Salesforce Admins Podcast

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we have another deep dive with Josh Birk, who talks to Shoby Abdi, Principle Architecture Evangelist at Salesforce.

Join us as we chat about the Well-Architected framework, why you should start using Data Cloud, and what you need to do to get ready.

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

The Well-Architected framework

Shoby is the Principle Architecture Evangelist at Salesforce, and he’s come on the pod to tell us about the Salesforce Well-Architected framework. And he’s here to tell you that the framework is not just for Salesforce Architects—everyone should take a look at it.

As Shoby puts it, if your customers or users open Salesforce and it scares them, that’s how you know you need to use the framework. It can help you identify anti-patterns in your org and fix them by building solutions that are trusted, easy, and adaptable. Those are the essential ingredients for a healthy org, and that’s what puts you in the best position to take advantage of everything Data Cloud has to offer.

If Data Cloud was a parking lot

We’ve talked a little about Data Cloud on this podcast in the past, and that’s linked below, but Shoby helped explain why it’s such a big deal. The main point he makes is that by bringing all of your data together  in one place, it can start to tell a story. As he puts it, “What is your customer doing? Where are they? And then how do you interact with them next?”

When we talk about Data Cloud, it can often sound like it’s some sort of parking lot for all of the information you have about your customers. But as Shoby points out, it’s so much more than that. It’s more like if your parking lot had a valet that could tell you everything about who’s parked there, what kind of car they drive, how long they’re staying there, and exactly when they plan to leave.

Einstein and Data Cloud

If you’re a Salesforce Admin looking to enable Data Cloud, Shoby recommends working through the Well-Architected framework to make sure that your org is healthy. After all, these tools are only as good as the data you give them.

If you’ve done all that, there’s a lot to get exited about. Data Cloud brings everything into Salesforce as standard objects, which means you can build all sorts of interesting things with flows and everything else you’re already using. And with Einstein Copilot and other AI tools, the possibilities are endless.

There’s a lot more great stuff from Shoby in this episode about how Data Cloud works, so be sure to take a listen. And don’t forget to subscribe to hear more from the Salesforce Admins Podcast.

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Full show transcript

Josh Birk:
Greetings, Salesforce admins. It's Josh Birk here, your guest host for this week. This week on a deep dive, we're going to dig into data cloud and then talk about data cloud. I brought one of my good friends and old colleagues, Shoby Abdi.
All right. Today on the show we're going to welcome back Shoby Abdi to talk about data cloud. Shoby, how you doing?

Shoby Abdi:
Not too bad. Just doing well. Connections is right around the corner. Just to timestamp this for everybody.

Josh Birk:
It's a Connections week. It's a DevOps streaming week. Everybody here is in Chicago and I'm still at home talking to you. So that's my social calendar.

Shoby Abdi:
Exactly. That sounds very similar. I am also in Chicago.

Josh Birk:
Nice. Okay. So introduce yourself a little bit. Tell me a little bit about your current role.

Shoby Abdi:
Sure. So my name is Shoby Abdi. I am a principal architecture evangelist on the Salesforce's Architects and Well-Architected team or the other way around. Essentially, if anybody has ever gone to or if you're a Salesforce architect or if you've ever gone to architect.salesforce.com or if you've ever heard of the Well-Architected framework, my role, along with a few others is that we are evangelists. So it's very similar to the work that Josh does or on the admin side or developer advantage to the developer size, except our audience is firmly architects. Architects of all kinds, whether that be our internal ones, customers, partners, architects all over the place.

Josh Birk:
There's a nice overlap between admins and architects. So actually let's give you that this is the Tonight Show portion where you get to do your own plug. Tell me a little bit about the Well-Architected framework.

Shoby Abdi:
Sure, absolutely. So the Well-Architected framework in a very simple manner is prescriptive guidance for solution health. When we put it that way... Now remember, it's a Well-Architected framework. Now, Well-Architected frameworks exist not just with Salesforce, but Amazon, Microsoft, all kinds of other cloud providers have created their own Well-Architected frameworks. What's really important about the Well-Architected framework is that it's not simply for architects, right? While it's Well-Architected, it's not a well-built framework for architects. It's a Well-Architected framework.
So the idea is that regardless of your role, your function, if you're just a customer, if you're an implementer, everybody should be looking at it. And when we talk about solution health, really what it boils down to is a lot of times when anybody is implementing for the first time, or they're implementing in an existing org, or even at as an administrator, you inherit an org. You start a job and you inherit some eight, nine-year-old org with all kinds of technical debt happening and you're like, "Okay, I don't know what's good and what's bad, what to keep and what to deprecate."
What the Well-Architected framework does, and when you look at it from a baseline perspective, is that it was really developed and designed by architects and other individuals in the ecosystem like yourselves, like the folks listening. It was also firmly designed by our individuals within our product and engineering team. And that's important is that the prescriptive guidance within it is really firmly built on top of not just base level knowledge, but it's firm recommendations, firm practices, and we even take the tack of actually dictating specific patterns and anti-patterns.

Josh Birk:
Got it.

Shoby Abdi:
Related to how it goes. And the way that Well-Architected framework is structured is around solutions should be trusted, easy and adaptable. And we firmly believe they should be in that order. One of the first elements of trusted is secure, but then easy, it's about being intentional and then adaptable. One of my favorite, one of the last ones is composable. And obviously as Salesforce, trust is our number one value. So obviously we're going to feel trust should be the first thing you focus on.
So really the framework itself is really a... The simplest way I can put it is that if you want to build a healthy solution, if you want to maintain a healthy solution, you can utilize a prescriptive guidance within the framework and you can find it at architect.salesforce.com. It's available today. It's not hidden anywhere. You can find it today and utilize it as you need it.

Josh Birk:
Love it. So if you're an admin and you open up your org and it scares you, this is a good trail guide to get out of it.

Shoby Abdi:
It's not even if you're an admin, it often scares you, it's more of like if you're a customer or if a business user open up the org and it scares them.

Josh Birk:
Right.

Shoby Abdi:
It's like, "I'd love to use Salesforce, but I really can't use it because of the following SB issue. My report-"

Josh Birk:
Because of all the anxiety it gives me, whatever.

Shoby Abdi:
"I really want to use this report. I don't know where it is, but I really want to use this report, Meredith, but it takes five minutes to run. I can't use it." Okay, well, it may be full of anti-patterns. So that's where utilizing some of the guidance within our performance, topics, around throughput and latency could come in handy to really understand, are these reports I need to modify? Do I need to do skinny tables? Do I need to optimize any queries if it's custom? That's what that guidance really is.
It's not simply an admin even or an architect or developer or anybody looking at it themselves. It could also be based on actual customer and end user feedback of what they're seeing and what they're telling you that needs to be fixed.

Josh Birk:
Because that's the commonality between these three roles is that the users are always in the middle.

Shoby Abdi:
And Salesforce.

Josh Birk:
And Salesforce, yeah.

Shoby Abdi:
There you go.

Josh Birk:
Okay. So we're talking data cloud today, and let's take the very, very high level. If you have to introduce data cloud as a product to somebody, how do you describe it?

Shoby Abdi:
The way that I describe data cloud is that when it's so much like you hear a lot of different capabilities around it. You'll hear data lake, data warehouse. Really what data cloud is, is it provides the ability for any organization, regardless of the amount of data sources that your organization has to make those data sources and all of that data, that disparate data that can be everywhere doing many things. It makes it useful in the context of your customer.
If you're a B2C organization that has end customers out there in the world buying things, then it could be useful as far as a unified profile for that person goes. As you're a B2B organization where you're more business oriented and account oriented, it could be useful for you as well. I was actually describing this to someone yesterday where when you look at data cloud and its capabilities, and a lot of people will always think of different data sources, data lakes, data warehouses where it's different and important is that data cloud is not simply a place where you park your data, hope it works, and hope you can find it. It's not a parking lot for your data. Right?

Josh Birk:
Right.

Shoby Abdi:
What it is when you bring it into data cloud, you can automate it. You can get a view of your customer. Right?

Josh Birk:
Yeah.

Shoby Abdi:
When we talk about that single view of the customer. And really what drives that view is the customer's interactions and activity. Whether you're a consumer based organization or a business to business based organization, your customer is going to interact with you in some way that involves data. They're going to be creating data, whether they're clicking on websites, they're paying invoices, they're paying credit cards, they're creating cases, they're telling you that they want to buy 500,000 of these and you're closing a deal and they're paying off an invoice and agreeing to an order over email.
All of these actions, all of these functions, all this data as it comes into data cloud starts to tell you what are the behaviors? What is your customer doing? What is your customer doing today? Where is your customer? And then how do you interact with them next? So that's the power of data cloud is, it's not simply a, "Okay, I've got all my data in. That's great." No, that's literally step zero.
That's what we tell everybody. Get your data into data cloud. Just get it in. Because once you get it in, then it's the power of automation, analytics, unification, segmenting, activations. That's where it starts to matter. So that's really when we talk about the data cloud, that's what we look at.

Josh Birk:
Yeah. I love the parking lot analogy because first of all, it's so easy to think of it like that. I've got my data in Salesforce, but then blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. There's something over here. I'll use data cloud to connect it. But to kind of extend that analogy, it's not just a parking lot. It's a parking lot with a valet and a security officer and a scheduling system. It's got all the moving parts you need in order to efficiently move cars in and out of that parking lot.

Shoby Abdi:
Yeah, absolutely. It's not just lot covered. So really what it is, it's similar to everything that Salesforce does. Like I said before, trust is our number one value. Similar to the Well-Architected framework as well, it's built with trust in mind. It's built with security in mind. So because we have that trust first. Now, when it comes to data cloud, you can be secure that when your data comes in, we handle that. We can take care of that part. Then what starts to matter is what you do with it like automation.

Josh Birk:
Yeah. What are some specific use cases that you see? What's an example of somebody who just clicked and they're like, "Oh, this is actually the problem that I need data cloud to be the solution"?

Shoby Abdi:
So a lot of it really comes in terms of, okay, data cloud obviously started from its CDP days and it's evolved significantly. A lot of use cases that we'll see are simply around, "Okay, I need to understand how do I interact with my end customer next?" So principally you'll see some of that around unified profile. If you've ever seen a demo of data cloud, you'll see first use case of, "Okay, who is this human being? What websites are they going to? And then finally, what is it that we need to really work them with?"
And then people often ask like, "Okay, I've got that element of data cloud and I've got all this data in. I see this person, but who's going to help me next?" That's where our friend Einstein comes in handy, right? Because you can create an email within Einstein utilizing different prompts, different capabilities, but once you include data cloud data into that prompt, now all of a sudden you've enriched it significantly. Where now because CRM data, while powerful is often limited.
It's limited based on what your business does and how your business updates still that CRM data, whether it's case data or opportunity data. But data cloud data is your customer's data. Right?

Josh Birk:
Mm-hmm.

Shoby Abdi:
They're the ones who are constantly making it happen. So now all of a sudden if your email or if the campaign is a part of, is a reflection of actual real life activity they're doing and they didn't need to tell you, "Put me here next," that makes a big difference in that process. So that's fundamentally a use case that we see. It's like while it's very general, it could apply to marketing, it could apply to sales, in the end, the reason I articulate this specific use case is that it starts to really combine the power of the data cloud with the power of what you probably already have if you're looking at data cloud, which is your Salesforce CRM.

Josh Birk:
Yeah. Well, and I like... Every now and then in tech, we get the handiness of a phrase that just makes sense. Unified profile, I feel like honestly gives you the solution, but also defines the problem in the first place, right?

Shoby Abdi:
Yeah, absolutely.

Josh Birk:
If I'm trying to communicate with you, Shoby Abdi, but you as a digital identity is actually strewn about 15 different data sources, then when I go to Salesforce, I have to cobble that together before I have an accurate representation of you.

Shoby Abdi:
No, absolutely. A lot of the challenge is, someone even asked me this... Yesterday was apparently a busy day, but someone asked me this yesterday as well, was just around, "Well, can you use data cloud for de-duping?"

Josh Birk:
Right.

Shoby Abdi:
And then I said, "One of the things you have to think about is de-duping is a you problem. It's not a customer problem. The customer's problem is you don't know who they are. So if you've got eight different versions of that human being's name and you don't know which one is the which one that actually has bought anything, or maybe they've changed their name, they've changed their address, they've changed their phone number, but then all of a sudden when you bring in the data cloud, you bring in all those unified data sources and one of those John Smiths is clicking on a lot of your websites, ordering a lot of your product.
And the John Smith you thought that was in your CRM was the one that was actually doing it, is not that one. Then you really don't have to de-dupe anything. Then you know which one is the actual human being, John Smith, like the ones you should actually start having that enriched discussion with, that enriched engagement with, whether it's through sales, service, marketing support, however. That's where you can start.

Josh Birk:
So data cloud's not there to try to fix your bad data management, but it can help focus the lens, so to speak, so that you're looking at the right part of the data.

Shoby Abdi:
No, absolutely. Right? Because by bringing all those data sources in, now all of a sudden your customer is almost in the data driver's seat because as they interact with your online properties, as they interact with your organizational properties and data created, now all of a sudden their activities start to reflect within those profiles and you start to see and understand what it is they do.

Josh Birk:
To extend to that, how would you compare, because you and I are old school technologists and we grew up in the days where what we are talking about now would mostly be in the realm of extract, transform, and load, right? Like an ETL process. How does data cloud compare or how is it similar or different from those old school solutions?

Shoby Abdi:
Yeah. And I think that comes up quite a bit of like, "Well, how do I do ETL with data cloud? Do I go with this ETL tool or do I go with data cloud? Do I do this or do I do that?" And invariably the power... One of the things that often comes up is it becomes a... When you look at what data lakes we're looking to solve and data warehouses were looking to solve was like, "Okay, we've got all of our data all over the place. We need and to be one specific place."
And then it's like, "Okay, we've put it now in one specific place." And it's like, "All right, now what? Now, are we all of a sudden... Once again, it's the parking lot." Are we all of a sudden like, "Okay. Well, this person's claiming they need to leave the building at 9:00 PM. This person is leaving at 10:00. So why don't we park their car up here and then with there and then go over there." Right?

Josh Birk:
Right.

Shoby Abdi:
So now all of a sudden as a customer because of something I really didn't do, I may have gotten there really early. But because I got there early, I'm getting penalized for leaving early because a lot of people came after me. So the way that I compare it with ETL, it goes back to the ability to create that unified profile, activate on that unified profile, create some [inaudible 00:15:45] unified profile, is that you start to worry less about how to get clean amazing data.
I don't even compare it to MDM. I'm sorry ETL, but it's MDM. How do you do data cloud with MDM? And it's like, well, once again, who is it for? Is it for your internal organization to have its perfect golden record situation when in fact the golden record should be the customer? It should be that customer. It should be the individual account record or that individual record inside of Salesforce. And then what's really driving it being meaningful golden are the interactions and activities that are happening.
And that's where that power of data cloud comes in with you bring in from data sources through batch elements or through streaming elements, whether you bring it through our Insights API or any other API or an SDK. As you bring that data in, now all of a sudden you're simply enriching that profile more and more and you're able to automate on that more and more as it goes along.
So that's why it's hard for me to compare it to base level ETL or anything because the power of it is that just bring the data in. Bring the data in. Where with ETL it's all about, "Well, before you bring the data in, let's talk about at least 50 things." Where now it's like, "No, just bring the data in. And then utilizing the power of the data cloud itself, the power of automation built within our platform like Flows, and Apex, and Orchestration, others, you can do a lot more with it. But the first step, I'm going to go back to what the first episode will be on, it's just got to bring it in.

Josh Birk:
You just got to bring it in. Right. Well, and let's use that as a launching point because you just said automation a lot and you said Flow. So an admin who knows Flow, what are some things that they can use Flow to interact with data cloud?

Shoby Abdi:
Yeah, absolutely. And what's interesting is a couple of weeks ago we actually put out a blog. So if anybody's ever read our blog, medium.com/salesforcearchitects actually blog post about this very thing. It's essentially, if you want to look, it's called Making Data Cloud Work With Your Existing Salesforce CRM data. And while I'm not good at titles, the end goal of it was really to talk about when we talk about data cloud and Salesforce and our entire platform, our Einstein 1 platform, it's really all about... One of the things that you'll see is that shared metadata framework.
And that's one thing if anybody takes anything away from whatever it is I'm saying, it's really that all of this is a shared metadata framework. What that shared metadata framework means is that now as we just keep saying, "You bring that data in, bring that data in." It's not simply, "Okay, now that I've brought that data in, I don't know what to do with it. Can I actually access it? Can I use the tools that I have in place in platform to actually do anything with it?"
Or it's like a marketing cloud thing. I need to learn marketing cloud automation. So one of the drivers behind creating that blog post was to say, "No. Data cloud was built with the power of the platform in mind." It's the marrying of data cloud capabilities with Salesforce CRM. So when data cloud comes in, it comes in as different kinds of objects. It's objects. So it starts usually from data streams as DSOs. And DSOs is essentially that data from all these different third-party sources. And this is where data starts to reflect within your data cloud environment, whether it's zero copy or it's registered.
It's essentially there. It's available to you to actually start to proceed with. That's when you start to create essentially data lake objects as well as DLOs. And those DLOs is when you start to look at, "All right, what are those specific data use cases I want?" It could be sales-related, it could be service-related, it could be marketing-related, it could be telemetry-related, it could be anything. But then beyond those DLOs, once again, we're still talking about objects. That's when we're going to create other kinds of objects.
So the first kind of object is usually what's called a DMO. Now, if you're an administrator or developer architect, when you're working with data cloud, you're probably going to be working with DMOs quite a bit because DMOs are more often than not, where a lot of the automation is happening. So a DMO is essentially to harmonized group in those DLO. So you could have those data lake objects. Let's just say, one of the things about I always miss is those fun old school MarTech diagrams where they're like, "Oh, let's show all the hundreds of billions of kinds of applications that exist out there for marketing."

Josh Birk:
Right.

Shoby Abdi:
It's true. Right? You may have 55 Google Sheets and ADRPs and etc, etc. As you start to go down the source object, DSO, data lake object, DLO, DMO object in a DMO process, you start to essentially build out, parse out what the object model needs to look like, what that harmonized elements of data needs to look like for your specific use case. And I'll go over a Sales Cloud, use case that'll be relevant.
So for DMO, and then you'll have another kind of object, which is actually a calculated insight object, calculated insights, which is a CIO, now that you can create basically based on essentially an insight based on a query, based on specific analytics like certain... Old school calculated insight or [inaudible 00:21:33] review. There's a lot of different ways you can call it, but it is essentially based on a calculation that occurs where someone hits this website these many times, or they've made these many orders or that kind of thing.

Josh Birk:
Gotcha.

