Salesforce Admins Podcast

Before the calendar rolls over to June, we’re back for another special episode to recap great Salesforce content this month. This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, Mike and Gillian are back with the We Still Don’t Know What to Call This Episode. Seriously, help us out.

Join us as we talk about all the great Salesforce content from this month, as well as much of the content published on

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation between Mike and Gillian.

Low Code Love

Gillian hosted our LowCodeLove event, which featured many customer stories highlighting how IT leaders, admins, and developers can use low-code tools to quickly respond to business’ changing needs. We also heard from Jeff Berger, who we had on the podcast to talk about how he built an app in FIVE HOURS, got a surprise visit from Parker Harris, and had Maggie Rogers show up to share some music. 

Be an Innovator with Dynamic Pages

If you complete the new Trailmix for Be and Innovator with Dynamic Pages by June 30th, you get a special badge, so now is the time to get cracking.

Quick and Dynamic Actions

There was a lot of great content about Quick Actions and Dynamic Actions, including a blog post about how to use more Quick Actions everywhere by Jeremiah Dohn and new ways to use Dynamic Actions by Eric Shih. Behind all of it is Vin Addala, who we had on the pod and also goes by his alter ego, Vin Dynamic. Take a close look at all of these tools to reduce the visual clutter in your org and help people get things done faster than ever before.

Taking Advantage of the Salesforce Community

We had several great episodes on the pod this month that highlight the importance of the community in your Salesforce journey.

Trailhead Live!

This month, we launched the first episodes of Trailhead Live! Make sure to tune in to catch Megan Peterson and Gillian and catch up on all the great content coming into Trailhead and trivia with Marc Baizman. “I always have a Trailhead live open,” Mike says, “and I’m always popping over because there’s always new stuff there.”

The Way Back Machine

We take a look back at where we were in May 2018, 2017, 2016, and even 2014 and 2010. Check out where we were when folders and subfolders were new, and when we started the Awesome Admin movement.


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Full Show Transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast, where we talk about product, community and careers to help you be an awesome admin. We are here on the, "We Still Don't Know What to Call It" episode. We still don't know what to call it, really. No one's helped us with that.

Mike Gerholdt: It's still the thing. We're not sure to call. Still unsure.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. Well, here we go. This is the third episode of the, We Still Don't Know What to Call It episode. And I'm Gillian Bruce.

Mike Gerholdt: I'm Mike Gerholdt. At least I think so.

Gillian Bruce: It's hard to tell these days.

Mike Gerholdt: We don't know what to call it. I think, maybe, nobody's telling us what to call it because they like that we still don't know what to call it episode.

Gillian Bruce: You might be right. You might be right. It's like the Boaty McGoatface of podcasts.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Boaty McGoatface. Did you say Boaty McGoatface? Yes.

Gillian Bruce: Was it? Isn't that...

Mike Gerholdt: I think it's Boaty McBoatface.

Gillian Bruce: McBoatface. Sorry.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. All the boats.

Gillian Bruce: In Salesforce-

Mike Gerholdt: Got goats.

Gillian Bruce: ... landing-

Mike Gerholdt: Got goats.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: I got a goat problem.

Gillian Bruce: I have cloudy goats on the brain. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Don't we all?

Gillian Bruce: Speaking of Salesforce landing and cloudy and goats, we had a lot of content that cloudy would be especially excited about that we produced in May.

Mike Gerholdt: We did a lot in May. We had a lot of fun. Much like we're having a lot of fun on this episode. We had a lot of fun in May.

Gillian Bruce: We sure did. You shared those lists with me of all of the things that you gathered from what our team put out in May. I was like "Wait, that was one month? Oh my goodness."

Mike Gerholdt: I was tired making the list. I had to take a nap. I had to pause, take a nap while making the list, get back up, keep making the list. That's how long the list was.

Gillian Bruce: Well, I'm glad that you pushed through it and made the list.

Mike Gerholdt: It could be hard sometimes making list.

Gillian Bruce: You know.

Mike Gerholdt: I feel like we're all good list makers now though, right?

Gillian Bruce: Well, yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Maybe some of us more so than others.

Gillian Bruce: I feel like I start a lot of lists. Now, if I ever do anything with them or actually cross them off, I'll go into my notes app sometimes on my phone and just discover to-do lists from two years ago that I never completed.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I know.

Gillian Bruce: It's great. Getting back to the list-

Mike Gerholdt: More list of ideas. List of ideas. Those are always fun. That sounds like a totally good idea.

Gillian Bruce: Right.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: At a moment of inspiration and-

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: ... it just sat there.

Mike Gerholdt: I created a list, list of lists.

Gillian Bruce: Well, admins like list view. Here we go.

Mike Gerholdt: They do. Right.

Gillian Bruce: Now that I'm viewing this list, the first thing on the list is the ... You talk about fun. Man, we had a lot of fun with this. The Low Code Love event on May 7th. Wow.

Mike Gerholdt: Gillian, you were the MC. I got to do some customer interviews. It was a lot of fun to watch as well. It was fun to do in the moment and see it all come together, and then day of, it was a lot of fun to watch.

Gillian Bruce: Well, that's good because I didn't really get to watch it.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I know.

Gillian Bruce: I watched it after the fact.

Mike Gerholdt: You sort of did. You were very participatory in the watching.

Gillian Bruce: I was. I watched myself on my own monitor-

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Gillian Bruce: ... like whatever the feed was picking up, but yeah. Mike, you, of course, are an expert customer interviewer.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: You've had what, like 10 years of practice running a podcast.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure. Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: It was fun. It was so cool to see everything come together. It's the first time we did anything like this. We learned a lot in the process, but we did. We had a ton of fun. Some amazing customer stories in there. We got Jeff Berger story in there who you interviewed on the podcast.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Yeah. It was good to see him visually explain his story.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. It was like what, he built an app in what, five hours? Was that-

Mike Gerholdt: Something like that. Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Over the weekend. Just ridiculous timeframe.

Gillian Bruce: He's just like "Sure. I'll build this. I got it. No problem."

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, "No problem. It's Friday afternoon. I got nothing else going on."

Gillian Bruce: "I got some awesome admin skills."

Mike Gerholdt: "We're going to roll this out Sunday evening. You bet. No problem." Boom. Done. Water off a Duck's back.

Gillian Bruce: Seriously. A bit like his story. What the mayor of Palm Coast with Steve Harris who helped build the solution there.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: We had Amber Boaz on, too, talking about how excited she is about dynamic pages and some of the stuff there. Some really cool customers, right? I got to talk about what you see Berkeley did with one of their labs to help supply COVID testing to firefighters. Actually, I'm wearing my Cal shirt today. I got Go Bears pride.

Mike Gerholdt: Of course. Sure. We had the Low Code Lounge, right? That was fun.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: There's a lot of people joining in the Low Code Lounge, [Squire] Kershner.

Gillian Bruce: Squire Christian was in there. We had Christie who is another fellow podcaster.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: [Hewitt] podcast, Christie Campbell.

Mike Gerholdt: Exactly. Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: We even had a high school student in there, Shaborn Allah, who is from Pi-TaP, which is an awesome organization. He joined from Boston. We had a surprise in there. Parker Harris dipped in the Low Code Lounge. We had a lot of fun. Parker spent the whole broadcast talking to and connecting to all the people on Low Code Lounge and learning more about their stories, which was really cool.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Yeah. I was a little jealous when I saw Parker come in. Mostly because he has some of the best intro where he would just float in to the screen. It was great. I thought, when they went away to do something else, I was like "I bet Parker is engaging with every single one of those people." I want that recording to go live.

Gillian Bruce: I'm sure it exists somewhere, but yeah, we had a lot of fun. Parker was totally game to play. Actually, he got jealous because I had a light up Marquee.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

Gillian Bruce: He had his son. One of his sons come in like set up a light show behind him, but it was so bright in his shot. You couldn't even see it, but he was very jealous. Parker loves the fun.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: We got Brett and Sarah doing the main show and Maggie Rogers showing up to sing us some incredible songs.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: We had the AMA with a zillion of our amazing product managers. It was awesome. We had some slight technical issues, but you know what, we had more viewers than we could have even imagined. Understandably, things were going to ... we get tested and crashed a little.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: We recovered.

