Surf Force is a community conference which encourages people to connect through the shared experience of Surfing. This may seem like an odd idea but the organizers want to intentionally challenge perceptions and show that with the right support, people can do more than they thought was possible. This year’s event was held in Bundoran, County Donegal, Ireland on 22-23 September.
The first thing to say is that Bundoran is beautiful! Despite the weather (which could best be described as sunshine and showers). Surf Force could have been sponsored by the Donegal tourist board for the great promotion it did of this hidden treasure.
Figure 1. The Great Northern Hotel Bundoran, the Surf Force venue
So many conferences exist in a vacuum where the location and environment barely exist. One of the stand-out aspects of Surf Force was the active connection between the event and the environment. This approach served to strengthen the Ohana of the event. Passionate and important keynotes about diversity in the technology industry and the protection of the environment kicked off a great event. In both cases, there was a strong emphasis on what we could do as individuals and as a technology industry to drive change. Messages that were only enhanced by the presence of the children of our Ohana, a significant reminder of our responsibility to put something back, right now, for the next generation.
Figure 21. A warm welcome on arrival
Sessions were challenging, informative, novel and motivating. We covered everything from leading Salesforce implementations to two-factor authentication and security models to the liveliest session on the IoT that I have experienced. The attendees were a broad spectrum, many joined us from the USA, and there were people from customers and partners right across Europe. It gave a great opportunity for networking and knowledge sharing.
Combining the Salesforce community aspect of the event with both an activity and a chance to exercise some of the spirit of the 1:1:1 commitment was a concept of near genius proportions. The surfing not only cleared the cobwebs away but brought everyone together as a Salesforce family and the beach clean was a fantastic feel-good opportunity to give back. It was distressing and eye-opening to see the amount of rubbish we collected but I think we all went away with a new-found passion for protecting our seas and with the microbeads app installed on our phones.
All round, a unique, joyous and important community event and I urge everyone to attend in 2018. Thank you, Shaun Holmes and the team.