Shoby Abdi:
But those are the kinds of objects. So now all of a sudden, okay. You've got all these kinds of objects within data cloud, these data cloud objects. What happens then? So that is where the power of our fliend, friend. Not fliend, but friend.

Josh Birk:
Fliend.

Shoby Abdi:
Friend Flow comes in. So when we look at flow, it's really the one thing we need to realize about data cloud is that a data cloud instance can exist in one environment. It could exist as a single data cloud instance across multiple environments.

Josh Birk:
Gotcha.

Shoby Abdi:
So if you're an administrator who's like, "Well, it's not as easy for me Josh, because I've got 55 environments in this one data cloud instance, catering to all of them." You could still use Flow. The way that it changes the way that you design it slightly differs. And this is obviously evolving, but for now, this is the way it is at the time of this recording where if your data cloud and your Salesforce CRM are in a single environment, the same environment, that's where you're going to create a data cloud triggered flow. And the data cloud triggered flow, if anybody has an activated data cloud org, or if you've gotten a data cloud environment from Trailhead, you'll see the ability to create a data cloud triggered flow, and that's launched when a DMO or CIO have a change of data. So now all of a sudden it's like, "Okay. How do I then associate that triggered flow with my Salesforce data?" Well, you do it the way you do it.

Josh Birk:
You would do it normally.

Shoby Abdi:
You create a record or you essentially update a record or you do something, right? Because now all of a sudden that customer activity within that Flow can then drive whatever updates you want within that CRM object.

Josh Birk:
Gotcha.

Shoby Abdi:
So that's one of the first ways you can correlate, or you can actually directly link your data cloud, data model data that's being generated to your Salesforce CRM data model data.

Josh Birk:
Got it.

Shoby Abdi:
The second way to use Flow is that if it's in different environments. Now you may say, "Okay, well it's in different environments. Am I in trouble now? Now the answer is no. Once again, data cloud is designed for this in mind. Now, there are many ways to actually utilize a data action and data cloud, and what a data action does is very similar to the trigger flow. It looks for any data changes in the DMO or CIO, right? One of the specific ones, you could do web hooks and other means that work with all of our clouds, but the one that people probably most know is a platform event, because a platform event is basically another kind of object.
And that now all of a sudden you can create a platform event and then that can hit a flow within another org, a platform event, and then all of a sudden it becomes, "Well, now how do I associate that data cloud platform event, data to my CRM data in my other org?" Well, you do it the way that you would do it today, right?

Josh Birk:
Right.

Shoby Abdi:
You essentially do it the way that it would work with the platform event today if it came from data cloud, if it came from grandma's Microsoft Access table, whichever one. So that's where you can operationally use it, where in those situations, whether it's the same or different environment, how you can use Flow if you want to create read, update or delete any and all Salesforce data.

Josh Birk:
Gotcha.

Shoby Abdi:
The other path that you can do is you can also... You have the ability to actually view some data cloud data associated with CRM data, and that's relatively new, what are called data cloud related lists and data cloud copy fields. A related list is essentially the way it sounds where it's just specific DMO like data model object data associated to a lead contact or person account or a field, or a field data that can be updated from data cloud.
So that once again, the lead contact and person account. The only distinction on that one is that it's view only at the moment, and it's really restricted to lead contact person account at the moment. Whereas through our Flow process, any implementer, administrator, anybody can use the existing skills they have from a clicks or a code perspective to make it work Flow.
I keep using Flow. People are like, "Well, what about Apex?" Same rules. Same principle rules. You can create a trigger on platform events. You can create a trigger off of... And utilize the triggered Flow and data cloud in the same environment to kick off Apex. You have a lot of those options as well. So in the blog, I have an example of like, "All right, I talked about it in very ethereal terms." How do I talk about that in terms of an actual use case, like a useful one?
So the way that it's described is that essentially we have data like a Sales Cloud one because Sales Cloud is our number one biggest cloud, and we have Sales Cloud data coming in from order management systems and ERPs. And it used to be, "Well, if I'm bringing in from order management and ERPs, that's all ETL talk. Do I need to do that?" No, no, no, no. You can absolutely bring that data in into Salesforce using data cloud. And once it's in data cloud, you can create those data lake objects, you can create those DMO objects and even calculated insights.
The example that I gave was if you have all these order management systems and all these ERPs, you can create DMO records that combine all of the order data across all these different sources into a single object model.

Josh Birk:
Gotcha.

Shoby Abdi:
You can combine all of them if they're, let's say, direct. In fact you're selling through like grandmas... I'm really harping on grandma today. Grandma's like a local convenience store. You can get their data as well. And then you could also create this calculated insight record and you could say you want to group all the order data by an individual across all of them, whether they went into grandma store or they went on your online e-commerce website. E-commerce, That's a good way to put it. You're online. E-commerce, I'm going to really age myself.
Then regardless of which direction you go, you can get that data from all those disparate data sources, Salesforce, and that can create an order record and associated to a lead and opportunity or quote that can update data within your CRM. It could do all of those things. You can actually show those copy field data, those related list data associated to that lead contact or person account because it's probably you making that order regardless of where you go.
So now all of a sudden, that order, whether you went to the store, whether you did it online, showing up under you. It's coming in from data cloud. So that's a very base level one example that's described in more visual diagram detail inside of the blog post. But the reason that we went with the route of a Sales Cloud, one, is that right now, obviously data cloud is activated in everybody's environment. You could turn it on today.

Josh Birk:
Gotcha.

Shoby Abdi:
The first thing that people turn on, they've got Sales Cloud. It's like, "Oh, let's see what this looks like with my Sales Cloud. Can I use it with Sales Cloud?" The answer is yes.

Josh Birk:
The answer is yes.

Shoby Abdi:
Absolutely you can and you should. So that's really the goal of that.

Josh Birk:
Nice. Now, if somebody is listening to this and they're like, "Oh, this might be me. I use Sales Cloud. I have other clouds, I have other data sources, et cetera," are there considerations? I mean, other than the obvious stuff, don't go blow up your production just because you listened to Shoby and Josh on a podcast. But are there considerations an admin should take before flipping that switch and turning on data cloud?

Shoby Abdi:
Yeah, absolutely. A lot of those considerations are obviously looking at the state of your existing environment. If all of a sudden you're going to open up all the sources of data, the source of very powerful automation, I think people should absolutely not underestimate how powerful is because in many respects is that it's going to be meaningful. It's going to be meaningful is because when we talk about bringing those data sources in, it's your data. It's your organization's data. But the end, you want to look at your org and essentially understand, okay, is it in the best place it can be to do that? Right?

Josh Birk:
Yeah.

Shoby Abdi:
And bar another word because I'm setting myself here, up here, am I healthy?

Josh Birk:
Exactly.

Shoby Abdi:
Is the organization healthy? So now all of a sudden it's like, "All right, well if I got to get healthy, where do I find that?" You could look at the prescriptive guidance that exists within the well architected framework, because while you'll find a lot of items there that maybe specific data cloud, one of the things over the next few months, our product managers associated with the framework and with data cloud, they're adding more as it goes along.
But one of the things to keep in mind is that if you're going to bring that data into Salesforce, CRM, anyway, the guidance within what Well-Architected framework is all about that.

Josh Birk:
Gotcha.

Shoby Abdi:
So I wouldn't even say it's more of a, well, before you blow up your org... Remember, data clouds are really designed for such a significant amount of data. You may be listening to everything right now, I was like, "Well, Shoby, I got way too much data. I got way too much data." I can't handle this. Once again, that data cloud was designed so that problem doesn't exist. Because you may say, "Well, I've got too much data in Salesforce. How do I solve that?" Well, that's where data cloud has these amazing CRM connectors. Sales and service. And you can actually ingest your own data and utilize the analytics and automation capability at scale to make it work where if all of a sudden an account is 20 years old, you don't want to lose out on all the amazingness of the last 19 and a half years.
Only the last six months matter from an automation perspective. It used to be used be, "Well, you just got to archive that data and then hope for the best." Now, you could still right, but in the end, bring it back in data cloud.

Josh Birk:
Get the insights.

Shoby Abdi:
Get the insights, absolutely. Get that historical insight. All of a sudden you're... And if you start to inject Einstein into this, because it's the Einstein 1 platform, you start to inject Einstein into it. That is where all of a sudden you may be using the latest and greatest in technology, but your customers aren't losing out on the historical context that you are providing them. They will gain. They will absolutely gain from what you're providing.

Josh Birk:
And since we get paid every time, we can say AI on the air, it also completes that picture. When we talk things about like grounding prompts and putting your data into what the model is going to understand, if you haven't fixed that lens problem, if I haven't figured out who Shoby Abdi is or who John Smith is, then AI won't either.

Shoby Abdi:
No, absolutely not.

Josh Birk:
Data collect can help you point in that direction for the AI.

Shoby Abdi:
And really that's where all of a sudden, even when we talk about principally AI, we talk about that human at the helm.

Josh Birk:
Right.

Shoby Abdi:
Right? For a long time we obviously called it human at the loop, but now we're talking human at the helm. And really the whole end goal of the human at the helm is that you in many respects need to co-pilot this. It's almost like we have this product called like Copilot.

Josh Birk:
It's like, "We've thought about that name first."

Shoby Abdi:
It's like, "Oh my God." And really the end goal of being a co-pilot... And the way that I'd like to think about it principally, especially with co-pilot and how it relates to data cloud, is that when you're a co-pilot and you're flying a plane, some large 747, what you're not having to do is go outside on the plane and the flaps, raise them up, go down to the fuselage, put the wheels down, and then when the plane is in the air, "Boy, now I got to get it for cruising. So now you got to go back outside when you're 10,000 feet in the air.

Josh Birk:
In the air, yeah.

Shoby Abdi:
But the flap is back down. Raise the wheels up. Our aviation technology has evolved beyond that. So when you look at the power of Einstein, look at data cloud, really what it is, is that you truly become the co-pilot where all of this automation, everything is there to help you as the human being to just do your job. But what it's not doing right is it's not adding more complexity to it, right? Aviation technology has gotten to that point where it's like... There's been jokes of like, "Well, if I fall asleep, who's going to flip the switch to land? When we have to land." It's like, "Okay." It's almost to that stage.
It's like, once again, but would you ever fly a plane? Would you ever fly in a plane that didn't have a pilot? I don't think anybody is ready for that yet, right? So having a human at the helm providing all of this, so increasing the ability for that just makes things more trustworthy. It makes things a lot safer for you and your customer. So that's why I like to... Once again, I don't think it's an AI, but now I just did. But in the end, when I think about AI in terms of all this, it's really, it relates to me. The data cloud story is a huge part of it, right? The Salesforce CRM story is a huge part of it. You can't talk AI. You can't talk Einstein without data cloud and without CRM.

Josh Birk:
Yep. All righty. Well, thank you very much, sir. We will give references and resources in the show notes, including to the Architect site and Shoby's blog post on this topic. Shoby, thanks for being on the show.

Shoby Abdi:
Thank you.

Josh Birk:
I want to thank Shoby for the great conversation and information. As always, I want to thank you for listening. Now if you want to learn more about this show, head on over to admin.salesforce.com where you can hear old episodes, see the show notes, and also read other resources on the topic. Once again, everybody thank you for listening and I'll talk to you soon.

 



Direct download: Why_Should_You_Integrate_Data_Cloud_with_Your_Salesforce_CRM_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am PDT

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Brandon Walton, President, Owner, and Principal Consultant at Cypress Learning Solutions.

Join us as we chat about discovery, building trust, and why building with core Salesforce features is the best option for small organizations.

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

Creating a puppy pipeline in Salesforce

Brandon started his career as a car salesman and support tech in the Redmond, Washington area when a fateful call with a tech executive who liked how he explained things led to a job offer. That company used Pardot and, when it was acquired by Salesforce, he had the opportunity to become the implementation partner. The rest is history.

Today, Brandon’s a Salesforce Consultant for small businesses. One of his clients is Family Bred Puppies, which works to maximize the quality of life for dogs by matching families with small breeders. I wanted to bring him on the pod to share how he created a Salesforce implementation for them that’s scalable and easy to maintain. After all, who doesn’t love talking about puppies?

Creating a low-maintenance, scalable Salesforce implementation

As Brandon explains, when you’re working with a small team they want Salesforce to help them do what they do best. They often don’t have the resources to hire a full-time admin or developer. However, as he was doing discovery, Brandon realized that there was a way to map their already-existing business process onto basic Salesforce architecture.

Family Bred Puppies needs to go through an application and interview process to qualify families looking to adopt, which are handled with the standard Salesforce lead and lead status objects. If they’ve found a suitable candidate, they can upgrade that lead to a contact and use the stages of an opportunity to track the adoption process. There is, however, a custom puppy object for puppy-specific information like vaccinations and genealogy.

Because almost everything is built with standard Salesforce objects, the implementation is extremely low maintenance. It’s also easy to upgrade and expand. In fact, Brandon just came from a meeting to talk about adding case management and Marketing Cloud, and AI features like Einstein Next Best Action just work because it’s all standard.

How to build trust with clients

While all of this is good in theory, I really wanted to know how Brandon was so successful at getting his client to follow his advice. That’s the real challenge, isn’t it? You can explain all day why an opportunity would work better than building a custom adoption object, but how do you get them to believe you?

For Brandon, it comes down to building trust. “When someone believes that you’re listening to them and have their best interests as your top priority, that’s the foundation of trust,” he says. Keep asking questions instead of jumping to a solution right away, and get them involved in the process of creating a Salesforce implementation that works for them.

There’s a lot more great stuff from Brandon in this episode about scalability, user training, and puppies, so be sure to listen to the full episode. And don’t forget to subscribe to hear more from the Salesforce Admins Podcast.

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Full show transcript

Mike Gerholdt:
I got a plan. How about this week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk about the Puppy 360 instead of the customer 360. That's right. So this week we're doing a follow-up. You might've seen Brandon Walton on How I Solved This with Jennifer Lee. If not, I'll include that link in the show notes. But Brandon helped a small family business that helps place puppies with the right people to use Salesforce. And so I'm having him on the podcast to talk about discovery, and building trust, and really building applications with native Salesforce features that require some, let's call it minimal maintenance, because I think there's parts of organizations that you build high maintenance or applications for because their business is constantly changing and ones that will require minimal maintenance. We also talk about the art of building trust, which is fascinating, but also puppies. So I'll warn you, there's a few puppy talks in there.
But before we get into the episode, I want to be sure that you're following the Salesforce Admins Podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcast. It's super easy. Just click on the follow or subscribe button inside the app. And the reason I tell you to do that is then the app will automatically download new episodes. So you can wake up, say it's Thursday morning, because that's when new episodes drop, and you're like, "I'm going to go for a walk this morning. It's a beautiful May day, and I want to immediately listen to this fantastic episode about puppies." The Apple have taken care of it for you while you were sleeping, so all you got to do is subscribe and do that right on your phone. But with that, let's get into the conversation with Brandon.
So Brandon, welcome to the podcast.

Brandon Walton:
Thanks, Mike. Thanks for having me.

Mike Gerholdt:
You bet. Well, I'm excited after watching Jennifer's How I solved It on her YouTube channel, see all the amazing things you do. Plus, when she recorded the episode, there was puppies all over our Slack feed. So I'm a dog lover. Got to have people on the podcast that help people out with dogs.
But let's get started with you Brandon. How did you get started in the Salesforce ecosystem and what do you do?

Brandon Walton:
Yeah, Mike, thanks. And before I get started, love puppies too. I love working with the Family Bred Puppies team. They're just a great group of folks, and puppies barking, yapping. Just add a little of excitement that you don't get to enjoy all the time.
So rewind a long, long time ago, my first jobs out of college were sales jobs. And I was the young just out of college guy who became that impromptu help fix someone's computer here, help fix a printer there. This is back in the mid 2000s when we were still sending faxes back and forth. So I became-

Mike Gerholdt:
VGA ports. Don't forget those. Never forget.

Brandon Walton:
Yes, you get it. You've been there.

Mike Gerholdt:
Oh, yeah.

Brandon Walton:
So I worked at a car dealership actually, I was selling cars in Bellevue, Washington. And a big demographic that we serviced were Microsoft folks. So I was the dealership sales/tech support specialist guy, if you will, just by function, not by job title. And I was working with an executive and he said, "Brandon, I like the way you talk and explain things. [inaudible 00:03:49]. Do you want to sell cars the rest of your life? And do you want to come work for me, work with me?". And I didn't look back.
And so from there I did technical sales, business analysts work, a lot of it related to Microsoft, that being from Bellevue Redmond at the time, that was the big employer there. And the team I was on started using a tool called Pardot for communications, an email automation platform. Pardot eventually became acquired by Salesforce, and there was this opportunity to be an implementation partner. So I jumped at that opportunity, started working in the Salesforce ecosystem, and I've been a consultant in the ecosystem since 2014 now. So gosh, that's 10 years in doing Salesforce work specifically.
2018, started my own Salesforce partner consulting firm, and get to work with small teams like Family Bred Puppies every day. And I love the challenges. I love solving things for different businesses. It's kind of like you get to solve a new puzzle all the time.

Mike Gerholdt:
Yeah. Well, you lasted in consulting 10x more than I did, so congrats. You mentioned Family Bred Puppies quite a bit. Let's talk about them and a little bit of the solution that you built.

