Thu, 29 July 2021
It’s time for another monthly retro on the Salesforce Admins Podcast. In this episode, we’ll go over all the top Salesforce product, community, and careers content for July.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation between Gillian and Mike.
Podcast highlights from July
We have two new Admin Evangelists joining our team! And to learn more about them and where they’re coming from, there are two great episodes you can listen to and get to know them better. We also launched a major update to the Trailblazer Community, and we’ve got all the details on the pod.
Blog highlights from July
For Mike, Courtney Coen’s blog post about building reports was really impactful and highlights a great way to start getting more involved with Salesforce in your organization. J Steadman revisited a post Gillian first made five years ago. It’s a popular post, but a LOT has changed in the half-decade since it was written.
Video highlights from July
There was a great Expert Corner this month with LeeAnne Rimel and John Demby on Tableau advancements. Learn about this amazing tool and what it can do for you and your reports.
The Bruce family announces their August Release
We won’t be seeing Gillian around for a couple of months because she has some exciting news: her second child is on the way! Mike will hold down the fort on the pod, and get psyched for some appearances from the rest of the Admin Relations team.
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Full Show Transcript
Gillian: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast and the July monthly retro, or should we say, put that sparkler away, you're going to burn your cousin edition for 2021. I'm your host, Gillian Bruce and in this episode, we will review the top product, community and careers content for July. And to help me do that, I am joined by the one and only, my favorite podcast inspiration slash co-hosts slash all the things, Mike Gerholdt.
Mike: Hi, Gillian. I had to put that in there because that's a thing that I heard constantly as a kid.
Gillian: Well, so that's so funny because me growing up in San Francisco, we never see fireworks because it's always foggy. So sparklers are about as close as we get.
Mike: Yeah, sparklers. We had sparklers. And snakes, right? It was like a little black pellet that you lit on the sidewalk and then it grew like a snake.
Gillian: Those were fun. Yeah, those were fun. We never really got to play a whole lot. The closest we've got were those little poppers that you throw on the floor and they explode.
Mike: Oh, yes. Those were fun.
Gillian: Because those are really popular for Chinese lunar new year.
Gillian: So I actually think we have a box of them in our house right now. Should be fun. The dog hates them.
Mike: Well, yes, because they're... Yeah, I wanted to look up because in addition to July 4th, July 1st is Canada Day for our friends up north, and July 14th is Best Deal Day.
Gillian: Oui, oui.
Mike: So we're celebrating all of the things, all the revolutions.
Gillian: Need some maple syrup and rosé to celebrate those, right?
Mike: I mean, why not? And a sparkler with some American flag shorts.
Gillian: Totally. Yes. Well, Mike, we also have some podcast swag on the Trailhead Store in case everyone missed it. I actually got my shirt and my tumbler a few weeks ago and I love them, they're so fun and colorful. So if you are listening and need some more Salesforce swag in your collection, go to the Trailhead Store and you can get some Salesforce Admins Podcast swag, which is pretty awesome. Mike, you got a t-shirt too, yeah?
Mike: I did. I saw your t-shirt in the no silly questions video, and fun fact, I was at a grill out around the 4th of July and a neighbor said, "Now, what do you do again?" And I pointed to my shirt. I was like, "I do the thing that's on my shirt."
Gillian: There you go. That's a good explanation.
Mike: Yeah. Yeah, I'm pretty unique in that I could do that, but you could wear the shirt and then you can say, I listened to the podcast that talks about the things that I do on... That sounded better in my head.
Gillian: Yeah, and it's fun, it's colorful. It's a happy shirt.
Mike: It's a very colorful, bright, summer... If you don't smile and giggle wearing that shirt, you're having a really bad day.
Gillian: Yeah. Well, I got mine during the month of June which is also Pride Month so it worked out really well.
Gillian: There was one day I wore that shirt and I wore my rainbow patchwork Vans that I got and I felt extremely festive.
Mike: Love it. Big fan of it.
Gillian: Well, Mike, we had a lot of content this month, so let's-
Mike: We did. You'd be surprised because we did TrailheaDX in June, you'd think we'd just take the month of July off, but we don't stop.
Gillian: Party doesn't stop.
Mike: Nope, not at all. We did some podcasts. So we got two new evangelists on our team.
Gillian: What? I know, it's so exciting. I mean, that's like almost doubling the size of our team.
Mike: Yes, which is crazy. So there's two intro podcasts for you to meet Jay Stedman and Jennifer Lee, who both joined the team. I think they're fun. I stole some lightning round questions, if you watch TrailheaDX from Liam [McGallan Hare 00:04:13], to ask them, and it's a great way to get introduced to our team and you can reach out to them on Twitter and say hello. They're always looking for more inspiration and connections.
Gillian: And I think it's fun too because it's like getting to know the person, like why? Part of the reason that they are now part of our team becomes very evident as you listen to those episodes, so there's a very clear passion for helping admins effect real change within their companies and their communities and their careers. So I got inspired listening to them, even though I know them both pretty well at this point. It kind of reinvigorates the energy and the passion and why we do what we do.
Mike: And we also will be the Royal. We launched a new Trailblazer community, which is super cool.
Gillian: Oh man, it's so exciting. It's long overdue and thank goodness it is out because it is totally a new world in the online Trailblazer connection space because I mean, hello, 2020. We came from the 2000s, we fast forwarded 20 years within one update.
Mike: Yeah. No, it was good. You did a podcast with the community managers about that, so I enjoyed listening to that.
Gillian: Yeah. It was fun to hear about the thinking behind why they rolled out what they did first and what is coming soon and the strategy behind it because it was huge. I mean, it is, not was, it's an ongoing, it's a huge effort. So if you have not yet checked out the new Trailblazer community, definitely do it and then listen to the pod to find out a little bit more about the details and maybe some Easter eggs even.
Mike: Ooh, I like Easter eggs. Easter eggs are fun.
Gillian: We also had some blogs, Mike. We had a lot of blogs.
Mike: Let's talk about those. I picked out, so you might have heard Courtney Cohen on the pod earlier this year, but she did a post source on how building my first Salesforce report changed my entire career. And I really enjoyed reading this, partly because I think reports for me actually are a way that users would get also on my radar as an admin. Generally, that's a good way to strike up a conversation with an admin in your organization if you're a user, and it sounds like that's the path that it led Courtney down.
Gillian: Yeah. I think it's always interesting to connect, hey, this is how you use the technology in Salesforce and this is how you connect it to actually your career progression, you know? And I think that that connection there is so important, especially for admins because hey, admins, we are literally at the crossroads between the business and the technology so if you can harness that and then use that also to your personal advantage in terms of helping you grow your career, that's kind of the secret sauce there.
Mike: Yep. And then Jay Stedman revisited a post that you had done, which is crazy to think that it was five years and 15 releases ago.
Gillian: I can't even... That's just crazy to me.
Mike: That was back when you were Gillian Bruce.
Gillian: You mean Gillian Madill? Yeah.
Mike: Gillian Madill, yeah.
Gillian: Who was that chick? Yeah. So Jay took a very much needed update and refreshed approach to five steps to setting up your Salesforce org, which was one of our top posts that kept getting a lot of traffic. And we decided, hey, we should probably update this because the platform's changed a lot in five years. So Jay did a great job revisiting the original ideas and flushing them out, and then also adding some additional context and some updated input from the community as well. So great posts, especially if you're a relatively new admin or you're starting at a new company with a new implementation, this is kind of your cheat sheet to get things up and running and set up in a way that is going to make your implementation successful in the longterm.
Mike: Yeah. And I still look at, one of the easiest things is theming because I know towards the end of their posts, Jay points out themes. And I still am just amazed at what theming can do to drive adoption and how it feels when an app is themed towards your company. I mean, we even have that at Salesforce because we use different applications for stuff, and you can always feel when it's someone else's app or when they've made the app feel like it's for us.
