Salesforce Admins Podcast

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, it’s time for a spooktacular October Retro. In this episode, we’re getting ready to pass out the candy as we go over all the top Salesforce product, community, and careers content for October. We’re joined by J. Steadman from the Admin Evangelist team.


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

Podcast highlights from October.

For J., the podcast that stood out was a discussion of Tableau with John Demby. “As I look at how our admins are focusing on their skills and technologies that are valuable and relevant today and how we at Salesforce are working to better incorporate our products together,” J. says, “conversations about Tableau are really high-yield for our admins.” Mike points us to the IdeaExchange episode, and how Salesforce is always working to better improve how they incorporate customer feedback into their design and development processes.



Blog highlights from October.

For blog posts from October, both Mike and J. picked a post about custom permissions. As the features available to Salesforce admins become more and more robust, it gets harder to manage everything if you’re hard-coding values. With custom permissions, you go to a single place to turn things on or off and can keep on top of everything easier. “At one time, Profiles were enough,” Mike says, “but now, Profiles feel like a dump truck when you need a hand shovel.



Video highlights from October.

It might sound cheesy, but we get the question a lot: what is a Salesforce admin? Mike highlights a great, 1-minute long video to explain what it is you do to friends and family. J. recommends adding it to the signature line of your emails. J. points you to another great piece of content about custom permissions and screen flows.



The Kooky Spooks


  1. and Mike also talked about their favorite Halloween costumes. Here’s a picture of Mike’s, from growing up int he 70’s and 80’s:


[Cooky Spooks picture]


We also hear what J. has picked up for Halloween, so be sure to listen to the full episode.

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Full Transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to Salesforce Admins podcast in the October monthly retro, or should I say the Halloween special, for 2021. I'm your host Mike Gerholdt. And in this episode, we'll review the top product community and careers content for October that we really, really want you to catch up on. And to help me do that, I am joined by J. Steadman. Hi J.

J. Steadman: Hello. Thank you very much, Mike, for having me here. And I'd like to suggest that we upgrade the title of this to a spooktacular since we're in Halloween time.

Mike Gerholdt: I will say the number of Halloween title updates on apps and things for Halloween is starting to become quite a bit. But I think Hulu has Huluween or something.

J. Steadman: You know, that's good. That's good. Huluween.

Mike Gerholdt: That's great. Then it changes the whole thing. And you know, like, what? I just want to watch the American Pickers show.

J. Steadman: Well, Mike, change is hard.

Mike Gerholdt: It is. So before we get into all of the fun October topics that we have talked about, I do want to remind you that there's podcast swag on the store, which is always fun to hand ... you could hand out swag to trick-or-treaters. I mean, what trick-or-treater in your Hollywood, in your Hollywood, in your neighborhood, wouldn't want some podcast swag? Maybe you live in Hollywood, and you're trick-and-treating.

J. Steadman: Yeah. I was going to say to our listeners in Los Angeles, if you're in Hollywood, in your Hollywood, hand out this swag. Just catch-

Mike Gerholdt: It's required. It's required. That's the new-

J. Steadman: It's the new decree. In your Hollywood. I like that.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Yeah. In your Hollywood, I mean, that's maybe what we start calling neighborhoods now.

J. Steadman: Every neighborhood is a Hollywood.

Mike Gerholdt: I mean, everybody's got like a podcast and a Twitch and a, what is it, TikTok. I sound old. I should stop talking about apps. God, I sound like grandparents talking about-

J. Steadman: No, you're doing good. You're focusing on all the big things, podcasts, TikToks.

Mike Gerholdt: No congratulations. Your VHS doesn't flash 12.

J. Steadman: Wow. I remember that setting, wow. Setting the clock on a VCR was so hard.

Mike Gerholdt: I honestly think it was easier for us to put somebody on the moon than it was to set that clock, because that was the thing, man, when the power went out ...

J. Steadman: Yeah. So if you're listening and you never had a VCR-

Mike Gerholdt: Or you don't know what VHS is.

J. Steadman: Yeah. So VCR is a video cassette recorder, right? The VHS is the cassette you'd put into the VCR. So to set the clock, because they always had clocks for some reason, which thinking back on it makes no sense, it's not as though they had some kind of menu that you could mess around with. There was a play, fast forward, rewind and stop. And I guess record if you were very, very lucky. That's crazy. I forgot that those were the buttons that you'd have to use to set the clock.

Mike Gerholdt: I mean, there was always some sort of weird combination of three buttons that you had to press at precisely the same time.

J. Steadman: Yep, like nuclear code same time.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, I mean turn the keys. You ready? Okay. You down there. Press record when I press play.

J. Steadman: On my mark.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Three, two. Okay. All right. It's flashing. Wait, is that good? And oh, you remember the number of flashes?

J. Steadman: I don't.

Mike Gerholdt: You had to wait. So when it flashes really fast three times, then it's in like the time mode and then you have to press forward to move the clock forward, and then like rewind to set the hours or something, because every button did multiple things. It was hard. If I got the clock within 10 minutes of what the real time was, it was good enough.

J. Steadman: It was good enough. Do you remember, so when the iPhone launched, people were like, "This is crazy. How am I going to be able to control things with no buttons?"

Mike Gerholdt: Right. But there was a button.

J. Steadman: But looking back at the VCR, it's like, "Look, you had buttons and look what you did to us."

Mike Gerholdt: I know. It, well-

J. Steadman: It should have been touch screens all the way down, throughout history. Should have been touch screens in like 1910.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I mean, if you've had any kind of satellite TV within the last 10 or 15 years, I feel like it was an arms race of how many buttons can we add to the remote?

J. Steadman: I haven't had those services, but I've seen the remotes you're talking about.

Mike Gerholdt: 10 million. Nearly 10 million. And some buttons you would press once a year, but they had to exist.

J. Steadman: Like it's the Christmas button?

Mike Gerholdt: It's like the Christmas button.

J. Steadman: Or the Yom Kippur button.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, it's the one time a year, you got to press this button, like recalibrate settings or something. And then the bad thing is you press, what button you push? I don't know. They put them a 16th of an inch apart.

J. Steadman: Yeah, I don't have anything that small. I think there's some larger than that.

Mike Gerholdt: So every time you go press the button, you're pressing like six, perhaps five maybe, and all the numbers around it.

J. Steadman: That sounds like my experience ... I tried using a Blackberry once. I never had one, but I tried using one once, and you push one button and it's like J K L M O N altogether.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. But those had stylus. They gave you a needle to play with them.

J. Steadman: Yeah. I guess they did.

Mike Gerholdt: Remember those? I had one of those little pocket calculator things. It had a stylus.

J. Steadman: Oh, like a PDA?

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. Yes. I couldn't even remember the name there.

J. Steadman: Personal digital assistant.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. It was not very personal.

J. Steadman: I had a PDA for a while and it held like five songs. Like five MP3s on a [crosstalk].

Mike Gerholdt: Oh. I mean they were the most five you ever listened to.

J. Steadman: Oh yeah. I was like, "All right, let's do this." It took like 25 minutes to get them uploaded onto the card.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. You start the night before, "I'm going to be so cool tomorrow."

J. Steadman: Yep. That's exactly right. And then, it didn't always work. Transfers could get like an error message or something. So if you tried to upload the songs, it wasn't just pushing the new songs that you added. You had to reload everything from scratch. So you'd be on campus walking around, hoping to listen to your 15 and a half minutes of music and the whole thing got corrupted. So nothing loaded up. It was a perfect day then. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. And of course it didn't tell you that while it was synching.

J. Steadman: No, Nope.

Mike Gerholdt: I mean, why? Just fail-

J. Steadman: It said something like operation complete.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

J. Steadman: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep. Oh fun times. Oh, fun times. Well, I have no segue.

J. Steadman: Well [crosstalk].

Mike Gerholdt: [crosstalk] segue it from old technology to podcasting, which half the people in the world still don't listen to?