Brandon Walton:
Sure. So Family Bred Puppies is a client of mine. They work with small family-owned breeders. So their whole thing is they believe in quality of life for puppies, for dogs, especially the ones that they work with. And also making sure that families are getting a good experience through the adoption process. So when they came to Salesforce, looking at exploring Salesforce to facilitate not only relationships with the different breeders that they work with, but also the families that are adopting these puppies, they were looking for that all-in-one solution of being able to qualify applicants, also work with breeders, but manage the life cycle of a family that's adopting a puppy, and also managing the relationships with the small family breeders that they're working with on a regular basis.
So one of the things that we do as consultants, and where we start out with is, okay, let's understand what this business is looking to do, and let's understand how we can map what the business is looking to do with Salesforce's core platform. Because that's the other thing. Working with small teams like this is, they're not necessarily developers. The Family Bred Puppy team, they love working with dogs. They don't have a computer science background. So what's good about that is they're very open to our suggestions and recommendations. They really needed something that was easy to use, that didn't require a solution that was so advanced that they would need to hire a full-time admin or a full-time developer.
So we start taking a look at all the parts of their business that they need to manage in order for them to deliver on their mission of providing a good adoption experience for families, providing a good relationship with the small family breeders that they're working with, and having something that they can manage very easily. So we started taking a look at just that core Salesforce architecture. You've got your lead, a lead can be converted into an account and a contact, and you're managing opportunities.And then down the road you look at cases and stuff like that.
So they have an application process. You can go to their website, familybredpuppies.com, submit an application. They're asking questions that are important for the application process. So they want to make sure that families that they're working with, they're not looking to start their own puppy mills and things like that. All those things are very important for the team. So we took a look at all of the questions that they needed to have to qualify a family looking to adopt a puppy. We mapped that to a web-to-lead form. Again, keeping it very simple out of the box. We set up that web-to-lead form on their website. And so now when someone goes to Family Bred Puppies and submits an application to adopt, that gets added to their Salesforce account as a lead. And all of those fields are being mapped in so they can see it all inside of Salesforce.
The team uses lead status as they're qualifying the family, so there's an interview process. The first part of that interview, if some of those questions aren't answered correctly, maybe they're looking for a breed of puppy that Family Bred Puppies doesn't have or doesn't work with, or maybe they're looking to adopt a puppy for a reason that the team doesn't want folks adopting puppies for, like they want to be very careful about people wanting to adopt a puppy and then go create a puppy mill from the puppies. They disqualify. So you have this using lead statuses, disqualify, [inaudible 00:09:34], disqualify.
When someone goes through that application process and they are someone that would be a good fit, that's when we convert them from a lead to a contact. A contact gets associated with an account, a household, it's a specific record type that we're using. And then we have the opportunity. And what we did on the opportunity is we mapped the sales stages of the opportunity to the steps of their adoption process. So first step is let's match the family with a puppy. Let's have the family out to meet. Let's make sure that the puppy's gone through all their vaccinations and all these things. And then throughout the process, the final step is the puppy's been taken home.
And so what we did with Family Bred Puppies is let's map your business process as close to the Salesforce process as we possibly can. And what was good about working with the team is sometimes you work with small businesses that say, "ell, this isn't an opportunity. This isn't a product, this is an adoption. So rather than using opportunity, we should create something totally custom and call it adoption." And then you end up recreating a lot of these out of the box features.
And so what was really important for, I think the success of this project was the fact that they were so open to listening to our advice and leveraging that standard Salesforce architecture. So now they have a solution where we were having a discussion earlier today about adding cases so they can actually do case management. And because it's all built off of accounts and contacts in the core architecture, looking to add these things is just easier and easier and easier.
We're early on in the conversations about looking at things like Marketing Cloud so they can send follow-ups a year in, two years in, three years in, when they're working with these families. Or if someone refers a friend, being able to manage all of those kinds of relationships. And because it's built on that core architecture, adding these new features and looking other things that we can do on the platform is just way more attainable because they're designed for scale.

Mike Gerholdt:
Yeah, no, I think you said something key at the beginning there, which is... And I get you're a consultant and people listening to the, oh, why is he talking to a consultant? Well, essentially where admins are consultants are internal, right? We're just paid differently.
But you'll go into an organization, and I've gone into different parts when I've worked in organizations, and this client for you needed an app that didn't need to be highly maintained because it was pretty sturdy. We're not going with a lot of crazy out of the box stuff. And I've had different departments that use Salesforce the same way. And I think it's kind of figuring out what does this department need, and how custom do they want to go, and how much can I support it? Because you were clearly wanting to set them up with something solid that they didn't really need to pay. It is essentially like buying a new car. I just need to be able to put gas in it and manage everything.
You said something at the beginning before we pressed record that I thought was really interesting, because a lot of getting an organization or getting a department to use standard objects, and getting past the, "Well, but we adopt things and we don't sell things," is trust. And I wrote it down, you said, 'There's an art to getting them to trust you," and I think that's for the admin as well. What is that art for you? What does that mean for you?

Brandon Walton:
Yeah, I think trust in my world starts with the client, or the team, or the department, understanding that you're listening and you understand. And I think for so many people, and sometimes by accident, that it's a skill that you learn over time, is to listen and to listen to understand. And I think when someone believes you, that's part of trusting, is believing. When someone believes that you're A, listening to them, and two, have their best interests as your top priority, that's the foundation of trust.
How many times are we in a conversation, a conference maybe where we're meeting someone, or just whatever it is, meeting someone for the first time, and you're talking to them, and you can't get a word in because they're just talking, talking, talking, talking, talking? But when you are engaging with someone who's listening, and listening to understand, and asking questions, like we use the example, "Okay, Mike, you're not really selling, but it's more of this adoption process. But let's talk about this adoption process and what goes into that?". Just by asking questions rather than jumping to what that conclusion might be, it helps, not only it helps me really understand what you're looking to do, but my goal is that you understand that I'm here to try to understand as well.
And then you can dig dig dig dig into a topic, and then at the tail end of that session, it might be a couple of days or a couple of hours depending on the complexity of the project, the goal for trust is to come out with we understand each other. And if we're talking from a place of understanding, then I can make a suggestion to you and you trust that my suggestion comes from a place of, "All right, Brandon understands what I'm looking to do, and now we can have a conversation."
But when you rush that, it's kind of like if we were just going out for dinner, if we were going out on a date for the first time and I asked you to marry me after an hour, "Well, hold on, hold on. I don't know if we're ready for that." So I think trust comes from listening and from a place of mutually understanding each other, and then believing that the person who you're talking to really has your best interest in mind and can get you there because that person understands what you're looking to do.

Mike Gerholdt:
Yeah, I do feel like there's a TV show of One Hour Date And Marriage.
But one thing you mentioned that I think is huge is you started with all of the core functionality web to lead. You mentioned lead object, you mentioned opportunity. And then you also, well, they're looking to expand. It's so easy to sit down and say, "Well, I was just at World Tour," or, "I was just at this fancy user group and I'm all juiced up. I'm going to build a custom object. And I can create an adoption object. And maybe I call it adoption process object."
For you, what was the benefit for them being able to expand, having used that core just opportunity object, just the core lead object?

Brandon Walton:
Well, in my world, I work with a lot of, whether it's an app exchange package that a customer wants to install down the road, or even just expanding with more Salesforce products, I've seen it happen so many times where, "Oh, you know what? We're ready to try CPQ," or, "We're ready to try Account Engagement or a Marketing Cloud."
And you go in there and you realize, "Okay, well you can't use that right now because instead of using a lead or a contact, we've got something totally custom that's been rebuilt." So there's two things that come from that is one, just having gone through the pain of, "Oh yeah, you want to add on this DocuSign thing here," or something like that, and not being able to do it because you have to map all the custom stuff back into standard objects anyways.
But also getting so familiar with all of those pre-built dependencies, and I think that's one of the mistakes that is easy to make early on, whether you are an admin that's just getting started, or a small business that's just purchased Salesforce and you're going to be your own admin, in my shoes, is understanding over time all of the relationships, like with opportunities, you get so much great stuff out of the box. You've got your opportunity line items, products and price books, and quotes, and just knowing all of these things and all of these relationships that exist out of the box without having to reconstruct them is a huge benefit.
And I remember early days of being an admin, you don't necessarily know all of those things, and that's where you make those mistakes. "Oh, we need one other thing, so let's build it all custom." But I think a big part of it for me in my journey is getting to the point where you just understand all of the connections that are made available for you when you use that standard architecture, and you understand how an account relates to an opportunity, and all the great stuff you can do with that, and how a contact and account are related, and how all of the other, there's all this great new AI stuff that's coming out that supports some of the custom stuff that's out there, but when you're using the standard architecture, it understands what you're looking to do already. And that's so important. And sometimes you learn it the hard way, but we do our best to explain those things, and teach others and newer users about the benefit.

Mike Gerholdt:
Yeah, no, absolutely. In fact, well, and so I'll use it as a jumping off point, thanks for setting me up, to teach the other users. Trust is also when you roll it out. I mean the trust factor, they get you in the door and you're listening to them, and I'm going to build a puppy pipeline report, which has to sound fun. The amount of paw prints and puppy knows things that must exist in this app. I can only envision your Google search results right now are up there.
But the second part is also rolling it out. I mean, I've sat in weeks and weeks of discovery, and apps, and building, and then user testing. And then you go to roll it out. And this is a small company that has to sit and say, "Okay, so then how are we going to support this?". How did you build trust when you also rolled it out?

Brandon Walton:
Yeah, so we meet regularly. In fact, we met earlier today and had a working session together. So we do these working sessions where we talk about what the business objectives are, "Okay, what do we need to do? How are we going to make this experience better for," maybe it's a family breeder that they're working with or an applicant that they might be working with, because now we have all this great data in Salesforce, we can take a look at these kinds of things.
And I'll tell you what is the most exciting thing for me, is when we are talking about making an update to part one in the puppy pipeline, which is a puppy application. And Sydney, who started out on this thing, never using Salesforce before is like, "Oh, that sounds like a checkbox. I understand how check boxes work on a lead. And yeah, I can map that over to it." So for me, that's always the yes, the slam dunk home run moment, if you will, when we're talking about these concepts that when we first got started, it was still intimidating for them, but under understanding, "Oh yeah, that's going to be a pick list. And not only that, once we make the pick list here on the lead, let me go and add this to the lead mapping, so it's going to just move over to the contact when I hit that convert button."
And so the first question, how we get there is just regular working sessions. Let's go through, let's talk about the business objectives here. Let's talk about what's been created and how it's all going to work. That's probably the most instrumental piece. So it's not Brandon going and locking myself in a room for three weeks, and now there's all these new fields and buttons, and let's teach you how it's done. It really has been collaborative the whole way through. And the discussion really is led by the business. So it's not necessarily Salesforce feature driven. We don't go in here with an objective of, "Oh, you know what? There's a lot of great new AI stuff, so let's just add all this AI stuff, whether we know what we're going to do with it or not." It has to be driven by the business first. And when the business users are able to say, "Yes, this makes sense, because when I check this box, I understand what that means versus when I'm checking this pick list or this, dare I say it, multi-select pick list, which some"-

Mike Gerholdt:
Oh, I was just going to ask. They clearly aren't to reporting yet, or they'd understand the fallacy of multi-select pick lists.

Brandon Walton:
Well, going back, that's one of the things that I am able to bring to the table, and why they want to avoid it.
But the fun part in it for me is when those users are in the platform and they understand what the platform is doing, so more than just, "Oh, I have to go in and enter my data." I'm here to work with puppies, not enter data. But when Sydney and Peter understand why they're adding that, and it's not a burden for them, but they see the benefit because I think it really starts with them being involved in that process, so they feel like they were heard, they feel like their input was heard.
And with larger organizations that might not be an entire puppy management portal or puppy pipeline, or some of the fun things that we're doing. Some larger organizations, it's a lot more work just to get small changes made. Just like with trust, when people feel heard, and people feel like they're part of something, and part of the creation of something, there's that bit of ownership. I found that those are the folks that are going to adopt it a lot more. "If my say was included when we were coming up with the sales process, because yes, it's important. On this step we need to make sure that we understand how they're going to pick up their puppy. And Brandon knows that I contributed to step five. Well, now Brandon's pumped up and excited because I was part of this thing, and so now I'm more excited to adopt the technology," versus something that was set up and it's a burden. It's maybe an extra step. I think that's a big differentiator I see in working with, especially small teams.

Mike Gerholdt:
Yeah, I've always said when I'm doing training, is this is how you do your job, not another thing to do your job. And it sounds like a small word change, but it's part of the job to get it complete. Ensuring in this case that the puppy has a great home, putting good data in and keeping track of that is part of that journey. It's not another thing to do. And when people look at data input, or data collection, or data reporting as another thing to do, then it feels superfluous to their mission and they get off track. So yeah, I can completely understand that.
You've seen a lot, not only with this company, but in general. You brought up the AI thing, so I'll kind of wrap on that. If you were to start brainstorming, we're obviously not going to ask Einstein to draw us a puppy. I think I spend my countless hours making poor ChatGPT draw different versions of dogs. But how would you see, based on what you've built, that AI layer starting to come into what this organization uses Salesforce for?

Brandon Walton:
Yeah. And we've already started having those conversations as well, starting out with some of those Einstein features that have been around for a while. We're looking at things like Einstein recommended next actions, things like that.
And what's great about those is it's data driven. So going back to users adopting the importance of entering information, understanding how family breeder A, how Mike's pups is working compared to Brandon's pups, and being able to understand, okay, when I am entering the data on vaccines, and health of these puppies, and all of these other details, that's going to allow us to leverage this platform to assist our team in making better decisions, then data entry isn't a burden, it's a necessity. And we're very, very clear on the benefit.
If we know that puppies from this family breeder are getting a certain type of worm, we know that we can work with that breeder. And that's the beauty of what Family Bred Puppies do, because they're working family to family, it's not a situation where their breeders aren't working with them. So they've got these great relationships already. And using the technology to improve the relationships and be better partners to their breeders, match families, whether that's getting through the adoption process quicker, what have you. It's, how can we drive business outcomes through this platform? Not, well, we have to put it in there because my boss says we're using this tool and we have to put it in there.

Mike Gerholdt:
The number of times I've heard that.
I'll end on a fun question. Oftentimes when you sit down, even in organizations that I've worked for, but as a consultant, you get to learn the business and fun facts. Was there something fun or interesting that you learned about puppies during all of this that you didn't know heading in?

Brandon Walton:
Oh, there's so much. What's one thing I can summarize? I think, well, this might tell a little bit more about the kinds of things that I find fun and interesting. But you assume it, or I assume it, you assume that there's a lot of production that goes into raising breeding puppies. But the amount of planning that goes in... So where we did do some custom objects is we have a custom puppies object with litters. And so we are able to track the genealogy of the puppies through some custom objects. It was more than what opportunity products could do. We'll say that. So we started, can we do it from the... But-

Mike Gerholdt:
I don't think opportunity products were ever envisioned to be used that way.

Brandon Walton:
Yeah. So that was one place where we did go a bit custom, but it's just a couple of objects that have relationships to each other.
And again, I didn't come in there as the puppy breeding expert, but being able to understand what those timelines are, what's happening at one week, what's happening at two weeks. And I think all the orchestration that goes into that is what was just really fascinating. And it's more than just shots, but it's, are the puppies, how much time are they spending with their mom? And then when you move them from indoor to outdoor facility, all these details that go in.
And what's been really cool is, of course, we track those details on the platform. And so now it exists as part of the PMP, the Puppy Management Portal. But I think that was one of the takeaways that I thought was really interesting, is just how calculated that process is, just to make sure that, again, the mission is that the puppies are raised in a nurturing environment, that they're healthy when a family receives them. I would say that orchestration and seeing all of that come together was one of the coolest things for me.

Mike Gerholdt:
Wow. Yeah. No, very cool.
Brandon, thanks for coming on the podcast, oh let's talk puppies. This had to have been easily one of the most fun projects to work on.

Brandon Walton:
Oh, for sure.

Mike Gerholdt:
Yeah. Well, thanks for sharing it with us, and keep on keeping on with helping puppies in the world.

Brandon Walton:
Will do, Mike, will do, Mike, I'll keep doing my part.

Mike Gerholdt:
See, again, I told you that was a fun discussion. Also, tell me how quickly you wouldn't sign up to build a puppy pipeline report. If I saw that in my list of requests for things that needed to be built in Salesforce, a puppy pipeline report would definitely top the list. Also, I might take a little bit too long doing that. But I enjoyed that conversation. That was fun talking with Brandon.
Now, if you enjoyed this episode and you're listening on iTunes or another app, go ahead and click the three dots in the upper right-hand corner or see if there's an arrow. You can share the episode, and you can post it on social, you can text it to a friend, you can DM it. And of course, if you're looking for more great resources, the entire transcript, all the links are in the show notes, and everything can be found at admin.salesforce.com. And until next week, we'll see you in the cloud.

 



Direct download: Building_a_Better_Future_for_Puppies_with_Salesforce_Solutions.mp3
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How Can Solving Sudoku and Wordle Enhance Your Critical Thinking Skills? Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Rangsk, a Wordle and Sudoku YouTuber.

Join us as we chat about critical thinking, problem solving, and why puzzles are a great way to practice and improve your thinking.

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

Who is Rangsk?

I’m a big word puzzle fan. Sudoku, Wordle, Connections, I love ‘em all! I think they’re a great way to warm up your brain and stay sharp. That’s why I was so excited to sit down with this week’s guest, Rangsk. His YouTube and TikTok videos have helped me become a better puzzle solver, and I wanted to bring him on the pod to talk through his unique approach.

Rangsk first got into puzzle solving via a recommended video on YouTube for Cracking the Cryptic. He fell down the rabbit hole and became obsessed with the logic game that happens behind the numbers. He created his own sudokus and started posting walkthrough videos of how he made them and how to solve them.

Rangsk’s channel has grown exponentially since then. The thing that sticks out to me about his content is the tone: he’s positive, gentle, and clear. He really helps you become a better critical thinker, and have some fun along the way.

Word games are logic puzzles

“I approach word games as if they were logic puzzles,” Rangsk says, “you’re given information and you want to come up with the best possible guess to utilize that information and get as much information as you can.”

Some feedback Rangsk often gets about his solves is that he’s “overthinking it.” For him, that misses the point of doing these sorts of puzzles in the first place. Yes, you can brute force a sudoku or get a lucky guess on a Wordle. But what do you learn from that?

As Rangsk puts it, “It’s a single player game, there are no stakes to it. The only person you’re cheating is yourself.”

Practice your critical thinking skills

Instead, Rangsk recommends using puzzles as a low-stakes opportunity to practice thinking through things logically. It’s an opportunity to build up your critical thinking skills for when there’s more on the line than beating your high score.

At the end of the day, it’s all about learning. Whether you solve a puzzle or get stuck halfway through, Rangsk encourages you take a close look at your thought process and learn from it. Why did you solve it? Why did you get stuck? It’s the chance to learn about yourself and how you think through things that makes these puzzles worthwhile.

Listen to the full episode for more from Rangsk on when it’s OK to hit the hint button, and some other word puzzles you might like if you’re already hooked on Wordle. And don’t forget to subscribe to hear more from the Salesforce Admins Podcast.

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Full show transcript

Mike Gerholdt:
Wordle, Strands, Connections, not just random words, but word games. And I am addicted to them. So, this week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, I had to get arguably the best word and logic solver I can find from TikTok and YouTube on the podcast. He goes by Rangsk on TikTok, and I'll put a link below.
But David and I are talking about critical thinking and problem-solving using word games. Also, just how that applies to life. This is a phenomenal conversation. Don't be scared about the time because this is such a fun discussion. Also, how looking for answers and the journey of problem solving really applies to just everything that we do, not only as Salesforce admins, but in our learning journeys and as we navigate life.
So, this is fun. Let's get David on the podcast. So, David, welcome to the podcast.

Rangsk:
Well, thank you.

Mike Gerholdt:
I'm glad to have you on. I feel this is one of those times where I'm way more the super fanboy because I have seen a ton of your TikTok videos and your New York Times solves. But without tipping too much, how did you get into word gaming and solving word games online?