Gillian: Yeah, it really helps with user adoption because they open it up and they're like, "Oh, this looks familiar. This looks like something I should be using."
Mike: This looks like us. It's got our orange or our yellow or chartreuse or whatever your company's colors are.
Gillian: Yeah. Or as in Jay's post, they write about Poblano Grill, which makes me want to have chips and guacamole. So-
Gillian: So yeah, that's a great post. Check it out. Mike, we also had some videos this month.
Mike: We did. So I know you did a no silly questions. Those are fun and spoiler alert, I'll be picking those up, but I loved Leanne's Expert Corner that she did with John Denby on the Tableau advancements. I feel... Well, first of all, admins, if you have not reached out to John Denby, man, you're missing out because he is just one of the coolest dudes in our universe and he's totally from our admin perspective. He was an admin once at a company and found Tableau, and he just knows so much. But I think that we got to pay a little bit more attention to all the cool stuff that Tableau can do because back to what Courtney was writing about with careers and reporting, man, that's a way to draw attention to yourself, is bringing insights to the company that executives want to see but don't know to ask for.
Gillian: Yeah, and John, not only is John a actual, in-person real life mascot for Tableau, I feel like at this point, between the hat and the voice, he's amazing in so many ways. But as you said, he was an admin. He has admin at the heart of everything that he talks about and does, and Tableau very much thinks about admins. And you can tell on some of the tools that they've developed that really are targeted for us, for admins, which is so cool because it's a very powerful tool that we can use. And I mean, come on, it makes you look so cool to your stakeholders.
Mike: I'm constantly, every time I work in a Tableau dashboard and when Liz was with us last year, she really brought the team into Tableau. And I would sit down with John on a call and he would just go and click through, and the way that I feel admins work with low code tools is the way that Tableau is built. You drag things in there, it does what you expect it to do. And then filtering, it's kind of intuitive, a little bit more so than some of the other report builders.
Gillian: Yeah, and one of the ways that I think, especially listening to John talk, the way that he explains things, he has such a passion for it and the way that he explains it makes you want to go learn more. I remember the first call I was on with John, he mentioned that there was this public repository of dashboards that you could go nerd out on. There was a Game of Thrones one and all these other really cool dashboards that people have created. And I think I easily spent at least an hour poking around, because he's a true evangelist and he definitely is a good person to listen to you to get inspired to really dig in and do more with analytics in general.
Mike: Yeah, 100%. So I think that is most of the content. I'll be honest with you, we skipped over a lot of blog posts because we published so many blog posts in July, I had a hard time finding one to pick that I thought was the best. Because I was like, no, these four. I can't talk about four, I got to find one.
Gillian: And on that note too, not only did both of our brand new evangelists make their debut on the podcast, they also made their debut in the blogosphere. So both Jay and Jen posted amazing blog posts on the admin site, so we talked about Jay's a little bit. Jen, also, I'm going to give her a quick shout out because she also posted a great blog about how to create to-do lists using actions and recommendations. So, hey, our new EVs are here and they're already creating content and hey, listeners, give them some love.
Mike: Yeah, and wait until you see what we got up our sleeves for Dreamforce.
Gillian: Dreamforce and the next release.
Mike: Oh yeah, that's right. That's also September.
Gillian: Yeah. At Salesforce, we do all the things all at the same time. That's how we roll.
Mike: For sure. I mean, July's done, August, we'll do something and then September, boom, Dreamforce, release.
Gillian: Yeah, well, y'all are going to have a great time with that because I'm doing something else in August. So Mike, you mentioned you're going to be taking over no silly questions. Thank you.
Mike: I did, I gave the spoiler away.
Gillian: Yeah. Thank you for taking that on. You're also going to be manning the reins of the podcast for the next few months because I got my own release coming in August. We are welcoming our second little baby boy. I can't believe I'm saying that.
Mike: Two Bruces in the world. Bruces, Bruci.
Gillian: Yeah, Bruci. It's the house of Bruci. Yeah, so we're excited, it's going to be a lot. Jack, the first Bruce turns two at the beginning of August and then this next one is due towards the end of August, so we're going to have our hands full. But it's going to be fun and I'll take a little time off and then I will be back.
Mike: Yeah. You could name the other kid, Jack Jack. Then you have Jack and Jack Jack.
Gillian: That would be a lot, yeah.
Mike: No, that sounds funnier in my head. So for everyone on the pod, we've got a fun thing lined up for the rest of the team on the monthly retros. So I'm going to bring in a rotating guest to help me retro-ize every month and go through different content that we've published, and give you an opportunity to meet a little bit more of the depth of the admin relations teams. So in addition to our evangelists, we have an amazing marketing team, an amazing social. So I want the chance for everybody to get a chance to say hello and also give their perspective on some of the content that we did. So every month, the retro is going to be switched up a little bit, just to keep things fresh while Gillian's having Jack chapter two.
Gillian: Yeah, it's like a retro round-robin you're going to do.
Mike: Right. retro round-robin. There we go, three Rs.
Gillian: You know, I got to leave you with some alliterative fun there.
Mike: I know. And then we'll come back and maybe we'll have to do a no silly questions retro round-robin pun off or something.
Gillian: I think that sounds great.
Mike: ... to welcome you back into your podcasting.
Gillian: I'll be excited to talk about things that aren't revolving around children.
Mike: Yes, right? Well, maybe the next no silly questions should be, when you come back, the community has to send you a video of what they've done since you were gone.
Gillian: I'm going to ask them the silly question and they have to answer.
Mike: Right, yeah. Turn the tables. So it's on you now to answer this.
Gillian: Speaking of which, if you have a no silly question, since Mike is going to be taking this on for the next few months, feel free to send him a video.
Mike: Yeah, just shoot the video and tweet it to me or something. I'll figure out how to get it.
Gillian: Yeah, just a little iPhone video saying what your name is, where you're calling from and your question, that's the formula.
Mike: And you can ask questions about the pod or the team. It doesn't have to be strictly super hard core-
Gillian: It could be about Dreamforce.
Mike: It could be about Dreamforce, yeah.
Gillian: It could be about the release.
Mike: Yeah. Oh yeah, that would be fun.
Gillian: Yeah. Whatever you want. Michael will attempt to get an answer for you.
Mike: I can't get them all answered, but we'll do our best. Anyway. If you'd like to learn more about all things that we just talked about today in the episode, I will include the links in the show notes, but of course, everything is published on admin.salesforce.com. You can stay up to date with us on all things social. We are @Salesforceadmns, no I, on Twitter. The Twitter handle turned six years old this last month too.
Mike: Yeah. So imagine that. I'm on Twitter @mikegerholdt. You can still tweak to Gillian K Bruce, even though she'll be out taking care of the other Bruces. All the Bruces, crispy gooses.
Gillian: I'll leak some Bruce photos here and there.
Mike: Oh boy. Well, fabulous. Well, Gillian. It's fun having you back for a short period of time and send you on your way.
Gillian: Well, thank you, Mike, for holding down the fort, and I look forward to seeing all the amazing things you all do while I'm out and then coming back and getting going again.
Mike: There we go. So with that, stay safe, stay awesome, and say tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the Cloud.
Thu, 22 July 2021
For today’s episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we caught up with Jennifer Lee, a new Admin Evangelist on the Admin Relations team at Salesforce. We wanted to give you a chance to meet her and hear where she’s coming from. As evangelists, we work to inspire admins in our community and it's important to know we get our inspiration from you.
Join us as we talk about how Jennifer got started in the ecosystem, why she got hooked on Salesforce, and how important admins are in helping people get more done.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Jennifer Lee.
How Jennifer got started in Salesforce
Like many admins, Jennifer bounced around a little before getting involved in the platform. She did retail, financial services marketing, e-commerce, and project management. She got introduced to Salesforce in 2011 when her company was acquired by another business already on the platform. They needed to create their own Salesforce org to smooth out the transition, and Jennifer was the PM, and the rest is history.