Mike Gerholdt: Exactly. It was a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. If you want to watch it, it's available on Trailhead Live. It's also available on Salesforce Live. You can go back and watch the uninterrupted version. If you catch it on Facebook Live or Twitter, the feed on there, you'll see that I actually missed your live queue.

Mike Gerholdt: It's okay.

Gillian Bruce: Sarah and I were talking about her hair. That's great.

Mike Gerholdt: That's okay. You also hosted Bingo. You had like a live whiteboard that would come in. That was some good that-

Gillian Bruce: I still got the whiteboard.

Mike Gerholdt: I'm still laughing.

Gillian Bruce: I still got it. We had a lot of Bingo winners.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

Gillian Bruce: There's a lot of Bingo names on air.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. That's okay. That's how it works. It's good. It's good.

Gillian Bruce: Now, I have a whiteboard in my house.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Because ... whiteboards.

Gillian Bruce: Why not.

Mike Gerholdt: In addition to Low Code Love, we also had, Be an Innovator with Dynamic Pages launch on I think it was really cool. The page actually directs down to You could watch the videos and engage right there. That's some magic that Rebecca Saar did.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, and Vin Addala who's on the podcast, because he is the PM that helped create an ... his team basically built this new, amazing dynamic pages experience. It's totally re-engineered from the ground up, which was why it took a while. We had some Leanne magic in those videos as well.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, who was also in Low Code Love.

Gillian Bruce: It sure was. She sure was. Yes. She sure was. Yeah. If you complete the trail mix for Be an Innovator by June 30th and something cool happens.

Mike Gerholdt: I think you get a badge.

Gillian Bruce: You get a badge. That's what you get.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: I wrote down the date and I forgot to write down the-

Mike Gerholdt: That's okay.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: It's-

Gillian Bruce: It's May 74th, right?

Mike Gerholdt: It's May 74th. That's right. March 82nd. If you missed either of those, the links to watch them, we'll include it in the show notes because sometimes I can't keep up with me.

Gillian Bruce: Well, especially these days.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. We haven't-

Gillian Bruce: We've been making list [exhaustia 00:08:55].

Mike Gerholdt: Exactly. Well, it's important. Naps are important. Blogs-

Gillian Bruce: Yes, as I've learned from my son.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I know. See, kid's got it figured out. Like pre five, wake up, eat, crawl around a little bit, nap. That's-

Gillian Bruce: Eat again. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Eat again. Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Nap again. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Nap.

Gillian Bruce: They got the life.

Mike Gerholdt: Priorities. Priorities. They're not making lists. He's just got the list in his head.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. It's very few things on there.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. Other things that, maybe, you didn't miss, again, we don't know what to call this episode. We're just going to go through some content, tell you all the awesome stuff that was out there that you need to follow up on, read about. Let's talk about accelerate adoption using quick actions everywhere. It's community post by Jeremiah Dohn. I like that. We had that come out in May.

Gillian Bruce: Jeremiah is-

Mike Gerholdt: Early part of May.

Gillian Bruce: ... awesome.

Mike Gerholdt: He is. He's presented at DreamForce, I feel a few times.

Gillian Bruce: At least, yeah. Yeah. His post is great. Quick Actions are super useful.

Mike Gerholdt: I use Quick Actions a lot. I use them very quickly.

Gillian Bruce: Do you?

Mike Gerholdt: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gillian Bruce: Do you use them while drinking Nestle Quick?

Mike Gerholdt: Maybe.

Gillian Bruce: I don't know why that popped in my head. Anyway-

Mike Gerholdt: That's Nestle Quick. It's smooth. It's chocolatey. It's milk. It's wonderful.

Gillian Bruce: It's got a bunny on it. I don't know.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I think, was it Yoohoo that competes with Nestle Quick?

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Yoohoo.

Gillian Bruce: What's the difference between those and Ovaltine? I've never understood the difference between. To be clear, I haven't really drank any of them, so I don't know.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, doesn't Ovaltine help you with your regularity and your fiber?

Gillian Bruce: I don't know.

Mike Gerholdt: Maybe it's-

Gillian Bruce: Isn't that Metamucil?

Mike Gerholdt: Well, that could be.

Gillian Bruce: Sorry everyone.

Mike Gerholdt: I feel like there's also a comedian that has a bit about Ovaltine. Like why doesn't it come in an oval box for an Ovaltine.

Gillian Bruce: That would make sense.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. It's called, Ovaltine. We didn't talk about Quick Actions at all during that. We talked about Ovaltine and Yoohoo and Nestle quick and yet, somebody is still listening, hanging on by a thread that something important is coming up next.

Gillian Bruce: I bet they're finding some chocolate milk somewhere.

Mike Gerholdt: Who doesn't want chocolate milk now? I do.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, not me. Good.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Chocolate, yes. Anyway, we also had another great blog post about dynamic actions in app builder.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. Yes.

Gillian Bruce: It very well paired with the dynamic pages feature that is now available for folks to use. Another amazing admin tool.

Mike Gerholdt: Vin Addala used to work on dynamic actions.

Gillian Bruce: That makes sense.

Mike Gerholdt: I remember because he's very dynamic. He's the captain dynamic or Vin Dynamic as I call him.

Gillian Bruce: Vin Dynamic.

Mike Gerholdt: Vin Dynamic. I think taking a step back and looking at this and then reflecting back on the podcast, which totally listened to from Vin on top of the fact that he has a million games in the background. In perspective, seeing what we can do now that was only pie in the sky when I was an admin in like 2008, I remember starting a sentence with, "Wouldn't it be great if this field would appear when I check this box?" Now, it's like "Yeah, no problem. Done."

Gillian Bruce: "We got this."

Mike Gerholdt: "We got that. What else you got?" I'll equate it to, I don't know if you've ever driven one of those cars that has the progressive or something cruise control where you set the cruise control and then it has a radar and it senses if it's behind another vehicle and it slows down. It's amazing.

Gillian Bruce: Whoa, that's fancy.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. It's really cool. I feel like that's where we're at, right? We're right on the verge of self-driving cars because they're pretty spatially aware. Now, we're starting to get to the point where pages are like, you ask a question like "I wonder if it could ... Yeah, that's no problem. I can do that." You're like, "Yeah, what other problems you got?"

Gillian Bruce: "Bring it. I got this."

Mike Gerholdt: "Bring it. I got this."

Gillian Bruce: It's so cool because it really helps reduce the number of profiles that you need to do. It's such a better experience.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, you got perm sets now.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Come on. I got two or three profiles I can set up and then I can just perm set away.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Being able to do these, basically set the visibility and the response of individual on the field level of pages and even the action. It helps reduce a lot of the overhead and technical debt for an admin, right?

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Also, the visual clutter.

Gillian Bruce: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: That was one thing that I remember getting pinged a lot as an admin. You'd have to have all these forms and fields that people required because eight steps into a sales process, this field had to be filled out and users were constantly, "Why do I have to look at it for the first seven?" Because "Hey, look at the lunch menu came out." That is, literally, every conversation I had. Now, it's like "Yeah, you don't." Because when we get to the stage or when you complete this field now, boom, I can make that appear and then it's gone. You can still report on it. It's that visual clutter that I don't have to deal with as a user. I'm moving through the information faster and in a very prescriptive way, right? I love it.

Gillian Bruce: If only I could have something like that for my house to reduce the visual clutter, that'd be fantastic.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Anyway, moving on. We had a lot of podcasts come out this month. We talked about the Vin Addala podcast, which is great. People should listen to it and they can watch it on Trailhead Live. It actually aired right after the Low Code Love event ended-

Mike Gerholdt: On Trailhead Live, yes.

Gillian Bruce: ... the Broadcast Eight, yeah, ended. It's there for everybody to look at, but we also had the last episode of the Salesforce for good series that our amazing colleague, Marc Baizman, hosted featuring Ryan Ozimek.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Ryan is a return guest. I remember speaking with Ryan at one of the Washington D.C. world tour stops. We recorded an episode out there. Good to have him back. That was a fun series, Gillian. We launched that series while you are gone. It wrapped up. Instead of pushing it all six episodes at once, we spread it out over time. There's two theories. You can either just drop everything and make people binge listened to it or the oldschool way of radio. It comes out every week or every month.

