Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Why Dreamforce Scares Me

I start to get nervous about a month before. I have to stop myself from thinking about it. Sometimes, waiting to finish planning until the last minute helps.

What makes me so nervous that I start feeling a bit nauseated?

Dreamforce.

It's the annual conference hosted by Salesforce.com - filled with education sessions, technical assistance, vendor booths and seminars on the future of the platform.

Don't get me wrong. I love Salesforce. I love the platform and the community and the training sessions... as long as I am sitting at home snuggled up with my laptop or at my isolated desk at work.

You see, I'm an introvert. And one that has a constantly running internal monologue about why I suck at handling social situations. I enjoy being around people, but in moderation. Social interaction exhausts me mentally. I'd much rather type than talk.

So the idea of traveling somewhere I'm not familiar with (it's my fourth year attending... but still), to wander around Moscone with thousands (tens of thousands!) of people, many of whom I correspond with on Twitter (and whose names I will most likely forget when I see them face-to-face)... it scares me.

That hasn't stopped me from going to Dreamforce in years past. But, my lack of confidence and the doubts swarming in my brain, well, those never stop. And if you're thinking right now 'she seems pretty confident to me!', know this: I fake it well. I put on a show. And then I go back to the hotel and revel in being alone.

I'll be there next month.

I know it will be a great experience. It always is.

But, that doesn't stop me from feeling a bit anxious.



Jenna Baze is a rather geeky girl with average social skills and an affinity for: Google Apps, Salesforce.com, Pinterest, natural light photography and finding creative ways to avoid doing dishes (which includes updating a handful of blogs).
Email:
rathergeeky@gmail.com | Twitter: @RatherGeeky | Facebook: Rather Geeky Tips

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

An Awesome Way to Automate Your Life, @IFTTT

Have you ever been so passionate about an app that you start talking like this?

"Oh my gosh you have to install this app I totally love it and I can't believe you don't have it yet why haven't you installed it yet do it now while I'm telling you how cool it is..."

Well, that's pretty much how my conversations have started about IFTTT.

IFTTT stands for 'If This Then That'. It lets you create a cause and effect relationship between a list of applications. This relationship is called a 'recipe'. It isn't a mobile app (yet) but it is a freakin' awesome tool. And personally, I'd rather manage from my computer anyway.

Sometimes when I learn about a new tool like this, my first thought is 'Yeah, that's really cool but I have no idea why or how I would use it.' Were you just thinking that? If so, I'm about to blow your mind (I hope).

First, the basics:

  • It's free. 
  • It's a web app.
  • It connects one app to another, allowing you to initiate an action. (If this is clear as mud, it'll hopefully make more sense when you see my examples below.) These are called 'recipes.'
  • They are currently 49 'channels', or apps to connect with.
  • You can share recipes with other people by making it public, or use recipes that others have created. (Note: When you make a recipe public, it doesn't share your specific information. It only shares the framework of the recipe.)

Now, how I'm using IFTTT:

  • Craigslist -> Pushover: To notify me on my smartphone at the moment an item is listed for sale on Craigslist with the word 'expedit' (I'm on the lookout for one of those Ikea bookshelves!) 
  • Facebook -> Dropbox: When I'm tagged in a Facebook photo, add the photo to a specific folder in my Dropbox
  • Blogger -> Facebook Page: If I post something new on my photography blog, add the first image in the post to a specific album on my photography Facebook page and include a link to the post in the description.
  • Instagram -> Facebook Page: If I post a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #BehindTheScenes, upload it to my photography Facebook page in an album called 'Behind the Scenes'.
  • Twitter -> Evernote: When I favorite a tweet, append it to a note in Evernote.
  • Instagram -> Dropbox: Whenever I post a photo to Instagram, add it to my Dropbox. (This way I have access to all of my photos locally.)
  • Weather -> Gmail: If it's going to rain tomorrow, email me. (I live in Seattle... I'm a glutton for punishment.)
Here are a few screen-captures: 

Above: a sampling of my list of personal recipes.

Above: Here's my favorite recipe - it pops up a notification on my smartphone when an item is listed on Craigslist with the word 'expedit'

I'm constantly thinking of new recipes to add.

The only drawback I've found is that it doesn't support multiple accounts, such as connecting more than one Twitter account or Facebook page. Once you authorize it for a specific page, it's set. But, I contacted support and they told me that this feature should be coming in the future.

If you're interested in automating some connections in your tech-life, check it out!


Jenna Baze is a rather geeky girl with average social skills and an affinity for: Google Apps, Salesforce.com, Pinterest, natural light photography and finding creative ways to avoid doing dishes (which includes updating a handful of blogs).
Emailrathergeeky@gmail.com | Twitter: @RatherGeeky | Facebook: Rather Geeky Tips


Preventing Duplicates with @Ringlead's Unique Entry Tool

Duplicates - they seem to be a natural part of life in any database. But, I'll do pretty much anything I can to prevent them. Data quality rules... naming conventions...

If you're a Salesforce admin like me, this is likely part of your daily life: cleaning and merging, contacting users to fix their records, running data quality reports.

But, I've found a tool that should not only improve the user experience but make my life easier as well. It's Ringlead's Unique Entry app.

Ringlead graciously let me install Unique Entry in my production org before it was officially released. I'm excited about the potential.

The challenge I find with duplicate prevention tools is that some of them are so... forceful. They stop the user from entering more information when a potential duplicate is identified. I've avoided those kinds of tools in the past because I know that my users could find it frustrating. I never want to put up a roadblock that could foster an 'I'm not entering it in Salesforce because that's a hassle!' attitude.

But Unique Entry is more flexible. It shows the user a message that they might be entering a duplicate and gives them a link to view the existing record. But it doesn't force them to stop creating the record. I like that. And I think my users will be more comfortable with it.

I also appreciate that, in contrast with many apps I've installed from the AppExchange, it doesn't include a custom tab. (We're reaching the limit on our tabs and I find that many app tabs go unused anyway.)

Here's a little more information about the app:

  • It can be used on the Account, Contact and Lead objects.
  • It is easy to configure - you just override your 'New' button to use the appropriate visualforce page in the package. That's it!
  • It retains your custom fields on the page layout.
Here's what it looks like - to configure and in action:




So, if you're looking for a tool that will allow a 'soft' duplicate warning and is extremely easy to set up, contact the folks at Ringlead. (They're nice.)





Jenna Baze is a rather geeky girl with average social skills and an affinity for: Google Apps, Salesforce.com, Pinterest, natural light photography and finding creative ways to avoid doing dishes (which includes updating a handful of blogs).

Emailrathergeeky@gmail.com | Twitter: @RatherGeeky | Facebook: Rather Geeky Tips


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