“Salesforce reminded me of what I was able to do back in the day when I worked on websites, being able to create content and do configuration work,” Jennifer says, so she took the Admin 201 class and got hooked. “I didn’t want to project manage anymore—all I wanted to do was configure in Salesforce,” she says.
Jennifer ended up moving to John Hancock to help wrangle all the different Salesforce orgs they used throughout their organization. “When I first joined, it was basically the wild wild west,” she says, “so I spent six years there growing the team, setting standards, doing things like design reviews to make sure we were building to the best of the platform before we brought in our own custom code.”
The power of the Salesforce community
Through it all, Jennifer experienced a lot of growth getting involved with the Salesforce community. At first, she was just a consumer, learning from other people’s posts and tracking topics of interest, “but as I got more comfortable, I started answering the Chatter posts myself,” she says.
When she had to attach a Word doc to answer a particularly tough question, Jennifer realized she needed something a bit more scalable and started a blog. “I really consumed a lot of what the community shared before me,” she says, “and I wanted my blog to be a way for me to pay it forward and share my knowledge. If I ran into an issue, clearly someone else will run into the same issue so why not share that?”
Using your Salesforce powers for truth, justice, and fewer clicks
What got Jennifer so hooked on Salesforce in the first place was how easy it made it to help others with creative problem-solving. “Users have this problem and I’m able to use my Salesforce powers to configure something and solve for that,” she says. For Jennifer, Admins are at the center of that, working directly with end-users to help them get more efficient and do more every day.
Be sure to listen to the episode for more about Jennifer’s story, and don’t miss the Lightning Round!
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Full Show Transcript
Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast, where we talk about product, community, and career, to help you become an awesome admin. This week we're talking with Jennifer Lee, Admin Evangelist on the Admin Relations team. Now I wanted to take this moment to have this podcast early on in Jennifer's career as an evangelist, so that you get a chance to meet her, understand her perspective, and really connect with her. As evangelists, we work to inspire admins in our community and to me, it's really important that you understand who we are and that we also get our inspiration from you. So with that, let's get Jennifer on the podcast. So, Jennifer, welcome to the podcast.
Jennifer Lee: Hey, Mike. Thanks for having me.
Mike Gerholdt: I feel like long time guest, first time employee. I don't know how to spin that, but you've been on the pod before, and I know you've done a lot of speaking in the community, of course, being an MVP. But for those new Salesforce admins or new to Salesforce, that have not been introduced to you, let's talk about a little bit about what you did before joining Salesforce.
Jennifer Lee: Sure. So, I did a couple of things before I even started Salesforce. I first started off in retail, did that for a little bit, then I moved on to financial services where I was in marketing, produced brochures for mutual funds. How dry is that, right? Then they introduced a website. So I'm like, "Ooh, cool, website." So, I moved into e-commerce, did that for a little bit. It was pretty fun putting out my own content and playing around with features, things like that. And then, I moved into the project management role and did project management for technology projects.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.
Jennifer Lee: So, that's how I've gotten out in the community. After my blog, being able to go out in community events, world tours, share my knowledge with presentations and things like that.
Mike Gerholdt: I had no idea you were in retail. I feel a kinship now because I was in retail and I know I've had a few other guests on, that were in retail. I will speak biassedly, I feel some of the best admins come from retail because I don't know, maybe it's the long hours of standing on our feet or the endlessly-
Jennifer Lee: Folding clothes.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.
Jennifer Lee: Great customer service.
Mike Gerholdt: Relentlessly folding and refolding of the same thing because somebody walks by and picks it up, you know a small ain't going to fit you, don't pick up the small, I just folded that.
Jennifer Lee: So, I worked in three different retail stores. Victoria's Secret, Dockers, so I sold khakis.
Mike Gerholdt: Oh boy, there you go.
Jennifer Lee: And Nine West, so I sold shoes all day long to [crosstalk].
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, but Nine West was popular. It had its day. Of course, so did Dockers.
Jennifer Lee: Yeah.
Mike Gerholdt: Flat fronts, pleaded crease, cuff.
Jennifer Lee: Yeah.
Mike Gerholdt: Okay. Well, and I think that's also true to the ... A lot of people ask, "How do I get into being a Salesforce admin?" And some of it is one or two hops, right? Like retail to project management, to a company using Salesforce. I mean, I was retail to book sales, to education sales, to using Salesforce, to being a Salesforce admin. You can't connect the dots looking forward.
Jennifer Lee: Yeah. It's not just one path.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Yeah. It's true. I think, a certain point in your story, you mentioned, and I could hear it in your voice, the same kind of like, "I just want to do Salesforce." Looking back at that time, what was it that got you so hooked?
Jennifer Lee: It was being able to create things and then seeing it in production and the feeling of other people using the thing that I built. I like the ability to problem solve. So, users have this problem and I'm able to use my powers in Salesforce to configure something and then solve for that. Being able to be creative and then seeing the thing that I built, being used.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I hear you. That's exactly ... The first time I remember it, way back in the day, when S-controls were a thing, having a workflow work and seeing somebody update a record in the workflow fire, or a validation rule. The simplest things you're like, "I didn't know I could make the internet do that. I made this whole fancy internet do a thing." Now, you could have gone down a lot of different ... There's many different career paths in the Salesforce ecosystem. You are very passionate about admin. We saw that in your blog. We see that in what you do now at Salesforce. I think, what makes you so passionate about the Salesforce admin role?
Jennifer Lee: I think of all the roles, that's the role that I most identify with. Just being able to leverage the platform, working directly with the end users and thinking of ways to just make them more efficient and more productive. Yeah. That's the part that resonates with me the most.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Yeah. So, I know this will come out in July and I'd love to know maybe insight into some of the things you're thinking about for content. Some of the things you're working on, some of the things you would really love people who listen to the podcast to maybe tweet you for suggestions?
Jennifer Lee: So, I'm very excited, right now I'm working on my prepping for my first Trailhead Live and that's going to be on formulas. We're having our session on July 21st. I'm really excited for the content to go out on that. I've been working hard on that piece. And we have also some Trailblazers who are also sharing their pro tips on formulas too. So, look for that. I'll also be taking over for Marc Baizman, the How I Solve This series. So, look for new ideas on that piece, starting to work on my first one for that.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. And we saw at Trailhead DX, there's a lot coming out around automation. So, it's a good thing you like automation, there's only a few things to talk about.
Jennifer Lee: Right?
Mike Gerholdt: Okay. I want to make sure, so if anybody listened to Trailhead DX or if you listened to last week's interview with Jay, I put together some, what I'll call lightning round questions, but I think they're just neat questions. I'll be honest, I Googled, "Questions to ask a celebrity." And some of these are the questions that came up. So, this is good preparation for you, Jen. So, when you're in a community group or if we get back to events, these might be the questions that the community asks you. You can practice answering them here-
Jennifer Lee: Okay.
Mike Gerholdt: ... to a few hundred thousand people. No pressure. Anyway. All right. So, first question, what is the best compliment you have received?
Jennifer Lee: Best compliment? Wow. I love it when folks have come up to me and have told me how something that I wrote in my blog posts really helped them. And that just really warms my heart and gives me [Trail] heart.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. There you go. If you could have only one meal the rest of your life, what would it be?
Jennifer Lee: I love crab. Whether it's Dungeness crab, blue crab, queen crab. I love all the crabs.
Mike Gerholdt: Preferably cooked, I'm assuming.
Jennifer Lee: Yes. Cooked. I like it chopped up, stir fried with garlic and ginger and bits of egg on top of it.
Mike Gerholdt: Oh my. Okay. Well, you're in a good part of the country to get crab.
Jennifer Lee: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Mike Gerholdt: Okay. Who is your hero?
