deadline is Wednesday, September 14th!
I’d loveeeee to meet you and hear your Salesforce stories, successes or not!
…book your seat before the slots run out!
This is something I’ve always wanted to do!! YES!!!
Help me make a great admin certification course for the world!
Post your favorite ADM201 certification resources in the comments!
Secretly, I’ve always wanted to teach admin principles – this is something I strongly believe too many developers overlook! This prevents good developers from becoming great!
This course will do two things:
And yes, if you are brand new to Salesforce this is exactly the course you need!
Don’t worry, we’ll continue to offer scholarships to those in need (email firstname.lastname@example.org). Plus, stay tuned for a massive free t-shirt announcement!
My tip for you: register for sessions early, they fill quickly!
Just a week’s delay is enough for you to miss your spot!
Rumor is that the agenda builder goes live next Wednesday, September 7th! So bookmark your favorite sessions and start registering your agenda then!
Here are all my sessions, would love to meet you and shake your hand!
See ya there!
P.S. yes there will be a SFDC99 trivia t-shirt giveaway! And right now the most voted color is blue!
Dreamforce is finally here and we all know there’s only one thing on everyone’s minds: T-SHIRTS!
“Hey David, will you be giving out free SFDC99 t-shirts this year?”
“How can I get an SFDC99 t-shirt?”
Step 1: Find me! Come to one of my sessions:
Step 2: You will need to know the secret password to secure a shirt! More info soon!
“What color will the SFDC99 t-shirts be this year”
Give me your vote in the comments and the top color will win!
“What are your top tips for getting free stuff at Dreamforce?”
Coming soon… Guide to getting free stuff at Dreamforce!
I’d love to meet you and shake your hand this year, don’t be afraid to stop me and say hi!
See you at #DF16!
P.S. There will definitely be more t-shirts this year!
I say with zero hesitation that this is the best course of the Apex Academy so far!!
The key to awakening the power of Apex lies in SOQL – yes this is the course where you become all-powerful in Salesforce! It is a MUST watch! Learn how to write SOQL queries, how to integrate SOQL in your Apex triggers, and how to defend your org from bugs by using SOQL in your test classes.
|Coding Tutorials: Three hours of video tutorials covering every aspect of SOQL!|
|Live Demos: Countless demos of how SOQL is used in real-world business scenarios!|
|Homework: Over 30 different homework assignments and their answers!|
|Love: Yes this is the best Apex Academy course so far!|
Check out this preview then watch the full Apex Academy class!
Don’t forget – scholarships are available to veterans, loved ones of veterans, those unemployed, or people just experiencing difficult times. Email me at email@example.com to apply!
UPDATE: The position has been filled! Thank you for everyone who applied!
David’s note: this is the same internship that spawned a developer success story last year! A rare chance to build up your knowledge and resume under one of the best Salesforce professionals in the industry. I’ve personally met Terry and can attest to him. HIGHLY recommended!
We are opening our popular Salesforce Nonprofit internship again this fall. I (Terry Cole) seek one Salesforce intern to mentor and guide. You could be pretty much anywhere as I’m willing to teleconference and make this a virtual job. You’ll do projects for me. I think this requires at least 15 hours per week to be successful. I’ll invest at least 2 hours per week in you. I’ll also set training tasks in front of you to make sure you’re well rounded. I want a 13 week commitment from some starting point.
You’ll know and demonstrate knowledge of Flow, using process builder with flow, NPSP 3.0 objects, writing SF project specifications, packaging solutions for sharing, architecture of a powerful but declarative solutions and more.
Terry is recognized by peers and respected in the non-profit Salesforce community:
Apply by filling this form. We will email you with how to followup. Serious applications will include resume, why you want the internship, how you can balance 15 hours of weekly work with your schedule, and when you’d like to start.
Good luck everyone!