Gillian Bruce: Sprinkle a little good throughout the year.

Mike Gerholdt: Sprinkle, yeah. Exactly.

Gillian Bruce: It's good.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Six months of good. That was fun. Gillian, you interviewed Eve Stewart on-

Gillian Bruce: She was awesome.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. That was a fun episode as well.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. She's another amazing member of our Salesforce military community. She's just got a really great perspective on how to take hold of tough problems. Literally, we titled the episode, "Get Out of Your Own Way."

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Gillian Bruce: Really, what she talks about is, "Hey, when you got a tough problem, don't make a mountain out of a molehill even though it may seem like it's" ... I don't know.

Mike Gerholdt: A mountain.

Gillian Bruce: What's the tallest mountain? Mount Everest.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

Gillian Bruce: You're not going to get anywhere if you keep thinking about it. You just got to sit down in a room, start mapping it out, tackle it out. She talks a lot about that. It was great to be able to connect with her and share that with the community. We've got some really good responses, too, in social, which is great.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I got to speak with Eric Prod who was amazing to interview. It's always great to see when you log into the Trailblazer Community, all of the faces of the people who answer and then to get them on a call and be able to pick their brain. It was fun to talk with Eric and have him walk through his thinking and his process for, "I'm really going to solve this. I'm really going to take this on this way." It goes back to what we mentioned earlier with dynamic forms and dynamic actions, right? Reducing your technical debt. If you can build it now, once correctly and with a solid foundation, you're setting yourself up for success later on. I think, that, to me, was a huge takeaway from Eric's podcast.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. It's so fun because again, like you said, putting a voice behind those leaders on the answers community. All of us are pretty familiar with Steve Moe, but there are some amazing other people on there who answer almost as many questions.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: Eric has helped out hundreds and hundreds of folks. It was really fun to connect with him and put a voice behind those written answers.

Mike Gerholdt: Absolutely. In addition to that, holy cow, there was a lot that happened on Trailhead Live.

Gillian Bruce: So much. Trailhead Live is on fire right now.

Mike Gerholdt: It is.

Gillian Bruce: It is so cool.

Mike Gerholdt: It is. First thing that I saw launch was, Trailhead News launched. Gillian, I think, you were on the first episode.

Gillian Bruce: I was. The one and only amazing Meagan Petersen, a.k.a Ranger Megan, who based in Sydney launched this. She is one of the driest, funniest news anchors I think I have ever seen. She makes it so fun. She puts together all the content and episodes herself. When you see something fun, that's Megan right there.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: She had so much fun. There's two episodes out now. The first one was great. I got to be her first test interviewer. If you watch it, you'll notice that we were trying to figure some things out, but it turned out pretty fun.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. No, I thought it was good. It's fun because interacting now is like well, we can't just sit down and film this of course, right?

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. There's like zoom background and activity and then looking-

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Gillian Bruce: ... away from the camera to make it look like you're looking at the person even though this is-

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

Gillian Bruce: Anyway, it was really fun. Marc Baizman was actually on the second episode talking about some great admin tips.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: It's fun. It's on Trailhead Live. You can find it. I highly recommend if you need a little levity in your day. It's also a great way to catch up on all the things that are ... like the new content coming on Trailhead, events, all kinds of great ... it is the Trailhead News. There you go.

Mike Gerholdt: What you're saying is, listening to Trailhead News is like listening to the, what do we call this episode for the podcast.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Except it might be a little more visually interesting because she does production and the last one had a video of goats gone wild, which was exciting.

Mike Gerholdt: Jeepers. Okay. Wow. It's not a competition, but it is.

Gillian Bruce: Hey, we're a podcast first. There you go.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes, we are. We're a podcast?

Gillian Bruce: Sorry folks. We're a podcast first.

Mike Gerholdt: That is the next shirt we got to have come out. We're a podcast first. Fun.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Marc Baizman was on Trailhead Live and he did awesome admin trivia, which I saw the tweets around. I think that's so much fun. We've internally played with that app before on team meetings and it's highly competitive. I could not imagine what it would be like competing against some of our admins in the community. Holy cow.

Gillian Bruce: I think I would lose.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: For sure, I'd lose.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I was impressed by the scores.

Gillian Bruce: Well, and what's fun is this app is actually built on Salesforce.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Kevin Portman, developer of AngelList created this and Marc has taken it and customized it for admins. It's pretty fun because it's like something else that is used for online quizzes.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

Gillian Bruce: It's on Salesforce, which is really fun.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Way more fun than that.

Gillian Bruce: Way more.

Mike Gerholdt: Perhaps, maybe you're watching a video version of the podcast on Trailhead Live. We launched that with Vin. Yes. Right.

Gillian Bruce: Hi there.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Here's what you get in the video only version. See, now, you got to watch the video only version just to know what that part was because we can't tell you. We had Vin Addala on. For June, which is coming up, last I checked ...

Gillian Bruce: Although it is May 82nd.

Mike Gerholdt: March 82nd. All of the PM's that are on the podcast for June, we're also going to rebroadcast as video on Trailhead Live. Gillian, you're going to thankfully do the intro of that because we're a podcast first.

Gillian Bruce: We're a podcast first.

Mike Gerholdt: Nobody needs me to do the intro. No. I'm-

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. People are just busy in a lot of this.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Right. It's Gillian and welcome to the Gillian show. That's cool. I literally have a tab open of the hundred tabs. I always have a Trailhead Live tab open. I'm always popping over because there's always new stuff there. They have a little feature area and stuff that I can catch up on. Thankfully, I can watch. I was able to catch the Trailhead News even though I missed it when it went live. I think that's really neat.

Gillian Bruce: We do things like AMAs too. I did a couple of AMAs, this ... I think that was this month too. I totally forgot about that. It's so much content, but we did like-

Mike Gerholdt: So much.

Gillian Bruce: ... just a general admin AMA that I did live on Trailhead. We did AMA with Vin Addala just recently where we answered some questions about dynamic pages. He actually showed us to, specifically, several of his board games, which was fun. We answered questions live that were coming in the feed. Fun fact, I actually went to the command line to make the Skype to OBS integration work, which it didn't work perfectly. We're going to get better for next time, but it's the only way we were able to live feed two videos and slides the same time on OBS. It's very exciting.

Mike Gerholdt: You fancy, command line and all.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Well, you know.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: We're all turning into our own production assistants, right?

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I know. Send you a bill for the producer. Let's see, making this list. Boy, there's a lot on it. The one fun thing that I always like to, as we wrap up this episode is the Wayback machine, which of course you have a better ... looking back at things, content that we had produced in the previous years or blog posts, it seems to be very relevant. Two years ago, we had summer 18 release notes. I put, most notably, folders and sub folders, which I remember this was one blog post that Marc worked on that he was so excited about sub folders in reports.

Gillian Bruce: Well, people have been asking for it for so long. It was so cool to be able to look at that.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure. I need more folders. I need folders with folders.

Gillian Bruce: Well, you got to organize all those amazing reports and dashboards in a way that works.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, I do remember that very vividly as well.

Mike Gerholdt: Summer 18. Three years ago, we had a blog post magic components with Michael Gonzalez.

Gillian Bruce: Magic.

Mike Gerholdt: Magic.

Gillian Bruce: A.k.a. lightning components.

Mike Gerholdt: Lightning. I feel like that was also when we do the ... was it the lightening now tour? Is that what we call that?

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I had to do-

Gillian Bruce: This is who you're going all around the world, helping people-

Mike Gerholdt: All around.

Gillian Bruce: ... learn about lightning and how to transition to it. It was actually really fun.

Mike Gerholdt: Was it Michael Gonzales that I did the Indianapolis stop with and maybe he almost missed his flight.

Gillian Bruce: You're going to have to do it all by yourself?

Mike Gerholdt: No. Missed his flight home, thankfully.

Gillian Bruce: Missed his flight home. Okay.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, because of traffic.

Gillian Bruce: There you go.

Mike Gerholdt: I just remember I had to-

Gillian Bruce: We got him on the podcast. That's good.

Mike Gerholdt: We did. Yeah. Didn't miss his flight at all. Four years ago, we were talking about having a messy org, spring cleaning.