Jennifer Lee: Who is my hero? Leah. Leah McGowen-Hare comes to mind immediately. She is my shero. I look up to her. She just presents with finesse and she's able to present a topic that might not even be interesting, but she finds a way to make interesting and draws you in and you're like, "I get that concept. I get what you're talking about." And that's what ultimately I would love to be able to do as well.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. You will. My Leah McGowen story, I remember when she had to talk about blockchain-
Jennifer Lee: Yes, that.
Mike Gerholdt: ... and turning a chicken into a chicken nugget and you can never go back. And I was like, "I get it now, weirdly enough. And I also want a chicken nugget." So, if you were stranded on an island, what album would you bring along to listen to, or CD?
Jennifer Lee: I don't know the specific album name, but I'm really into Pink. So, any of her albums.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.
Jennifer Lee: I feel that they're just empowering and she's just really bad-ass. I went to see her in concert and if you haven't seen Pink in concert, she does all this gymnastics stuff and she's doing flips and flying in the air, and it's just so super cool.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Okay. Last one. Five words that describe you.
Jennifer Lee: Five words that describe me. Huh. I am passionate. Excited.
Mike Gerholdt: It can be hard to think of words.
Jennifer Lee: Yeah. I'm like speechless right now.
Mike Gerholdt: I would add, caring, because we just talked about your dog before we got on the podcast.
Jennifer Lee: Yes. And friendly. And I can't think of another word. I'm lost for words.
Mike Gerholdt: That's all right.
Jennifer Lee: You don't even see me. I'm sweating bullets right now. I can't think of the words.
Mike Gerholdt: That's all right. Being at a loss for words is a rarity for you. Well, this is fun. I think it's important that everybody in the community gets to meet our evangelists and hears from us and knows our perspectives and gets to understand you just even more outside of the content that you produce. Because I know to me, it's always important if I'm watching a movie or I'm reading a book or listening to music, that I understand the artist's perspective and what motivates them and their values. And that's the whole reason I wanted to have this podcast. So, I'm glad to have you on.
Jennifer Lee: Oh, thanks for having me. And I can't wait to be able to go out in the community and meet all the new admins out there. And hopefully, when we are able to get back to in-person events, being able to meet you personally.
Mike Gerholdt: Yes. It'll be fun. It'll be fun. Well, thanks for being on the podcast, Jen.
Jennifer Lee: Thanks for having me, Mike.
Mike Gerholdt: Well, it was great having Jennifer on the podcast. It's always fun to learn people's back histories and it looks like she was in retail as was I, and I'm sure many of you have been in retail. Anyway, if you'd love to learn more about all things Salesforce admin go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources, including blogs, Trailhead Live, and a lot of content that Jennifer's going to be sharing out with us. Of course, I'd be remissed if I didn't mention the new podcast swag is in the Trailhead store. So, be sure to pick up some of that.
Thu, 15 July 2021
This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re talking to J Steadman, Lead Admin Evangelist on the Admin Relations team at Salesforce. J is just getting started as an evangelist, and we wanted you to get a chance to meet them, understand their perspective, and connect with them. As evangelists, we work to inspire admins in our community and it's important to know we get our inspiration from you.
Join us as we talk about J’s incredible journey to Salesforce and why they’re so driven to save everyone time.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with J Steadman.
A long and winding road to becoming an admin
“I’m a product of the community,” J says, “and so I think it’s really important that we all know each other—specifically because those of us that sit in the Evangelist role, our job is really to advocate on behalf of the admins to Salesforce and to make sure we’re properly communicating stuff from Salesforce back to all of our admins.”
While they’ve been at Salesforce for the past three years, J got their start in the community and actually has an MFA in acting and performed for a long time as a bass guitarist. “It got to a point where that fell apart,” J says, “so I put myself on the job hunt and submitted over 430 job applications.” Everything changed, however, when they got hired as a receptionist at a company that just happened to use Salesforce. Yes, J is another accidental admin and, as J says, “suddenly I just took off with the technology.”
From there, J spent some time consulting which was a real boot camp for understanding all the different types of orgs and implementations that are out there. Ultimately, they transitioned to a position at an enterprise-level customer with thousands of licenses and a very complex org. That work saw them doing stints as a product manager and later a release manager but most importantly, it led to a position at Salesforce in Customer Success.
Saving time one process at a time
“Everyone in the world is a talented and good person that can use their talents for something worthwhile,” J says, “but in most businesses, many of us spend our time doing stuff that does not warrant our attention. These manual and horribly repetitive tasks literally eat the most important resource in our lives: time.”
For J, it means so much to help someone help someone get more time back in their day by automating a business process or making a screen appear in the right place. “If we as the Admin Community are able to give anyone that important time,” J says, “that’s incredibly meaningful.”
Be sure to listen to the episode for more about J’s story, and don’t miss the Lightning Round!
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Full Show Transcript
Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. This week, we are talking with J. Steadman, lead admin evangelist on the admin relations team. Now, I wanted to take this moment to have this podcast early in J.'s admin evangelist career, so that you've a chance to meet them, understand their perspective, and connect with them. As evangelists, we work to inspire admins in our community, and I also feel it's important to me that we get our inspiration from you. So, let's get J. on the podcast. So, J., welcome to the podcast.
J. Steadman: Thank you.
Mike Gerholdt: Concise. That's what I like. It's great. I, as I alluded to in the intro, find it very important that everybody on our admin relations team be able to understand and know our community, and that our community kind of knows us really well. So, I wanted to get you on the pod early on in your admin evangelist career. And you've been on the pod before in your previous role at Salesforce.
J. Steadman: Yes.
Mike Gerholdt: So, let's just rewind the clock and kind of reset everything. And tell us a little bit about J. before you joined Salesforce.
J. Steadman: Yeah. So, first, Mike, thanks tons for having me here. And I really agree with you about this idea of us knowing the community and the community knowing us. I'm a bit of a product of the community. And so, I think it's really important that we all know each other, specifically because those of us that sit in the EV role or the evangelist role, our job is really to advocate on behalf of or evangelize on behalf of the admins to Salesforce and to make sure that we're properly communicating stuff from Salesforce back to all of our admins. Right? So, that is my purpose. I think sharing my story can be helpful. So, I've been at Salesforce for the past three years, but prior to that, I wasn't in Salesforce at all. At one point, I think that's true for all of us. Most of us.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.
J. Steadman: Most of us started not at Salesforce and then eventually made our way into the technology, save for, I don't know, everyone.
Mike Gerholdt: You could be born into Salesforce somehow. I don't know.
J. Steadman: That might be true for my kid and for like-
Mike Gerholdt: Sure.
J. Steadman: Yeah, sure, a lot of our kids, but our generation and before. Anyway. So, I actually originally went to school for acting. I did that twice. I got my undergrad at Western Michigan University, and I went and got a degree in acting at UCLA for grad school. And the writer strike happened which really impacted the industry in a big way. And so, I was like, "Well, if I can't find entry-level acting gigs, I'll be a musician." So, I'd played music forever. I was a bassist, and I started playing as a back-lining musician. So, bands would hire me to go and play their local gigs or to go on tour, and I played bass guitar for them. And then I started doing my own band on top of that and working side gigs to scrap together cash and make sure that I could keep pursuing my dream, and it got to a point where that just fell apart. As an artist, I didn't have a ton of money to fall back on. And I came from a pretty scrappy upbringing. And so, I put myself out on the job hunt and I submitted like 430-some job applications.
Mike Gerholdt: Wow.
J. Steadman: And I still have the spreadsheet in my Google Drive. And this was over the course of like six weeks. I was looking at anything really, from being someone's personal assistant to working as a receptionist, to working in a warehouse, to working in a kitchen, to being delivery driver. And this was in 2012. So, the kind of Uber, Lyft, and gig economy stuff hadn't quite exploded yet. It was actually late 2011. And after 435 job apps, the little bit of cushion that I had actually ran out. A friend of mine who was actually a successful attorney and a good friend of mine, he actually floated me a little bit of cash so that I could survive for a month. And I was really confronted with the idea of homelessness. I didn't really have anywhere to go.