Rangsk:
Well, it's a long story, but I can give the short version. Basically, YouTube likes to give random recommendations, and one day it recommended me a Sudoku video by Cracking the Cryptic. And I was familiar with Sudoku because it was a huge craze in the early 2000s. Do you remember that?

Mike Gerholdt:
Oh, yeah. Absolutely.

Rangsk:
Everyone was doing Sudoku.

Mike Gerholdt:
On the planes, there were books. Every airport had a Sudoku book.

Rangsk:
Yeah. And so, I got into that craze back then, but then I burned out of it. And now, I realize it's because of the way I was solving it. It's because of the way everyone was solving it, it burned out quickly. But I was like, "You know what? Sudoku, I'm familiar with that." I clicked the video and I just immediately got hooked because this was not the Sudoku that I used to do.
And I just really got hooked on watching Cracking the Cryptic on YouTube and the various different kinds of logic puzzles that they solve. And then, I actually started creating my own Sudoku puzzles. I crafted them myself. And I would do things like... I would submit them to Cracking the Cryptic. They actually have solved a few of my puzzles in the past.

Mike Gerholdt:
Wow.

Rangsk:
Featured in front of tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people, which is great. And what I wanted to do is I wanted to document how I intended those puzzles to be solved and walk through the logic of them. Because I've always been... I had sort of an instructor mindset. I've always liked teaching. I've never been a teacher, but I've always liked teaching anyway.
And so, I decided to make my own videos where I walked through how to solve my own puzzles and I just uploaded them to my YouTube channel, which had nothing otherwise. And one day, Cracking the Cryptic featured one of my puzzles, and I commented saying, "Hey, I've got a walkthrough solve of this on my channel if anyone's interested." And I instantly gained 200, 300 subscribers.

Mike Gerholdt:
Oh, wow.

Rangsk:
And at that point, I was like, "Well, I better start making content." So, I decided, "Hey, maybe I'll start solving Sudoku's on there, not just my own, and see if I can grow that audience." And I was really enjoying the feedback I was getting from that. Flash forward to Wordle becoming popular, I was very much entrenched at that point within the logic puzzle community.
And Wordle, of course, really became popular within that community. And so, I decided, "Well, I'm already making Sudoku content. Why don't I make YouTube shorts where I solve Wordle?" And so, that's really where I get started on that. And then, I went from... it had taken me two years to reach a thousand subscribers where I could finally monetize on YouTube. And then, within two months, my Wordle shorts had brought me to 10,000 subscribers.

Mike Gerholdt:
Wow.

Rangsk:
And so, that was like, wow, Wordle's my thing, I guess. And so, I decided just to... in addition to my Sudoku content, I started making word game content as well.

Mike Gerholdt:
Yeah, I definitely was on the sideline for the Wordle wave. I remember it kind of crashing through. And I feel like for me, it was, "Oh, everybody's playing it, so I'm not going to play it." I also was afraid that I would never get a word. "Oh, man." Because my Facebook feed was filled with all of the little Wordle squares that everybody would post. I'm like, "Oh, I know so-and-so."
I know some book editors and I know some people that are in the education space, and they were struggling with Wordle. And I was like, "I have no shot. Maybe I just shouldn't play this." But now that I've played it, I confess, today is my 40th day playing Wordle.

Rangsk:
Okay. I hope you're enjoying it.

Mike Gerholdt:
I am. I also have come now to the realization that I will never get it in one word. So, I have purposely looked ahead to see what words haven't been used as solutions, and then picked my beginning word now pending, the solution hasn't happened. My beginning word now is spoil because it has two vowels in it and it hasn't been used as a solution.

Rangsk:
Got you. Yeah. So, for me, getting word in one, of course, it would be exciting, but I would also feel a bit cheated because I didn't get to play that day.

Mike Gerholdt:
Yes.

Rangsk:
And to me, Wordle... I'm very much a logic puzzle guy. I approach even word games as if they were logic puzzles. And I think that's why I like Wordle so much is because you can treat it like a logic puzzle, where you're given information and then you want to come up with the best possible guess to utilize that information and get as much information as you can more.
And you think about patterns in the words, not just, "Here's all the words I know," but "Okay, E likes to be at the end. R likes to be second. These letters like to be near each other. These letters don't like to be near each other." And so, you can kind of think about the patterns that you notice within words. And of course, every once in a while, you get tripped up by a weird word that comes from French or something and doesn't follow any of the rules.
But even then, you get there by logically eliminating, it's not a regular word. So, I now have to investigate, is it one of those weird esoteric ones that came from French, for example, or came from a different language? So, yeah, I like to approach it as a logic problem, and I think that's why people enjoy watching me solve it. I constantly get feedback, "I'm better at the game after watching you play it."
That warms my heart. That's exactly what I want. I'm not out here trying to impress people. I'm not trying to be a magician. I'm trying to be an instructor, and I'm trying to get people to understand that these games can be approached from a logical perspective. You can learn to get better at it without just going and memorizing a bunch of words.

Mike Gerholdt:
Right. Perfect segue to exactly why I'm having you on the podcast, because I ran across one of your TikTok videos on Connections, and I'd never played Connections. And the tone and the manner, now that you say instructor, I joked with a colleague that I called you the Bob Ross of Connections. But your tone was very calming.
"And let's work through this, and here's all the words. We have to come up with four groups of four. Let me walk you through the way I'm going to think through this," which your logic or your critical thinking. And it wasn't just, "Well, these four have to go together. Why don't those go together?" And it's like, "No, but let's think about every possible meaning of this one word."
Or I love when you, especially on some of the Connections, "What is the, not weirdest, but what is the farthest outlying word? And let's pick that and see how it can connect to other things."

Rangsk:
Yeah, I'm glad you recognized both my logical approach, but also the demeanor that I try to give to my content. I've been called Bob Ross by more than just yourself, also Mr. Rogers. Just having that calming presence is really important to me because people have so much going on in their lives. They have stress coming from everywhere, and then they try to escape that with the free time that they have.
They're scrolling TikTok or they're scrolling YouTube or whatever it is. And when you do that, you're just getting people yelling at you. You're getting people trying to make you afraid, trying to make you angry. And I want to counter that. I want to be a place where I come up on your feed and you feel like, "Okay, this is a setting where I can understand what's going on. I'm not being yelled at."
"Things are calm, things are straightforward and I'm learning, but I don't feel like I'm being talked at." I don't know the best way to put that.

Mike Gerholdt:
Or chastise. I mean really, because I think that's one thing, how this kind of carries over to software is critical thinking, but also when you're building applications or you're building programs, it's change that you're going to introduce to somebody. And I've always told people, when you roll out something, nobody wants to show up to work and feel stupid.
And the easiest way to feel stupid is by showing them something they don't understand. And you can walk into some of these games and be like, "I don't understand. It doesn't make sense." And then, it makes you feel stupid when actually if you just sit and look at it.
To me, I use a few of these games in the morning when I have a cup of coffee to kind of warm my brain up, kind of get me thinking through the day and sitting there thinking, "Okay," so this word for example, and maybe Connections is coat. Okay. So, coat and I started, "Well, how would David describe this?" Well, coat could be a jacket. Coat could be a heavy coat.
Coat could also, you coat something with paint. I try to use some of the stuff that you teach to like, how would I talk through this and not just take it as the first thing that comes to mind?

Rangsk:
Right. And I get a lot of feedback, which I honestly don't appreciate very much because it's counter to what I'm trying to put across, which means I'm not communicating that effectively enough. But a lot of feedback is like "You're overthinking it. If you'd just gone with your instinct, it would've been correct." And they're ignoring all the times, probably the majority of the times, where had I gone with my instinct, it would've been wrong.
Because these puzzles are designed to trick you. They are logic puzzles. And it's not much of a puzzle if it's just find four things that go together and that will be right. And so, the game is all about... I just made a comment today where someone was like, "Overthinking the easy ones is detrimental, but overthinking the hard ones is actually useful."
And my response to that was, "Well, overthinking has a negative connotation to it, by definition. All I'm doing is thinking. And there's nothing wrong with thinking when you're solving a puzzle." So, yeah, the game is trying to get you to think. And you can either let it get you to think and follow along with the human creator of this puzzle and what they were trying to achieve in getting you to think about, or you can bash your head against it and try to get lucky, which to me isn't fun.
And sometimes I have to resort to that and I feel bad about it. But most of the time, I try to logically approach the problem and also try to see what did the creator of this puzzle intend me to think about? And that's going to be fun and that's going to give longevity to the gameplay.

Mike Gerholdt:
Overthinking also comes from a position of I know the answer and you don't. At one point, they didn't know the answer. So, how can I overthink something if I don't know the answer? In hindsight, yes, I can look back at a solution, "Oh, I way overthought that. But I only know that because I went down that path and then I came back."
Much like thinking through different situations or different, we talked about software debugging before I pressed record. Can you overthink software debugging? Well, yeah, I suppose. But you only know that once you go down that entire path and then come back.

Rangsk:
And I will say there's kind of a corollary to that where you said in hindsight, and I think that's another aspect of my content that you don't see a lot, and I think it's a really important aspect, which is after I've solved it, go and do a post-mortem basically, to use the industry term. Go and look back and say, "What is it that I did right? What is it that I did wrong?"
"How could I have thought about this differently to have succeeded when I failed? Or why did I succeed at this? What did I do that I liked that I should try to do more of?" And I think that's a really important aspect of after you've solved a puzzle, or if you're working on debugging software, if you're working on any problem that you're trying to solve, don't just say, "Oh, I solved it. Let me throw that out."
You say, "I solved it. Let me now internalize what worked and didn't work so that when I have a problem again in the future, I can utilize that and gain wisdom and gain experience."

Mike Gerholdt:
I'll be honest, one of the coolest things, I'll get off Connections. One of the coolest things that you added to your Wordle solutions is you go into a website that somebody create a bot and you kind of, "Okay, so here's the word I put in and we got orange, yellow, and green here. What is the bot say is the next one? What did I guess? Here's what I guessed. Here's this, that. Here's what I guessed. Okay."
And oftentimes you're either... it helps you do that post-mortem because with Connections, you have a little bit different, you can see your categories, but with Wordle, you're like, "Was this the next best thing for me to guess to try and get to the solution?" And I love that you kind of walk through that with that bot and the bot's like, "Oh, yeah, so you basically had two choices after this word and you went to this one, which no harm, no foul, it was the other word." I need that bot for everything.

Rangsk:
Yeah. And what's nice about Wordle is a bot like that can exist because it's pretty easy to write a perfect solver. I wouldn't say it's easy, but it's viable to write a perfect solver for Wordle. And there's not a perfect solver for every problem you're going to encounter, but you can at least go back and analyze that.
And I think an aspect that I thought about while you were describing what I do with that Wordle bot that I'd like to touch on is the question is, did I get lucky? Because a lot of times in problem-solving, there is a luck factor. Did I look at the right thing first or did I look at the right thing after struggling for three days on this problem? And the Wordle bot will answer that question for you.
It'll say, "Oh, yeah, you totally got lucky. There were 60 possible words and you picked out the right one." So, what I learned from that is maybe it was a lucky decision, but maybe it wasn't the optimal decision, even though the optimal decision would've had a worse outcome in this situation. And recognize because... I guess to put it this way, if you can't separate what was lucky from what was good, then you're going to depend on getting lucky more and more.
You're going to internalize what you did that made you get lucky rather than internalizing what you did that actually set yourself up for success.

Mike Gerholdt:
Well, I think that's... some of that has to do with why people gamble. They just feel they're lucky as opposed to working through the, I go back to the... I love the movie Apollo 13. Let's work the problem and go through it. Kind of transitioning that because I obviously could talk Wordle. You also do that really good on the mini crossword, where if by chance you happen to get all the downs, all the downs also solve all the acrosses for the most part.
And so, you'll go back through and be like, "Oh, well, let's look and see actually what these questions were that the answer just autofilled back in." I think there has to be something that it does to your brain because it also trains it. You're like, "Oh, now, I'm not just reading this word, I'm also reading the clue that the creator of the puzzle had in addition to what the word is, and it just happened to be filled in for me."

Rangsk:
Yeah. If we want to even just touch back on Connections for a little bit.

Mike Gerholdt:
Yeah, please.

Rangsk:
Every day I get comments from people saying, "Oh, the first thing I do is shuffle because they put in these red herrings and I don't want to be tricked by them." And I feel like this is just intentionally throwing out information about the puzzle because we've been told that they think very, very hard actually. They put a lot of thought into the arrangement of the words that are presented to you, which means they've added information to the system.
And by hitting shuffle immediately, without even attempting to interpret that information, you've thrown out part of the puzzle. And to me, I feel like I can go, "Okay, well, they decided to put these tiles next to each other. What does that mean? Are they trying to trick me? Are they trying to hint me towards the solution? What is the information that they are trying to give me by this placement?"
And I would lose all that if I hit shuffle. And so, I feel like it's kind of a short-sighted strategy because you can't learn to overcome the tricks that they're trying to put into the puzzle if you just wipe them clean first thing without even appreciating them.

Mike Gerholdt:
Right. Absolutely. Actually, you're the one that taught me that. I was partway through at Connections the other day and I think that two words were iron and steel, and I was like, "Those started right next to each other. I bet those don't have anything to do with each other. I'm not going to fall for it."

Rangsk:
Yeah, sure enough, they didn't. Exactly. And had you hit shuffle, you wouldn't have known that.

Mike Gerholdt:
No idea.

Rangsk:
And you might've said, "Well, iron and steel, those are both metals. Maybe that's a thing." I think they're getting wise to me. I think the other day they actually put three of them all on top of each other that were in the same category.

Mike Gerholdt:
Oh, no.

Rangsk:
In general, they are adding information when they, instead of presenting the tiles in a random order, just having a piece of software randomize it and presenting it, they are laying it out and they're discussing how they want to lay it out. And I think that's part of the puzzle. You're removing some of the interest in the puzzle by hitting shuffle. And it's the same with mini crossword.
Yeah, you can solve it with just the acrosses or just the downs, but you're losing something by not at least going back and looking what was the whole puzzle. Because these kinds of clues are going to come up over and over again and this is a perfect opportunity, while it's fresh in your mind and while you're in the context, to use it as a learning experience for future puzzles.

Mike Gerholdt:
I completely agree. So, I think one of the things that fascinates me and I love using, I'll call them word games and maybe they're logic games. You need to tell me the difference. But using these to keep my mind sharp is I feel like it helps me be a better thinker just in general, just at my job, just working through decisions in life. You've been solving games a lot longer than me. How have you seen that kind of help you in your professional career?

Rangsk:
It's really interesting that you asked that because an aspect of my day job is actually studying transference is what the psychology term is, which is if you are to play a game and get good at it or do a logic puzzle and get good at that puzzle, does that have transference? Does that transfer to other aspects of your life? Are you just getting better at that game? Or is there sort of a rippling effect to the rest of your life?
Okay. If I play GeoGuessr where I'm trying to locate where I am in the world, does that make me a better driver on my commute? Or if I am playing logic puzzles a lot, does that make me better at debugging software? Whatever it is that you're trying to actually accomplish in your life, are these things just games and you get good at that one game, or are these things that are going to transfer to other areas of your life?
And that's actually a pretty hot topic of study within psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience. And there's a lot of studies going on right now related to that with mixed results. Some of these things that they claim, "Hey, if you play this game every day, you're going to get smarter. You're going to get better in these other areas of your life." And it may not be true.
For me personally, I find it beneficial to just keep using my brain. Think of the brain as a muscle and just keep using it. Make sure those connections are strong. And by practicing it in low-stakes scenarios, when you get hit with a high-stakes scenario, you have this sort of instinct to fall back on for how you're going to handle that. Yeah. Does that-

Mike Gerholdt:
No, I'm still processing all of that transference information you gave because I was just thinking about how that applies to other things like prepping for tests. Did you just get good at taking the test, or did you genuinely learn the information? We can also talk about tests, but nobody wants to do that anyway.

Rangsk:
I'll talk about it.

Mike Gerholdt:
Are you just good at taking the test too? That's the third thing to bring up.

Rangsk:
Yeah, exactly. And this is a big topic in education, has been for a long time, which is how much do we lean on standardized tests and how much do we teach to the test? And is the standardized test important because we just need metrics on how students are generally doing, or is the standardized test also something that can direct curriculum? That's a question that every teacher has.
And I don't think there's a perfect answer to that, and I'm also not much of an expert on that at all. But in my opinion, I think that anything you learn is good. I've always hated the question, when am I going to use this? The answer is, you use your brain every day. And the more you can teach your brain how to learn and all these cool things, that expands your horizons.
It expands your use of your brain. Yeah, sure, you might not use algebra if you're not an accountant or a scientist or a mathematician. Yeah, you might not use algebra, but one day you're going to have the question and you're going to have the curiosity that's going to relate to math in some way. And you either have the tools to think about it properly or you don't, and that's something that you could have internalized, but you decided you weren't going to use it, and so you didn't.
But there's the expression, when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. I have always thought that the more tools you have in your toolbox, the more versatile you can be in problem-solving and just living your life properly. Properly is not the right word. I didn't mean to say it that way, but living your life to its fullest extent, being able to accomplish the goals that you want to accomplish, being successful.
It's all about setting yourself up for success. And you don't know what problems are going to arise. And so, the more tools you give yourself, the less everything starts looking like a nail, and the more you can be exacting and fall back on previous experience.

Mike Gerholdt:
Yeah, I often think of... it's funny you bring up that algebra example. I was also that kid that was really horrible at math, so I never played Sudoku. But the concept sometimes of how you solve the algebra problem, I think to me, was also more important than what the answer was.
And that to me is almost like the first time you pull the cover off a toy and realize there's a whole bunch of gears inside that make the bear move and kind of understanding, "Oh, there's more to this that I need to understand as opposed to just what the outcome is." We had this discussion the other day, outputs versus outcomes.
And if your outputs is solved puzzles, are you smarter than if your outcome is no, but I learned the process and I learned how to work through difficult situations. The outcome is very different than the outputs.

Rangsk:
I love the way you put that and that's something... I solve The New York Times hard Sudoku every day on my YouTube channel. And my goal is not to say, "Look, I solved the puzzle." My goal is to help the viewers be able to solve the puzzle, but not just that. To understand that it's the act of solving it that's the fun part, not having that completed grid with all the correct numbers in it.
And it seems obvious when I say it that way, but I get so many people commenting saying, "Well, if I just go through and fill out all the candidates first, which by the way is super boring, then I can solve it in four minutes, and you took 12 minutes." I feel like I failed that person because now they're going to get bored of Sudoku very quickly.
Because who wants the first thing they do when they first receive that piece of paper or the digitally, the Sudoku puzzle, is go cell by cell and do accounting work? The puzzle can tell you a story if you let it tell you the story. And there are ways that you can approach the problem solving such that you are following along. It's like you're reading a book.
You're following along the story. And in a sense, it's almost like a "choose your own adventure book" where you can choose where you want to go next. What do I want to discover about this puzzle? And just put a smile on your face every day because you found this really cool piece of logic and you go, "Ooh, that's really neat. It just told me about this cool structure."
And people who are like, "Oh, well, I solve it in two minutes and I can just plunk them down, and I don't understand why you're doing all of this." And a year later, they've moved on. They're not doing Sudoku anymore, and they think it's boring. And I'm still doing it and I'm still learning from it every day.

Mike Gerholdt:
Right. Because the outcome for you is a lot different. The euphemism is the journey versus the destination.

Rangsk:
Yes. I'm a big fan of Brandon Sanderson and that's a big thing in Stormlight Archive, which is there's... not to get too spoilery, I won't spoil Stormlight Archive for people. But there is a group of people who basically have a mantra and part of that is journey before destination. We all have the same destination. And when it comes to puzzles, the destination is the solved puzzle, but it's about how you got there.
The journey is the important thing. And you can start talking about things, do the ends justify the means? It's much of a corollary to that when you start talking about how you live your life. And I feel like if you start approaching even a logic puzzle that you're doing for fun, if you approach that in a way where you're trying to take shortcuts, that's training yourself to take shortcuts in all areas of your life.
And I feel like that's... you're cheating yourself. That's another thing. People are like, "Is it cheating if I do this? Is it cheating if I do that?" And it's like, it's a single-player game. There's no stakes to it. The only person you're cheating is yourself. Are you enjoying the way that you're solving this? And that's the important thing. Okay, if I'm doing a crossword or if I'm doing Connections and there's a word I don't know, is it cheating if I look it up?
Well, that's up to you. Do you want this to be a trivia game where you need to be going into the puzzle with a certain set of knowledge, and you want to learn as you go, and you learn from your failures because you didn't know what that word meant? And now you've looked it up and now you're going to remember it? That's one way to approach it.
And a perfectly other valid way to approach it is, "Oh, this puzzle has shown me this word that I don't know. This is a perfect opportunity to look it up and have some success because I looked it up." And I think both approaches are valid.

Mike Gerholdt:
Yeah. There's so much to unpack there, but the first thing I wanted to say was the best and worst times of doing any of the logic puzzles or The New York Times stuff is when it's solved is the best because I was like, "Yes, I did it." And the worst is, "Ugh, it's over." Especially a few times with Wordle or with Connections or even the mini crossword, "Oh, I finally got it."
And to that other point, there have been times when I was like, "Okay, I clearly..." I don't know some... I think one of the questions was something and it was super pop culture. I was like, "I just need to Google this. That's my mulligan. I'm going to take it, I'm going to Google it and that's going to give me the answer." Because I'm past the point of enjoyment for this game and I need a little boost to get me back and going for that, and it's my game, so I can do that.

Rangsk:
Yeah. And it's all about knowing yourself and knowing what you're going to be happy with later and what you might be sad about later. And I think you kind of hit the nail on the head. Are you still enjoying the puzzle? Because that's the important thing. We don't do these because it's our job. We're doing puzzles because it's fun and enriching.
And so, it's all about sustainability. What's going to sustain your interest in this hobby? And are you going to be a flash in the pan where you deep dive into crosswords or Sudoku or whatever word game for a month and then you're done with it and you move on? That's one personality style. Another personality style is crosswords are something that I do every morning for 50 years.
There are people like that too. There are a lot of people like that. And there's a big difference. Someone who's going to do that every morning for 50 years, they're enjoying it every day and they've found ways to sustain that enjoyment. Whereas there-

Mike Gerholdt:
Go ahead.

Rangsk:
Sorry, go ahead.

Mike Gerholdt:
No, I'm 100% with you. I was going to ask because we didn't touch on it and maybe it's for a reason because it's in beta, but Strands. I think you said it in one of your puzzles, I was like, "I just need you. Can you just tell me if any of the four letters I put together are close to one of the words you want as opposed to just nothing?" And I think that for me, we get some of that.
Well, you can tell me more of the game logic. But with Wordle and with Connections, at least with Wordle, I get a yellow. I get a colored square. Regardless of what I put in, I'm getting a color back. And with Connections, oftentimes I'm like, "Please just say one away." But you get kind of that.

Rangsk:
But even if it's not one away, it's still information.

Mike Gerholdt:
It is, yes. Except with Strands.

Rangsk:
Yeah, Strands is missing that. And the reason Strands is missing that is because I really feel like they built the hint system because they knew this was an issue. But the hint system is terrible because people don't want to use it. Some people do use it, but I don't like using it. I think that, first of all, making it a choice. Wordle, you don't have the choice to see whether a tile was yellow or green.
It's just going to tell you. It's part of the game. A hint system feels like it's external to the game as like a, "I'm not good enough, so I'm going to press the hint button." And I don't think that was their intent, but I think that's what's happened because they realized that most of these games have some kind of lockstep functionality where you make as you progress through the puzzle and you gain information as you go.
Whereas with Strands, you can be sitting there for 15 minutes and know as much as you did on minute one, even though you have found 100 words because you didn't find any of the words that they're intending and you're not understanding what the theme is trying to hit you towards. And it's just frustrating. And so, they probably saw that in the playtest and went, "Well, if you get three words, we'll give you a word."
But that doesn't feel good because, first of all, they gave the choice. I kind of wonder what would the game be like? Is it just you get three words and it just reveals one without pressing hint? And it was just part of the game. I feel like more people would accept that rather than opting into admitting that you're not good enough at the game.
But also the hint system is just simultaneously not powerful enough and too powerful. And I could rant about this. I feel like it's a bit off-topic.

Mike Gerholdt:
No, this is 100% on topic.

Rangsk:
All right. Well, I'll rant about it then. Early on, it's too powerful because it gives you... for those not familiar with Strands, it's like a word search game, but they don't tell you what words you're looking for.

Mike Gerholdt:
Nope.

Rangsk:
Instead, they all follow a theme. Maybe the theme is names of football teams or the theme is pieces of time, so seconds, minutes, hours. And some of them are a bit more esoteric. They might be words that are slaying for money, but are also food was one of them. And so, it really varies in difficulty. And they give you a little kind of crossword style clue hint at the start of what the theme might be.
But it's usually not. Usually, it's either, "Oh, I know exactly what the theme is from this clue," or, "I have no idea what the theme is from this clue." There's not much in between. But anyway, what the hint does is if you get three words that they didn't intend, if you find three words, you can press the hint button and it highlights all of the letters involved in one of the words.
And then, it becomes an unscramble basically. And then, you find that word. And I think the ideal situation when using the hint is then, okay, now that I know what one of the words is, I've now gained information about what the theme might be and I can try to think of other words that match. And if that's not enough, I'll find three more and I'll press hint again and I'll get another word.
But it's too powerful because people don't want to just be shown one of the words. That's literally taking away from the enjoyment of the game because the game is only finding the words. And so, you're literally pressing a button saying, "I want one last word to find please." But then, at the end, sometimes you're down to one word left, it tells you how many words you need to find, and you're down to one word left.
And I've literally spent 10, 15 minutes trying to unscramble that word because I can't figure it out. When it was Broadway shows, and I couldn't unscramble Carousel for the life of me because I hadn't heard of that Broadway show, and it's a weird word. Carousel. And so, the hint wouldn't have helped me. If I'd pressed hint, it would've highlighted all the letters.
So, the hint is simultaneously too powerful early on and not powerful enough at the end. And then, also on top of that, isn't giving you what you want from a hint. So, I feel like it's a failure in game design there. And what they should have done is built-in ratcheting game mechanics that aren't opt-in.

Mike Gerholdt:
What are ratcheting game mechanics? Please tell me.

Rangsk:
So, if you think about a ratchet wrench. When you go one way, it doesn't lose progress on tightening, and then you go the other way and it tightens more. That's what a ratchet is. And so, you can make progress without losing progress. So, as you put input into the system and as you find things towards the game mechanics, you have now ratcheted yourself, you've given yourself more information.
It's a ratchet-style gameplay. So, like Wordle, you input a guess and you get those yellows and greens and grays, and now you have more information about what the answer might be. And you never lose that information. That information never becomes obsolete. You can always use it. So, in the same way, that's why some of my suggestions for Strands were, "Hey, you know what?"
"If I get partial word, maybe it should tell me, 'Hey, you got a partial word. You're on the right track.'" It's ratcheted that information into the system. It's like getting a green or a yellow in Wordle. Or if they want to keep the hint system, maybe one option for the hint system would be show me the starting letter of one of the words. Not the whole word, just give me somewhere to start.

Mike Gerholdt:
Where do I start? Yeah.

Rangsk:
Yeah. This letter I know is the start of a word now and I can focus my search on that. And so, I wouldn't feel as bad pressing that. But what if that were just part of the game mechanics? It's like rewarding you for finding words. They aren't the right words, but you're still finding valid words that exist. So, why not have those, just add information to the system as you guess in certain creative ways.
So, it feels like a failure of game design that there isn't that sort of ratchet other than the opt-in very heavy-handed hint system that they have right now.

Mike Gerholdt:
Right. I am so glad you brought up that Broadway Strands because I was about... I'm like, "I think I'm done. I think I'm done with Strands now." It took me so long to get... the first thing I found with Strands is you either get started and it starts to make sense, or you're sitting there and you're looking at these two words and the clue and you're like, "I have no idea what these three things have to do with each other. I don't know what another word to look for."
But that Broadway with Carousel, I was stuck on Carousel. I got everything else. Those are the only letters left. I never hit the hint button. And I thought, "What happens if you hit the hint button when you're done?" Because at that point, I'll be honest, the game Joy, it was no joy in Mudville right now. I just wanted to be done. Just please tell me what the answer is. I think I went through... I watched your TikTok.
I went through all the same words you did. I'm like, "I don't know what word this is. Just tell me." And when I hit hint, it just put the little things around. I was like, "I know it's those letters."

Rangsk:
Yeah, exactly.

Mike Gerholdt:
I know it's those letters. Get me out of here. Where is the escape room button? That's the only time I wanted the hint button to just be like, "Nope, we're just going to solve this because we feel bad for you."

Rangsk:
And people use my videos as hints. They'll be like, "Well, I'm done with this puzzle. I haven't solved it, but I'm not getting joy out of it. Let's see what Rangsk did." Rangsk being my handle. "Let's see what he did and maybe that'll give me a hint." And that's actually the entire premise of me doing The New York Times hard Sudoku every day in that instructive way is I know that there's always going to be someone who's stuck on that specific Sudoku puzzle because it's so widespread.
It's published by The New York Times. They're going to search on YouTube or Google. They're going to search "New York Times Sudoku today walkthrough or hint."

Mike Gerholdt:
Solve or something.

Rangsk:
Yeah, solve. And they're going to find my video and that'll track them to my channel. And not only will they find my video, but this video is going to blow their mind if they don't know modern Sudoku-solving techniques. And they're going to be like, "Wow, I need to watch more of these because this is way more fun than how I've been solving Sudoku, and I don't get stuck as much."
"And if I do get stuck, I watch him until he does something I didn't know, and then I can continue." So, almost using me as a hint button. And I feel like with Strands, there's no strategy. Strands feels like a trivia game to me almost. I've been trying so hard to make it a logic game, which you probably have noticed if you watched my Strand solves, where I'm like, "Okay, corner strategy, edge strategy."
And it kind of works, but it's not perfect and there's not a whole lot of logic involved. I will say there are word search games that do feel a lot more like a logic puzzle. One of them that I play is called Cell Tower. And this is probably the coolest word search game I've played. Normally, I'm not a big fan of word search-style games. I'm not very good at them.
But to briefly explain this game, it's a grid of letters just as you'd expect a word search to be. And the way that these letters form words is a little bit unique, and that's not that important to describe, except basically you're drawing shapes in the grid. So, you're connecting the letters together in kind of a different way that you'd normally expect.
You're not drawing a line through the letters to make words in order. You're just sort of highlighting them, and they have to be connected in some way. And it's red left to right, top to bottom. And so, it's sort of limiting you on... you can't make a word bottom right to top left. You can't just draw a line that way, or you can't zigzag around. Instead, there's a specific logical order to how the letters are going to appear in a word.
In addition to that, every letter is part of a word, similar to Strands in that way. So, every letter will be involved in a word, and there is only one solution. So, you can't just go, "Okay, I found this word. Let's lock that in. Okay, now I found this word." You're going to find a bunch of words, but you need to look at how that affects the rest of the grid around it and make sure you're not preventing the ability for the letters around it to also be part of words.
And that's where the logic comes in, where you go, "Okay, I think this word might be part of it. Can I add an -ed ending, an -ing ending, an S at the end? Is there a prefix I can add to it to expand that word? But also, how does that affect the letters around it? Am I going to be able to make a word out of these other letters if this was one of the words I use?"
And so, you end up with this really logical approach to how you solve it. And you're thinking about how letters go together, how they go next to each other, and how words are formed in general. And you're looking at corners like, "Okay, this letter is going to have to be related to the letters around it in some way because it's in a corner because it's been isolated in some way."
And so, it's not that you're trying to just find words that match a theme and the computer tells you, "Oh, yep, you found one of them," or, "Nope, that wasn't what I was looking for, sorry," with no extra information. Instead, you're trying to solve this logically and the computer is not giving you any help at all there. It's just the grid, the full information of the grid being used.
So, in a way, it's a lot like Sudoku, but also like Connections where you can't just pick any four words that happen to relate because that might disrupt the ability for the other words to relate to each other. So, that's what really makes a logic puzzle a logic puzzle is you have to take the puzzle as a whole and you have to take steps that are logical. It's not just a trivia game.

Mike Gerholdt:
That's so apropos to everything that we talked about. You have to look at the puzzle as a whole. Last question, because I happened to think of this when we were talking about Strands. As somebody that's online solving problems, word games and stuff, how hard, how many times do you just want to hit that hint button? Does that ever come up?
Maybe you have the patience of a saint, but have you ever gotten to that point where I know you're creating this for the good of other people and you have to walk through that, but you're like, "Maybe I just hit the hint button because I'm at 35 minutes on this video?"

Rangsk:
Yeah, for sure. And there's different forms that that takes in my mind. There's the built-in hint buttons to the game, but then there's also like, "Do I just Google this word?" I did do that once. There was a Connections, and I knew I was about to lose. I was like, "Okay, I've got no mistakes left. And there are three words on the board that I have no idea what they mean.
Literally never heard these words in my life. So, how am I supposed to... is it good content for me to just make a guess and lose? Or do I go on Google, look up what the words mean, and continue the puzzle?" And in that case, I decided to do that. And I got mostly feedback saying, "Yeah, I Googled it too. It was fine to Google it, looking it up. What's wrong with that?"
But then, I got a lot of negative feedback too about "How's it feel to cheat? You're such a cheater, blah, blah, blah." Just so much negativity. And so, I have to weigh the decision on how much negativity do I want in my comment section here, because they aren't just insulting me when they're calling me a cheater. They're calling everyone else who Googled a cheater.
So, people are seeing themselves in that comment when they're reading through the comment section. And that's something I need to figure... it's not something I've solved. I don't have an answer. But what I try to do is understand myself and go, "Okay, am I 35 minutes into this puzzle legitimately, or am I just done with it?" There's a game I play called Squaredle. There's actually two games I play.

Mike Gerholdt:
It sounds like all the puzzles put together.

Rangsk:
Yeah. There's two games I play called Squaredle. One of them has an extra E and one doesn't. The one with the extra E... so one of them removes the E in square and one of them keeps the E in square when they add the -dle ending. They're completely different games. One of them that I play with the E, it's another word search game.
It's a grid of four by four or sometimes five by five letters. And you need to find every possible word other than esoteric ones. They have some list of words that... you know how there's words that aren't really words, if you know what I mean? The esoteric ones, the archaic ones, out of use, highly specialized words. You don't have to find those.
They count as bonus words if you do find them. But there's a list of words that it's looking for you to get. And sometimes this list is 60 to 100 words. And this game can take me an hour and a half.

Mike Gerholdt:
Wow.

Rangsk:
I sit there and I record the whole solve. It's a special occasion usually. I'll do it once every week or every two weeks and then put it on my YouTube where I solve the hardest Squaredle of the week. Because just like The New York Times puzzles, it gets harder through the week. And so, I'm like, "I'm going to solve the hardest one today."
And it's a lesson in patience because you have to find every word, and it can take an hour and a half. And that's the kind of game where it's like, "Okay, I'm 30 minutes in, but I'm still solving the puzzle. And that's okay." There's also Sudokus that can take an hour, an hour and a half just because they're that hard. But it feels like you're making progress.
If you feel like you're making progress, that's just you're still in the journey. You're still solving it, and that's fine. It doesn't matter how long it's been, as long as you still feel like you're in the puzzle and you're making progress and you're enjoying it. But then, there's puzzles where... the puzzle usually takes two minutes, and you're 30 minutes into it, and you feel like you haven't made progress in the last 25 minutes or ever.
And you just have to make the decision of like, "Is this worth my time anymore?" And I've definitely had puzzles where I hit the stop button on the recording and I delete the video, and I just go, "I'm not solving that one today." Or ones where I go, "Well, it's time to get a hint." Literally, I just say, "I have failed this puzzle, but I want to see the end of it, so I'm going to look stuff up."
You have to make that decision in your head. And I think you brought up a really important point, which is... I think you brought this point up at least, it became this point in my head, which is you need to decide for yourself when that is and that it's okay. You gave it your best, time to seek help. And I think that's something that's really important in life is that it's okay to seek help when you need it.
I think people appreciate when you've put in some effort yourself first, but at the same time, they don't want... let me put it this way. I've been lead of several different teams as a programmer for my day job. And as a lead programmer, I would rather a junior programmer come to me with a problem that I can solve in a minute than spend six hours banging their head against it.
But at the same time, if it would've only taken them 10 minutes, I'd prefer them to learn that on their own. So, it's important to learn at what point have I stopped being productive? Have I stopped enjoying this? Am I not in the right mindset and I either need to take a break, do something else, or I need to seek help, or both?

Mike Gerholdt:
Yeah. No, I think you're right. The hint button and being called a cheater, you're only cheating yourself. It's what do you need to move on with? And your example is perfect. Is there something that can be gained by that person asking you? But I also think, what level of thinking did they put into solving this before they came to me?
And I always look at it as I'm very appreciative of, they came to me because they hit that wall, but they also realized quickly that they hit that wall.

Rangsk:
Exactly.

Mike Gerholdt:
And now they need to move on so that that learning journey continues as opposed to being frustrated in themselves.

Rangsk:
Yeah. And that's a skill unto itself. And that really separates the people you enjoy working with from the people you don't enjoy working with, people who are team players and people who aren't. That really separates them because it's a matter of, "I don't want to be doing your job for you. I've got my own job to do, but also I don't want you sitting there suffering as if you were alone."
And there's that balance. And recognizing in yourself when you've hit that state is really important. And I think that... going back to the conversation about transference. That's something that can transfer. If you're playing games, and you can learn in a low-stakes scenario, how do I... be in yourself, be in your body, be in your mind, and be like, "I now recognize what I'm like when I'm in this hopeless scenario where I've given up without giving up, where I'm frustrated, where I'm tired, where I'm hungry."
It's something even like children need to learn. Am I sad or am I just hungry? Or do I need to take a nap? That's something children need to learn, but it's not something we stop learning as a child. It's something we need to always know ourselves, know how our mind works, know what our limitations are, and know what our limitations aren't.
Is this something I can just continue on, or is this something that I need to use my coping mechanisms that I've learned throughout my life to deal with this situation? Part of the problem has now become my own mind. And that's something you can learn by putting yourself constantly in these difficult situations, like difficult logic puzzles or trivia puzzles, where you're not very familiar with that trivia or whatever it is for you that puts you out of your comfort zone in a safe, low-stakes environment.
So, you can learn how you yourself react to that and what that's going to take. And part of my job, implementing things, software. I need to recognize... have you ever had that... I'm sure everyone's had that late night where you've been banging your head against this fog or a thing you're trying to implement is just not working. You go home dejected. You get some sleep. You come in in the morning and you fix it in two minutes.
And had you just recognized that you were in that situation where you were not going to be productive anymore, and you'd just gone home and you'd gotten rest and you'd accepted that that's what's happening. And you actually had your relaxing night and you took the time that you needed for yourself, and you got the good amount of sleep, and then you came in the morning ready to go, and you just solved the problem.
Those two scenarios look the same from a work perspective, but look very different from a personal hygiene, mental hygiene perspective.

Mike Gerholdt:
I couldn't agree more. I couldn't agree more. I think it's also a great way to end this discussion, David. Thanks for coming on the podcast. You gave me so much to think about and here I was just excited to talk about word games. But really a lot of it is how you look at everything in life and how you tackle situations.
And really part of, I think, the word game or the game itself is also helping you understand yourself. So, this is a great discussion. I appreciate it. Thanks so much.

Rangsk:
Well, thanks for having me on. And if people want to watch my content, I'm just going to plug my stuff real quick.

Mike Gerholdt:
Absolutely.

Rangsk:
So, I am Rangsk on all platforms. R-A-N-G-S-K. I'm sure there'll be something in the description where you can find that. I'm on YouTube and also on TikTok. And I recently had to split my TikTok into multiple accounts. But if you find that Rangsk_YT account, that's the main one, and you'll be able to find the others through my videos.
And so, if you enjoy Sudoku, logic puzzles, word games, that sort of thing in an instructive calm environment, then my channel is for you.

Mike Gerholdt:
So, as I write, this was a shot in the dark, I'll be honest with you. I reached out to David after being completely addicted to his TikTok videos on Connections and Wordle, and just thought, "This is really what critical thinking looks like to me." And the conversation, I probably could have gone for another hour easily. I had a hundred more questions in my head, but I hope you enjoy it.
I do want you to do one thing. If you enjoyed this episode, go ahead and give David a follow. I promise you it's super rewarding to watch his critical thinking and the way that he solves problems and word problems and word games online. I honestly do think it will make you a better Salesforce admin and a better business analyst in general.
So, go ahead and give a click on the links below. Also, if you're not already following the Salesforce Admins Podcast, please do so. We're available on all the platforms. Click follow. Then new episodes like this one, we'll download automatically every Thursday morning. Thanks for listening and of course, we'll see you in the cloud.

 




Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Michelle Blair, Community Manager at Salesforce.

Join us as we chat about Salesforce Community Events, her work with local event organizers, and why you should attend one near you.

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

By Trailblazers, for Trailblazers

Michelle is a part of the Trailblazer Community team, which helps millions of Salesforce users around the world come together and learn. I brought her on the pod to tell us about community conferences and how you can find an event near you.

Salesforce community conferences are created by Trailblazers, for Trailblazers. As Michelle shares, over 40 events are happening this year around the world, and they offer a great opportunity to connect with other people in the community and learn more about Salesforce.

Get personal at a Salesforce community event near you

When you think of Salesforce events, you probably think of Dreamforce or TrailheaDX. These events are huge and offer so much. But all of those choices can get a little overwhelming. The cost can also be a challenge. I remember exactly how much budget I had for attending conferences when I was a solo admin—it was $0.

If you’ve ever felt that way, Michelle recommends that you give community events a try. Because they’re volunteer-organized, they have a more intimate, personal, inclusive feel. It’s easier to talk to speakers and make those connections. You can also find one within driving distance so you don’t have to take a flight or book a hotel.

Most importantly, the quality of content and professional networking opportunities at community conferences is top-notch. Michelle and her team have put together a handy-dandy calendar so you can easily find a community event near you.

Get involved in the Salesforce community

Michelle’s team is hard at work making Salesforce community events even better. They offer sponsorships to help with affordability and are connecting organizers with keynote speakers and Salesforce engineers. This year, they’re bringing several hands-on workshops to community events to take your learning to the next level.

Be sure to listen to the full episode for more on the Salesforce community events happening around the world and how you can get involved. And make sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode.

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Full show transcript

Mike:
Salesforce community events are a great way to connect with Salesforce people in your area, consume some amazing content, dare I say Dreamforce level content, and get connected with your local user group. So this week on the Salesforce Admins podcast I'm talking with Michelle Blair, who's the community major at Salesforce. And she helps all of these community event organizers really propel their event into the next level. We talk about what a community event is, how it's different than an actual Salesforce event, some of the stuff that Salesforce is involved and not involved in when it comes to that. And I'll be honest, why you should go. Now, before we get into that episode, just want to make sure that you're following the Salesforce Admins podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. That way when new episodes like this come out every Thursday morning, it's going to be right on your phone. So with that, let's get to our conversation with Michelle. So Michelle, welcome to the podcast.

Michelle:
Well, thank you, Mike. It's great to be here.

Mike:
Yeah. Well, I'm excited to talk about there's a lot of events that Salesforce does, but then the passion that runs through our community also exudes into them running their own events, which we'll talk about. But let's get started with you, how did you get started at Salesforce and what do you do?

Michelle:
Yeah, so it's been about three years that I've been at Salesforce now. And I actually was a customer prior to joining Salesforce and was implementing our marketing cloud and our social, using a lot of the social platform at the customer company. And came to Dreamforce back in 2018 and was able to lead a session at Dreamforce, and talking about our journey and working with a Salesforce expert within the company. And from there I really experienced the Trailblazer community and was so inspired and just like, okay, got to get in here somehow. And I was already working with our community at the customer. So kind of just got in there eventually and made my way in about three years ago now, and it's been quite a ride.

Mike:
And so at Salesforce you manage all kinds of stuff?

Michelle:
Yes, lots of community things.

Mike:
I feel like the over/under at one time I was a customer, it used to be very unique as an answer. Now it's very common. But our community events, so we do TrailblazerDX, and have Dreamforce and we have World Tours which are smattered across the US and EMEA. But we also have events that our Trailblazer community puts on, so tell me about those.

Michelle:
Yeah. So a little overview of the team that I'm on. So the Trailblazer community team we support that global network of millions of Salesforce users across the world now. And we really help them to learn, succeed, and enable them with the tools to be able to put on their own events, their own communities, bringing people together to talk all about Salesforce and share that knowledge. And we manage a number of different programs like the online community, our community groups, as well as our community experts like Salesforce MVPs, and of course these community conferences which I'm so excited to dive into a lot deeper on this podcast.

Mike:
Yeah. No, and I've been to quite a few of them, not all of them because I feel like there's more all the time. So what are we... First of all, they're not put on by Salesforce so you don't have anything in the planning of it, right?

Michelle:
That is correct.

Mike:
Okay.

Michelle:
We do not plan these. So these are a collection of learning conferences and they're created, organized, managed by the community for the community. So they are around Salesforce content, but just not a Salesforce led event. And they really do offer such a unique opportunity to learn network, get inspired and give back to your community. And like you said, they're entirely led by our incredible Trailblazers around the world. And they really just volunteer their time and pour their hearts into these community led events. And there are about 40 plus and counting this year and more to come. So these are just popping up all over, which is really exciting.

Mike:
And various sizes too, right?

Michelle:
Correct.

Mike:
With 40 plus, what are we looking at?

Michelle:
Yeah, so community conferences typically it'll be about 200 minimum and then can go to 1000s now. I think in certain places it goes, we've seen 1000s up to 2000, in the States about a 1000. And so they really are just quite a range of options as well. And each of them are so unique to their local culture, to their city, their region. And some are single day, some are multi-day, but all of them have tons of content and a lot of robust speaker lineups that really include a range of sessions, workshops, demos, and all of that networking that we know our Trailblazers love.

Mike:
Yeah. You were a customer and you said you went to Dreamforce, which that was your first event. That's like, ooh, I'm going to go on vacation for the first time and I'm going to go to Vegas or something. But I feel like when I was a customer I had a budget of zero, which made it very easy for me to know my budget every year. And I found community conferences as a super easy way to get connected with content that was, I would say Dreamforce quality but at a different price. What do you see... And you can see this from both angles, what do you see as the advantages of community conferences and some of our customers going?

Michelle:
Oh, absolutely. And kind of to touch on the Dreamforce part of my experience, it was extremely overwhelming. I remember just walking around and just not really knowing where exactly I should go. There was just so many options and it kind of is easy to feel a bit lost. And I think that is such a benefit of these community conferences. They really do feel like these intimate conferences that if maybe you are newer to the ecosystem, or maybe you're making a career change and you're just breaking in that way, or maybe you're a seasoned Trailblazer and you just enjoy more of these more intimate settings. And I think these community conferences really offer that. They also offer more of affordability in that way too, where they're just more accessible and budget friendly. So I think there's a lot of opportunity to be more inclusive through these than your typical industry event. And make it possible for folks who may not be able to attend those big events like Dreamforce and TDX. So I think that's really important to definitely note.

Mike:
Yeah, I know for a few of them I didn't even have to spend a night in a hotel. It was great because it was one day, but also the drive, the Midwest, everybody, we drive everywhere. We only fly if we have to go to the coasts. But you could drive, attend the event and drive home. And that also was a huge kind of budget saver. Not to focus on that, but money talks a lot.

Michelle:
100%, yes. And I think that is something that we absolutely love about these events, is we have to keep in mind that they're 100% community-led so these are people who are just volunteering to put these events on. So they create these events through sponsors, like ourselves, the Trailblazer community team we do offer a sponsorship. And just to help out with some of those costs, but it really it's a lot of people just have to get creative to put these events on. And I think they do such a wonderful job and really hone in on the community. And that's really the whole point of these is to bring the community together.

Mike:
Yeah, absolutely. And then for some of the events, I guess, what are you seeing as a trend in, you mentioned 2018 and I often think back to even the Dreamforce and some of the events that we've done pre 2020 and post 2020. What are some of the trends that you're seeing in the style of community event or the length of community event now versus say a few years ago?

Michelle:
That's a great question, Mike. And I wish as a customer, I had attended a community conference to be able to share that perspective of like this is as a customer back in 2018 versus now working at Salesforce and actually helping to support these events internally. But I will say, I think with the pandemic we definitely saw that these particular events, there was a pause on a lot of them. Many of them had to skip a year or two years or just coming back maybe this year, which is really exciting. And I will say last year in particular, that's when I really helped to bring our focus back to community conferences and really find ways to support internally through our team and build out this sponsorship. And I think there was so much excitement this past year and that continues on through this year. And I think internally, something we have been really honing in on is that internal awareness and making sure that employees know that these are happening.
We get out account executives, we get out those engineers who can really get this feedback in person. We also are delivering some hands-on workshops that have been really impactful at some of these pilots that we've had this year. And we have a goal of piloting 10 hands-on workshops at community conferences by the end of this year, which is really exciting.

Mike:
Yeah, I think that's always the part for me that felt very, I don't know, lack of a better term, real, was you went to the event and it was very local to you unless you flew across the country or something, or you went outside of the United States. But it felt very local. So there's a lot of people that you would know or you could connect with. If you go to an event in the Midwest, you're going to talk about the weather 100%. And then we're going to avoid bumping into you and say, "Oh, [inaudible 00:12:10]." But I think you get a mix of community members presenting, but then you also have Salesforce shows up. It just shows up in a very different way. It's not a heavy-handed message, but in a supportive manner like you said, where we can do a workshop. And so you still get kind of that local flavor, but also some of the big production of a hands-on workshop that you feel like, oh, well, this poor customer didn't have to spend 10 weeks toiling away to create this workshop.

Michelle:
Right. Yes, I think that is a really important note because we 100% want to respect the community and give them the credit that they all deserve for organizing these events. And one way we can do that is within our sponsorship package, we actually do offer whether it's keynote assistance, where we can make an ask on behalf of the conference organizers if they have a keynote or an internal speaker that they would really like as their keynote speaker or as a session topic. So that is one way we support logistically. And I think it is wherever we can help out, we will try to find a way. And I think it is just that trust piece where the community trusts us to have their back to know that we will support where we can. And then we trust in them to put on these incredible conferences that really just are the heart of this community.

Mike:
Yeah. Speaking of local, are there... And there's so many, are there unique events that some of these community events do outside of the conference?

Michelle:
Yes. So I know that... Well, and to give a little history but just on that local piece, Mike-

Mike:
Oh, please do.

Michelle:
So the history of these events really came from, I think it was back in 2012, and it's a customer who actually wasn't able to attend Dreamforce. They wanted to offer something similar to their local Salesforce network. So they basically decided to bring this mini Dreamforce to their hometown, and that's been duplicated all over the world now. We're seeing all of these pop up globally, but it really is the overall vision. And the goal here really is to connect local Trailblazer community groups. So those are those regional groups that get together, very product and industry specific groups, so architects, admins, developers. And then those local Salesforce customers who just want to get together and get to know each other as well as share that knowledge and then anyone interested in learning.
And that's really the goal here is to spark those connections and ideas for all. And yeah, I think the local piece is just so important because these conferences are a celebration in a sense of that region, that local culture that people really love about their city, about their state. So we do see a lot of very specific, especially in the States, very specific regions that these Dream and events are named after. And then we're seeing a ton come up in EMEA as well as APAC. Yeah, there's so much local flavor that we're seeing and it's amazing.

Mike:
It sounds like... Well, I'll flip to the other side of the coin because I feel like going to these is paramount. We've talked about that a lot. What if you're on the other side of the coin you're thinking, boy, I think I could do something like this in my area. From your perspective, what does it take to put on a community event? How big are some of these teams that plan these? And I think you said the turnout's kind of all over the place, but if somebody wanted to get started what are they looking at?

Michelle:
Great question. So typically with our conference planning teams, we see at least three to four members. I would say that's a minimum because you got to think about all the different components that go into these conferences and up to it could be 10 planning team members. So really is just depending on the scope of your conference and what you're trying to bring together. And we really recommend even forming an additional volunteer team to help handle this day of responsibilities as well. So those are additional folks who can jump in if there's any fires, anything going on that need to be addressed as soon as possible. Something we also do recommend is having at least one community group leader that currently is leading one of those regional community groups, just so that they kind of have that full understanding of the Trailblazer community and the importance of bringing the community together.
And then typically we also recommend that the planning team is individuals not employed but just by one company. It's really spread out through a company and different organizations coming together. And that could include customers, partners, and making sure that they are active members of the Salesforce ecosystem, the Trailblazer community. And that they really create that open and inclusive environment that these community conferences are known for.

Mike:
Yeah. No, sometimes it takes an army or what's it? No, it takes a village.

Michelle:
Takes a village.

Mike:
It takes a village, yes. May feel like an army sometime, but yeah, I've been to quite a few and I think it's always interesting. I also, just to speak to kind of the vibe, I don't know how best to say that but the vibe, the vibes at a community conference are so different. On top of just the speakers being super approachable, they'll get up and literally there'll be times... There was one time I was sitting in a session, he's like, "I wonder who the speaker is." And he just got up because they're not in this bougie suit like you see at Dreamforce. But also when you're there talking with the partners, the SIs and stuff, they're a little more laid back. It's a little more casual. I really enjoy that you can have what I'll call a human conversation, as opposed to at some of these more formal corporate events where the people at the booth or whatever are just trying to hard sell you the whole time.
There you can be like, now, you sit down and it's nothing to walk past a table and see people sketching stuff on a piece of paper. And then really working through the challenge as opposed to like, "Buy my product." I don't know how best to say that.

Michelle:
I totally agree, Mike. I think that is really the magic is that relaxed environment where you can show up authentically. You don't have to play a certain role or act a certain way. You just show up as yourself, whether you've been in the ecosystem for years and years or you're coming in new, I think it's somewhere that is so welcoming and inclusive of all. And that is something I just absolutely love. And you see that across every single community conference. It really is that's just the vibe of our Dream and events. So it really is incredible. And I think touching on the opportunities that when you can show up authentically, it really does offer or allows you to grow personally and professionally on such a different level because you can be yourself and then you make those really special connections that will allow you to become a better admin, become a better community member, become a better community leader. And then that kind of just flows into your personal everything. So I think that's really such a beautiful thing about these conferences.

Mike:
If somebody was listening and we'll put the link in the show notes, and wanted to find, do we list all these or is there a listing somewhere that they could find of these events?

Michelle:
We sure do, yes. Great question. It's exciting because we're actually going to be updating this landing page very soon. So you can find community conferences at Trailblazercommunitygroups.com. And then on that top area you can just click onto community conferences from there. And you will see a calendar of all of the amazing events that are happening throughout this year, and then all of the past events that have happened as well.

Mike:
So you can find out all the stuff you missed out on.

Michelle:
Yes, exactly.

Mike:
I feel like it's that way with me all the time. Like, oh. Every time I hear a band or a comic is going on tour, like, oh. And like, "You didn't know they were going on tour." You're like, "No, I didn't." And then you pull up the event and you're like, "Cool, [inaudible 00:22:19]."

Michelle:
It was last weekend, yeah.

Mike:
So conversely, if somebody's listening to this, what would be the bar? Is there a requirement that they should have stuff together before they contact you if they were looking to get into creating a community event?

Michelle:
Yeah, I think it really is there's quite a range in that too. When a team will come to us and say, "I have interest in this. I really don't know what to do. Can you help guide me?" And then we also see the other side where it's like, we have the date, we have the venue, we have everything already set. All we need from you is really the sponsorship and a point of contact on your team to help support in that planning and execution. So we show up wherever the conference planning team really is. And yeah, once they kind of go through our intake process and we say, "All right, you're approved. Here's the sponsorship, here's your point of contact." We then the point of contact on our team will be able to support them with all the additional items like that internal awareness piece. We do a demo jam trophy, that keynote speaker sourcing, some marketing support as well, as well as some little giveaway items that we provide.
And something new that we're piloting at domestic conferences is an onsite community booth where our team, yes, for those who our team is able to travel to some of these conferences. And when we do we kind of bring this community booth kit where we have pop-up banner, we have all of the things that help to identify the Trailblazer community. And we spread some of that awareness of what makes the Trailblazer community unique, and how we support these conferences as well as our community groups and our community experts. So lots of fun things.

Mike:
I would say, that's quite the welcome wagon. My God.

Michelle:
Yes.

Mike:
Well, Michelle, thanks for coming on the pod and talking about our community events. I know that I've been to quite a few and I've got quite a few listeners that go to them and plan them and talk about them. And it's just kind of a neat extra layer of participation that we have as part of this ecosystem.

Michelle:
Yes, I couldn't agree more, Mike. And thank you so much for supporting these incredible community led events. They really are just exactly what the community is all about. And we couldn't do any of this without the people who are organizing these events, so big shout out to them.

Mike:
Yeah, absolutely.

Michelle:
They're the real heroes here.

Mike:
Yep, absolutely. Well, it was great to have Michelle on the podcast. I'm glad she could join us. I really love going to community events. I think they're a lot of fun, and I wasn't kidding about the vibe. I think it's so much more enjoyable when you can sit down with a lot of the vendors. And also to be honest with you, a lot of the speakers are also a little less rushed too. So if you're working on a budget like I am all the time, community events are a great way to get connected with some great content. Also, a great way for you as a Salesforce admin to try out your presentation skills. If you've been presenting at a local user group and kind of want to go that next level, community event is a great way to get in front of a larger group of people and really try out your speaking abilities.
So if you enjoyed this episode, can you do me a favor and just tap on the three dots in Apple Podcasts and click the share episode. That way you can text it to a friend or you can most importantly share it on social. And of course, we mentioned resources, Michelle had a couple of URLs. I want to make sure you know how to get to those. All those resources are in the show notes, and those show notes and along with everything else is at Admin.salesforce.com, including a transcript of the show. Now, be sure to join us in the Admin Trailblazer group in the Trailblazer community if you're not there already. And of course, until next week, we'll see you in the cloud.

 




Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Jason Atwood, CEO and Co-Founder of Arkus.

Join us as we chat about landing your first Salesforce Admin role, from finding good opportunities to nailing the interview and more.

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

The 20/30/50 rule

Jason has interviewed a lot of people for Salesforce roles in his 15 years in the ecosystem. His biggest piece of advice when looking for your first role is pretty simple: “Relax. It’s going to be OK.”

But you still need to acquire skills and there’s a lot to do, so Jason recommends following his 20/30/50 rule. Spend 20% of your time on Trailhead, 30% on certifications, and 50% finding some way to gain experience. This split loosely follows what he looks for on a resume when he’s making a new hire. He also shared some advice about each step of your journey.

Trailhead: Becoming a Ranger is your number one priority, followed by Superbadges. He also recommends taking the time to set up your profile with a photo, description of yourself, and custom URL.

Certifications: Don’t put off taking your certifications. Give it a go as soon as you’re ready. If you don’t get it this time, you can use your results to help you prep better the next time. And if you do pass, you can move on to the next one sooner.

Gaining Experience: Volunteering isn’t the only way to do this. You can enroll in a program where you build mock projects, or simply build something on your own that you’re willing to demo in an interview.

Preparing for a Salesforce Admin interview

Jason interviews a lot of people so I asked him, how should you prepare for your first interview for a Salesforce role? The first thing is to be ready for some sort of assessment. Since there’s often time pressure, Jason recommends doing a practice run. Talk to a friend, find out what kind of data they collect, and build them an app to track the books they’ve read or the distance they’ve run, anything will do.

When you sit down in the room, Jason emphasizes the importance of listening and showing empathy. One way to do that is to ask good questions. What’s their Salesforce roadmap and what can you build for them? What’s their organization’s approach to culture? You can also do your homework and bring up a blog post they wrote, or something specific their company has done.

Admins are consultants

Listening and empathy are so important to Jason because he sees that as the biggest part of the job.

“Being an admin is being a consultant for one organization. What are you doing? You’re talking to people, they're coming to you with their problems, you’re getting their requirements, you’re satisfying their needs, you’re working with them, you’re iterating, you’re updating things, and then you’re presenting it back to them.”

We touch on a lot more in this conversation about looking for Salesforce jobs, listening, and what it’s like to be a Salesforce consultant, so be sure to listen to the full episode and subscribe so you don’t miss out.

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Full show transcript

Mike:
I got an idea. How about we tackle the hardest question on the Salesforce Trailblazer community? That's right. This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we're going to look for advice on finding your first admin job and doing the interview, getting experience, and more. And we're going to do all that with CEO and co-founder of Arkus, Jason Atwood. Jason and I chatted at TrailblazerDX and really wanted to dive into this topic. Now, before we bring Jason on, I just want to make sure that you're following the Salesforce Admins Podcast on iTunes or Spotify. That way, when new episodes like this one come out, they're automatically downloaded to your phone. But enough about that. Let's talk about finding that first job or even finding your next job as a Salesforce administrator. Oh, I almost forgot to mention we tackle the myth of "but it's just an admin job." So with that, let's get Jason on the podcast. So, Jason, welcome to the podcast.

Jason Atwood:
Thank you for having me. It's been a long time since we've podcast together.

Mike:
I know. I was thinking back; well, we were just reminiscing of the days at the Marriott Marquis and the Arkus podcast.

Jason Atwood:
Yep. You were on an episode of CloudFocus Weekly. We had it as part of our trivia once there was only four or five guests ever on the podcast, and you were one of them.

Mike:
Snuck in, only proximity. I'm going to say. So catch people up. What have you been up to?

Jason Atwood:
Well, since then, whatever that was, 10 years ago. Yeah. So I am now the current CEO and co-founder of Arkus. We're a Salesforce consulting firm. We deal mostly in the nonprofit space, and we've grown from that little company back then. We're almost up to 75 people. And now I run around between putting out fires, talking on podcasts, and trying to educate myself on the whole changing landscape of technology.

Mike:
Yeah, it does feel like in the last decade, it's gone from everything we know to a brand new world.

Jason Atwood:
It certainly is. And I just spent three hours at a Heroku dev meetup and could hang there mentally for a bit, but they lost me at a little point. So it's both fun, interesting, and challenging to stay up with all this stuff.

Mike:
So one of the things that everyone's trying to stay up with is the ever-changing job market and hiring. We see a lot of the questions in the Trailblazer community from new admins, people getting into the ecosystem that want to become Salesforce admins, people in the ecosystem that are looking for jobs, or maybe have kind of hit a career plateau. And you and I were chatting, and boy, I think it'd be fun to kind of delve into that topic with you.

Jason Atwood:
Let's do it. I have some experience in hiring people over the last 15 years, so I can certainly talk about it.

Mike:
A little bit more than me. More than me.
Well, let's get started. So let's start fresh. There's a lot of new people. As we were talking about in the intro, there's a lot of new people coming into the ecosystem that maybe don't have tech advice. They are doing Trailhead modules, completing challenges, getting a lot of badges, trying to round out their resumes, and they don't know A, what to look for, or B, what to put on their resumes. So somebody that's hired a bunch of people and been around for a long time, let's start there with some of your advice and where they should go.

Jason Atwood:
Sure. This is a very common thing, and the first thing I would tell everybody is relax. It's going to be okay. I know it feels daunting, and you see these triple all-star rangers and you see all these, the hoodies, and you see the people with the 15 certifications and 10 years of experience, and you feel like, "How am I ever going to get there?" You will; you'll get there. So the first thing is just to take it easy and not to get too worked up on it. It does feel like a lot. It's a very big community and filled with lots of hungry people for jobs, a lot of recruiters, a lot of activity. When I talk to people about getting started in the ecosystem, and certainly on the admin track, and we can talk about other tracks if you want, but on the admin track, I kind of say all those things matter.
So when it comes to certifications, when it comes to Trailhead, when it comes to experience, they all matter. And usually the question I get is, "But what should I focus on?" And so I came up with something, I maybe made it up years and years ago. I call it the 30, 20, 50 rule, or 20, 30, 50. It doesn't matter; you can break it up anyway. And if you're going to take your time, right, you're in the hunt for a job, and you need to do the education, you need to get enabled, you need to build your experience level. I break it down into those percentages. So 20% of the time, I'd focus on Trailhead. And the trick for Trailhead is A, you just have to be a ranger. We don't even look at people who aren't rangers. I had an intern apply the other day, and I said, "No, you're not even on Trailhead. Go get a ranger before I even talk to you."
So that, to me, is just a minimum bar. Just go be a ranger, and then if you can go up from there, that's great. And then, if you're still in your Trailhead worlds, the thing that we then look for besides looking at their profile, is it filled out? Have they thought about it? Have they created it like LinkedIn? So second advice on the Trailhead side is treat your profile like LinkedIn: fill it out, put your picture, put your description, do all the things. It'll probably take you no more than a half an hour. Make your URL; you can make your customized URL so people can find you; do all the things so it looks like you're part of the community, right? Make sure that your profile is rich and full. And then the third thing on the Trailhead side of things is to go for super badges.
So I can look at double ranger, triple ranger all day long, but if I don't see some super badges and I speak from someone who doesn't have any super badges.

Mike:
Oh, no.

Jason Atwood:
I know, I know, it's on my hit list for this year. I know, I know, I mean, I have 15 certs, and so I have some experience, but I'd say, get some super badges. We see that when we look at that as a higher level of dedication and of expertise, because, as you know and as I've been doing them, they're difficult. They show that you have really dug in, and they're more than just answering some questions or watching videos, or getting fun ones. I love badges, but the super badges really show that kind of a deeper level of education and sort of just being in the Trailhead world. So that's the 20%. Then the 30% is certifications.
You need to have both. You can't have one without the other. I don't know what that commercial was, peanut butter and chocolate or something, but-

Mike:
Yeah, I think so, yeah.

Jason Atwood:
-You might be [inaudible 00:07:08]. Certifications are important; you should focus on them. What I tell people is you need to get them, but you can't stall. Most people, I think, when we talk to them and we'll find in the ecosystem, say, "Oh, I'm thinking about getting that, or I'm planning to get that one next year." And our advice is, "Nope, go get it. Go get it now. Go take it. Go take the test a couple of times." Do whatever it is you can do to start your certification journey; don't put it off; don't procrastinate on it. You don't have to be perfect; just go get some. And obviously there's a path of which ones you should get, blah, blah, blah.
It depends on where you're going in your world, but having at least one or two certs is kind of a bare minimum. So if you're starting off and you're trying to get into the ecosystem, that's your 20 and your 30, and then the 50 is the hardest part. And it's just hard to tell people because it's the experience. The third thing we look for is experience. I want to see that you've done something obviously new to the ecosystem, harder to have the experience, but that's where I say spend 50% of your time trying to gain that experience. There's the old adage: try to go work with a non-profit. Although there's some pushback on that nowadays because of the complexity of the platform, you don't want to hurt a non-profit.
There's definitely... Get in in a way, there's programs, there's tons of programs out there that will help you do mock projects and things where you can just get your hands dirty. And even if you have to build your own thing that you're going to demo, you got to get experience because I've not hired people with 22 certifications, and because it didn't add up to any experience, and I've seen people with tons and tons of experience with zero certs, and I would hire anyway, just from the experience. But for me, that's how I tell spend your time: 20% trailhead, 30% certifications, and 50% getting that experience.

Mike:
I think that 50%, that part that you're talking about is always the part that feels like the hardest to get into. Because if you're not in tech and you don't have any experience and you're trying to land that first job, that can feel like, "If I could get this job, then I could get the experience." And so, part of that lends to my next question is, so you're new, we've checked all the boxes on filling out our profiles and done that part. What should I get ready for when I interview?

Jason Atwood:
So every interview's going to be different, obviously, but a lot of places are using assessments now. So I would say be prepared for an assessment. That means functionally, they're going to ask you to do something; they're going to ask you to build something or take something they've done and turn it into something on the platform, using Salesforce as the platform. So I would just be ready for that, be prepared, be okay with it. Even do mock versions of it, go have a friend, and I have to given this advice to some people, but go have a friend, sit down with them, talk to them about what they do, and you'll uncover something that they're collecting data.
And as soon as you can figure out what the data they're collecting, whether it's books or they collect comic books, or they're a skier or they're a runner, anything you do, you can just come up with, "Ooh, what if I built you an app to track that?" So be prepared to have an assessment of your skills and be able to show that in a short period of time. Meaning it might be a take-home. Sometimes it's a take-home. Like, "Hey, go do this over the weekend." Other times it's, "You have an hour; come back and show us what you did."

Mike:
Ooh!

Jason Atwood:
So I'd say... Ooh! Yeah, I know. I've been doing that for 15 years to people. Trust me. I've seen a lot of, oohs.

Mike:
I would imagine.

Jason Atwood:
Even had one person pass out in the...

Mike:
Oh, my. Oh, goodness.

Jason Atwood:
It happens.

Mike:
You get an extra hour now.

Jason Atwood:
Yeah. So I think that it's coming more and more in the ecosystem, because again, when you look at a resume, when you look at LinkedIn, a lot of it's just you can't tell whether they know what they're doing. If you actually do an assessment, you can then assess, "Okay, you know, you functionally know how to do things." So I'd be prepared for that. The other thing is, I think when you're really, especially in the new, just be honest about what you do and do not know. That's really, really key. Don't fluff up your resume; don't put things that you don't know; don't put clouds, don't throw in data cloud if you don't know what data cloud is and haven't used it or can't really explain it. Just because you took a Trailhead on something doesn't mean that platform or know that cloud. So I'd really say be honest with what you know and the clouds, and the products, because that's going to be super important in the interview process.

Mike:
Wow. How much... In prep work for resumes, there's a lot of AI tools out there, so I'd love to know your perspective on both sides of this one: how much do you, as somebody hiring, kind of look for, "Oh, they used AI to generate most of this resume?" And on the flip side, how much should somebody building their resume that could really benefit from an AI tool? How much should they lean into it?

Jason Atwood:
So I'm going to be the strange answer on this one, or...

Mike:
Oh, good.

Jason Atwood:
Yeah, because I'm going to say, resumes don't matter.

Mike:
Okay.

Jason Atwood:
They're just checking a box. When people get to me in the interview process, they're beyond the resume. So yes, you need to have a resume; you need it because that's the part. It's like you have to have the internet; you have to have a way to fill out the form. So you need to have a resume, and it should have your accomplishments and stuff on it. But I don't look at resumes because they're just lies. They're just you telling me all these things, and sometimes I don't know if any of that's really true or not true. So to me, it's like it's just a checking the box. "Yes, you have to have a resume. Yes, it should be okay." Honestly, your LinkedIn profile should be your resume, right? Because that's real; it's on the web. And if you're lying, someone might actually call you out for it.
"Hey, you didn't work at that company for 10 years." So I would say focus more on the LinkedIn. Because I'll look at that. If you gave me 10 minutes, I'd look at your LinkedIn first. I would not look at your resume, what you've put on, rather than what your actual history has been. That being said, you want to throw all this stuff on there for this ecosystem. So I do think showing work that you've done and really pointing to problems you've solved, if you really think about any job, especially as an administrator, you're a Salesforce admin, you're basically solving problems all day all.
And you're communicating. So two things that I tell people about the resume and the process is how do you show that you've solved problems in the past in your resume, and then how do you show that you are a great communicator? Because great communication, it doesn't matter what, I mean, well, not what job, but certainly in this world, you are basically talking to people, helping them out, doing stuff, re-communicating with them, getting what they need to do, building it, whatever. You might work with different groups or whatever. But that communication skill is something we deeply look at. So again, if you're going to focus on stuff, don't so much focus on your resume as focus on how to be a great communicator.

Mike:
That's really good advice because I have been at that level where people show up and the resume looked good, but they couldn't facilitate the conversation or articulate any kind of answer in the interview.

Jason Atwood:
It is a skill that not a lot of people have, but it's a skill, you can learn it. So a couple of things to put into that communication bucket. We'll go down a little rathole here.

Mike:
Yeah, let's do.

Jason Atwood:
One is empathy.

Mike:
Okay.

Jason Atwood:
Have the ability to show empathy, and that means sort of having a conversation with somebody and throwing in stuff that's like listening to them, talking to them, obviously pulling out information about them, but having the empathy when they say something's not going to happen or whatever, they could say, "It's a rainy day." I look for it in every interview that I do. Now this is going to be on the podcast; everybody's going to know this, but I will actually throw things into my talk track or as just the warm-up when you're sort of, "How are you and what's going on?" I will always throw in something to test empathy.
I'll say, "Oh, I'm okay, but I didn't sleep well last night. Or I had a bad egg sandwich this morning, or I've tripped over the dog when I came into the room." And I just listened to hear what they react. If they go, "Oh, that's terrible. Oh, yeah, I know dogs can be really difficult. Or you know what? I get my egg sandwiches from downstairs, whatever." But hearing that back of that empathy, super important. Second is actually listening, so I will listen to people, how they listen to me. Are they interrupting me? Are they talking over me? Are they going? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, as I speak, I listen for their real intent and true conversational skills. And so the ability to actually listen, pause, and then answer is a really big; it's a great skill to have. And so the people who can do that, I know that they can do almost any job better because they've intently done that listening skill and they've got it working. So those are two that I throw out to most people when they're trying to build their conversational habits.

Mike:
Yeah, I'm listening to you answer that, and I'm playing devil's advocate in my head and saying, "Maybe people are hearing Jason say this because he's hiring consultants." So why do you think this also translates over to people that are embedded in different work groups, or teams, or have stakeholders within an organization and aren't consultants, like for your organization?

Jason Atwood:
Because basically, being an admin is being a consultant in one organization. You are a consultant. What are you doing? You're talking to people; they're coming to you with their problems; you are getting their requirements; you're satisfying their needs; you're working with them; you're iterating; you're changing it; you're updating things, and then you're presenting it back to them. The thing that changes when you become a consultant is you're paying for someone's time, which then becomes a whole other thing. But also, you might be working with other organizations, and the level of expectation of how you do that and your expertise goes way up. And this is something I tell, I warn people about moving into consulting is that when you're an admin, you have the ability to take some time. Someone says, "Hey, can you build me these three dashboards that I want to track my sales forecasting?"
You go, "Sure," and you can go Google it, and you spend a week, and you come back, and you're like, "Here's your three dashboards." They're ecstatic; they're like, "Great, thank you." They don't care that it took you three weeks or whatever, and then you had to ask your friend and Google it or ask ChatGPT to do it for you. In the consulting space, it's different. They don't ask, "Could you build this for me?" They say, A, "What are the options to build it? How long is it going to take you, and can you get it to me by next Tuesday?" So the expectation level of what you're doing goes way up, and they expect you to be expert. They don't expect you to ever say, "I don't know, but I'll figure it out." As an admin, I said, "I don't know. I'll figure it out."
"Oh, you want to build some tracker for your feedback form? Sure, let go figure it out." Go away for a week, and I'll come back and show you something. So I think that's part of it, but as an admin, you're still doing all this stuff. It's the same stuff inside the organization. You're just not working with external companies or people; you work with internal people. So you still have Mary from accounting coming over and wants to synchronize with the QuickBooks, and you still have the CEO come over and they want an update to some dashboard because they can't figure it out, and you're doing the same stuff; it's more internal, more ad hoc, generally.

Mike:
I mean, I couldn't agree more. Also, Mary from accounting, they always want to, for some reason, can't seem to get opportunities flowing through your sales org, but let's integrate finance.

Jason Atwood:
So true, so true.

Mike:
But you kind of led into that. So what are the different jobs, or different tasks, types of jobs that admins would tackle within an organization?

Jason Atwood:
Yeah, I mean, we kind of started in there. You do become an internal consultant, but I think you first off just think of what, especially when you're applying for it, and this goes back to sort of the applying and getting the jobs' thing. When you're looking at the organization, you obviously want to know what their Salesforce landscape is. So if I were in the interview process, what I would do is come loaded with a bunch of really good questions, and I would pepper that person with tons of questions about their Salesforce instance, or, as we call it in the biz, we call it their org.
But I would come in with, "What kind of licenses? How old is it? What kind of integrations? What kind of applications do you have? When's the last time you did a health tech? Do you use permission sets or permission set groups? Or did you flip the lightning yet?" I mean, I would be peppering them showing my expertise to get that admin job. So that's just on the interview side; I just want to throw that in. But coming back to what you do, again, it really depends on the organization, and this is actually a myth that is out there in the ecosystem, is that admins get bored and admins don't get to play with lots of different clouds, and admins don't do a lot of diverse things. That's completely not true because it depends on what organization you're with. I was with a company who had 375,000 people.
I had a team; I had five people, or five, including me; we were all admins; that's what we did. And we had 12 different production orgs, 12 orgs with production, and I think nine different applications running in them with thousands and thousands and thousands of users. We were not bored; we had plenty to do; we were playing with great, big, unlimited licensing and integrations and projects, but we were admins. At the end of the day, we were admins. Same thing: you go work for a small company that's four... I don't think anyone would hire a full-time admin with four people. But the smaller the organization who's just using Salesforce for one thing and has no chance of expanding it or doing it, or going anywhere.
Yeah. You're going to get bored, right? You come in, you're going to help out Mary in accounting, you get that one project done, and then they're going to be like, "Can you reset passwords all day?" So I think as part of the interview process to pulling it back in to that, and when your job seeking, you should be really interested in what their, especially if you want to be a Salesforce admin and you really want to do it full time, what's their Salesforce roadmap? Are they just solid? They have it, and they have had it up and running for five years, and that's it? Or do they have things that they want to do? New stuff you can build? Do you want to do the integration with that? We want to bring in marketing cloud next year. We're looking at how to do predictive AI, whatever.
So if I were bringing more questions as the trying to get the job, I would bring in that to the organization. I'd say, "What do you guys, where's your roadmap? Or do you not have one?" And I think that would show as a hiring person; I'd be like, "Oh, they're forward-looking." And it'll also give you the idea of: "Are you going to get bored in six months?" Because you don't want to get bored in six months.

Mike:
Right. Although maybe a smaller footprint would be really good if you're looking to get that first admin job.

Jason Atwood:
Exactly. Exactly right. But then you have the counter, right? You have a smaller footprint, but they have 40 users, and they only use it for service. So you get in, you do some work, you do all the stuff, and then you're like, "Now what?"

Mike:
Right. So you brought up myths of admins, and one is, well, "I don't get exposed to enough clouds," and I've heard that at various events. "Well, we only use data cloud, or I just don't get to see it." And I feel like, and this still exists, all of these articles on admin to something else, as though admin is just the front door; all you got to do is get in and do that for a few months. But the real money and the real challenge is elsewhere. What would you say to that myth of just an admin?

Jason Atwood:
I think it is a bit of a myth, and it makes admins and being an administrator, Salesforce administrators feel like this... It's like you're the fry person in the back at McDonald's. It's like, "Well, I don't ever go back and cook the hamburgers." I don't know. And it's not true.

Mike:
Although the fries are kind of the best part.

Jason Atwood:
That's true. I actually worked at McDonald's, and I was the fry person, so that's why I brought it up.

Mike:
Yeah.

Jason Atwood:
But yes, at some organizations, you could be the one admin, and that could be your role for a long period of time. And you could get bored, and it could just be a starter. At other organizations, you could run an entire group of admins. You could have six or seven admins, you could be part of a team of people supporting a lot of different Salesforce instances, and it could go anywhere from just administrative down to sort of more the solution architect type of stuff, or more towards the BA towards so stuff or more towards the development.
One of the things you and I have been in this ecosystem for a long time, what we were able to do 10 years ago on the platform with our clicks and what we're able to do with clicks now, we're programming. Let's be clear: when we're building flows, we're programming; we're just programming with a user interface. But that's programming, and the stuff you can do is stunning, that you just couldn't do with any of the tools unless you're writing Apex. So I think even the idea that admins who are getting that technical acumen and are going into the more programmatic type of world of admin that could go long, there's lots of paths you can go down for that. So that's where I think some of the myths should go away because you're not just the admin who's building a report, adding a field to a page way out, and assigning a permission set. There's many, many different pieces of that platform. And that's before you even talk about the clouds; before you'd say there's now, I don't know how many clouds. There's a lot of clouds.

Mike:
There is a lot.

Jason Atwood:
Yeah.

Mike:
Yeah. I mean, you brought up flow. I think back to the days of, "Boy, if I could just stand up like a window pane that a screen that people could input the data into as opposed to just editing raw right on the record." And now we can do that, and you can do that just using the interface. You don't have to try a single line of code, which is...

Jason Atwood:
It is stunning what you can do with that tool. And it's one of the things that has left me a little bit behind because I'm old school admin. I'm a work-for-rule person. And for that, I would've gone wrote in a user story and had someone written up a Visualforce, and with Apex in the background, and now it's... The stuff that we can produce with flows, screen flows, and even the call-outs. I was watching the call-out today, a flow that made a call-out to a Heroku Dyno that did a hookup to a Postgres database that pulled in AI predictions. I was like, "What?" So yeah, the world of an admin is becoming very, very broad in some ways.

Mike:
Yeah, no, I agree. And you can also now trigger flows through prompts and have it call AI. And I mean, in a year from now, this is all going to sound like super, "Wow, they were impressed they could do that. Now look at where we are." kind of stuff. One thing we didn't touch on is there's a lot of job places to look at and career stuff. Often, when looking for a developer architect, I think those are a little more defined also, especially with developer, they've got experience in writing developer job titles for other platforms. So it's very easy to translate that over to Salesforce. What are things that an admin should look for in job descriptions? That maybe if the title or description doesn't say Salesforce admin, that will be the role?

Jason Atwood:
Yeah, it's a tough one because, I mean, the easiest thing to say is look for the keyword Salesforce. Obviously, there's going to be some sort of piece of that. I think you'd have to go a little old-school and think of the platform and what it's doing. So I would start to look for things that were based on what Salesforce, the platform's doing? Is it sales, right? Is it marketing? Is it service? Is it nonprofit? Especially in the nonprofit space, which is for me. So we would look at grant writing, fundraising, and all that stuff, which could be keywords for, we're using Salesforce in the background, but we're using it to do all these things. So I guess the meta hint without giving you the keywords is: What is this organization doing? What is the output of their world? And then looking at what the tool set they're using.
They might not be Salesforce, right? There are other ways of saying the word. They might say something like health cloud and a health cloud administrator, and you're like, "Well, that's Salesforce." Or they might say, "net-zero cloud." Or they might say, "nonprofit cloud." Again, not saying Salesforce, but that's what it's based on. So sometimes, as an administrator and as part of this ecosystem, you have to know that there are products that are sitting on top of the platform that don't necessarily say the word in it. Remember when they named everything Force? Everything was Force something Force, this Force, that Force.

Mike:
We had everything named Lightning for a while, too.

Jason Atwood:
That too. That was fun.

Mike:
We like to do that a lot. I think everything's named Einstein now.

Jason Atwood:
Pretty much.

Mike:
I'll probably get in trouble for saying that.

Jason Atwood:
Yes, you will.

Mike:
But you could do the bingo card of name everything, Einstein, Lightning, Force, and then you're covered.

Jason Atwood:
I'm going to win that Bingo.

Mike:
Einstein, Lightning, Force, and then the actual product. Then you're covered.

Jason Atwood:
Totally.

Mike:
I was looking through all my notes, roles and descriptions and interviewing and challenges, and certifications, and I feel we touched on a lot. What is something that you feel we missed, that you talk about, that you bring up that maybe people aren't thinking about when they're looking to interview or get an admin position?

Jason Atwood:
Sure. I think there's a couple of things. A couple more things I would, if I were giving advice, which I happen to do all the time.

Mike:
You're full of advice.

Jason Atwood:
I'm full of advice, maybe too much. So one thing, and this is just generic to not Salesforce, but as anybody looking for a job, cultural fit, I think, is becoming more and more of a need. And I think, as people applying for jobs, you should be looking at it both ways. Do I fit that culture, and does that culture fit me? And that's do my values and the company's values or the organization's values align together. And asking a lot of questions around culture is going to become more and more important, especially because we go do remote work and all that. So I think what we used to think of, like, "Oh, we had coffee breaks and pizza parties for every quarter," is now a much bigger discussion. So I would say bring culture into the conversation. Another tip that I hadn't given yet is just preparedness.
It seems silly to say you have to be prepared for an interview, but I can tell you the amount of people who show up who are not prepared, they're just not prepared; they don't know their resume; they don't have good questions; they don't know how to talk to their experiences. And I'm stunned when it happens, but it happens a lot. And one of my little pet peeves, I'm giving away all my hints, boy, anybody interviewing is going to be able to nail the interview the next time they get to me.

Mike:
Yeah, you say that, but I bet not.

Jason Atwood:
Probably not, right? No one's even going to pay attention. But having really good questions is something that I look for. Again, we work in an industry where being able to ask your users what they want and question them, and being insightful is a great skill. So if I get to the end of one of my diatribe speeches and I say, "Do you have any questions?" And they're like, "No, I'm good." I immediately go, "Okay." And then I'm not good because I... So have questions ready at the go; have them sitting in front of you on a piece of paper, on a sticky note in a NeverNote, wherever. It's super important, and don't be generic. Don't say, "Where do you see yourself?" Don't interview the interviewee.
Ask really stuff that's based on homework you did. And that's sort of the prepared thing too. When people come in and they say, "Oh, I read your blog post last week about blah, blah, blah. I was really interested about this key point." Immediately, I'm like, "They did their homework; they know what they're talking about, and they're asking me something interesting." Don't say, "How do you guys do raises?" That's not going to be; you need to have the questions about the culture or the stuff. I mean, I've had some really good in the past, but I've had some really terrible questions. And then two more, I'll give you two more tips. This is like the hundred tips for interviewing the Salesforce Ecosystem Podcast.

Mike:
We'll call it 98.

Jason Atwood:
There you go.

Mike:
So there's two.

Jason Atwood:
Two more is you can never, if you want to get two skills. If I told someone to go get two skills before they get any job to be super useful on day one, two things they should be focusing on: data and documentation. Your ability to understand data is like you need to have it, you have to have it as a skill; you need to know data; you need to know how data interconnects with other data, you need to know how to report on it. It's getting more and more and more important. So I look for data skills, even data nerds, people who say, "I love data." So if you're not that type of person, I would say these jobs are going to be tough. Because I don't know anywhere in the ecosystem that we are not just really crazed about and or dealing with lots of data.
It is sort of what Salesforce is, in the back of all of it. So understanding data, taking courses on it, go learn SQL, go learn regular databases, go learn third normal form, learn it, and understand it because any of your skill sets that you have that are based in data will make you better at any job in this ecosystem. So data. Second is documentation, because one of the things you can do very quickly in any role is document things. You need to be able to document; you need to be able to take what people say, summarize it, put it into something, and spit it back out for people to take in. If you're an admin, you've got to come up with a training plan or a training agenda. You are an admin; you have to come up with a user story; you hand it off to a developer or someone to build something.
Documenting is, and it's, I know there's Trailheads on it, and you can go to those, but really learning how to document even so much prove that skill when you talk to somebody and you follow up with an email. Follow up with an email that proved that you listened and that you're following up with documentation skills, coming back with key points or things that you wanted or questions, all great ways to show. But I would say two things you could just learn to show up on day one to start working and doing things is know data very well and know how to document things.

Mike:
Well, that was a really good point. I would hammer on that cultural fit and question part a lot because I always feel like you and I are of a certain generation that we kind of almost interviewed in the hopes that they chose us, right? The best of the survivor, we get picked. But the part that really dawned on me as I moved through my career was I also need to interview that person to see, is this the type of person that I'm comfortable... Would I be excited to get on a call with them every day? Does this feel like the type of company that I'm going to be excited to go to work at? Or do I just want to get in to get in? And I've made the mistakes of going to work for companies and then realizing I didn't ask enough cultural questions. The way things operate here and my expectations for this job are very different than what I had in my head, and it's my fault because I didn't talk about it.

Jason Atwood:
Yeah. And again, I think it's different. Even again, culture was, I hate to say it, but it wasn't really that much. It wasn't that important. 20 years ago, I wasn't worried about culture; now I think it's above compensation.

Mike:
Yeah.

Jason Atwood:
I think it really is. And I've seen people go to places for less compensation because of a better culture. I've seen people leave terrible cultures that were highly paid. So really bringing that in, and that means how do they work? How do people collaborate? And you can ask these questions in the interview. You can say, "What are the three things you're doing this year to help your culture be better or to improve your culture at your company?" If someone asked me that, I'd be like, "Ooh, wow. Okay."

Mike:
That's a good question.

Jason Atwood:
That's a great question, right? You're then learning A; are they doing anything to make it better.

Mike:
Right.

Jason Atwood:
Or ask about... One of the things that we take at Arkus as very important is when I was doing my key goals for the next five years, and I was doing some presentations and talking to the staff about it. I had culture as a fifth thing, and then after doing it, I thought, "Wait, no, that's wrong. It's got to be number one." So for me, you ask a company, you say, "What are the main things you're thinking about doing for the next five years? What are the five key things that you're doing? What are your pillars?" Or whatever. And if they don't say culture, then you'd be like, "Oh, why isn't culture there?" And then you'll probably catch someone off guard; maybe they won't hire you there, but they should be thinking that keeping the company culture and embracing it, and making sure that it is... Culture isn't something that you set up and then walk away from.
It's not a database system. You don't just go, "Oh, it's set up, and it's running in the corner." It's something that needs to be cultivated; it's something that needs to be put into; it's something that needs to be fed and loved, and thought of, and changed as the ecosystem and the world changes. Our culture changed when COVID happened, right? We had to adapt; we adapted to that; it wasn't the same culture as before. When we were three people, now 75, but the culture's different, but we're adapting to that. So again, it is a really, really big point. It is something you can catch people on, you can ask, and everybody likes to talk about their culture. Everybody will tell you that they have a great culture, but that's how, as an interviewer or interviewee, you should be questioning it and really ask the deep questions. So when they say they have a great culture, "Say, can you give me three examples from last week where you prove that or that you know that it is a great culture?"

Mike:
That's a good question. Thanks for coming by, Jason, and sharing your wisdom with us. You said you present some of this. Are you going to be presenting any of this at upcoming Dreamin' events after?

Jason Atwood:
I am. Well, you're catching me on my road tour. I don't know if this podcast...

Mike:
Oh, there's a road tour.

Jason Atwood:
There's a road tour.

Mike:
Are you going to have shirts made up?

Jason Atwood:
I might. So yeah, I actually-

Mike:
Have dates on the back.

Jason Atwood:
-I go to a lot... A lot of things, I will be at World Tour this year. World Tour New York in two days, but I don't think this podcast will be out by then. But you can catch me at Texas Dreamin', I'm doing this year. You can catch me at WITness Success, you can catch me at Mile High Dreamin', you can catch me at Dreamforce, you can catch me at Northeast Dreamin'. And is that it? I think that's it.

Mike:
I mean, Northeast Dreamin' is kind of the tail end of the year for us.

Jason Atwood:
Yeah, it is. It's the last one. So I'll be at all those. I don't know if I'll always be presenting this, but you can at least find me if you wanted to.

Mike:
Right. I appreciate you coming by.

Jason Atwood:
Thank you. It's been great talking to you. Let's do it in another 10 years.

Mike:
Or sooner.

Jason Atwood:
Or a little sooner.

Mike:
Well, I thought that episode turned out phenomenal. I'm so glad I got to have Jason back, and he is going to be on a road tour presenting and helping admins at different Dreamin' events. So hopefully, you can get to some of those that he mentioned. I think that'd be really neat, and some really solid tips on interviewing, and even I couldn't agree more on building experience when you've never had a job in the tech industry. So thanks, Jason, for coming on and sharing everything. And speaking of sharing, if you love this episode and you've got friends, or maybe you're going to a user group and you'd love to say, "Hey, I've got a podcast for you to listen to on finding that first job or getting your next Salesforce admin's job," here's how you do it. You click the three dots in the corner; most of these apps, podcast apps, have this now.
And you can click share episode and you can post it to social; you could send it as an email to somebody, and then they get a link and they can listen to the podcast right on their phone, maybe as they're walking their dog, and even more. Now, if you wanted to look for any links or any resources, everything, everything I'm telling you, start your day admin.salesforce.com; everything is there for you. And of course, we also include a link to the Admin Trailblazer community, which is the admin group in the Trailblazer community, which is a great place and also the place I went to get all of these questions. Now, we'll also include a transcript if there's something you need to go back and read through; that is all going to be in the show notes. So, of course, until next week, we'll see you in the cloud.

 



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