Gillian Bruce: No messy orgs? Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: No spring cleaning, but this was a guest post by Kansas City user group leader, Dale Ziegler who-

Gillian Bruce: Dale. He was in the first ever admin keynote.

Mike Gerholdt: He was, and he was also one of the people that put me in contact with Jeffrey Berger, who was the academy bank admin. I was reading through this and you know what, it may be a few years old, it still always applies, right? Like too many profiles. What were we just talking about, to make profiles.

Gillian Bruce: We just talked about that. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Stuff goes on forever and ever.

Gillian Bruce: It's like the Marie Kondo of Salesforce orgs.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, I feel like, yes, I'm sure that'll come up in one of our Wayback machines. Gillian, we were talking before we pressed record, I feel like May is like the anniversary month of the admin relations team.

Gillian Bruce: 100%. So many things have happened in May. Six years ago, Mike, you officially joined the team, which-

Mike Gerholdt: I did. That was fun.

Gillian Bruce: You are the first ever admin of AngelList.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Because we basically took all of your button click admin work and we're like "Cool."

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

Gillian Bruce: Just bring it over to Salesforce because-

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Done.

Gillian Bruce: ... we want to do that.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. It really is the launch of the official awesome admin movement in a lot of ways. I think that's when we first launched the newsletter. I think that's when we came up with the whole like "All right, we're going to do something at DreamForce." We have no idea what it is. It has now evolved into the admin meadow.

Mike Gerholdt: We started-

Gillian Bruce: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. We started world tour stuff.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: I remember we had one of our breakouts at a world tour and world tour after world tour, so it began.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. It's amazing, amazing journey. 10 years ago.

Mike Gerholdt: 10 years ago.

Gillian Bruce: Way, way back.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. A whole decade, a whole decade ago.

Gillian Bruce: Decade of my life, I've been part of Salesforce. Yes, I joined Salesforce 10 years ago in May. Crazy.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow.

Gillian Bruce: Crazy.

Mike Gerholdt: All right. That was it. That's our, what do we call it episode.

Gillian Bruce: There it is.

Mike Gerholdt: We're open to suggestions on what we should call it. Otherwise, we'll just keep calling it ... We're not really sure what we're going to call it episode, but it's a lot of fun.

Gillian Bruce: It is.

Mike Gerholdt: We'll do one in June.

Gillian Bruce: I had fun. I can't wait to do it again.

Mike Gerholdt: If you want to learn about all things, Salesforce Admin, go to to find more resources. Of course, a reminder, if you love what you hear and I mean, who doesn't, go on over to iTunes-

Gillian Bruce: Clearly, this is the best content ever.

Mike Gerholdt: All the stars.

Gillian Bruce: Best episode ever.

Mike Gerholdt: All the stars. Honestly, if you do go over to iTunes and you give us a review, it helps more Salesforce Admins find that content. That's why we're here. I do promise that I read the reviews. I check them. I send them to the team. I love seeing new stuff. Please post that. You can stay up-to-date with us on all things admin on social. We are @salesforceadmins, no I on Twitter. Of course, you can find me. I am @mikegerholdt and Gillian?

Gillian Bruce: @gilliankbruce.

Mike Gerholdt: Stay tuned for our next episode.

Gillian Bruce: We'll catch you next time in the cloud.

Direct download: We_Still_Dont_Know_What_to_Call_This_Episode_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:04am PDT

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re talking to Eric Praud, a Service Cloud Delivery Manager at Ladbrokes Coral Group. We discuss best practices for building formulas and how to ask and answer questions on the Salesforce community.

Join us as we talk about why you need to learn things with the mindset that you may need to teach them later, why it’s so important to avoid technical debt, and how to be better at asking for and giving help on the Answers community.

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

Why it’s OK to get it wrong the first time.

Like a lot of people we talk to on the Salesforce Admin Podcast, Eric is someone who stumbled into the platform. He started out working thirteen years in the restaurant industry, but when he was looking to transition into technology he ended up working in Salesforce support. “You start with support and it feels like a sink or swim situation because you don’t know much, to be fair,” Eric says, “but it was the best schooling I could’ve had for Salesforce.”

These days, Eric keeps up with his support roots by keeping active in the community, where he tries to answer questions every day and is in the top three. He’s particularly focused on formula-based questions: “I just really like the challenge that is in the question, I like the logic of the formula, and I love it when it works out in the end,” he says. The big thing is to not be afraid of failure. If it’s complicated, you’re probably going to get it wrong the first time, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep trying.

Avoiding technical debt.

One problem Eric encountered on the Answers community had to do with how to create a formula to show what fiscal quarter a particular date would fall into. The fiscal quarters for this particular company never seemed to start on the same date, so Eric sat down with a pen and paper to work it out. It took him three days, but he eventually reverse-engineered the method behind the madness.

“You don’t want to carry technical debt,” Eric says, “will you remember, in five years’ time, that you have to go back to that formula? You may not even be there, it may be another admin who will have no clue what’s happening here.” Eric is always looking for an evergreen solution that will always work no matter what the circumstances are. In other words, spending three days to figure out the fiscal year formula now is worth it if it means that nobody will ever have to spend time on it again.

How to be better at asking for and giving help.

When it comes to the Answers community, Eric has some words of wisdom about being a good poster. “Remember that we’re here to help you, but help us help you,” he says, “remember to add a few screenshots, give us the data types of the fields that you mention.” Most importantly, describe the problem you’re facing in layman’s terms. Every business and industry is unique, but a little bit of context can go a long way, and not everybody is going to be familiar with your specific situation.

On the other hand, if Eric is giving answers, he has a few strategies for making sure he’s being helpful. “Sometimes you can tell when people are new at Salesforce,” he says. Sometimes they tell you straight away, but there are also some hints from the way they’re phrasing their questions. In those cases, it’s helpful to overexplain your formula so they have an understanding of not just what to do, but why they’re doing it. 


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Full Show Transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast, where we talk about product, community and careers to help you become an awesome admin. I'm Mike Gerholdt, and joining me today is Eric Prod to talk about building formulas as a best practice, evergreen solutions and wow, we also dig a little bit into how to ask and answer questions on the Salesforce community. It's super cool, I can't wait. Let's get Eric on the podcast.
So Eric, welcome to the podcast.

Eric Prod: Thank you very much for having me here.

Mike Gerholdt: It's great to discuss with our community worldwide, but let's get started with your background and kind of your expertise. Where did you get started with Salesforce and kind of evolve to where you are today?

Eric Prod: So I was actually working in the restaurant business for quite some time, like 17 years or so. And after a while, I got tired of it and decided to go into some kind of a technical job. So I found this job as the Salesforce support, that was about nine years ago. Loved it from day one, so I then became a Salesforce consultant for our company for about five or six years. And now I am the service cloud delivery manager for my company.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow. Service cloud, that's awesome. I think support is such a great way to dive into learning because you really have to troubleshoot and get in there right away. I tell myself it's like, if we're learning to teach, it's a very different level of learning because you also have to kind of regurgitate that and put that back in the context for somebody, so support's kind of a great way to jump in both feet all the way up to your neck, right?

Eric Prod: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. I mean, you start [inaudible] and it feels a bit like a sink or swim situation because you don't know much, to be fair, but as you said, it was the best school I could have had for Salesforce, for sure.

Mike Gerholdt: Now your super active on our answers community. So let's dive in there because it plays well into your support background.

Eric Prod: Yeah. I love going to the community. I try to go there every day, as much as I can, just to help people. I'm in the top three, I think at the moment.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, so you be on the podium with Steve.

Eric Prod: I am. Yeah, I am. I'm hoping to get the gold medal from him, but I don't think it will happen.

Mike Gerholdt: You just got to pick your day and time, right?

Eric Prod: Probably, yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: You just plan it out. When Boston's asleep, that's when you hop on.

Eric Prod: Got to think about that now.

Mike Gerholdt: It's strategy. Strategy, Eric. We can get there. You're already on the podium. Well, that's cool. I think that really establishes why we're talking with you. I mean, to be top three in the answers community really says something. I think I've jumped in there quite a few times and tried to answer questions, and I'm like the fourth or fifth answer and I'm like, wow, how did you come to that so quickly? But what do you love to kind of dive into, or what are the problems in the answers community that you love to solve?