J. Steadman: Well, here we go. So that's a great example of technology and all of the issues that it caused for us and how uncomfortable it made us, even though it was providing us the features that we were looking for. In our October topics highlight, we're going to be talking about great features that are helping people's lives and improving some of those old deprecated things that we never want to see again.

Mike Gerholdt: That was really good.

J. Steadman: You're welcome.

Mike Gerholdt: You should write more of my segues.

J. Steadman: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mike Gerholdt: Okay, good.

J. Steadman: I'll send you my rate sheet.

Mike Gerholdt: Good. Oh, could you fax it over so I can make a mimeograph of it?

J. Steadman: Absolutely. I'll fax it over so you can Xerox it.

Mike Gerholdt: My dot matrix. Oh, there's somebody out there listening to this going, "I don't know why any of this is funny."

J. Steadman: Because it was so bad and so hard to use.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

J. Steadman: And now you know that the joke is good because I explained it.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. So let's explain podcasts that we liked in October.

J. Steadman: Yeah. Do you mind if I go first, Mike?

Mike Gerholdt: I was going to ask if you'd go first, and just dig us out of this conversational rut that I've put us in.

J. Steadman: Well, I was happy where we were, and I'm happy where we're going. So in looking at all of October and the fantastic guests and subjects that you focused on, my favorite, I think, was the Tableau discussion that you had with John Demby. And the reason that I think that that podcast was great this month is, as our admins are focusing on their skills and technologies that are valuable and relevant today, and I look at how we, as Salesforce, are working to better incorporate our products together, I think conversations about Tableau specifically are really, really high yield, very, very valuable for our admins. I'm a huge fan of Tableau. I think the technology is fantastic. I'm a huge fan of John Demby. He is a super great person to talk to. He's very passionate about our community. And I think that anyone who cares as much about our admins as John does, let's never stop inviting him in. And I'm also a huge fan of you. So the three things all together in a single podcast, that to me is like peanut butter and jelly.
And seeing some of the things that y'all are talking about, bringing the power of Flow into Tableau, I think that that is legitimately a game changer. I know that that gets thrown around in tech a lot, but that's a significant upgrade to the technology. Seeing that SOQL was going to be coming into Tableau, I think that that's really, really huge for our existing admin base. So if you haven't listened to it yet, folks, please do. That is my vote for best podcast of October.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I agree. I enjoyed that. I enjoy always talking with John. I just enjoy having worked on the platform for, I don't know, over a decade, what Tableau brings in terms of ease of use and reportability, because it's so real-time and it's so intuitive for me to build stuff, as opposed to some of our other analytics products. And it just feels very approachable.

J. Steadman: Yeah. And I think the approachability is a huge factor. And I think that it's really important to recognize that, if you're not using Tableau today, you can go and get a free account. You can interact with it, you can start using it, and it's not as difficult as you think. And when we're looking at our total, like all of the admins in the world, we have to recognize that many of our admins are using all kinds of technologies now. Like as a team of evangelists, we focused really well on core technologies, what we call core technologies. And I'm really excited to see us start to really embrace all of these other technologies that we've acquired over time, and that are really becoming more entwined with our platform, right? Because there are admins out there that definitely benefit from this Tableau content, people that are already using Tableau today, people that may be using Tableau in the near future. So anytime that we're able to ... whether it's Tableau or MuleSoft or Slack, I love that we're starting to bring those family of products into our conversations here.

Mike Gerholdt: Absolutely. I will highlight the IdeaExchange podcast that I had with Scott and Hannah. I think, thinking back to just the time that I've spent on the platform, and I remember early days looking at the IdeaExchange and thinking, "Wow, that is so cool that the company is open to taking these raw ideas from their customers." And at the time I was working for an organization that had boisterous customers, but wasn't listening to them in the same respect. And I just happened to think of, like that is such a neat concept and I wonder how they're executing on it. And I never really thought of, and who could, what happens when a decade or two goes by and a thousand ideas become tens of thousand, become hundreds of thousand, and yet you still have this big corporation driving a product vision. How do you mesh those two?
And so I thought it was interesting to sit down and chat with Scott on how they've moved to having the community prioritize things, things that they're working on, the amount of time that they really encourage product managers to get in there and get their hands dirty with the idea, and see whether they can't incorporate that stuff into their current roadmap. And also just be completely transparent with the community and say, "This might not make it," or, "This will totally make it. And here's where we're at with it."

J. Steadman: Yeah. I think, as I look at the IdeaExchange from a customer perspective, so I've worked here at Salesforce for about three years now, three and a half years now, so I wasn't a customer too, too long ago. And I was there around the time that things started to change over, I believe, from just throwing in an idea and getting up votes to this idea of prioritization. I think I was just making the transition into the company here at Salesforce when that change was made. But what I loved about it is it took this idea of our suggestion box, and it's starting to supercharge it and operationalize it a little bit. I love that you were able to pull the curtain back and have a conversation with them about how product managers are really trying to dive in and take a look.
Our admin community is so passionate and driven to bring up those features that they really need and that they really desire. And they do a great job of socializing these ideas amongst one another. And I don't think any solution is going to be perfect, because we have so many admins, right? So many admins, which is fantastic. I love the idea that our admins are becoming a voice at the table to really prioritize features, prioritize these really roadmap items for our product. The closer that we can bring our community to our product managers, as we all continue to scale. We were talking about this a little while ago, like the scale internally at Salesforce is insane. Take the product away, just look at the number of employees that we have, and managing all of those folks and how they're taking in ideas from other people. That's got to be just a Herculean task. So really excited to hear about these changes.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Now, before we get into the blog, well, as we get into blog highlights, I want to point something out. I noticed we both picked a post about custom permissions.

J. Steadman: Oh yes.

Mike Gerholdt: So why?

J. Steadman: Well, my picks don't end there. I'll throw down a further hint. I have another custom permissions thing that I've picked later on in our conversation as well. Do you want me to go with the why first or do you want to go with the why first?

Mike Gerholdt: I would love for you to go with the why first.

J. Steadman: Yeah. So we both picked blogs that highlight custom permissions. The reason that I think custom permissions are being selected here, and the reason that they are important, is as our tools, as admins, become more and more robust, which is what's happening, whether we are looking at the features that are available with an app builder, like Dynamic Forms, Dynamic Actions, Dynamic Interactions, or if we're talking about just old-school features like validation rules, or if we're talking about things like displaying a Lightning Web Component or making certain fields on a Flow available to a user, all of these things can be really difficult to achieve, if we're hard coding values, right?
You have to dive into things, type them out manually. If you've ever got to change, if we're talking about, let's say, a Lightning Web Component, if you want to change the visibility, well, you'd have to go back into that component. You'd have to edit whatever you've typed in there. Custom permissions are a fantastic way to stop all of that. Instead you go to a single place, you have a custom permission, you can turn it on or off. And we really highlighted, this month, a number of different applications for custom permissions that you can use in your app building, in your declarative business logic, in your UX, all to benefit your users, and give you, as in the admin, super, super granular control over who sees what or who can do what. And I think that those are some of the most powerful levers to pull as an admin. So that's my long answer to why.

Mike Gerholdt: But it's a very good answer.

J. Steadman: Well, thank you.

Mike Gerholdt: So I added it just for the simple fact that I feel like, at one time, profiles were enough, and now profiles feel like a dump truck when you need a hand shovel. The amount of product and the amount of features that an admin's managing, you can't give them the experience, a user, the experience that they need in order to work as efficiently as possible with just a profile. And that's why I chose that, that and also, sneak peek, next week on the podcast, you'll hear Cheryl Feldman, who is the PM for profiles and permission sets and permission set groups. But I do really feel like we're at the point now where you need a scalpel to very finely trace along the tissue paper of a user and make what they need to do, what they need to see, what they need to interact with, as fine-grain as possible, so that they can work as efficiently as they need to, because everybody's up to more screens now.

