I thought the hardest part of trying to submit ideas for the Developer Track at Dreamforce was putting together the abstract. Once I actually submitted, I then realized waiting to find out if any of my ideas got accepted was even harder. And then I got the email letting me know that NONE of my sessions would be joining the lineup at Dreamforce that year.

After my initial feelings of just being sad, the hardest part of the submission process was not knowing why I didn’t get in, and what I could do better for next year.

Having just gone through the selection process again, but this time as a member of the team working to build the Developer Track at Dreamforce, I now have answers that I wish I could share with my past self.

First, Give yourself a pat on the back

You have every member of the team that works to create the Developer and Admin Tracks at Dreamforce sending you a giant THANK YOU for taking the time to share your ideas with us. Your session ideas are why Dreamforce is the biggest, most densely packed learning experience in the Salesforce ecosystem. The team really does spend time with each and every submission. All 800+ of them.

Of those 800+ submissions, we only get to say ‘yes’ to about 170. We probably disappointed many members of our community this last week.

Mike Gerholdt put together a great post about the mechanics of the review process for the Admin Track—which is almost the same process we used to evaluate sessions for the Developer Track.

Second, Now is not the time to second-guess yourself

The quality of the submissions was high. I can truly say: not being accepted is not a judgement on the quality of an idea.

Session selection is a combination of factors. Some factors are the logistical realities, as I mentioned above. Another part comes from the not-secret sauce that we apply to nearly every part of shaping the Developer Track experience at Dreamforce: is this an awesome thing for Salesforce developers? Each reviewer looking at session proposals asks themselves a few basic questions as they consider anyone’s submission:

  • As a person who is also a Salesforce developer, would I want to go to this session?
  • Would a beginning/intermediate/advanced Salesforce developer want to go to this session?
  • If I attended this session, would I walk away as a better developer or Salesforce professional?

There were a lot of proposals that made many of us say ‘yes’ to those questions. We were sorry to not be able to accept sessions that contain really solid content and would be awesome for the Salesforce developer community to hear about.

Finally, don’t abandon your idea(s)

You’ve already done the hardest part: getting your idea down. Submit your ideas again next year. Really.

Also, consider not waiting a year to dust off your proposal and send it in. There are many, many places in the Salesforce ecosystem where you can share your content. There are hundreds of community-led Salesforce conferences that take place around the world. Check out local meetup groups or Kate Vickery’s blog to find out more about when and where those events are, and how you can find out about calls for proposals/speakers.

You also don’t have to travel around the world to share your presentation. Connect with your local user groups.  Find user groups in your area. As a former user group leader, I can tell you that community members pitching workshop/session ideas was absolutely welcomed.

Keep being the best champion you can be for your own idea.

If you want to make sure your title and abstract are also supporting your idea in the best possible way, check out Reach Your Audience with Rad Content on Trailhead.

If you’ve got an approved session, congratulations—and keep an eye out for more details. If you’re waiting, we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!

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