Mike Gerholdt: Wow. I think of the Steve Jobs quote of you can't connect the dots looking forward, but you can always connect the dots looking back. 2021, if you could talk to your 2012 or 2011 self before you were living in a car and say, "Hey, by the way, you're going to have this great job in technology." The dots that you would connect to get there, just, yeah, I don't know that you could put those together.
J. Steadman: You know, I think what about this idea of current J., past J., and future J. a lot. This might be a thing that... I don't know. Is that the thing you do, Mike? Do you think about that?
Mike Gerholdt: Oh yeah. All the time.
J. Steadman: Yeah. Okay. So, me too.
Mike Gerholdt: All the time, all the time.
J. Steadman: Me too. Yeah.
Mike Gerholdt: If today Mike could talk to 20... I think back to different years in my life that were... If I had gone left instead of right.
J. Steadman: Right. Yep.
Mike Gerholdt: 2003, I'll say, December 31st, 2003, I quit retail forever.
J. Steadman: Yeah.
Mike Gerholdt: I had no job. My prospect was I'm going to go back to college and I quit, locked the gate on the retail store, and threw the keys inside.
J. Steadman: Wow.
Mike Gerholdt: That was it. I was done, done with retail. I was done because I was afraid that making 30 grand a year was the best it gets, and I knew it could be better.
J. Steadman: You know, I find that fascinating. So, I actually had to have this real reckoning with myself because I had become really resigned to this idea that... We talk a lot about imposter syndrome in and around the admin role and sometimes in technology and how we all feel that and I think that's true. But for the longest time, my goal was making 50 grand a year. If I could make 50 grand a year, it's like, "I have arrived."
Mike Gerholdt: Oh, you're making bank.
J. Steadman: Yeah.
Mike Gerholdt: Huge.
J. Steadman: That would be incredible, wildest dreams. I have subsequently, I keep track of my total income over time, just to remind myself of where I've come from and where I'm going. No numbers included here, but I started at a certain amount and I'm at a certain amount. I think it's like 512% from where I started to where I ended in that regard. Right? And I bring that up because if we wrap that back into this idea of talking to past J. and I think that this might resonate with some folks out there that are just getting started in the ecosystem, or maybe they haven't even really started yet with their first role, I think it's really important to remember that this is a real thing and it's a real path to stability. It's a real path to wealth for your family. It's a real path to starting to create generational wealth.
Mike Gerholdt: Right. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I ironically do similar. I look back and I'm always constantly thinking, "Yeah, that's funny. That's how much I used to make in a month."
J. Steadman: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Mike Gerholdt: And not to be numbers-wise because I want people to think... I also want to put in perspective. It's not all about the money.
J. Steadman: Not at all. Nope.
Mike Gerholdt: I also think back to... Wow, I remember what it used to be like to come home from that job versus coming home from this job. And by coming home, I mean feeling like you were supported at the organization, that you have coworkers that you feel comfortable talking to and it just... There's been jobs that I'm like, "Wow, I'm surprised I made it through that."
J. Steadman: Yeah. I think what you're touching on and I think it's really important that you brought it up because it can be easy to just kind of highlight the fact that earning potential is fantastic.
Mike Gerholdt: Right.
J. Steadman: I'm very mission-driven. I'm very kindness-driven. I'm not a perfect person in my own use of kindness, and I constantly look for ways that I can improve, but where I'm at impacts me a lot. And it's important to me that I'm at a place that cares about me and that I care about the people that I'm working with. Right? You know that. We've had conversations around that in our whole team. And virtually every Salesforce job that I've had has been wrapped in that idea of feeling okay when you back home. That's one of the reasons that I love our community so much is people... I'll log on to Twitter. I don't do much social, but I'm on Twitter and it's entirely because the Twitter that I'm on isn't the crazy chaos Twitter. Right? It's a bunch of people that are just being kind to each other, and looking out for each other, and checking in on each other. Like, the other day I posted that I hurt my shoulder and I had two people reach out to me, three people reach out to me, and A, they were like, "Are you okay?" And then B, they were like, "Here are some ways that you can fix your shoulder." I did it and now my shoulder's better. And that's crazy.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. A hundred percent. I also had to look up because when you talked about being a writer, this is way back early in your story. Everything that I know about writers and people hustling for jobs, I know through the show Barry With Bill Hader. I don't know if you've seen it.
J. Steadman: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, the assassin show, right? Assassin turned improv?
Mike Gerholdt: Well, so now you give it away.
J. Steadman: Oh, okay. Sorry. I didn't know that was a spoiler. I've never seen it, but that was just my understanding of the show.
Mike Gerholdt: It is astronomically hilarious.
J. Steadman: Gotcha.
Mike Gerholdt: It is... Anyway. So, as you were describing that, I was just envisioning you as Bill Hader taking acting classes and trying to make it as a writer, and it fits. It fits. Anyway. So, you're new on the team and I wanted to find out... One thing that we definitely look for is passion. And I would say that across the organization of Salesforce, regardless of what you're doing, passion for the admin role because there's a lot of admins that listen to this and think, "So, what's what's J.'s north star?"
J. Steadman: Mm. Well, so for me, I am driven by curiosity and I am driven by trying to remove roadblocks from the folks around me. So, if the world is a bunch of puzzles, Salesforce is a fantastic tool that you can use to solve those puzzles and to help people out. I swear this is not a joke. In interviews, I have gone on a bit of a... Tirade is the wrong word. Tangent might be better suited to it. I have had these conversations about how I feel like everyone in the world is a talented and good person that can use their talents for something that is worthwhile. But in most businesses, many of us spend our time doing stuff that does not warrant our attention. These manual and horribly repetitive tasks literally eat the most important resource in our lives. Time. Right? We only have so much time on the planet earth, no matter what you do, you don't get more.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.
J. Steadman: That would be fantastic.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Well, and time is something that I think of it, it's fleeting. Right? Whatever you did now, you don't get back now.
J. Steadman: Yep. Yep. So, I'm somewhat recently a father. My kid is 17 months old, yeah, 16 months.
Mike Gerholdt: You're still in months, even after 12.
J. Steadman: Yeah. So, apparently, you just-
Mike Gerholdt: It doesn't make sense to me, by the way.
J. Steadman: I'm not sure that it makes sense to me. Since I'm a dad, I just follow, I follow the guidelines.
Mike Gerholdt: You just roll with what other people do.
J. Steadman: Yeah, yeah.
Mike Gerholdt: Okay.
J. Steadman: Yep. So, Ruby is almost 17 months old. Everyday from 5:00 to 7:00 is time that I spent with Ruby. Right? She comes home from Montessori and the two of us do what we do. We have a dinner. We play, and then I'll put her down for bed. That's my time. That's my time with my kid, and obviously my wife as well. Right? I didn't have that when I was growing up. My dad was a chef. Right? He didn't have the luxury of not being there for dinner service. You can't not be there for dinner service. That's when dinner happens. Right? And this is true for many jobs out there in the world.
Mike Gerholdt: I don't think you can ever directly pay it back. You pay it back in different ways. If you think of missing dinner with your father and prioritizing that time with Ruby, that'll pay dividends for Ruby's children because she will instill, "Well, this is important to me because this is what my dad made important." Or this is what I missed as a kid. Right?
J. Steadman: Yeah. Yeah. To be perfectly fair to my dad's experience too, again, not everyone has the luxury to be home at dinner time. Right?
Mike Gerholdt: No.
J. Steadman: I tell you this. We did have food on the table.
Mike Gerholdt: Sure, sure. He's a chef.
J. Steadman: Yeah, he's a chef so we had food to eat. And we were put in a position where, again, there's this phrase, you stand on the shoulders of giants. The work that my mom and dad did at least put me in a position so that maybe it wasn't a ton, but they put me in the position where I was able to be the first person to go to college. Right? Again, it was my own dime, but I was at a place to get into college, which is pretty cool.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I always, listening to that, think back to one of the times that I rolled a feature out to a user, and this was early on, and she had been at the company for 20 some years. I'm of a certain age where my parents, you went to work at a company. You went to work at IBM, or I live in the Midwest, you go to a John Deere or a Manna or Whirlpool, Maytag. And that's where you were. You're from a company man as they say.