Eric Prod: The one I prefer, definitely formula based questions. So anything from formula feeds, validation rules, workflow rules, whatever. I just read the challenge that's in the question, I like the logic of the formula and I love it when it works out in the end.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Because I see a lot of formula questions in our admin community and I'll be honest, formulas for me are still not a strong foundation. I can usually work through them, but I think the people that can build really complex formulas, wow, I admire that. Learning formulas and kind of wrapping your head around formulas, where did you get started kind of learning formulas and being able to help others with formulas?

Eric Prod: Yeah. So first, I think I'm lucky enough here that I've got a very logical mind. Two and two will always make four for me, it will not make 22 or anything else. So that's a good start, but then I tried, I tried, I tried and I failed, I failed, I failed. That's how I learned, to be perfectly honest. Do not be afraid of failing, you will not get it right the first time if it's complicated. So what? Do it again.

Mike Gerholdt: It's like math.

Eric Prod: Pretty much, yes.

Mike Gerholdt: I didn't get math right very much either. That's okay. So let's talk about some of the big problems that you've solved in the answers community and how we can help. When we did our pre-call, the biggest thing I wanted to help admins understand is I wanted to help them think like you, Eric, and I wanted to help rewire them into going through and troubleshooting and thinking very logically. So let's dive into, what was some of the big problems that you've solved in the answers community?

Eric Prod: Right. Well, it has to be that person who was asking for some formula to show what fiscal quarter a date would fall in. And the quarters seemed to be very funny, they never started on the same date. So what he wanted to do was simply to hard call a few dates for the next four or five years, and then go back to that formula in five years time and do it again. And I was like, there has to be a way to make it work every year for the rest of the time, for the next 100 years also, at least. And so I asked him for a spreadsheet with all his fiscal years from 10 years ago up to 10 years from now, I think it was something like that. I had 20 fiscal years in his spreadsheet. So I just looked at the spreadsheet, took my favorite pen and paper, I always start with a pen and paper.
I tried to figure out if there was a pattern there, and eventually figured out that the fiscal year started, so get ready, on the Sunday, the closest to the 1st of April, every year.

Mike Gerholdt: So that's easy.

Eric Prod: That was easy. So it just took a few hours to just find the pattern. But once I found the pattern, then I was like, knowing Salesforce, I don't know the formula off the top of my head, of course, but this has to be possible somehow. And again, pen and paper, opened a calendar, looked at some dates, tried to find how I could make that logic work. And eventually, after three, four days, I came up with a formula that now works for every single year, not just the next five years and if you input any date, it will tell you which fiscal quarters is date is in. So to me, the very important part here was that this had to be evergreen. It had to work, not for the next five years, it had to work forever. Unless they changed the fiscal year in the company, this formula will always work for them.

Mike Gerholdt: So as I'm sitting here listening to your answer, and I'm probably listening to the podcast, I'm out walking my dog and I'm thinking, yeah but Eric, you had all of the dates on the spreadsheet. You could've just put those dates in as a reference field in Salesforce. Why did you spend three days mulling through, figuring out what a formula would be for this solution?

Eric Prod: Well, again, just because you don't want to carry technical debt. Try to use best practices here. If you carry technical debts, will you remember that in five years time, you have to go back to that formula and that you have to, again, change those dates. You may not even be there in five years time. You may not be in that company, it would be another admin who may have no clue what's happening here. So I'm always trying to get what I call an evergreen solution, so something that will always work no matter what. And as for spending three days on it, well, maybe because I'm a bit stupid and I like pain, I don't know.

Mike Gerholdt: No, I don't think you're stupid, not one bit. Maybe the pain part, I mean. No, but the reason I asked that is, I think it's very easy, and I'm probably jealous of it too, you get something and you look at it, well, if we know the date, then let's just put that in as a reference field and we'll just run everything off it. And then in five or 10 years, who knows where it will be, and we'll fix it then. And you forget that five or 10 years, or maybe even a couple of years, if you're doing it monthly, comes up really fast. And the next thing you know, you launch into a new fiscal year and something doesn't work. And I think you're working through that solution and providing that evergreen solution is something super important.
And the technical debt level of it is also important to kind of understand. For the solution that I'm building, I love that you brought that up. How much am I creating or just moving work to a future date, right? Your three days spent meant that that time now doesn't have to be wasted ever again because that solution will continue to work. So I think that's a really cool way of looking at things. What for you, as you were kind of working through formulas and in your support role, and now in your current role, what's kind of the hardest part of learning Salesforce or something that you work through on a regular basis?

Eric Prod: To me, the hardest part of learning Salesforce, and as I said early on, I'm from a restaurant background so I had no clue about sales or service terminology. So really, to me, the hardest part was actually to try to understand the Salesforce terminology. I didn't know what an opportunity was, I didn't know what a lead was. When I was first learning Salesforce and people would say to me, yeah, this is how lead works, and I'm like, "Yeah, but what is a lead?" And for people, it was very hard to actually explain it. And then there's that click in your brain. I mean, at least that's what happened to me. I started to understand the terminology and once I passed that hurdle, I found it a lot easier to understand Salesforce.
And then after, it's like Lego. You build on top of your foundations. So once you understand Salesforce, once you understand the terminology and you can speak the Salesforce lingo, then you can start building on top of it.

Mike Gerholdt: I agree. I agree. In fact, I had a friend over the last few months, was getting into Trailhead and used to work in retail, and was always texting me questions like, "What is this and what does this mean?" And I had forgot I had just been on a different side of a business and in a selling setting for so long, that opportunities and leads made sense to me. And in retail, they don't. I mean, everybody's kind of a lead in an opportunity, I guess, if you look at it that way, you just don't categorize it. So yeah, sometimes the nomenclature trips you up.

Eric Prod: Yes, it does. And it's true that it's very easy to take for granted that all the people understand it, understand what you're talking about. So many times, for example, when I was talking about opportunities to do some customers, I had to talk about sales opportunities, they wouldn't understand the work.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. As you're talking through customers and you're looking at answers on the community, how do we also make admins better question askers, right? Are there things or components that you feel are usually missing in the initial question that people put out there that somebody like yourself is looking for?

Eric Prod: Yes. I mean, not all the time, obviously, but remember that we're here to help you, but help us help you. So maybe add a few screenshots, give us the data types of the [inaudible] that you mentioned. Those two things would help a lot towards a resolution. And most of all, make sure you describe the problem that you're facing in layman terms. We're not in your org. We don't know your company, so just give us as much information as possible.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, that makes sense. I think sometimes, when you're asking for help, you're so in the situation that you forget how much is just nomenclature that you know intuitively, much to our previous discussion, you forget other people aren't familiar with. So that's really good advice, really good advice. So let me flip the question. As admins are in the community trying to help each other, what is some advice or ways that you formulate your answers to be as helpful as possible?

Eric Prod: So it will really depend on the issue at hand. Obviously, if it's just a very simple formula and they've explained everything, then I would just give them the formula, "There, try this." But sometimes you can tell when people are new at Salesforce. Either they tell you straight away, "Look, I've just started. I don't know what's happening here." Or the way they phrase the question, you can see that they wouldn't be as experienced a Salesforce administrator. So then I would try to explain my formula. I would try to break it down as much as possible and say, "Well, look, this part does this and this part does that, and then we have a result. This does that, makes this result."

Mike Gerholdt: Makes sense.

Eric Prod: But it's not always easy.

Mike Gerholdt: No. And also I'm thinking through the answers I've given, sometimes we're wrapped up in our own context of, well, how come you don't know this, when we answer it and we forget that we're potentially explaining something new. So I think that's really relevant right now.

Eric Prod: That's true. That's true. That's a very fair point here, Mike.

Mike Gerholdt: Eric, it was great chatting with you. I'm glad we had this time to connect. I love recording podcasts with all of our Salesforce community from around the world. So thank you for taking time out of your day.

Eric Prod: Well, I'm thank you very much for having me here, really enjoyed myself.

Mike Gerholdt: So it was great to chat with Eric. I'm glad he could make time out of his day. I learned a lot. It still has me intrigued and I still love to dive into formulas and see how people are solving formulas. In fact, I'd love for you to share on Twitter, a complex formula you've solved or an interesting scenario, like Eric had of something that you've solved. First Sunday, I believe he said, before April. Boy, that's a math problem solved. But here are three things I learned from our discussion with Eric. One, it reminded me that learning to support your users is a little bit different. So with that in mind, as you're learning new things about Salesforce, either a new way of building something new terminology, learn it with the mindset that you're going to have to teach it to your user because you might have to.
And I think that challenges you to learn things a little bit differently, ingest it. I love Eric's background of being in support, that's really inspiring. And the second thing, and this is huge, this is why it's number two, I think it's the main part of this episode is technical debt. So in Eric's solution that we talked about, he could have just create a field to reference, he had all of those dates, but he went that next step and really thought about his technical debt and said, I can solve this as a formula, and now that exists as a solution for the next 10, 20, 100 years for that organization. And so that little bit of time building the right solution right off the bat means he doesn't have to carry that technical debt, very important for admins to understand.
And then the third thing is a good reminder, be as explanatory as possible in your questions and answers. So I know you need help and it's worth taking a step back and saying, do people understand what I'm talking about with this, or is this just a company term that maybe only I know? And the second is, as you're explaining or trying to help another Salesforce admin out in the community, make sure that you take a moment and be like, maybe they haven't heard this term before. And so take a moment just to explain it. It's really about how we support each other and I think that's a wonderful theme for this episode. So of course, if you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, go to to find more resources.
And as a reminder, if you love what you hear, you can be sure to pop over to iTunes, give us a review. I promise, I read them all. You can stay up-to-date with us for all things social. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no i, on Twitter. And you can find me on Twitter as well, I am @MikeGerholdt. Stay tuned for the next episode and we'll see you in the cloud.

Direct download: Best_Practices_for_Building_Formulas_with_Eric_Praud.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:18am PDT

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re joined by Yves Stewart, a Salesforce Consultant at Slalom. We learn how to get out of your own way and dig into your problem.

Join us as we talk about why you just need to get started, the importance of surrounding yourself with the platform, and the importance of having patience with yourself as you learn.

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

How Yves got started as an accidental admin.

“Before embarking on my Salesforce journey, I just never thought about me being this techy person,” Yves says, “I always felt that that wasn’t me, it was for everyone else. But I accidentally became an admin, and it was the best accident of my life.” She was working for a manufacturing company in the energy sector when she met a Salesforce dev and MVP who pushed her to take a serious look at the platform. When they had to leave the company, Yves stepped up to the plate to take over as an admin.

Yves’s first big “aha” moment dealt with approvals—they were in the middle of their annual sales meeting when the approval process went haywire. She took a deep dive into the process and sort things out, solidifying her role with the sales team and giving her the confidence to move forward on the platform. “I no longer had to think of myself as an accidental admin,” Yves says, “I actually was an admin who was knowledgeable.”

Jumping in and learning as you go.

Yves’s company had a major need to keep everyone in sync in the field, which lead to her developing a component that allowed her team to create tickets even if they didn’t have connectivity at their current location. They could put in a request and get all the information they needed as soon as they got a WiFi connection, eliminating what was previously a paper process. “It was very exciting because it allowed us to not work in segments but instead bring all the groups together,” she says, “it allowed everyone to get a complete view of the customer and have people coming from all different angles to make this a win-win situation all the way from the beginning to the end.”

The big problems can often be the most challenging to make headway on, and Yves’s advice is to get out of your own way and just start. “You have to start somewhere in order to make it happen,” she says, “actually lay down a roadmap and give yourself some steps to get there. You don’t have to have it all figured out, you just need to get started.”

The power of the Salesforce community.

Starting out is always tricky and for Yves, as a solo admin, the Salesforce community was a major help in guiding her on her journey. She went to a Houston user group meeting where she learned about the Salesforce Military program. As a military spouse herself, she was able to get connected with a community of people who could relate to what she was going through and help her out.

If you’re just starting out, Yves has some sage advice. “Learn about the product and the platform—it’s a phenomenal tool,” she says, “you don’t have to be an expert in everything, you just have to be able to understand the basics of how it works.” It takes time, but you can keep learning through Trailhead and other programs and continue to grow.


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For full transcript, go to…ith-yves-stewart

Direct download: Get_Out_of_Your_Own_Way_with_Yves_Stewart.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:49am PDT

Today we have the final episode of the Salesforce for Good mini-series on the Salesforce Admins Podcast. These special episodes are hosted by Marc Baizman, Senior Admin Evangelist at Salesforce, and nonprofit veteran. Today, we talk to Ryan Ozimek, CEO of Soapbox Engage, to discuss how he’s organizing the community to support each other.

Join us as we talk about how a first-hand view of the Balkan conflict lead him to devote his life to helping nonprofits use technology to enable their missions, and how he’s helped the community help each other.

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

A front-row seat to the technology barriers nonprofits face.

“I’m focused on helping nonprofit organizations around the world reach their missions more effectively by using technology,” Ryan says, “and the way that I happen to do that is through our company, Soapbox Engage, which helps organizations do online fundraising, online advocacy, and getting the most out of tools like Salesforce so they can spend less time on technology and more time doing the work of great mission-based organizations.” One of the ways Soapbox Engage does that is with Salesforce integrations.

The origin story starts in the 90s when Ryan was a grad school student in public policy. “I was trying to figure out how I could use both a policy background and a techie, wonky background that helped pay my way through school.” He was working with an NGO in Albania during the conflict in the Balkans, helping organizations use technology to make sure relief aid got to the right people at the right time. That front-row seat to the technology barriers nonprofits faced lead Ryan to realize that there was a need, so he co-founded PICnet. They started simply getting organizations connecting, but many of their clients happened to be early Salesforce users who were looking to use the platform in new ways.

Organizing the community.

“Community, writ large, specifically the nonprofit tech community, has just been an amazing place for me to immerse myself,” Ryan says, “I’m really engaged and my batteries are filled by being in rooms of people that are dedicated to passionate causes and using technology to do big things.” In the Salesforce nonprofit space, he’s found passionate people with some of the best technology talents around.

In his spare time, Ryan organizes NPSP Days. “Imagine an unconference gathering or a convergence of people that are in the nonprofit space who want to be both participants and facilitators of sharing knowledge and best practices from the Salesforce ecosystem,” he says. They’re expanded this into Admin Days, which is the same thing but focused not just on nonprofits. Their goal is to leverage the power of the community to bring people together so they can return with new knowledge to their organizations.

Balancing your mission and technology.

“Getting a chance to work with organizations that are on the Salesforce platform means they’re not just doing one thing,” Ryan says, “there’s too often too many tools that only do one thing and silo your data.” In the end, that can get in the way of really understanding why and how you’re engaging with your communities. Salesforce lets you bring together your advocacy and organization needs all in one platform, making technology an enabler for the work you need to do.

“Focusing on community first, technology second can help guide small business owners, entrepreneurs, one-person consultants to be able to specialize while also knowing they’ve got brothers and sisters working alongside them in ecosystems like Salesforce that can help plug and fill other gaps along the way, too.” Ultimately, you need to find a balance between your focus on your mission and the technology that makes it happen. “One of the first things I say to new friends in the Salesforce world, specifically, is let’s take this one bite at a time,” Ryan says. Take one challenge you’re facing, know that there are a lot of ways to deal with it, but find what works for you, and take it one step at a time.



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Full Show Transcript

Marc Baizman: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast. I'm Marc Baizman, senior admin evangelist, and we're wrapping up our Salesforce for Good series with this last episode from Ryan Ozimek, CEO of PICnet. We recorded this in August of 2019, and Ryan is going to talk to us about his path to the nonprofit sector using technology for social good and the growth of the nonprofit Salesforce community since back in the early days. With that, let's listen to Ryan.

Marc: Ryan, thank you so much for joining us on the Salesforce Admins Podcast today.

Ryan: Awesome to be here, Mark. Thanks so much.

Marc: Yeah, you bet. So, Ryan, I'm going to start with something super simple. What do you do?

Ryan: What is it you'd say you do Ryan? [crosstalk 00:00:14]. Well, thanks for asking. Yeah, that's a good question. That's one of those big questions you ask yourself all the time. I'm very focused on helping nonprofit organizations around the world reach their missions more effectively by using technology and the way that I happen to do that is through our company here at Soapbox Engage. Helping organizations do online fundraising, online advocacy, and just getting the most out of tools like Salesforce so they can spend less time on technology and more time doing the work of great mission-based organizations. So that's what I tend to do on my day job, I guess you can say.

Marc: Got it. Got it. And the software that you mentioned is something that does integrate with Salesforce, is that right?

Ryan: Yeah, that's right. It's been, gosh, I'm going to start dating myself now. I think it's been since 2006, 2007 that we'd been looking at ways to help organizations use Salesforce with an online kind of capacity for it. And Soapbox Engage is one of those tools that we're really proud of to help organizations do that most effectively with fundraising and advocacy with Salesforce.

Marc: Great. So Ryan, tell me a little bit about your journey. So what brought you here? How did you get into the nonprofit world in general?

Ryan: Yeah, if you put yourself in a magic history time machine and go back to say 1998 or 1999, I was a grad school student in public policy at a university and was focused on saying how can I use both a policy background and a techy-walkie background that helped pay my way through school to do good in the world. And if you can imagine in an era before Facebook or Twitter or really the web as we know it-

Marc: I'm very happily imagining that by the way.

Ryan: ... Right, exactly. A very simple time. That's where it really began and it began actually in Bosnia and Albania during the wars in Kosovo and the region there back in the late '90s and doing humanitarian aid work to help organizations use technology to make sure that relief aid got to the right people at the right time. And little did I know that 20 years later, I'd be continuing on that mission. So that's where I started from. Yeah.

Marc: Oh wow. So were you actually there during that time?

Ryan: Yeah, I was helping out with a relief aid group there in Albania and kind of got a front row seat to the unfortunate situation that was happening there and what the United Nations and the World Food Program and other great groups we're trying to do on the ground and realizing that there was technology that could help. And so I came back to the United States after that and said, Gosh, I wonder if there's a way that you can actually build a small but sustainable business that is just focused on helping those people on the front lines do the good work. And that's how I kind of rolled off from there.

Marc: Wow, that's great. So draw the line from kind of coming back and thinking, I can use technology to solve these bigger social problems to your business today. Did you kind of start your company then? Or that was the gestation of an idea and then... What brought you to today?

Ryan: We started off by saying there's an obvious need to bridge the digital divide, which was the big buzzword back then, of just saying how do we get people and organizations online? And that meant getting on the ground and laying ethernet cable between computers to turn on Windows XP machines that connected to the World Wide Web. So it started from that, just literally on the ground, cabling networks for organizations to realizing that over time, we're going to be living in a world that was going to be more broadly connected and seeing how the web was changing and helping organizations do more online moved us from that hardware type of perspective to saying, What's this new thing we can do with software? What's the new thing we can do on the web and through a web browser to help organizations connect and to reach out to their constituents and to their advocates, and to their supporters? And just kind of follow the arc of the technology history trajection from there.

Marc: That's great. So where does Salesforce come in, in this journey?

Ryan: So way back in 2005, we had been working with a couple of organizations doing website development because that's when the web was very popular and everybody was starting to move from geo pages to actual websites that were for their own organization.

Marc: Right. Geo [inaudible] days. I remember that.

Ryan: Right? Exactly. We said, You know what, there's got to be something better than that and these organizations want to be able to take donations. They want to be able to let people register for their events. And a couple of our very early groups in the early, early Salesforce Foundation days happened to also be our clients and said to us, "Wouldn't it be great if people that came to our website can make a donation and that donation can go to Salesforce" or "Wouldn't it be great if all this amazing data that we're storing in Salesforce about our publications or about all the data that we're collecting for inventory or for storage, what happens if we could make that live on the web for people to see?" So it was super early days in the Salesforce world, but it was that type of fun pioneering stuff that we like to do a lot. So it's been a long journey since then.

Marc: Oh, that's 14, 15 years ago. That's amazing.

Ryan: Yeah. Right. Early, early days app exchanging before that.

Marc: Right. Right. Yeah. AppExchange was, Oh my goodness, 2006? So how did you learn about Salesforce and the nonprofit at that time, Starter Pack? It sounds like you worked with some of these really early days clients of, at that time Salesforce Foundation. Were they using the NPSP? Was that a newer thing? Tell me about that.

Ryan: So if you can imagine somewhere in San Francisco, I would imagine a small room of dedicated individuals that were at the Salesforce Foundation saying, "How do we provide value to nonprofits that can use this wonderful tool?" People like Steve Wright and [Megan Nesbitt 00:00:06:59] and a lot of other folks that were early, early days there and saying how can we make this work? And I just happened to be good friends through our nonprofit tech community with people like Steve Wright and he said one day back in early 2007, "Hey Ryan, get on a plane, show up in San Bruno, California." For folks that don't know, that's somewhere south of San Francisco, "Because we are thinking about trying to take this templates that we've made for non-profits and do something more with it."

Ryan: And folks like myself and Alan Gunn or Gunner and others came together to say, Here's a group of 30 folks, maybe you may have been understanding what was happening then Mark too? And bring their people together and say, What can we do? And that was kind of the genesis of my Salesforce nonprofit journey.

Marc: Got it. Got it. And as we've talked about in other episodes of the podcast, the nonprofit Success Pack of course, has grown so much since then.

Marc: What role did the community play in the growth of your organization, and also what insight do you have in the growth of the community as a whole and Salesforce nonprofit land?

Ryan: Community writ large, specifically the nonprofit tech community, has been just an amazing place for me to immerse myself and I think that I've got a big open source community background I'm really engaged in. My batteries are filled by being in rooms of people that are dedicated to passionate causes and using technology to do big things. So for me, without community, we don't have technology. And in the nonprofit Salesforce space, gosh, we've got some of the most passionate people with some of the best technology talent that when brought together, it's explosive. There's just such opportunity there. So from the very early days of meeting back in 2007 in San Bruno with Steve Wright and others to talk about the nonprofit Starter Pack or the nonprofit template to where we are today has been this evolution of the Salesforce nonprofit community of folks that are maybe very early stage Salesforce users to very technical, kind of a longstanding members of the community just doing really, really great work. So it's been fantastic to be a part of them, fantastic to see it grow.

Marc: That's great. And you have your own kind of community building events as well. Can you talk a little bit about those?

Ryan: Yeah. I've got the day job, which we were talking about earlier, but in my spare time job or other things that I like to do, community building, community organizing is just something that speaks to me and it feels natural to me. And so what we've been doing is something called NPSP Days and what an NPSP Day is, is imagine a unconference gathering or a convergence of people that are in the nonprofit space that want to essentially be both participants and facilitators of sharing knowledge and best practices from the Salesforce ecosystem.

Ryan: And we've actually expanded this further into Admin Days. Admin Days are the same thing except not just focused on nonprofits using Salesforce, but our main effort, our main goal is to leverage the power of the community, to bring people together to learn from each other, to build those networks that will be able to sustain them over a longer period of time and then to make sure that they've got the education necessary so that the next day they can go to their organization and use the things they've learned from other members of the community to make their organization more effective in using Salesforce.

Marc: Fantastic. That sounds great and we'll make sure there are links to those in the show notes as well. Are there some particularly cool customer stories that you're really proud of or maybe some cool things that you have built with the technology that you're psyched about?

Ryan: Yeah, it's funny because technology being what it is, is it's constantly changing and constantly evolving over time. Getting a chance to work with organizations that are on the Salesforce platform means you're not just doing one thing. There's too often, too many tools that only do one thing and silo your data. And without getting too technical or too wonky about it, I think that's a huge barrier for organizations trying to get a 360 degree view as to why and how they're engaging with their communities and in the nonprofit space, that's just critical. It's a critical, in the business space, but it's even more critical in the nonprofit space.

Ryan: So what we've been able to see firsthand is watching organizations that are multifaceted that they've got advocacy needs because they're pushing US Congress for certain issue areas. But at the same time they've got membership needs because they've got their community coming together and organizing. I think some of the things that I'm most proud of or have been kind of lucky to be a part of are where you see those hybrids. Where folks are really pushing the edge to be able to do things like educate young people in schools in New Jersey about science and chemistry and physics and be able to do that with data and Salesforce and engagement tools that are easy to use in the front end experience. I think that seeing those sorts of things firsthand, gives you an understanding of the power that a platform like Salesforce can have.

Ryan: And to be honest with you, I am community first, technology second, but the technology in the Salesforce world really is a huge enabler for almost all the organizations we get a chance to work with. So it's great to see that and just great to be on the front lines of knowing what that looks like too.

Marc: That's great and I love that line of, Community first, technology second. I think at its core, I would argue that that is Salesforce's approach to things, which is, we obviously are very excited about the technology and we'll always be innovating. But I think leading with our community and leading with our Trailblazers is, yeah, it's core to who we are.

Marc: Can you talk about maybe some challenges over this journey that you've had. It can be business challenges, it can be technical challenges. Really, it's up to you how you want to interpret that, but just some challenges that you've experienced.

Ryan: It's interesting. I think that there's a couple of different things we've seen over time, especially for fellow business owners and members of the nonprofit Salesforce community or just tech community in general. There's a focus on trying to be a sustainable business, but at the same time recognizing that you're serving some of the most important organizations that the world that might not have the largest budgets to work with, but just have complex challenges that they're facing. I think that that's inherently a challenge of the nonprofit community and for folks that are willing to take on that challenge, I'm always appreciative of the time and the energy from a business perspective. So I think that there's that kind of larger business ecosystem and working in the nonprofit community is one that's a fun challenge and I'm always passionate to find new ways to gain efficiencies.

Ryan: And in thinking about things from the technology side, gosh, this is going to sound like a strong compliment, well, also a challenge for me is that tools like Salesforce are constantly growing and changing and doing new things and there's new ways to invent new solutions. And I think if you're choosing to be in the technology space, that is something you're always trying to keep pace with. And it just happens to be very unique in the Salesforce world. How it gets both broader and deeper in both feature and complexity and balancing that out and knowing where your core competencies are and focusing more, as you were just saying, focusing on community first, technology second. That can often help guide small business owners, entrepreneurs, one-person consultants to be able to specialize while also knowing they've got brothers and sisters working alongside them and ecosystems like Salesforce that can help plug and fill other gaps along the way as well too.

Ryan: So I think that balance of understanding where you can fit specifically in the technology space and trying to be as hyper-focused as possible without worrying about leaving organizations high and dry or with a partial solution is where I see some of the biggest challenges that we're facing here at Soapbox Engage.

Marc: That's great. That's great. And yeah, I would just say this about the Salesforce platform, it's challenging for us who work there to keep up. So I don't envy the challenges that you have as well. So our audience for the podcast is Salesforce Admins all over the world. Do you have any advice for Salesforce Admins? I imagine that you've worked with a number of clients who have used your technology. Any specific tips or pointers that you might have for them?

Ryan: Gosh, yeah. How long does this podcast go for again? Gosh, I've learned a lot. When you've been doing anything for almost 15 years, 14 years or so, there's a lot-

Marc: You got you 10,000 hours, right?

Ryan: ... Right, exactly right. There's all the knowledge and the repetitive practice done there. I think that a lot of what I've been seeing for folks that are new to the Salesforce world, the first thing that they run into is that it can feel really overwhelming. It can just feel like there's so much to drink from that fire hose, and one of the first things I say to new friends in the Salesforce world specifically, is let's take this one bite at a time and let's really focus on a specific challenge that a specific organization, be it a business, be it your own organization that you're working at. Let's pick one of those things and try to tackle that one piece and know that there's likely a lot of other solutions out there that you can be using in Salesforce or tools that exist on the platform to do these sorts of things.

Ryan: But let's try to take this one business unit at a time. One business function at a time, one very simple workflow at a time and that tends to lower anxiety, increase satisfaction and lets you go down a path and if I may plug for a moment when it comes to path, seeing what's happening in the Trailblazer Community around Trailhead. Seeing what buddies of mine like Lauren Grau and others have been doing on the Trailhead team to just be super successful at helping people get those first steps underneath them for using Salesforce, has been just a tremendous value for the community. So I'm always pointing people there first and it's been fantastic to what the Trailhead team has been able to do over time too.

Marc: That's great. That's great. And yes, a great shout out for Lauren Grau on team Trailhead. Final question for you. What kind of stuff do you do when maybe you're not doing your day job? And I don't mean community organizing, what stuff do you do for-

Ryan: For fun?

Marc: The other, other fun things.

Ryan: What's the other fun things you're not getting paid to do? Right. For folks that follow me on the Twitter or on the internet, you'll notice all the wheels up, wheels down. I enjoy traveling almost to equal passion as community organizing itself. So travel is just an important component of my life. So being able to go to other places, meet people that are just from totally different backgrounds and totally different communities. I had that travel itch probably about 17, 20 years ago or so from my open source work. And to get to do that and to get to serve nonprofits and to get to do community building and to get to do this on the Salesforce platform, that intersection is what I live for. So to have a chance to do that when I'm just trying to have some fun and some might say that's not downtime, but for me, that is battery recharging time. God, I love that stuff. More time, getting a chance to be in different places to meet great people, that's it for me. That's fantastic.

Marc Baizman: It was great talking to Ryan and I'm so thankful that he has been part of the nonprofit Salesforce community for so long. I really liked Ryan's advice to not get overwhelmed by focusing on a specific challenge that you want to solve and to work on that first; and of course, to spend time in the Trailblazer Community and the Power of Us Hub, connecting with other admins.

Marc Baizman: Well, I hope you enjoyed the Salesforce for Good series. It's been great doing this. And please let us know if you'd like to see more series like this in the future. If you want to learn more about all things Salesforce Admin, go to to find more resources. And a reminder, if you love what you hear, be sure to pop on over to iTunes and give us a review. I promise Mike reads them all. You can also stay up to date with us on social for all things Admins. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no i on Twitter, and I'm @mbaizman. Join us next week with Mike and Jillian. Stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.

Direct download: Salesforce_for_Good__The_Community_at_Large_With_Ryan_Ozimek.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm PDT

We’re back with another special bonus episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, this time with Vin Addala, Product Manager on the Lightning Platform. We’re discussing how dynamic forms and pages are changing the game for what’s possible for admins.

Join us as we talk about the new dynamic features coming in Summer ‘20, how admins and devs make a dynamic duo that can solve any problem, and why drag-and-drop tools punch above their weight.

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

From the IdeaExhange to your org.

Vin started out his Salesforce career as Product Manager, working to launch Dynamic Actions. He went out and heard a lot of feedback about both how great actions are and, at the same time, the limitations people had been running into when they were trying to put them to use. The goal was to make actions more flexible and adaptable to a modern application development environment. Look for Dynamic Actions in the Summer ‘20 release for production orgs to try out for themselves.

Right now, Vin is working on the number-one-rated item on IdeaExchange, Dynamic Forms. “Some people wonder whether PMs read IdeaExchange,” he says, “but I make it a point that all the people that work with me go read what’s up there.” They’re working up Dynamic Forms from scratch on Lightning, and you should look for a version you can play with yourself in production in Summer ‘20.

The power of Dynamic Forms and Actions.

One of the biggest advantages of moving to Dynamic Forms and Actions is that it removes the need for tons of different page layouts for each different user in your org. “App Builder will become a one-stop-shop for building your pages,” Vin says. “I’m inspired by the conversations I have with our customers,” he says, “and when I see that there’s something we can solve to make people’s lives easier and more efficient I want to be there and that’s what really motivates me.”

More broadly, Vin is always thinking about how that developer/admin relationship. “It’s one of the things that makes our platform, and working on our platform so unique,” he says, “both are first-class citizens and they can work together to solve a problem greater than what they could have solved separately.”

How to reevaluate what you think is possible.

“When something becomes a habit you might just get used to the inefficiency so it feels normal to have all these clicks,” Vin says, “but I think it’s time=—when all these features start coming out—to reevaluate those habits and ask if there’s a better way of doing this.” These tools are drag-and-drop, but the power is there to solve big business problems and make it simple, too.

“The fun thing about my job is we have all these complex systems, and how do we simplify it in a way to make it accessible without losing that complexity,” Vin says. At the end of the day, what that means is putting more powerful tools in the hands of admins so they can solve key business problems with simple solutions. Don’t miss the full episode, where we talk about SABWA (Salesforce Administration By Walking Around), Vin’s 250+ board game collection, and more.



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Direct download: Dynamic_Pages_with_Vin_Addala.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:34pm PDT