J. Steadman: Yeah. That's the absolute experience of an admin who's creating something's for an end user, like we need to be able to really narrowly slice permissions and hand them out in a way that makes the most sense. And then there's also the question of maintainability. Me as the admin, how do I know who has what permissions? And I think that that's where, as our products became more complex and time passed, that's where profiles really started to get that dump trucky aspect that you just pointed out. I once worked in an org where every user had their own profile. And the reason that that happened, and thankfully it was a small org, but the reason that happened is the admin was struggling with how to assign a profile to more than one user. In trying to come up with this way to, what's the lowest common denominator? How do I only assign those permissions that I need to, and then stack? And I think that might have even been before permission sets were a thing, caveat.

Mike Gerholdt: I mean, I was close. I was close when I was an admin. I used to have maybe one or two users per profile. It was just so hard, even when you group your biggest set of users together, like sales, you still had people in pre-sales or people in deal support, or like different stages of the cycle, and they needed to do different things to the customer record or the opportunity or the contract.

J. Steadman: Yep. And that's where custom permissions ... so you should check out the blog ... we should actually say what blogs we're highlighting here.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. We should. Well, the links are in the show notes.

J. Steadman: That's true.

Mike Gerholdt: See, that's the trick, because then they have to open up the show notes.

J. Steadman: Yep. Do you want to give the title of yours first?

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Mine is Why You Should Add Custom Permissions to Your #AwesomeAdmin Tool Belt.

J. Steadman: Yeah. And mine is Allow Certain Users to Edit Data Using Custom Permissions in Validation Rules.

Mike Gerholdt: And yours came out a week after.

J. Steadman: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Both Jennifer Lee posts.

J. Steadman: It's true.

Mike Gerholdt: She knows a little bit about permission.

J. Steadman: She did a nice little mini deep dive into custom permissions.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. And completely dominated the blog highlight section of the retro podcast.

J. Steadman: Good job, Jen.

Mike Gerholdt: That's a campaign right there. So last in the bucket of content that we put out, before we start our Halloween theme discussion, which I know I didn't tease out at the intro, but I'm sure everybody, now that they've heard it 22 minutes in, is just begging for us to get to, is video highlights. This time, I will go first. So I included a link to our YouTube video of What is a Salesforce Admin? I know it sounds cheesy, but we get the question a lot. And so does everybody else. And I just felt like the video we put together for Dreamforce was really cool and a minute long and just kind of something that it just made me feel good.

J. Steadman: I agree with the feel good vibes. I think as a person who is like ... most people in my family have no idea what I do, and they haven't for years. And a video like this is good for two reasons, I think. One, it can communicate really well who an admin is today, which might be slightly, I don't know, I think we're slightly more robust than we were 10 years ago. We're doing a little bit more stuff in the business, I think. But two, it communicates that with a sense of joy, and we're seeing a lot of faces from the community, and people have heard me talk about this in the past, but I genuinely really believe in this as a career. I genuinely think that we are improving lives. We're improving our own lives, the lives of people at our business and subsequently things at our company. And I'm really proud of that, right?
So to have a nice succinct video that brings that all together and is able to be shared amongst other folks, I think that's a really powerful calling card. And I'd invite any of our admins to pick that card up and share it with someone. If you've ever gotten the question of like, "Hey, what is an admin? What do you do?" Or if you need something zesty to add to your signature line of your email.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, yeah, there you go. Here's what I do. Click play.

J. Steadman: Yeah. So my video pick is actually a video that I made, and it's not because I made it-

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

J. Steadman: ... because that's whatever, it's because it's about custom permissions, right? So where we were discussing custom permissions, why you should use them, in one post on the blog, and then how you can use them in validation rules, in another post on the blog, this video focuses on how you can use custom permissions to display a screen Flow to certain users. So I recommend that you take a look at that, because the power of custom permissions cannot be overstated.

Mike Gerholdt: No. And if you think they can be, read last discussion. Just rewind-

J. Steadman: Just rewind a little bit.

Mike Gerholdt: ... just six minutes to when we talk about blog highlights. Okay. So that is the content. I mean, that's not all the content. There's a lot of great content out there. It's just, this is the content we'd really like you to listen, maybe play the podcast a few hundred times-

J. Steadman: A few thousand times.

Mike Gerholdt: ... on your speakers, to your neighbors. That would be cool.

J. Steadman: Loud speakers, portable speakers.

Mike Gerholdt: Just get like a big speaker, like in Blues Brothers, and drive an old cop car around your town, playing the admin podcast. I'll send you a sticker.

J. Steadman: As a side note, don't do what Mike just suggested, right?

Mike Gerholdt: I mean, if you had an old cop car, like the Blues Brothers, it would be kind of cool. I dressed up as Blues Brothers for one Halloween.

J. Steadman: Did you?

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, of course. I mean, I have total black suit, just like that, and the Ray-Bans, and I'm built like Jim Belushi.

J. Steadman: I feel like this was a Midwest thing, and we both talk about the Midwest sometimes, but did you ever ... your costume was just wearing a pumpkin on your head?

Mike Gerholdt: No, but mine was close. So I was going to ask you, J., what your favorite costume growing up was.

J. Steadman: Oh, okay.

Mike Gerholdt: So I tried to find the picture this weekend. I couldn't find it, but growing up, I had a costume. It had a bib, because all the costumes in the '70s and '80s had bibs, but mine had some sort of headdress thing, rubber thing that you tied around your neck and then you blew it up and there was another head on your head. And it was yellow, this like yellow scary monster thing. And then it came with some makeup, like green makeup and stuff that you had to put on your face. And I remember putting that on and being like, "I am the scariest thing on the block. I am a little monster."

J. Steadman: Wow. That sounds really-

Mike Gerholdt: I still remember that.

J. Steadman: It feels like there's tying, there's inflating, there's makeup.

Mike Gerholdt: I mean the inflating was the hardest part.

J. Steadman: Yeah. I was trying to, like you explained that you have to inflate it after you put it on?

Mike Gerholdt: No, before. It was just like a beach ball.

J. Steadman: Crazy. Was it like a pumpkin beach ball?

Mike Gerholdt: No, I'm trying to find it. No, I mean, not pumpkin. It was yellow, but they had different colors. I was an '80s kid. Yeah. Oh, it was called the Kooky Spooks 1980s inflatable head Halloween costume.

J. Steadman: Spooks.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

J. Steadman: 19, okay.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I'll put a picture in the show notes.

J. Steadman: Do it. Do it.

Mike Gerholdt: I don't have the picture of me. I know the picture of me exists. It's somewhere in this world. I'm just unable to find it.

J. Steadman: I want to use that statement more frequently in my life. I know it's somewhere in this world, but I don't know where to find it.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, it's true. Yeah.

J. Steadman: I think my favorite Halloween costume growing up, when I was in my late tweens, early teens, maybe like 13 or something, I came up with this really clever double costume idea.

Mike Gerholdt: Ooh.

J. Steadman: So what I did was, I dressed up as a werewolf, including like a mask and some kind of spooky hair tufts. And then I also put a pumpkin on my head. So what I did was, I walked around the zone that I was trick-or-treating, got all the candy, and then I took off the pumpkin on my head and threw it in a bush. And then I was wearing like a cloak that I removed and then I was a werewolf. And then I hit the neighborhood a second time. Very efficiently, might I add. So it wasn't really about the costumes per se. It was more about the cleverness and the candy yield.

Mike Gerholdt: I never thought twice about going around in the neighborhood. I never thought about that. I also didn't do the costume change. You just turned my world upside down.

J. Steadman: So at least in the neighborhood that I grew up in, parents can be a little odd about deciding when a trick-or-treater is too old or not old enough or anything. But one thing that was in my neighborhood was like, no repeat offenders. You cannot come back if you've already been through once. So I was like, "Well, okay. You just won't recognize me."