J. Steadman: Yeah, get that pension.
Mike Gerholdt: They took care of you and you retired and you got your house and kids. And so, I was helping this user out because they'd been there 27 years in contracts and definitely had bounced within the organization, not somebody you're going to fire, but somebody has a hard time finding a spot to land, based on their skillset. And I remember showing them how to do something in Salesforce and it making their job exponentially easier. Right? And just the joy that they had because you speak of time. I also think of the joy because to them, that was the only job that they knew.
J. Steadman: Yep.
Mike Gerholdt: And in some respects, it was kind of like breaking rocks all day. I made all the rocks just crumble like dust, and suddenly, it's like, "Oh, this job maybe isn't so bad." I don't know if that was... As you were telling that story, that moment in my head came to mind.
J. Steadman: Yeah, I think that's dead-on. One of my very favorite things to do when I'm admitting an org is if I can have an opportunity to ride along with an end-user, especially at an out of office end-user, and spend a day with them, seeing the job that they do and how they do that job and seeing every step through the process. Wow. It's fantastic because then I can go back into the system, I can configure an experience that eliminates a lot of the roadblocks or at least streamlines them and then get that feedback. Right? And I've had that same experience. And while it might not break your back like cracking rocks, manual, repetitive tasks aren't fun for anyone anywhere. It's a big pain.
Mike Gerholdt: No. J., I put together some lightning-round questions because I knew we'd have a fun conversation, but taking some cues from some other interviews and episodes I watched, I thought these would be some kind of neat episodes. So, I won't ask these in super speedy order.
J. Steadman: Okay.
Mike Gerholdt: They're also kind of meant to be fun, a little lighthearted, a little... I don't know. First thing that comes to mind to some degree, but okay. We'll get started. So, first question, the best compliment you have ever received.
J. Steadman: I think it was my wife telling me that she thinks that I am an awesome father.
Mike Gerholdt: Hm. That's great. So, I try to make these fun and back and forth. If you could have only one meal the rest of your life, what would it be?
J. Steadman: My mother's chicken Parmesan.
Mike Gerholdt: Ooh. Now, everybody wants chicken Parmesan.
J. Steadman: Yeah. My mother's chicken Parmesan and you could have it for dinner, but you could also have it for lunch the next day on bread. Have a chicken Parmesan sandwich. Yep, my mom's chicken Parmesan.
Mike Gerholdt: Okay. Who is your hero?
J. Steadman: I'm really bad with this. I am not really a hero person.
Mike Gerholdt: Okay.
J. Steadman: I'm not really a hero person. Typically, if I have an icon in my head for that's what to pursue, it tends to be a fictional character.
Mike Gerholdt: Okay. So, then maybe this one will fit or not, but if you could meet one person that inspires you dead or alive, who would they be?
J. Steadman: I would love for another couple of hours with my grandmother Steadman.
Mike Gerholdt: Hmm. I'm asking this one because I know you, but let's pretend you're stranded on a deserted island. What album did you bring?
J. Steadman: Oh, okay. So, I would probably bring American Football's first LP because that record has been with me for decades and it never gets old. Second to that would be probably Jimmy Eat World's Clarity.
Mike Gerholdt: Wow. Okay. So, those are two I'm going to have to look for because I am not familiar with them, but that's okay.
J. Steadman: Yeah, that's a win.
Mike Gerholdt: Last one. Five words that describe you.
J. Steadman: I am really, really loud.
Mike Gerholdt: I am really, really loud. Okay, that's five.
J. Steadman: Yeah.
Mike Gerholdt: So, really, really is a couple of words to describe you.
J. Steadman: Yeah. Yeah. So, I did this on something else. Someone was like, "Name your superpower." And I think you're supposed to name like a favorite, real superpower. But I was like, "My actual superpower in life is I'm very passionate." And people are like, "Oh, well..." Sometimes I think people ask me questions and I don't understand what the question is.
Mike Gerholdt: Well, this one was not that, not that, but I mean any five words. I feel a lot of it is to get that perspective on how somebody thinks and where they're at, you know?
J. Steadman: Yeah. If I were to use five separate words that are all traits I'm curious, passionate, stubborn, creative, and joyful, or goofy. Let's go goofy instead of joyful.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Goofy, it opens the field up.
J. Steadman: Yeah.
Mike Gerholdt: Okay. Well, J., this was fun, not that I knew it wouldn't be, but I hope our community got a blast out of it. You have content that will be coming out on the admin site. I anticipate hearing more from you on the podcast. I know you're also working on some Trailhead live stuff. So, more fun to come.
J. Steadman: Yeah, if I could just say one last thing to the listeners out there in the community. Yo, I'm here to hear what you have to say and to be an advocate for you. So, if you ever want to reach out, feel free. My DMs are open. Happy to grab a coffee, chat. I want to know who you are, what you're doing, what's working, what isn't. That's what we're here for.
Mike Gerholdt: Your DMs on Twitter?
J. Steadman: My DMs on Twitter.
Mike Gerholdt: What's your Twitter?
J. Steadman: That's J__mdt for I am a custom metadata type.
Mike Gerholdt: Ah-hah. All right. Good. That's what I was hoping I would get an explanation for.
J. Steadman: Yeah. There you go.
Mike Gerholdt: Sweet. All right. Well, J., thanks so much for being on the pod.
J. Steadman: Yeah. Happy to be here.
Mike Gerholdt: It was great to have J. on the podcast. I envision them coming back for quite a few episodes. Now, if you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources. Of course, there's new podcast swag in the Trailhead store so be sure to pick up some of those cool T-shirts. I have mine on right now. There's a link in the show notes. You can stay up to date with us on social. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no I on Twitter. You can follow J. They are on Twitter, @J__mdt. And you got to... You know what the MDT stands for. You listened to the episode. Gillian is on Twitter. She is @gilliankbruce. And of course, you can give me a follow. I am @MikeGerholdt. So, with that, stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.
Direct download: Get_to_Know_Our_Newest_Admin_Evangelist_J_Steadman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT
Thu, 8 July 2021
On this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got Jessica Langston, Director, Trailblazer Community, and Emily Hudson, Director of Product Management at Salesforce. We’ve launched and new and improved version of the Trailblazer Community, so we wanted to go over all the new innovations that will help you get better connected.
Join us as we talk about everything that went into the two-year process to create the Trailblazer Community relaunch, the new features they’re most excited about, and our revamped mobile experience.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Jessica Langston and Emily Hudson.
The Trailblazer Community, reimagined.
We’ve just launched a new, reimagined Trailblazer Community. Says Jessica, “we’ve heard that people wanted a more integrated experience—they’re both learning on Trailhead and they’re connecting with Trailblazers in the community, so what better reason to bring it together?” There are new features, a new look, and an improved mobile experience. “We’re so thrilled to usher in a new chapter for the community,” she says.
“This has been in the works for over two years now,” Emily says. They started meeting with Trailblazers two Dreamforces ago to find out what was working, what was annoying, and what they wished it could do better. They ended up building everything from scratch in order to give you the reimagined experience you see today.
New Features to get excited about for the Trailblazer Community.
As far as new features Emily is the most excited about, the first is the Today page. It’s a personalized dashboard with your Trailhead points, your ranks, community activity, recommended next steps, “basically your dashboard to start your day and your relationship with Salesforce,” she says.
There’s also the Learning panel, which shows up on any question or topic page and pulls in Trailhead learning that corresponds to the topics being discussed. Finally, the entire experience is built for mobile, native for IOS and Android, with all of the core Trailblazer functionality. It’s no longer necessary to rely on Twitter to connect with folks at live events because you can’t use the Trailblazer Community on your mobile device.
Topics have also received an overhaul. They’ve essentially broken down the barrier between Categories and Topics so now they’re all just Topics, but really they’re tagged conversations. People can follow a topic, so any new posts will show up on their feed and they can answer a question or find out about something they’re interested in learning more about.
The future of the Trailblazer Community.
Moving forward, Jessica, Emily, and the team are looking to bring this improved experience to all the different ways admins connect with each other. For one thing, they want to make it easier to find and register for groups in your area and then collaborate asynchronously within the group.
Topics are also going to get more features, with guided learning, documentation, IdeaExchange ideas, and third-party content about a particular subject to make things easier to find than ever before. When you want to learn about something, you’re not first thinking about content type or which website it’s on, you just want to learn more, so bringing everything together makes it easier to navigate than ever before.
“Now more than ever, enhancing our online platform for Trailblazers to connect is so important,” Jessica says, “we’re seeing such high engagement so it’s nice to break down the barriers for the online platform and make it mobile-friendly—it’s a game-changer.” And if you have any new ideas, be sure to drop them in the IdeaExchange under the Trailblazer Community topic.
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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. I'm Gillian Bruce and today we are talking about the brand new and improved, beautiful Trailblazer Community. Yes, folks, if you missed it, there is a brand new, online Trailblazer Community experience. It was launched just before Trailhead DX. And if you haven't checked it out yet, you need to do so because we are going to talk today about the process behind that redesign, behind the relaunch, and talk about some of the amazing innovations that really are going to help you as admins, get better connected, especially in this digital first era. This is huge, huge, huge.
Jessica Langsto...: Thank you. So, excited to be here.
Emily Hudson: Thank you.
Jessica Langsto...: We're thrilled to be here.
Gillian Bruce: Well, I am always excited to have two amazing ladies joining me on the podcast to talk about some cool new technology. And we're talking about something pretty exciting today. Jessica, you help lead our community team here at Salesforce, and I would love for you to introduce this incredible thing that our online community is using now to connect and interact and learn from each other. Tell us a little bit about why you're here.
Jessica Langsto...: Yeah. I'm so excited to be here and really, it's been years and years in the making, but we launched our new, re-imagined Trailblazer Community last week. We are so excited and it's really thrilling because it was shaped by the feedback of our community, which we often do. And we heard that people wanted a more integrated experience. They're both learning on Trailhead and they're connecting with Trailblazers in the community. So, what better reason to bring it together? So, now we have that as an integrated experience with Trailhead and the Trailblazer Community. And new features, it's mobile, it's fabulous, it's beautiful. So, we are just so thrilled to usher in a new chapter for the community.
Gillian Bruce: It is totally a new chapter. I think that what the community pre this revamp pre this relaunch, hadn't really gotten any love in a big way, for quite a while. I remember, God, I think it was probably seven-ish years ago when we were first building the Admin Relations program, and I think that was the first new iteration of this awesome online community, as we created groups and it was great, and then it hasn't changed at all since then.
Jessica Langsto...: [inaudible].
Gillian Bruce: So, it's pretty exciting to see such a huge advance and improvement in the functionality. Now, Emily, you were the amazing product manager on this project. Can you talk to us a little bit about some of the big things that you and your team were able to bring to life?
Emily Hudson: Yeah. Definitely. And I hear you about not changing it for a long time. This has been in the works, this new, re-imagined Trailblazer Community, for over two years now. We started meeting with Trailblazers two Dreamforces ago and just asking questions, "What's annoying about the current experience? What's the Greenfield experience in your mind? What do you want it to be able to do? How should it work? What are the core flows that you're most interested in?" And we just collected all that, did everything from scratch. So, it took a very long time to build completely different, modern UI, broke down the barriers that we had in the backend.
Gillian Bruce: Mobile alone, I think, makes everyone cry tears of joy because I mean, Jessica, you know this, especially in the before times at events, right, that was one of the most frustrating things is that we had to use Twitter because you just could not get to the Trailblazer Community on your mobile device.
Jessica Langsto...: That's right. Yeah. And I mean, it makes my job, my team's job easier. It's really amazing and I think just changing the way that we operate and really getting that more real-time dialogue because people can do it on the go.
Gillian Bruce: Yeah. And Emily, I mean, the way you were able to connect all of the things, right? I mean, we have so many great ways that we interact with our community and the community interacts with each other, and your description of connecting the learning, giving a today experience of a home base really, in the community experience, those are huge. And I mean, working on it for two years, I can only imagine all of the feedback and all of the input you got from our community.
Emily Hudson: Yeah. Yeah, I'm sure people were sick of hearing from me too, after a while. I was like, "Hey, you signed up for that one session a year ago. I'm back with more questions."
Gillian Bruce: Never. Never.
Emily Hudson: Definitely, we got a lot of customer feedback throughout, it was really fun too, just to hear specific stories of, "I really just want to be able to jump in and do this quickly." Or, "I'm really stuck today on how I can customize this thing." So again, also we have a massive backlog now of tons of ideas from our Trailblazers throughout the years, that we definitely want to do. This was just the first iteration of getting it out the door. But I think the launch itself is basically, multiple releases in one, just for all the goodness that we're bringing. So, it was exciting.
Gillian Bruce: Well, congratulations to you and your team. I know it was a huge feat and yeah, I bet that backlog is just waiting for you. It's just ready to go.
Emily Hudson: Oh, yeah.
Gillian Bruce: So, Jessica, can you talk to us a little bit about maybe some of the love and reactions and things that you've seen from the community?
Jessica Langsto...: Yeah. I mean, honestly the launch day was one of my favorite days, probably in my tenure at Salesforce. It was just so fun, so exciting, so positive. I think people have been waiting for this, to be able to really touch it, feel it, go in there and use it. It was just thrilling. And we saw people engaging in all the groups and sharing the love on Twitter. And it was just super exciting and just a great launch. I mean, it was overall super positive and that was really fun to see.
Gillian Bruce: So, one thing I'd like to talk about, we are on the admins podcast, so we are talking to the admin audience, which I know relies very heavily on the Trailblazer Community. Now, Jessica, you briefly mentioned about how this will change the way that your team works, essentially, whose job it is to help the community do what they do and be awesome and stay connected. Can you talk to us a little bit about maybe some of the overarching how you see this playing into the admin universe, awesome admin land as I call it. The role of the community has always been huge, but this new relaunch, what are some things that you're excited about helping them change or helping them get better?
Jessica Langsto...: Yeah. I think it's definitely going to be a game changer in how people collaborate. And I think especially in groups and within topics, but even in addition to that, we do love our community groups and we have amazing admin groups all over the world. And this is just the first iteration, but we're really trying to make that experience even better, because right now, even to go register for community group meetings, that's going to be a separate experience, but we are looking to bring that even closer together. And that is really exciting and near and dear to my heart, is just making it easier to find groups in your area, register for the events and then collaborate asynchronously within your collaboration group. Bringing that whole community experience together, I think will be super exciting, especially for admins because I know that they love going to group meetings and connecting and learning together.
Gillian Bruce: Not to completely co-opt and probably misspeak about some of our corporate branding, but this is like the admin community 360 in some ways.
Jessica Langsto...: I like it.
Gillian Bruce: I'm going to get in trouble for saying that, I'm sure. So Emily, you gave an overview of your top three big things. Jessica just mentioned topics. Can you give us a little bit more insight into how topics play into this new experience? Because from my perspective, it feels like topics are going to be so much more powerful and easy to use in this new community.
Emily Hudson: Yeah, definitely, topics are going to be the bread and butter for engagement, I think. So, for those of y'all who used the old Trailblazer Community, you're familiar with the answers tab, which had the question categories and the left-hand side. And then, there was the separate collaboration tab and that had all the group posts, but you couldn't ask an official question on that tab. And you could hashtag topics, but they were unrelated to the question categories. So, what we did here is we broke down that barrier between the question categories and topics, and now they're all just topics.
