Today we are talking about 100 Days of Trailhead and 100 Days of Apps with its co-founder Rachel Watson, a Technical Architecture Delivery Associate Manager with Accenture. 100 Days of Trailhead challenges developers within the Salesforce community to code for 100 days straight. Participants can choose to focus on any tracks available and for 2020 the tracks are learning, app building, automation, and hybrid.  Rachel and I go into some detail into the 100 Days of App Building and how you can get involved. We discuss how the initiative got started and how Rachel, along with her co-founders, turned the idea into a reality. 

Show Highlights:

  • The story behind how Rachel got involved both in Salesforce development and the Salesforce ecosystem
  • How Rachel along with co-founder Jessica Murphy started 100 Days of Trailhead
  • Why accountability, coding, and community lead to 100 Days’ success
  • Why Rachel and Jessica made the transition from 100 Days of Code for Salesforce Developers to 100 Days of Trailhead
  • A reminder that if you are jumping into the initiative a little late, do it! The goal is to become better professionally, whether you participate for one day, ten, or one-hundred. 


Shout Outs:

Episode Transcript


Rachel: Hey, you know what? There’s this Salesforce thing going on this weekend and it’s free. Why don’t you come along because she knew I was out there looking to figure out where I was going to enter tech.

Josh: That is Rachel Watson, a tech architecture delivery associate manager with Accenture. And I’m Josh Birk, Developer Evangelist with Salesforce. And here on the Salesforce developer podcast, you will hear stories and insights from developers for developers. And yes, it did take me a few times to get Rachel’s title correct. However, today we are going to talk about 100 days of Trailhead and 100 days of apps and in that quote, Rachel is talking about Paula Nelson, getting her to a certain two day workshop that also involved Chris Duarte and Jessica Murphy.


Rachel: What I saw that, Chris, Chris shows me because we know front end development at that point, you know, we also you know, knew some back development where when you saw her created object, create some fields do some automation in like, I don’t know, a matter of 10 minutes, and we were clicking along with her and I went I elbow Jessica. That would have been three pages of code. I was like, I’m sold. I’m doing this and she’s like looking at me like what’s going on? So yeah, that’s that’s how that happened.


Josh: And from there, Jessica and Rachel would both get involved both in Salesforce development but also the Salesforce ecosystem, which if you might recall from Jessica Murphy’s episode takes the form of Salesforce Saturdays


Rachel: Well, we tried and went to different local groups and trying to find information that we were looking for, and we didn’t seem to find it. And so we heard about what Stephanie Herrera was doing in Austin. And Paula, Jessica and I both decided that are all decided rather that we are going to start one here in Phoenix because, honestly, we didn’t know squat at the port at that point. And we were like, we’re building this as much for us as the community because we it’s obviously, because we’re the type of people that were like, Okay, so here is a gap. You know, how can we solve for this gap? Right, you know, so we’re like, this is clearly needed, and we’re just going to create a space for it. I mean, that’s what it’s supposed to be anyway. It’s supposed to be the community get together learning and sharing, you know, that concept didn’t sound like we had to know all the answers. We verified that with Stephanie. She said, heck, no, you don’t have to know all the answers. I said good because we don’t. We just set it up and it really worked out really well. People came in and instill come in at all different levels in the end, you know, we just let them know that this is a very sharing environment, you know, you bring what you know whether that celebrate Knowledge, industry knowledge, whatever you got, we want it. And we just have this really awesome sharing community.


Josh: So let’s go into 100 days of trailhead. What was the start of that?


Rachel: Actually, Jessica was super duper sick with the flu.


I mean, one of those like 103 fever patients. Yeah. And so. So she wakes up, and she’s like, Hey, I have this great idea. And I was like, That’s fabulous. You know, Okay, tell me what your ideas. And so she tells me that, you know, we should do 100 days of code. So that’s from the greater, you know, coding community. And we should bring that to Salesforce. I said, I think that’s a great idea. Now go back to sleep and we’ll talk about it.


Josh: would you credit the fever for the for potentially the invention, or was it all Jessica?


Rachel: Because then she’s like, but no, no, no. And then she’s downloading all these ideas on how she sought this out and everything I go, great, write it down, and then we’ll talk about it when you wake up again, you know, when you feel a little bit better, right? Well, she wrote it down. But then she tweets, that’s what we’re doing. And then she goes back to sleep, and then later on, she wakes up, she goes, Oh, BTW.


I just tweeted that. I was like, oh, by the way, we’re off to the races.


Yeah, I was like, Great. Thanks. That was awesome. I mean, I was co signing all that anyway. It’s not like I was it. It just was like, you are sick as a dog. Are you kidding me right now? I was like, because I was basically saying, you know, Get a little bit better. We’ll we’ll like really dig into this creative framework and launch it. No, no.


Okay,  I mean, we both get passionate about stuff but she gets really passionate about stuff and she’s like, I’m hitting the green GO button. I was like, okay, whatever. Here we go.


Josh: Okay, so so let’s let’s go into the steps after the tweet across the bow, shall we say? What was that framework gonna look like? Like, like, described to me how 100 days of Trailhead works.


Rachel: So we gave credit to the person who started 100 days of code, and Jessica knows his name, and I don’t off the top of my head. It’s a Google away though. So basically, we just said, you know, code an hour. We just followed his rules. Essentially code an hour every single day, you know, and work towards getting better. That’s essentially what it all went down to. And then we want it there to be accountability, much like you have accountability at the gym or what have you. So tweet out, yet we gave a format to tweet in like a hashtag, and so forth. And so some people are like, I actually learned how to tweet with 100 days of code. And we’re like, well, that’s awesome. That was cool. That’s great. And then people were tweeting out their successes, we encourage that, you know, encourage people to encourage others and celebrate each other’s successes, you know, minor or not so minor were like, you know, even if it was a code block that you were grinding on, you know, and you got past it. We can celebrate that. You know, it doesn’t have to be ginormous. So it became this really great place that people, you know, were encouraging each other and celebrating each other’s successes. And people have now gotten I mean, certifications, job advances new jobs. I mean, you go to promotions, you go down the list. It’s, it’s amazing. And all the stuff that comes through during the hundred days of trailhead, and every year, it seems to get more and more robust. So the first year was 100 days of code. The second year, we switched over to 100 days of trailhead, because we got a lot of feedback from the community that said, Hey, listen, you know, we’re not, you know, group of us aren’t really like programmatic developers, but we want to do it too. And we’re like, okay, so Jessica is like, you know, bouncing it back and forth with me, like, how can we do this? And she goes, What about 100 days of trailhead? I said, that sounds fabulous. Let’s do that.

Josh: So to clarify, it started as 100 days of code base 100 days of code for Salesforce developers. Now it’s 100 is a trailhead which includes some subcategories, including like 100 days of learning, and also 100 days of app building or 100 days of apps. And this is designed to get people foot in the door for building an application for the Appexchange.


Rachel: What we’ve seen is a lot of people have not considered going on the appexchange. We’re trying to build anything for the appexchange. And we’re trying to encourage people encourage folks that ordinarily wouldn’t be on the appexchange to give it a go. And, you know, at least give a shot shot at building an app and whether they end up putting it on the appexchange or not, that’s totally up to them. But at least kind of playing around with the idea because there’s there’s so many different things that if we all just create a space and say here’s a safe space to create Try XYZ, how many more of us would try stuff? Right?


Josh: What’s the expected level of polish that you would you would you have seen and expect to see from from the apps themselves?


See, the thing about it is is you have when you’re submitting you tell what your level is, like, are you know, how long have you been in sales, you know, working in Salesforce or working with Salesforce training with Salesforce, whatever that looks like. And what is your experience level? Do you consider yourself, you know, a configuration app builder? Do you consider yourself more of an admin? You know, do you consider yourself beginner? You know, where do you rank yourself? So we can we can really look at this accordingly, cuz it’s, there’s no like, well, I just got started so I can’t even try I know, right? That’s not true pair up with somebody that has more experience with you than you rather. And, you know, go for it.


Josh: And what’s the worst that’s gonna happen, you have something that might be approaching a minimal viable product?


Rachel: right, which you didn’t have before.  Exactly. And I mean, the thing about it is, is, you know, when you find people in the ecosystem that have different skills than you, the fact the matter is, is you’re going to learn from each other.


Josh: We’ll probably have this episode air in a few weeks, which means that there’s only going to be about 34 days of the hundred days left. If people are hearing this and they’re just hearing about 100 days of trailhead, hundred days of app for the first time. Is it like a aw shucks No, see you next year or join the bandwagon.


Rachel: Totally join the bandwagon, jump right in and everything because this whole initiative is about us in the ecosystem, each individual one of us taking steps to spend time to make ourselves better professionally. So whether you do this one day, two days, five days, 100 days, you’re better. And you have more skills than you did in the beginning. And one thing that I do really, really want to say is last year, there was someone that said, I failed. Oh, and this was heartbreaking to me. Because I really, really think we need to reframe failure,


Josh: right.


Rachel: was talking about failure one day. And I said, I don’t really think of it is failing. I think of things like I think the things is iterating to success, you know, you get a little bit closer each individual time, right? And you, you just keep going. So the thing about it is is what if you get got into it 15 days and you had a life event, and you missed a few days, you didn’t fail, right? You know, jump right back in on the on it, pick up where you left off, if you left off on day 15 find your quote unquote, behind who cares, right say I’m, this is day 16 for me, and you know, just keep moving on and in go on. Now on the official hundred days of code, they make you start over at one, I say just pick up where you left off, keep on going. And then each time just try to do better and better.


Josh: Because this is failure is inherent, I mean I can’t necessarily speak to the admin process, but it’s part of life for the development process.


Rachel: True. The thing about it is, is I don’t care who you are, you’re not gonna write perfect code blocks, right? This is just the reality,


Josh: Not the not the first four times maybe not the first 40 times unless you unless maybe you’re on Stack Exchange, and you’ve already, you know, grabbed something from somebody who’s already went through the 40 times to get there, then yeah, no, your first iterations, not what you’re going to be putting into production.


Rachel: No, and that’s normal. And I think that what, what I really believe is we don’t talk enough about how we got somewhere we always show Oh, here I am, and it’s everything is great. Well, there was a process to get get there. And oftentimes, I mean, I would say I, I would say without fail, we had people helping us along the way. I can’t imagine anybody going anywhere. Completely solo that just I can’t even imagine. And we have little stumbling blocks everybody does. And the more that we normalize that, the more we’re going to all succeed.


Josh: And I mean to bring that full circle, it’s how many years ago was that workshop from Chris ward. 2015 2015. So five years ago, you started down this journey. And here you are.

Rachel: Yep.

Josh: Well, Rachel, it was excellent talking to you. Thank you very much for your time. Any other shout outs or advice that you want to give to somebody who’s doing the hundred days?


Rachel: I just want to really thank Jessica for always being my study buddy. You know, dragging me along on those days that I just don’t feel like it because that does happen. I want to thank all of the all of our Phoenix sales for Saturday, people You guys are amazing. We, you know, the community is you. And we wouldn’t have that community without you with devs. And all these wonderful groups like RAD women, and so forth. You know, it’s so great to know that we can be there to support each other. And to all the wonderful allies out there like yourself, Josh. So thank you. Thank you, everybody. You know, this is what the community’s supposed to be about, about sharing and sharing knowledge and cheering each other on and you guys doing 100 days of Trailhead are doing a phenomenal job. So go get them.


Josh: Go get them indeed. I want to touch on that point that Rachel mentioned that we don’t talk about the journey enough. Because I agree and it’s one of the reasons we started this podcast because that journey is often about the community and about the community uplifting itself, whether it’s a project to help out another developer or time spent on the Stack Exchange are trying to help everyone learn. And as we noted, 100 days of trail, it is ongoing, but all you need is a Twitter account and sometime head on over to 100 days of trailhead calm to find out more, because Ohana, we are better together.

And that’s our show. Thank you for listening and my huge thanks to Rachel for the conversation, and a huge thanks to everybody involved in making hundred days of Trailhead happening. If you’d like to learn more about this podcast, head on over to, where you can hear old episodes, see show notes and have links to your favorite podcast service. Thanks again, and I’ll talk to you next week.

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