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

J. Steadman: And the pumpkin's great because it adds a little height.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

J. Steadman: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. So I added this. People probably won't understand what I'm talking about, but you know you go trick-or-treating, and nowadays including myself, I have two bins of stuff. I have packaged candy, Snickers, your Twix, your M&Ms. And then I have stuff for children that are allergic to things. So-

J. Steadman: Oh.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. So you know about that? You put out like a teal colored pumpkin. And then that way kids can go trick-or-treat in your house and they know they'll get something safe. So I'll buy like little mints or notepads or pens or fun erasers. And it's basically like non-food item, like you give a non-food item. And the kids that come up, I only get like usually one or two every year, they trick-or-treat, and, "Oh, could he have a non-food item?" "Yeah." And it's like a whole bin of fun kids grab toys stuff. But growing up, it used to be a regular occurrence, you'd go into the older neighborhoods where the grandmas and grandpas lived. And they would make non packaged food to hand out to trick-or-treaters, which doesn't happen now. But I wondered what your favorite non packaged Halloween food was?

J. Steadman: So I have never been lucky enough to go to a neighborhood that was actually handing out like a fresh, big treat from somebody that I felt trusted me and I trusted them. But I can tell you, I've attended my fair share of Halloween parties. And Halloween parties, at least in the Midwest, are usually potlucks, and everyone brings in the usual suspects, but they're all Halloween themed. They've all been dressed up for Halloween. And I think my favorite Halloween dessert, it's the dirt cupcakes with a worm coming out of them.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. Yes.

J. Steadman: Yeah. Yeah. I like the dirt cupcakes. I like them because sometimes the Halloween foods can just end up getting real gross looking. But the dirt cupcakes are cool, because-

Mike Gerholdt: Bleeding eyeballs or something.
Yeah. Like I don't really want to eat that, but it's a gummy worm, so I can get behind that.
Right. Yeah. What was the dirt made out of? Crushed up Oreos.

J. Steadman: Yeah. It's crushed up Oreo or any dark ... like sometimes people put sand, so it could be like graham cracker.

Mike Gerholdt: Not literal sand.

J. Steadman: It's just sand. It's real gritty, really crunchy.

Mike Gerholdt: Gran was out baking the cupcakes, drops them in the sandbox.

J. Steadman: Yep. It's really horrible. It hurts a lot to chew.

Mike Gerholdt: So I will see your dirt cupcakes and I will raise you popcorn balls.

J. Steadman: Oh yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh man. Popcorn balls were the best.

J. Steadman: Yeah. Yeah. I totally forgot about popcorn balls until right now.

Mike Gerholdt: There used to be a couple houses growing up that I would go to, and she would wrap the popcorn balls in like an orange Sarah Wrap or something, so it looked like a little pumpkin. And that used to be the best, just the best, because it's the best part of popcorn. It's like a solid, sticky caramel popcorn, and it's dense. Oh.

J. Steadman: Yeah. It's kind of like Cracker Jack, but it's a big old ball.

Mike Gerholdt: It like if you were to accidentally get a good box of Cracker Jacks, they'd seen a little heat, and stuck together. Yeah.

J. Steadman: There's a gourmet popcorn place in Indianapolis called Just Pop In!, that was just down the street from me. And I feel like they did popcorn balls.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, I'd buy them.

J. Steadman: I feel like they did. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: I'd have a ... "Do you guys have a punch card?" "Not for you. We're just giving you equity stake in the business."

J. Steadman: They switch from the punch card to like bulk rate, right?

Mike Gerholdt: No, we bought you a forklift.

J. Steadman: I'll have one pallet of popcorn balls.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. In orange Saran Wrap, please. Okay. It seems everywhere I turn, at least around the holidays, for Halloween, people are always talking about candy corn. Are you a yay or nay on candy corn? Because it feels it's somewhat divisive as a sweet treat.

J. Steadman: I think candy corn is divisive as a sweet treat. But I would like to give you an answer that is both yes and no, but I'm going to categorize it. I am yes for candy corn as an ambassador of the season. In other words, I recognize candy corn as a symbol that All Hallows Eve is nigh approaching, right? So like if it's on a T-shirt, awesome. If you've got like some kind of cool graphic, I get you. If we're talking about candy corn as a food, I have to say no, because it's not a food. It's just gross.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. So I still hear no, because if I stick you at a party, and there's a bowl of candy corn, at the end of the night, I'm fairly certain that bowl of candy corn's still going to be there.

J. Steadman: That's true. But if you didn't do any other decorations, I will take the bowl of candy corn as a signifier that we are at a spooky party.

Mike Gerholdt: Just wow. So July 4th, somebody puts candy corn out. It's a spooky party now.

J. Steadman: It's a spooky party, yep. And if you're upset at me for thinking that your party is spooky, you should not have put candy corn out on the 4th of July.

Mike Gerholdt: It's your fault. It's your fault.

J. Steadman: It's like putting out a Christmas tree on, I don't know, like Indigenous People's day or something, right?

Mike Gerholdt: Sure. Sure. Yeah. May 25th. So I see your nay-ish, and I-

J. Steadman: Eating, I'm a solid nay.

Mike Gerholdt: A solid nay, no matter what?

J. Steadman: Eating, solid nay.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay.

J. Steadman: They do have a chocolate candy corn that I've had.

Mike Gerholdt: Why would you do that?

J. Steadman: Because it tastes better.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, you put chocolate on a flip flop and it tastes better.

J. Steadman: No, it's not on top. It replaced one of the-

Mike Gerholdt: Inside?

J. Steadman: Yeah, no, it's not inside. It's like, I don't know what candy corn is, wax?

Mike Gerholdt: It's made from child's tears, I think.

J. Steadman: Yeah. So the candy corn itself is made from a chocolate flavored something.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, then that's just chocolate painted like a candy corn.

J. Steadman: Listen, you asked me what my opinion is.

Mike Gerholdt: I did.

J. Steadman: And I am telling you that the chocolate candy corn is a yay from me.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. All right. It just feels like it's just chocolate. So here is my one and only condition for eating candy corn.

J. Steadman: Okay.

Mike Gerholdt: If it's mixed with salted peanuts.

J. Steadman: Oh, interesting. I've never done that.

Mike Gerholdt: It's kind of ridiculously good.

J. Steadman: How did you stumble into that combination?

Mike Gerholdt: I was at a tailgate, and the breakfast hadn't arrived. I need a little something to munch on, and there was a bowl of candy corn and peanuts over there. And I went over and I started to pick the peanuts out. And my friend, who was hosting the tailgate, said, "You either eat it as is, or you don't eat it at all." And I said, "But the candy corn sucks." And they said, "Not with peanuts."

J. Steadman: I have this mental image of this person that prepared the party. They were like, "Okay, I'm going to get rid of this candy corn that I've had for the last five years. And I'm going to make sure that anyone who touches the peanuts have to take it. I'm not going to be left with a bowl of candy corn again."

Mike Gerholdt: Nope. Nope. And they convinced me. So I won't eat a lot of it, but it's sweet, it's salty and it just balances out right.

J. Steadman: And it's chewy and crunchy.

Mike Gerholdt: I mean, yeah. It works. It works. But candy corn all by itself, nope. I mean, it'll be there. I'll be long gone and the candy corn bowl will still be there. So I'm a nay, unless it's got salted peanuts with it.

J. Steadman: Do you accept it as an ambassador of Halloween spirit?

Mike Gerholdt: I don't know. I mean-

J. Steadman: Well, that sounds like a no, to me.

Mike Gerholdt: It just feels like ... have you ever seen the video where somebody stacks a whole bunch of candy corn around a paper tube, like a paper towel tube? And it actually looks like corn cob.

J. Steadman: I haven't seen it.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I watch a lot of weird things. All right. We've just about exhausted our Halloween theme discussion, except ... so obviously we know you don't hand out candy corn to trick-or-treaters. What are you handing out this year to trick-or-treaters?