Gillian Bruce: It's a topic we can never get tired of it, so keep going.
Emily Hudson: Exactly. The future of topics is really powerful too, because topics, because right now they're just a way to tag conversations and they're this standardization of categories that people are talking about, we'll be able to apply Trailhead learning to those topics too. So, that guided learning that's about the exact same information as a topic, all of that can show up in one place. And then, also eventually documentation, help articles and IdeaExchange ideas and other third-party content that's about that subject matter, we can pool all that together and have it live in one place and connected. And it's basically just a way to break down the current barriers we have and streamline what people are looking for.
Gillian Bruce: Oh, that's so, so awesome. I'm already happy. I've been poking around in there and it's just, the topic thing is, it's game changing because you have these parallel experiences, as you mentioned, right? You'd have the answers forum, you'd have the collaboration tab. It was all over the place. It was great, you could still get really great information, but it was all very siloed and separate experience. Yeah. Thank you for pooling that together.
Emily Hudson: Yeah. And it was actually, like you said, it was effective. People were using it. We have a lot of interesting metrics about how it helps people maximize their use of the Salesforce platform and become a leader in their areas. But think about how much more it could do, now that it doesn't have this clunky onboarding process where you have to be like, "Oh, I can't ask a question to a group, I have to do this there. And I have to send someone the URL of a question I asked, instead of @mentioning them." So, all of these just restrictions and limitations and stuff were gotten rid of in this new release. Yeah, really excited about that and what this can unlock for all the admins out there, all the new users, the experts, everyone who's engaging with the Trailblazer Community.
Gillian Bruce: Love it. Love it. So Jessica, the Trailblazer Community experience has been more important than ever in the last year-and-a-half. Can you talk to us a little bit about, maybe some things you've been seeing from the community about stuff that they've been using more or things that you think will be especially valuable in the new era that we are all living in and that digital connection is really the main connection these days?
Jessica Langsto...: Yeah. I mean, I think you definitely nailed it there. I think we've all pivoted a lot to virtual and our community had to do the same. We actually were running a largely in-person community, where people were meeting at local coffee shops and different meeting venues just to host their meetings. And when that all halted, it was a quick pivot to try to switch to all virtual. So, I think we are definitely seeing more engagement, both on the online platform as well as what's been really interesting to see is, people are still hosting virtual meetings, but people are joining meetings all over the world, which is pretty fantastic. So, we've seen a lot more of that cross-pollinization between people joining meetings in India or someone who's in India, joining a group in the US. And it's broken down those barriers that were previously just created by just geography, right?
Gillian Bruce: Yeah. The timing couldn't have been better. So good thing, Emily, you started working on this two years ago, so that we could get it now.
Emily Hudson: Yeah.
Gillian Bruce: So, I am sure that there are many people listening that are currently right now in the community, poking around, playing around. If they have feedback and more ideas for you, Emily and your team, what's the best way to submit those?
Emily Hudson: Great question. There is an IdeaExchange category where you all should go and submit your ideas there and then upvote each other's ideas. And we'll be monitoring that and see which ideas bubble to the top. If you go to the IdeaExchange, it's inside of the one called Your Trailblazer Experience, and then you'll see the Trailblazer Community category. So, ideas.salesforce.com and then Your Salesforce Experience and Trailblazer Community. If you see anything that's broken or anything, we also have a topic in the Trailblazer Community where you can go and ask a specific question or report a bug. And that topic is called I think, Trailblazer Community Help. Is that right, Jessica?
Jessica Langsto...: I think that is right.
Emily Hudson: Okay.
Jessica Langsto...: Nailed it.
Emily Hudson: Looking now, but yes. So it's, Trailblazer Community Help will be your place to ask specific or log certain bugs or tweet at me or at Jessica Langston. I am opening up a Pandora's Box there, but we're here and excited and want thoughts and feedback and all that.
Jessica Langsto...: Absolutely.
Gillian Bruce: Well, y'all heard it, just hit up Jessica and Emily, if you have things that you would like to see.
Emily Hudson: Oh no, what did I do?
Gillian Bruce: They just have a very short list of things they're working on. So, sure, they'll bump yours to the top of the list.
Emily Hudson: Okay.
Gillian Bruce: Well, seriously, Jessica and Emily, thank you both so much. This is such a huge innovation. It's going to help admins and our Trailblazer Community just immensely. I mean, just being able to log in from your phone, are you kidding me? That's game changing. So, huge thanks to you and your teams. I know you've been working so hard to get this done. And behalf on admins everywhere, I very much thank you for your hard work.
Emily Hudson: Thank you so much for having us.
Jessica Langsto...: Well, thank you, Emily.
Emily Hudson: Yeah. And everyone. This has been a massive, cross-team effort, across tons of teams on team Trailhead. So, we're really excited to be able to share it with y'all and hopefully you enjoy it as well. And thank you for having us and letting us talk about it. I love talking about it.
Gillian Bruce: Well, don't worry, I'm sure we'll be back next time you do a new release.
Emily Hudson: Perfect.
Gillian Bruce: So, we'll hit you up. You're not allowed to go anywhere. I know how to find you both.
Jessica Langsto...: Absolutely.
Gillian Bruce: Well, again, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast and we will check back in with you for that next huge Trailblazer Community release.
Emily Hudson: All right. Sounds good. Stay tuned.
Gillian Bruce: Thank you so much. So, huge thanks to Jessica and Emily for taking the time to chat. It was so great to catch up with both of them, hear more about the Trailblazer Community relaunch and all of the incredible innovations. I mean, gosh, Emily and her team worked so hard and I loved hearing about the long, two-year process that she and her team took to really gather all the feedback and really make this new experience and design it from scratch, which is amazing.
Thu, 1 July 2021
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we sit down with Brian Kwong, Vice President of Delivery and Operations at Better Partners and Salesforce MVP. He’s one of the hosts of the Salesforce WizardCast and a self-described Flownatic, so we wanted to recap all the new Flow and Orchestrator features from TrailheaDX.
Join us as we talk about how Brian approaches TrailheaDX and why Flow is the future.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Brian Kwong.
Why Flow is the future.
Brian wears many different hats in the Salesforce community, from his role as co-leader of the Madison, Wisconsin user group to his work as a Salesforce MVP to literally wearing a wizard hat when he walks around at Dreamforce. As a host of the Salesforce Wizardcast, he wants to be sure people know where to find him.
Brian is an original flownatic, so needless to say he found a lot to get excited about in this year’s TrailheaDX. “If someone has not touched automation at all, the very first thing they need to do is look at Flow, and specifically look at record triggered Flows,” he says, “because Flow is the future. It’s something Mark Ross and I joked about years ago but it’s now here.” The list of things you can do without ever having to code is growing every day, and it’s only going to get longer with the new things coming down the pipeline.
New demos and even more Flow features.
At TrailheaDX we saw some pretty exciting demos for Next Best Action, Flow Orchestrator, and multi-column flows. “You can make data entry a lot easier to use by putting things that are paired together next to each other,” Brian says, and there are a lot of other quality of life improvements with collapsible sections to make it easier to navigate large flows.
For Flow Orchestrator, there are tons of new ways to help organize multi-step processes that interact with multiple users. “If you have something where it’s bouncing back and forth between people with different stages,” Brian says, “Flow Orchestrator looks like a really good way to manage that.” Think about managing something like an approval process, where you need to hand off the same thing to different people and departments.
Getting the most out of TrailheaDX.
“One of the biggest benefits I get out of TrailheaDX sessions is trying to break out of what I had thought of for the last ten years and see what new people are thinking and saying and experiencing,” Brian says. Since everything is recorded, he’s going to go back and watch at least the first five minutes of each session, and probably make some repeat viewings of more than a few of them. All the sessions are up, so make sure to go the TrailheaDX site to catch up on what you missed.
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Direct download: Flownatics_Take_on_Flow_Features_with_Brian_Kwong.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT