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These are the 5 things you must do before Dreamforce, the 170,000-person tech conference taking over San Francisco this week (CRM)

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Dreamforce is Salesforce’s massive tech conference — so massive, in fact, that practically shuts down the city of San Francisco for the better part of a week. And it’s coming soon, running from September 25th to the 28th.

The streets of San Francisco will be packed with the 170,000 attendees eager to learn about tech and enjoy an onslaught of music concerts, parties and other events.

To do this event right takes a bit of planning, preparation, and maybe even a bit of shopping.

With over 2,700 sessions, speakers like former Vice President Al Gore, a concert featuring Metallica, and countless unofficial meetings to be had in the streets and hallways, it’s a busy time and a doozy to plan for. You may have your tickets booked and a calender filled out, but are you really ready for Dreamforce?

Maybe not. But have no fear. We’ve compiled the five things you need to know before showing up to Dreamforce this year. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

An earlier version of this story first ran in November 2017.

Buy new shoes


Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff is known for wearing Salesforce-inspired sneakers throughout the event. His Christian Louboutin high tops were a hit in 2013.play

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff is known for wearing Salesforce-inspired sneakers throughout the event. His Christian Louboutin high tops were a hit in 2013.

(Getty Images/Justin Sullivan)

San Francisco’s Moscone Center is the central hub for Dreamforce, but the event actually takes place across multiple venues in the SoMa (South of Market) neighborhood — not to mention the after parties scattered throughout the city.

That means even the most indolent attendees will find themselves racking up steps on their fitness trackers.

“I actually go out and buy some shoes every year because it really really takes its toll,” said Ben McCarthy, a Salesforce consultant and founder of the industry blog Salesforce Ben. “You don’t notice it until you do and you see that your feet are completely destroyed.”

This is a vital part of Dreamforce prep, he said, because if the conference doesn’t get to you, the city will.

“I was warned about the hills. Don’t under estimate the scale of the US. On Google Maps it doesn’t look that big at all, but I think I’ve got the record on my Fitbit in San Francisco,” McCarthy said, who’s flying in for the event from London.

(Pro tip: If you’re buying new shoes anyway, don’t forget to throw in a pair of compression socks. They gently squeeze your legs, which increases blood flow to reduce swelling and aching.)

Pack a portable phone charger — or two


Pack a portable phone charger — or twoplay

Pack a portable phone charger — or two

(Amazon)

Dreamforce is known for its extensive swag, and branded portable chargers are a popular option across conferences this year. But when it comes to keeping your phone charged, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

“Definitely take a portable charger,” said McCarthy. “They run down over the year, so I get a new one for Dreamforce.”

While Dreamforce has plenty of wall outlets where people can plug in their laptops or chargers, McCarthy said that he spends so much time running around, it’s not practical to sit around waiting for a phone to charge.

Plan your agenda, but don’t overbook


Plan your agenda, but don't overbookplay

Plan your agenda, but don’t overbook

(Thomson Reuters)

The Dreamforce agenda builder went live in early September, which was a pretty big deal for veterans of the conference.

The Salesforce tool lets attendees browse the dense session offerings and reserve spots on their schedule. While reserved spots are limited, a number of the sessions also have room for walk-ins, or take extra people once it’s clear that people who reserved a seat aren’t going to show up.

With over 2,700 sessions (and a limited number of seats), many attendees feel compelled to pack their days with back-to-back sessions. But this is not advised.

“With the conference prep, I think people should really spending time with the agenda and figure out ahead of time which sessions they want to get,” said Bryan Parker, CEO of DoubleDutch, a mobile app developer.

Salesforce offers sessions for many different industries, job titles, products and levels of expertise. So there are already several criteria that help attendees focus on the best sessions for their own needs.

McCarthy suggested that attendees sign up for only two or three sessions a day, so that they can spend the rest of the time networking and exploring some of the more passive learning experiences that the conference has to offer.

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“You’ve got to prioritize the things you want to explore,” McCarthy said.

Plan to party hard


Plan to party hardplay

Plan to party hard

(Eugene Kim, Business Insider)

After a day of sessions and meetings the real fun begins: the sponsored parties where your event badge gets you access to open bars at extravagant locations.

Those in the know download Partyforce, an app created by the app developer DoubleDutch as a way to organize Dreamforce nightlife.

Last year, the DoubleDutch team even had scouts at parties throughout the city to keep the app updated when parties get filled to capacity.

The parties range from wine and snacks, to just full on parties with headliner-type bands,” said Bryan Parker, CEO of DoubleDutch.

Since the parties are put on by sponsors, not Salesforce, DoubleDutch has to scrape a ton of different companies’ websites to compile its database. Last year, its scouts also added in parties that they heard about by word-of-mouth.

“The best one was Pardot’s party,” said Ben McCarthy. “They had Flo Rida in a big theater, and it was absolutely mad.”

“I don’t really like Flo Rida but I couldn’t speak the next day because I was singing to all of the songs,” McCarthy said.

Salesforce also hosts its own concert every year for an event they call Dreamfest. This year’s performers are Metallica.

As the company says on its website, “Dreamforce isn’t Dreamforce without epic concerts by some of the biggest names in music.”

Book your hotel … yesterday


Hotel Zelos — one of the closest hotels to Dreamforce — only has a few rooms left for the dates of the conference.play

Hotel Zelos — one of the closest hotels to Dreamforce — only has a few rooms left for the dates of the conference.

(Hotel Zelos)

If you haven’t already booked a place to stay, be prepared to pony up a lot of dough. While some of the luxury hotels near Dreamforce have rooms available for upwards of $900 a night, others like Hotel Zelos have been close to sold out since registration for the conference opened in June.

“This year’s Dreamforce will be one for the record books,” said Sietse Nabben, the general manager of Hotel Zelos, which has 202 rooms just blocks from the Moscone Center. “The event is unique in that, compared to other large city-wide conventions, attendees tend to book hotel rooms, meeting spaces and restaurant reservations very early.”

Those who prefer Airbnb are also out of luck. Only 15% of listings in San Francisco are available for the dates of that conference, and that gap will likely tighten as Dreamforce gets closer.

“It’s an incredibly busy time for hospitality in San Francisco generally, especially for Hotel Zelos and hotels like ours in the Downtown/SoMa hub that are located within walking distance to Moscone Center,” Nabben said, adding that his staff prepares for Dreamforce week for months before the event.



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Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard

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Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.

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However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard

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President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

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Drastic life changes affecting mental health

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Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.

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Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

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