J. Steadman: So I decided this year, it's been a rough couple years for everyone, so I went to Target where they sell the same boxes of candy that you get at the movie theater, but they're a dollar each. So I went out and I bought 25 boxes of movie candy, five boxes of five different kinds. And that's what the kids get to pick. After that, we got a couple of the mix and match miniatures of like M&Ms and Twix and Snickers and gummy bears and whatever. But I wanted to start off, "Here it's been a rough time. Eat some sugar."

Mike Gerholdt: And you're making the effort to get outside.

J. Steadman: Yeah, that's right. You deserve this.

Mike Gerholdt: You deserve this.

J. Steadman: Also we're at the end of the street, so if you made it that far, congratulations.

Mike Gerholdt: Here's your reward.

J. Steadman: That's right.

Mike Gerholdt: I am the same. So it's interesting. When I moved, my old house, I used to be on a heavy trick-or-treat street. And by heavy, I mean like, lights on at five, you don't even go inside your house, you have to sit out front, because there's a line of trick-or-treaters that come through. My neighbor, in my Hollywood-

J. Steadman: In your Hollywood. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: In my Hollywood, the person next to me would decorate their house, and make these poor kids walk through a maze. And so when they got to my house, I was just sitting outside. I'd have a cooler of beer for the parents and then just fun size candy, but I do it by the handful. But I would go through, I kid you not, $300 in candy.

J. Steadman: Whoa.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. That's how many kids we had go through. We would have people drive to our street and park.

J. Steadman: Wow.

Mike Gerholdt: And there would be a line waiting for people to pull and park on the street, run their kids up and down the street. I mean, it was nonstop. It was nonstop for like three and a half hours.

J. Steadman: Wow.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. That was my old house. So I moved. New house-

J. Steadman: Specifically because of the trick-or-treaters, I was out of there.

Mike Gerholdt: There was a candy corn farm just down the street. I moved, I mean, a new development. And I know all the kids now, because obviously we've moved in. Interestingly enough, the first Halloween, there was no neighbors here, because we were the first house in the development. And then the second Halloween, there were no kids because it was COVID. And so this will be our first Halloween, and we already know all the kids in the neighborhood. So I bought full size candy bars.

J. Steadman: Ah, good on you.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I'm like your Halloween candy full size, right? Like, "Trick or treat? What you get?" "Here's a Snickers bar," and just that thud that it makes when it hits the bottom of their little pumpkin bag. Like, "Oh my, that's wonderful."

J. Steadman: I think we're going to take Ruby trick-or-treating, like bless your heart for giving out full size stuff. I think about it now from both sides of the mirror. I'm a new-ish parent, and it's like, "Oh wow. So, okay. We're doing right by those kids who have earned it." And then I think about somebody giving my 22 month old kid like-

Mike Gerholdt: Full size Snickers.

J. Steadman: ... a three pound bag of Raisinets, and it's like, "Oh, well, I guess we'll eat that, then."

Mike Gerholdt: Maybe that's ours. Maybe that's ours. But you know the opposite, so I would encourage everybody to do this, because there are a lot of kids that go trick-or-treating, or don't go trick-or-treating, because they can't handle the sugar, and they're allergic to chocolate or various things. Those party supply stores always have like little bags of little yo-yos and fun pens and stuff that light up. So I'll buy a bag of those. It's like 10, 15 bucks. And usually you only get one or two kids. So I give them like half the bag. And then they go back home and they at least have something. So keep non candy stuff at your door. That's why.

J. Steadman: That's a wise ... that's sage wisdom.

Mike Gerholdt: You know, you feel bad when, "This is all you have?" "Yeah." And then just, oh, a little Spiderman walks away and ...

J. Steadman: Oh, little Spiderman, don't be sad.

Mike Gerholdt: It hurts. It's so hard. Anyway. Well, I would love to know what your favorite costume, non packaged Halloween food, if you're a yay or a nay on candy corn, what you hand out to trick-and-treaters. You have a lot of things to tweet at us when you listen to this podcast. And especially bonus points if you have pictures of yourself in your favorite Halloween costume.

J. Steadman: Yes. And remember, if you want us to understand that your tweet is Halloween themed, you must signify it-

Mike Gerholdt: You've got to include candy corn.

J. Steadman: ... with a candy corn emoji.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Yes. Because otherwise-

J. Steadman: How would we know?

Mike Gerholdt: I mean, you could include the pumpkin or the ghost and we're still like, "This could be anything."

J. Steadman: Yeah. This could be autumn. This could be a cemetery.

Mike Gerholdt: Maybe they're just tucking in a pumpkin. Maybe they got a cut pumpkin.

J. Steadman: Maybe.

Mike Gerholdt: And here's its little sheet friend, and they just go around solving crimes.

J. Steadman: Whoa. Spinoff. We're going to make a show, Pumpkin and the ghost.

Mike Gerholdt: But if it's candy corn, then it's a Halloween.

J. Steadman: Then we know it's Halloween.

Mike Gerholdt: Then it's Halloween. Yeah.

J. Steadman: It's the only place that candy corn shows up in the world.

Mike Gerholdt: Is Halloween. Yeah. Oh, I'm going to include the link to a YouTube video of Lewis Black talking about candy corn, because I think he best sums it up for me.

J. Steadman: I'm going to guess that he's a nah then, because I know Lewis Black and-

Mike Gerholdt: Most people are nah.

J. Steadman: Yeah. He doesn't talk about [crosstalk].

Mike Gerholdt: Unless you put it with salted peanuts, then it's remarkable.

J. Steadman: Well again, that's your plug, salted peanuts, candy corn.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. If you want to learn more about all things that we just talked about, like the Halloween stuff or the candy corn, please go to to find those links and many more resources. You can stay up to date with us for all things admins. We are @Salesforceadmns, no I, on Twitter. I am @MikeGerholdt on Twitter, Twitter, can't even say it. It's all the candy corn in my mouth. If Gillian were here, you can tweet at her. I think Gillian's probably nah on the candy corn. She is @GillianKBruce. And of course my guest host today was J. Steadman, and give them a follow on Twitter @J_mdt. So with that, please stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.

Direct download: October_Monthly_Retro_with_Mike_and_J.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Dr. Shannon Gregg, Ph.D., MBA, and president of Cloud Adoption Solutions. She’s also the author of It’s About Time, a book about refocusing on the things that you think are really important.

Join us as we talk about how work has changed since COVID, why it might be the Golden Age of the Admins, how to start getting out there as a speaker, and much more.

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

Work-life integration.

2020 and 2021 saw a lot of changes to how many of us work. “No more is it work-life balance, it’s work-life integration, and I think that’s exciting,” Shannon says. Everything was changed around very rapidly to enable people to work from home, but now we need to catch up on what that means in the long term.

“Now that people aren’t returning to the office in droves, we need to ask how we can make sure everybody has what they need to do that in a way that is sensible and flexible as their roles continue to change,” Shannon says, “at first it was just access, but now it’s optimization.” One good thing to come out of how long the pandemic has extended is that we’re not simply turning the lights back on and getting right back to it—we’re dipping our toes in the water and reexamining how much time in the office is actually necessary.

The Golden Age of the Admin.

One thing Shannon thinks admins need to learn how to do in a world without SABWA is to be more proactive to get inside of their users’ experiences. Screen sharing is a powerful way to get inside of a workflow and really figure out what’s going on, and it’s become much more of a normal thing in a work-from-home environment rather than something that might come across as intrusive or overstepping.

“I think now admins have the ability to say, ‘I’m going to take this bull by the horns and give you something you weren’t expecting because you didn’t even know it was possible,’” Shannon says, “and that to me is amazing because I feel like now we’re in the rise of the Golden Age of the Admin.” She has some great suggestions for how you can get a broader view of how your entire organization is working together to figure where you can create new efficiencies. This especially includes the kinds of things we tend to put off because they don’t seem essential, especially security.

How to get started with public speaking.

Shannon has been doing a lot of speaking, and her advice, if you want to get out there, is to make sure it’s something you’re really passionate about. “For me, that’s always been that user adoption is driven by thinking like or interacting with the user,” she says, “and great technology isn’t great if nobody’s using it.”

You need to be able to put your ideas out there without the fear that someone is going to disagree with you. “It’s not about me as a person, it’s about the topic,” Shannon says, “and being able to segment those things is a challenge that’s really worth doing.” Engaging in a spirited debate is a positive thing because it helps you expand your perspectives and think about a topic from all sides.

There’s so much more in our conversation with Shannon, so be sure to catch the full episode to hear all of her amazing insights.

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Direct download: The_Golden_Age_of_the_Admin_with_Shannon_Gregg.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

On today’s episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got two members of the Salesforce team: Scott Allan, Sr. Manager of Product Strategy, Customer & Market Insights, and Hannah Donovan, Product Management Specialist. We’re checking in to find out what’s new with the IdeaExchange and how they’re both working hard to make it even cooler.


Join us as we talk about the changes that IdeaExchange is making to how things are prioritized and why it’s never been a better time to submit an idea.


You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Scott Allan and Hannah Donovan.

How IdeaExchange crowdsources prioritization.


The IdeaExchange has been around for fourteen years, delivering 3400 ideas that the community asked for into Salesforce products. “But, with the growth of the company, with the growth of our community, with the growth of our product management team, the tool has outlived its usefulness in its current form,” Scott says. To help, their team has been working to reimagine the IdeaExchange to figure out how to bring the community even closer to the process.


One new feature is IdeaExchange Prioritization. Each community member gets a budget of 100 coins to vote on which top ideas they’d most like to see the team work on for the next release. They’re still iterating on that feature, and making it even easier with things like duplicate protection, better search and categorization functionality, and a higher level of communication between product managers and customers.

Overhauling communications with the community.

“Every day we feel so lucky we have such an engaged community that is willing to provide us feedback,” Scott says, “but if you’re the person who submitted an idea and you’re very passionate about it and you don’t see anything happening with it—that can be frustrating.” One thing they’re working on with the redesign is to better surface Ideas that might not have the most votes but are quickly picking up steam.


“We want to pay attention to if there’s a lot of energy on an idea with what the community is contributing,” Scott says. You can also more easily track Ideas you’ve interacted with to see if there have been any updates. There are also some best practices for what makes for a good Idea. “It’s the use cases and other community members that add additional layers that really make an idea so valuable,” Hannah says, “not only to the person creating it but also to the others who might benefit from it.”’


What the overhaul is trying to get to the root of is why certain features are requested. It’s not just about what needs to be done, but how it will best help people. Hannah, Scott, and the team are also working on new ways to communicate with the community about what they’re working on and get even more feedback. If you have a new idea, it’s never been a better time to get it out there.

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Full Show Transcript


Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. This week we have two guests on. We have Scott Allen, who is the senior major of product strategy, customer and market insights, and Hannah Donovan, the product management specialist. Both are really working hard to make the IdeaExchange an even cooler place. That's right. This whole episode is going to be IdeaExchange from the multi-year journey to rebuild the IdeaExchange to the new functionality that was just released to, yes, even some forward-looking IdeaExchange and known issues reimagination. Tune in. This a fun episode and there's a lot of cool stuff you get to hear about. So with that, let's get Scott and Hannah on the podcast.
So Scott and Hannah, welcome to the podcast.

Scott Allen: Thanks, Mike, for having us.

Hannah Donovan: Yeah. Thanks for having us.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Well, it's going to be fun. We've got a lot of ideas to exchange on this episode.

Scott Allen: I see what you did there.

Mike Gerholdt: That might be the only pun because Jillian's on leave right now. But it's all things IdeaExchange on this episode and some really cool stuff. So Scott, before we get started, I'd love for you and Hannah to introduce yourself to our admin community, who may or may not know you, and how you got started at Salesforce. So Scott, if you could go first.

Scott Allen: Yeah. So Scott Allen, part of the customer and market insights team at Salesforce, which is just a fancy way of saying we're all about listening to our customers. I joined the team just about three years ago to focus on this whole IdeaExchange reimagine effort that was kicked off at Dreamforce 2018, really to engage with the community. Figure out where we were going wrong, where we were going right with the IdeaExchange, and create a whole new experience. And I got to tell you, it was the best introduction to Salesforce because my job when I started was to go out to community group meetings, to community events, and just talk with our community admins, devs across the board, and learn what they needed out of the IdeaExchange. And then I got to solicit ideas from them about how we could improve it. So fantastic way to immerse myself in Salesforce. The trailblazer community. Couldn't have asked for a better orientation.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow. Now, Hannah, you're also doing IdeaExchange. Tell me about your journey to the Salesforce ecosystem.

Hannah Donovan: Yes. So my name is Hannah Donovan and I'm a product manager on the IdeaExchange team and the known issues team. So I work very closely with Scott and customer market insights to communicate with our customers and better understand their needs and how we can map those on to product deliveries and deliverables on the IdeaExchange. And so previous to this, I was actually a developer, but I've been at Salesforce now for about six months. And I think the coolest thing about my job so far is the customers and the people that I've been able to talk to. And so I'm really excited to be on this podcast today to continue to foster that relationship with our community who is so great and so awesome.

Mike Gerholdt: Boy, six months. That's a couple years in company terms.

Hannah Donovan: Yeah, exactly.

Mike Gerholdt: Now, Scott, in your introduction, you talked about the IdeaExchange and rebuilding it. I would love for you to give us that journey for new admins that maybe didn't even know we need to rebuild an IdeaExchange.

Scott Allen: Well, the IdeaExchange has existed for over 14 years, and it's been super useful in being that always on feedback platform for our community to submit ideas about what they would like to see better in our products. And it's been super useful. We've had our product teams mine the IdeaExchange across those years, and we've delivered 3,400 ideas that the community asked for into our products. But with the growth of the company, with the growth of the community, with the growth of our product management team, the tool has outlived its usefulness in its current form.
So what we set to do a couple years ago, which we announced at the True to the Core session at Dreamforce in 2018, was to really re-imagine the IdeaExchange. Modernize the site so it was just a better experience to use, but also try to figure out how do we bring our community closer to our product planning process?
And so what we initially set out to do was we built this new part of the site that's existed for the last a year and a half, which is IdeaExchange prioritization. And really, that allows our customers to take a set of top ideas that our product managers could start to work on in the next release and apply a budget of coins to them. Feel that constraint that a product manager does. They can't do all of these ideas, but figuring out which of those top ideas are the ones that they'd actually like to see the team start to work on in the next release. And so we're trying to bridge that gap of, hey, just submitting an idea, and then, hey, one day that being delivered, to try to bring the customers into the actual planning process that our product teams go through.

Mike Gerholdt: That sounds really... Oh, man. I can only imagine, as Salesforce has grown, the number of ideas and things to fix. I think you did a really good job of catching us up. Hannah, Scott mentioned coins and budgeting. Can you help explain what the new functionality of the IdeaExchange is?

Hannah Donovan: Yeah, of course. So Scott was mentioning earlier what we call our prioritization experience. And so what we're launching this week is a new experience and a refreshed experience of our voting platform. So with this launch, we've made it easier for our customers to collaborate and engage with Salesforce product managers, as Scott mentioned. Bringing them closer to the product delivery life cycle to co-create the future of Salesforce products.
So with this launch, some of the functionality we've included is a more simplified idea submission experience. So now users can leverage search as you type duplicate detection to make sure that they're not posting duplicate ideas, and better find the category that fits their idea while posting. In addition to that, there's better keyword searching and tracking of ideas. So users can more easily filter by product category, sub category, status, and release. Sort by date created, points and relevance, and track ideas that you've posted, upvoted, and commented on in our new my activity tab.
Additionally, there's enhanced collaboration on idea records. As Scott mentioned, it's really important for our customers' voices to be heard. And now users can thread comments, like an app, mention other community members, and communicate more directly with Salesforce product managers. In addition to that, we are also including more information on ideas so that there's a higher level of transparency with our product managers and our customers. So we're identifying product managers for ideas that are in development, having clearer statuses, and even including release notes on delivered ideas. So while we launched prioritization in 2019, we're launching something very exciting and bringing customers closer to the always on feedback platform that Scott had mentioned earlier.

Mike Gerholdt: I think it's interesting perspective for me because I was a customer for many years. I've submitted a few ideas. Thankfully, the homepage is customizable now. That was one. And now I'm on the inside, so I also get to see it. I think from a customer standpoint, it's always interesting because you submit one or two ideas and those are your ideas. They're your children and you pay attention to them. But for a product manager, I have to envision they're getting tens of thousands of ideas funneled to them, each of which, to the person submitting, is super important. So are product managers expected to respond to all of those ideas? How do they keep pace?

Scott Allen: It's a challenging situation, but also a wonderful situation to be in, because I think every day, we feel lucky that we have such an engaged community that is willing to provide us feedback. But yes, I think if you're the person who's submitted an idea and you're very passionate about it and you don't see anything happen with it, that can be frustrating.
I think one of the things we're trying to focus on with this new IdeaExchange is to better surface ideas. And not just the ones that have historically had a lot of points, but ones that are getting a lot of energy, that idea of velocity, and making sure that the community sees it and that our product teams see it. Just because something has a lot of points, it may be because it's an older idea and it's just had more time to accumulate points. That's what I think we're trying to do, is try to look at how do we engage the community and listen to the community on a couple of different dimensions? The new IdeaExchange experience is going to help a lot with that just because it's now on a more modern org, it's a more modern experience.
I think the other thing, too, is I love what Hannah and the team did with the search and filter facets. So you can actually see by the different product categories how many open ideas there are. In the previous experience, you just had a page that listed 10 ideas, and you could paginate through tens and tens and tens of ideas. But in this new experience, you can easily see, hey, my idea in the analytics space is one of 3,000 ideas that are submitted. And so it just brings a little bit of context, and hopefully some appreciation that we're trying to find those great ideas, but sometimes it is amongst a lot of other ideas that's hard to sift through.

Mike Gerholdt: I think that's important to point out. An idea that could be there for five years and have, I don't know, 5,000 points, that's a lot. But an idea submitted five days ago that's already got maybe 2,500 points, that's really that momentum that you were talking about, right?

Scott Allen: Yeah. I want that to be a signal to say, hey, there's something there. And the other piece of it is the comments too. We want to pay more attention to is there a lot of energy on an idea just with what the community is contributing? Or has Salesforce put a comment on there and then there's a bunch of comments coming back? So I think with this new platform, we're going to have more tools to look at these different signals.

Mike Gerholdt: So I'd love to hear, as the community that's listening to this, where they can find the ideas that they've posted or upvoted, but also maybe one layer deeper. Tell me what makes for a good idea that people can get behind.

Hannah Donovan: That's a great question. So in the new experience, users can navigate to our homepage and select what are calling the my activity tab. So within that tab, users can view ideas that they've posted, upvoted, or commented on to track any future updates that are made either from the community or from Salesforce.
And I think that you're touching on a really great point there, Mike, about what makes a good idea. And I think it really starts with the creator and the idea behind it. So in addition to having this space for folks to track what it is that matters to them, we've also provided some more details on what crafting a good idea looks like when you're posting it. We want to be there to help make sure that our customer's voices are heard. And so we've included details about the idea's purpose and impact should be included when you're writing the idea, and describing really its use case and how it improves Salesforce. Because this is a community engaged platform, and it's the use cases and other community members that add additional layers that really make an idea so valuable and important to not only the person creating it, but also the others who might benefit from it.

Mike Gerholdt: I think being able to post an idea that perhaps an entire industry or vertical would see as a much needed feature versus you is very different.

Scott Allen: Yeah. I think that's one of the things that we're trying to educate folks about, internally as well as externally. And I'm just going to do a quick plug here for the IdeaExchange Basics badge on Trailhead, where we go into some of this detail.
But I think the main thing that we're trying to ask people to do is describe the objective. What is somebody trying to do? Oftentimes we get feedback or ideas that's, hey, I want this button to be blue. And we'd rather hear, well, why do you want it to be blue? What are you trying to achieve? And really, that's the way that our product managers think. They're trying to assess, hey, what's the job to be done that this particular feature that I'm going to go spend time and money on, what is it trying to do? And how can we do that for the masses?
And so any idea that's articulated like that, I think it helps our product managers. But I also think it helps the community think about, well, what would they do if that idea was delivered? And that's where we see a lot of value in the comments that are added to the ideas of additional use cases, and that brainstorming popcorn effect of somebody puts something out there and then the rest of the community piles on. And it just makes that idea so much more rich for the product team to then consider when they actually go to build it.

Mike Gerholdt: And of course, the goal is getting on the prioritization list. So can you help everyone understand? Everyone wants to submit idea that gets on the prioritization list.

Scott Allen: The building of the prioritization list is-

Mike Gerholdt: A master big gold prioritization list.

Scott Allen: Yes. So what we've done with prioritization right now is structure it so that we do it three times a year, and that's in alignment with the core release schedule. What we're doing is getting very much in front of the release planning that the product teams go through. So as part of that, we say, hey, product teams, go look at the list of ideas for your area, focusing on the top ideas. And start at the top and go down the list one by one and say, hey, is this something that your team could start to work on if the community prioritizes it? If it is, then it's a candidate to go on the list.
If it's not, this is where we're asking the product teams to also go in and add a comment and explain why it's something that they can't start to work on. And there's often very valid reasons. Sometimes there's some architectural dependencies that other teams need to work on before a particular team could start to work on a feature. And I realize this is a muscle that we are building, and we've luckily had more engagement from our product teams in providing comments and updates. But essentially, that is how the list gets built, is just by looking at which of those top ideas are feasible.
Now, in some cases, we've had teams that are working on a particular area and there aren't ideas for that area, but there's a related idea. And so they've grabbed things lower on the list because they wanted to assess, hey, I'm going to go into the product and work in this particular area, would the community want me to also tackle this other thing? Or should they focus their energy on a completely different area of the product? So there's a little bit of artistry to how that list gets put together. But we're really trying to build that rigor so that we use this exercise to really test, hey, are these top ideas still top ideas or are there other things that the team should be focused on?

Mike Gerholdt: I think that's a good point because every product area might have a different starting number, right? And flow and automation are top of mind for a lot of people. So those are probably getting tons of ideas. Whereas maybe mobile isn't or dashboards aren't. And so the top idea may have a very smaller starting number, which would explain the variances in points. I know, speaking of which, when we would do Dreamforce submissions for admin track, you could always tell what was top of mind for the community and what was less top of mind. I still need to talk about these sessions, though. Just have to find the submissions for them.
I think one thing that comes up from the community is they would love to know why they can only prioritize one or two ideas as opposed to more than that.

Scott Allen: I think when we started prioritization, we wanted it to start simple. And so we've built it in a way that it happens three times a year, one list with a variety of product areas covered. And that does actually provide some value to us too, because especially when we first started this, analytics ideas, platform ideas, the most popular parts of the Salesforce platform were constantly winning. And I think that's a good signal when we go into budgeting for the company to say, hey, there's still a lot that our community wants from these areas. So if you want to think about resourcing, the community wants more. Add it to analytics, add it to platform, as an example.
But we know that there's going to be tremendous value when we are able to do this exercise that's focused on a particular product area. Our product teams are asking, can you put together a list for my 10 ideas in my product area so that I can have my customers that are interested in marketing cloud or service cloud really help shape our roadmap? And it is absolutely something that's on our IdeaExchange roadmap that we're focused on now that we've launched the new posting and voting platform.

Mike Gerholdt: That's really cool. So why don't we throw a little bit of a forward-looking statement out there and talk about the future of the IdeaExchange. Hannah, let's start with you.

Hannah Donovan: I think that the future of the IdeaExchange is really at the heart of what Scott was just saying. We know that it's really important for our community members to be able to prioritize ideas and communicate directly with product managers on ideas that matter to them. So as Scott has said, we're really looking to find a way to make sure that customers and our community members can prioritize ideas just for the clouds that matter to them. So we're calling this platformized prioritization and it's on the top of our roadmap looking forward. So that's where our efforts will be in the next couple months, and we're looking for community support on how to best implement this. So we're excited to dig in there and continue to build that.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow. That's really cool. I know at some point, we talked... Well, Hannah, you're on the known issues team. And I have friends in the community that are usually all over known issues. Do we have anything forward looking that we can talk about in terms of that?

Hannah Donovan: Yeah, absolutely. I'm glad you asked that because known issues deserve some definite love. And so we are simultaneous to working on what we're calling platformized prioritization for the IdeaExchange. We're working on kicking off known issues. And so really at the heart of this is we want to make sure that known issues surface the right information to our customers.
For example, I know we've heard a lot of feedback about including potentially things like error codes and fields like that on the known issue to make it more specific and useful to when our customers are debugging. Additionally, we know search is incredibly broken on known issues today. And so we're looking to enhance that experience so that our community can drill down and find the known issues that matter most to them. Additionally, another pain point that we're looking to identify is to better update our community on the status of a known issue. We know that we haven't done a good job of that in the past, and that's a really important area that we're looking to improve.
And so that's the short-term plan for known issues, and we're continuing to build out what the longer term strategy and plan is in the future. But we are excited to relaunch this platform for our community and continue to co-collaborate to build a better experience for our Salesforce community.

Mike Gerholdt: That's really cool.

Scott Allen: I was going to say, one of the benefits of having this team that's been focused on the IdeaExchange now work on known issues is we want to rapidly apply some of what we've built and learned by building IdeaExchange to known issues. So I would say give us feedback on this new IdeaExchange experience. Does the search seem better? Do the different filter facets that you see get you to the ideas that you care about faster? Because our assumption is if we apply that to known issues, it'll also connect you to the known issues that you need to be aware of. We've got a known issues reimagine group in the Trailblazer community, so please come and join and post your feedback there, in addition to an IdeaExchange Trailblazer community group as well.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, cool. And I'll put those links in the show notes so that you can click through and easily join them. I totally was thinking of... I know a lot of people are probably like me and submit ideas around platform features. But I'm guessing, and this feels very meta, I'm guessing you do get a lot of ideas about the IdeaExchange from on the IdeaExchange, right?

Scott Allen: We certainly do. We've got a category under your Salesforce experience where, whether it's known issues or IdeaExchange, if you've got an idea, check what's there, but submit new ones. We'd love to hear.

Mike Gerholdt: I never thought of that. I don't know why. It seems super cool. I could spend a day digging through that stuff.
Scott and Hannah, it's been awesome to have you guys on. It's fun to see how Salesforce is really prioritizing everything that the community is talking about and doing intake on. I selfishly don't know of another company that has as broad and as open of a pipe to its customer base to influence product that Salesforce does. I'm sure both of you do, maybe. But it seems like we really are just sitting around with the door open and listening as opposed to on our own path, which is very cool. So thank you both for taking time out and being on the podcast, and connecting with our admins and revamping how we're making the product even better for them.

Scott Allen: Yeah. No, thank you. And I just have to say, we are incredibly fortunate to have such a passionate, engaged community. That's really what our job is, is to make sure that we bring the voice of our community, the voice of our admins, back in to Salesforce and make sure that our product teams hear that. So keep on talking to us. We'll be listening.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. Submit ideas, even ideas on the IdeaExchange.

Hannah Donovan: Yeah. And just to echo everything that Scott has said, we can't thank our community enough for all the support and feedback that we get from them. We are so fortunate to have you. And the work doesn't stop here. We're continuing to innovate and create for our customers. So continue to provide feedback to us on the IdeaExchange and in those community groups. We really love to hear from you. Thank you.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, we'll have to have both of you back maybe in a year or so, eight months when Hannah has her four year anniversary at Salesforce. Because the timeline grows quick, right? So anyway, that's a joke. But yes. Thank you all. We will have you back on and look forward to more ideas on the IdeaExchange.
It was great to have Scott and Hannah on the podcast and learn a lot about the IdeaExchange. Holy cow. Of course, if you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, go to to find more resources. And hey, there's new podcast swag in the Trailhead store. Be sure to pick some of that stuff up. The holidays are coming up and I can't think of a better gift to give than podcast swag. Even the trick-or-treaters could enjoy a nice little Salesforce admins podcast mug. You'd be the most popular house. I promise you.
There's a link in the show notes to buy some of that really cool swag. And while you're at it, check out the links. We have ways to stay up to date with us for all things Salesforce admins on social. We are @Salesforceadmns, no I. My cohost, Gillian K. Bruce, you can give her a follow on Twitter. She is @GillianKBruce. And of course, I am @MikeGerholdt.
Thanks so much. Hope you enjoyed the episode. Please stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.

Direct download: The_New_IdeaExchange_with_Scott_Allan_and_Hannah_Donovan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

or this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we bring back John Demby, Senior Manager of Tableau Portfolio and Strategy. We recap his experience at Dreamforce—you may have seen him in the background in a silver cowboy hat repping his native Texas.


Join us as we talk about the future of Tableau, Flow, and Salesforce.


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

Scavenger hunt results!


We did a little scavenger hunt to celebrate International Podcast Day on September 30th. Here’s the thread with the five questions (and the answers):


[embed tweet]


A now… the winners:

  1. @itsmejanet_e - Janet Elliott
  2. @Priyanka_sfdc - Priyanka Chaudhari 
  3. @SalesforceRay - Raymond Gutierrez
  4. @spilzer - Sarah Pilzer
  5. @_SowmyaBhat - Sowmya Bhat
  6. @redsoxdad - Dave Dudek


And some honorable mentions who got all but one:

Slack integrations and SOQL coming for Tableau.


John actually got to attend Dreamforce in person this year—you may have seen him and his cowboy hat in some of the shots. He was happy to see that Tableau was a part of almost every demonstration. It just goes to show how far we’ve come with integrations, but there’s a lot more to get excited about.


“We’re going to enable you to have a conversation with your data in Slack,” John says, and get follow up information and explanations as to why your data is doing what it’s doing. There are more pre-built templates and content for Salesforce coming in Tableau, and tons more that was showcased at Dreamforce, including full SOQL support for connectors.


The power of Tableau and Flow.

John also wanted to share that they’re to delivering integration from Tableau into Salesforce Flow, and you can sign up now to try the pre-release. Tableau is all about the three steps of unlocking your data, analyzing it, and then taking action.


“Flow gives us that act portion,” John says, so you no longer have to pivot out of a visualization. You can make an analysis and then let Flow do the dirty work.

New tools for sustainability.


One thing that has been on everybody’s mind in light of the pandemic is sustainability. As we’re rebuilding supply chains and getting the global economy started again, we’re rethinking how we can still do these things but keep the environmental impact in mind. One of the things that John is looking forward to is a new Dashboard Starter for Sustainability Cloud. You can look at your carbon impact and make some decisions about how to bring it down or even get to zero.


There’s a Tableau Conference coming up in November that you shouldn’t miss. It’s all virtual, so it’s never been easier to attend.

Podcast Swag:



Mike: @MikeGerholdt

Direct download: New_Tableau_Integrations_with_John_Demby.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT