Nerdforce #35 – Cartoon Monster Mash

Hi Nerds, I was finally able to get all my ducks in the air.  What a Joy it was to talk to Justice Sikikane and Stuart Edeal.  The Episode runs a bit long but its been a minute since we have issued a new episode, so hopefully it was warranted.


Nerdforce #34 Blazin’ the NerdTrail: LEX Superbadge Edition!

Hey Nerds!  Nana and I catch up after a seemingly endless span of Kids’ Projects and Events.  More importantly, we take a crakc at the NerdTrail by discussing our experiences with the Trailhead Superbadge, Lightning Experience Specialist.  If you haven’t tackled this badge yet, listen to the episode and take a crack at it.  It’s not as looming as you would think.

GrabBag01, GrabBag02, GrabBag03, GrabBag04, GrabBag05, GrabBag06, GrabBag07, GrabBag08, GrabBag09, GrabBag10

Mr. Graforium’s Wonderful #AwesomeAdmin RPG Application

There were a number of quiet days of contemplation as I wrapped up 2016.  I spent that time building the first iteration of my RPG (Role Playing Game) #AwesomeAdmin App.  This post is meant to briefly describe how this app has come together.  Even better, all of this was developed in Lightning!  Your thoughts and feedback will be a huge help as I develop this further.  My goal is to have something solid and perhaps used by a few people at Dreamforce this year.

Before I get into the mechanics, let me introduce you to the concept.  I have been employing a productivity technique inspired by Chris Hardwick’s “The Nerdist Way”.  The idea is to treat your life as a Role Playing Game.  By that, I mean you gain Experience points (EXP) for all actions.  The accumulation of experience builds to higher and higher levels in six separate categories.  The gamifying aspect is the increasing volume of experience points required to continue leveling up.  These categories are where the app gets subjective, and I’m completely interested in discussing other’s interpretation.

So what are these categories that make up a well-rounded #AwesomeAdmin?  I’m so glad you asked.  In no particular order, an Admin levels up in Work, Career, Family, Self, Giving-Back and Ohana.  Some of these are obvious and others tend to overlap.  What I find interesting is how an Admin Action can be interpreted in a number of different ways, and in turn can be manipulated for greatest gain; but in the end you are accountable only to yourself.

At the core of this application are two Objects.  Level Up and the Child Object AdminAction.  Each AdminAction Record is where we are logging basic tasks completed.  These records calculate how many Experience points are gained based on a few variables.  I’ll get to that formula shortly.  The Master-Detail Relationship is important because we want to get Roll-Up Summaries to the Level Up record.

So what fields are important for calculating the EXP Points you gain?  We want to be able to quickly create these AdminAction records, so the number of fields need to be reduced to the bare minimum.  At the same time we want to give more credit for actions that demand more effort.  For example, an Awesome Admin should get more Experience for writing a blog over reading a blog.  Let’s take a look at the input fields.

There are two other Input fields to help with review and reporting.  Date simply defaults to Today() and Description allows us to…  well that’s pretty obvious isn’t it?

Now we can get into the fun stuff!  Let’s talk about Formulas!!!

Start with 10 points per Admin Action.  Time Expended is a direct variable, but the longer we spend on one task returns a lower multiplier.  The idea behind this is that we grow less productive the longer we stay on a task. The Outcome of “Consume” or “Create” returns a separate multiplier at a 4 to 10 ratio.  Read over my formula and let me know how you would build it.  Are my numbers fair?

The Attribute Experience Points are separated into six fields at the AdminAction level for easier reporting.  Here is the basic formula that is repeated for each attribute: Career, Family, Giving Back, Ohana, Self & Work.

Moving up the ladder, we see these Experience Points rolled up into the Level Up Parent record.  We have six fields that simply roll up the EXP for each Attribute.  Once we have the total EXP for an Attribute, we can figure out our Level in that particular area.  Just like in Dungeons & Dragons, each level gets progressively harder to reach.  My formula here only gets you to level 30.  Do I need to go further?  Is the progression too harsh?

So now we have six attributes and six separate Levels.  By the way, when you Level Up… Celebrate!  You deserve it.  So how do we figure out our absolute Admin Level?  This one is simple, or at least it should be.  Just take the average of each of your Attribute Levels.  If only it were so easy.


Alright, let’s calm down.  There is always a way around an obstacle.  We just need to step back and the path will appear.  How about a Process Builder?

  • Start the Process when an AdminAction is created or edited.
    • Criteria to Execute is when this formula evaluates to be true:
      • OR(ISNEW(),
      • ISCHANGED([AdminAction__c].Attribute__c) ,
      • ISCHANGED([AdminAction__c].Outcome__c ) ,
      • ISCHANGED([AdminAction__c].Time_Expended__c ))
  • Update the Level Up record.
    • Admin Level = ([AdminAction__c].Level_Up__c.Career_Level__c + [AdminAction__c].Level_Up__c.Family_Level__c +
    • [AdminAction__c].Level_Up__c.Giving_Back_Level__c + [AdminAction__c].Level_Up__c.Ohana_Level__c +
    • [AdminAction__c].Level_Up__c.Self_Level__c + [AdminAction__c].Level_Up__c.Work_Level__c ) / 6

Pretty Straight forward.  We will need to create the single Level Up record to attach all of our AdminActions.  Be as silly here as your grown-up self will allow.  Mine is called “THE BIG GAME”.  This new record will give us our Admin Level.  When you level up here, a real Celebration is justified.  If you think leveling up an attribute gets tough, it is immeasurably more difficult to bump up the Admin Level.  Actually, it is not immeasurable.  It is very measurable.  It is exactly 6 times harder.  Looks like I got busted speaking in hyperbole again.

So we have the guts to the app pieced together.  Let’s polish up this Tin Man into a shiny UX.  We want to be able to quickly log an AdminAction, preferably from our Salesforce1 app.  Here are some steps I took to get the best bang for our buck.

  • Set up a List View for the Level Up Object. Unless you are getting creative, you will only need one Level Up Record, so the list view filter can be as simple as you like.  The important thing is to include all the Level Fields as columns on this list view.
  • Create an Action on the Level Up Object. This Action will create an AdminAction.  Keep it simple by only including the required fields for the AdminAction: Outcome, Attribute, Time Expended and the Description.  I got fancy by including an Icon (a D20, of course) and an encouraging message to myself every time I log a new AdminAction. 
  • For a bit of extra knowledge, we need a report, or more specifically, a chart to show us our progress. I built one showing my total time expended throughout the week.  I LOVE how we can set a reference line, by the way.  It gives me a goal to aim for each day.
  • Now we need to piece it altogether on a Lightning Page. Add a Filter List component for the Level Up list view.  Also add Report Chart using the pretty report you set up showing your progress.  Set the Page up as your default when you log into your org.

So how does it look?  Anything like mine?  I assume not.  I’ve used this Dev Org for a while and there has been some additional branding that I’ve applied.  One of the aspects that I didn’t know about immediately was a quick action slide.  If you slide your Level Up record to the left, you have access to your Actions, including the Create AdminAction you made earlier. 

I truly hope this was a fun exploration for you.  I have loved building it and I’m eager to see it evolve into something larger.  I want to know what you would do different.  I want to know what you would add to make yourself a better #AwesomeAdmin.  Do you have questions about what constitutes a Career Action over a Work or even Ohana Action?  Let’s talk.  Let’s create something.  Let’s all Level Up!


Nerdforce #31 – Who DOESN’T have an Eye Tattoo?

We wrap up the year with an elongated chat with the Nerdforce Players.  That is we talked to the vocal stars of our #Adminfiction Dramatic Readings; Benjamin Bolopue and Samantha Safin.  Stuart Edeal also joined us as a new conspirator in some new stories were are hammering out.  This was a much needed conversation with some great friends and I hope you as the listener feel the same way.  Let’s hear it for 2017.

Nerdforce #30 – To the WIT Cave

We got the chance to bring back Guest Accomplice Kristi Guzman and she came with her new Podcast Co-host Melinda Smith.  We had such a great time that we keep the meter running for an extra episode.  To catch the second half, you better subscribe to the Two WIT Podcast.  This new podcast is one of the most engaging new shows to my feed in some time.  We had a great time.  I hope you do as well!

Nerdforce #29 – That Pretend Ninja Phase

Nana and I hang out with one old friend and one new Guest Accomplice.  This is the format we are aiming for future episodes, so let us know what you think.  Dale Ziegler introduces to us his good friend Amber Battershell.  Amber very recently took to Trailhead to learn about all the great things in the Salesforce world.  We learn how enthralled she gets when faced with a puzzle and her first foray into a good sized Salesforce Roll-out.

Nerdforce #28 – A Grateful Homecoming

So, it may have been a while since I edited a full episode of Nerdforce, but I can honestly say that this one was the most fun to edit in a long, long, long time.  We have some great ideas brewing and I hope to hear back from many of you soon.




Dreamforce 16 – The Incredible Journey

WOW!! What a great time at Dreamforce this year, right?!  If the lot of you had half as much fun as I did, then you should be flying pretty high still.  Let me get down to the brass tacks here.  I arrived a day early and made my annual trip to Japantown where I picked up some Sushi, Mochi, and Feudal Japanes Lit, as you do…  I spent the next day working with the Apttus Folks on X-Author.  What an amazing tool! I really need to run a demo on the podcast sometime, somehow.  I accompanied Nana and her partner in crime, A.D., to her annual trip to Nanking.  I was excited about the whole of Dreamforce, but many of you may have imagined I was also getting nervous about the NerdforceCon Event.  There were a few sessions that I spoke at, I learned some amazing things and became inspired to be a better Admin.  Look, there is a ton of stuff that was great about Dreamforce this year and you will likely read about them from a dozen other blogs that will do so much better than mine at explaining it.  What I hope to talk you about is the experience of NerdforceCon and the elation that grew out of it.

It was a little idea that we had after recording an episode late one night.  “Lets celebrate our one year anniversary with something fun and a little crazy.”  For the next few weeks, that silly idea kept growing every time one of us would say, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…”.  For those of you didn’t get a chance to experience NerdforceCon or even the planning phase as documented on our podcast, let me paint the picture for you.

NerdforceCon is the ComicCon of Dreamforce.  We will have a party that starts with a flash mob in the Dreampark of #AwesomeAdmins dressed in Salesforce Themed Cosplay.  Then we would parade to a location for the the masses to hangout and play all sorts of board games in the name of Extra Life and all the sick kids in the Children’s Miracle Network.  During this wild NerdforceCon, we would announce the winner of the highly sought #Dreamcrate.  This collection of goodies will be the most amazing Nerd Swag for the biggest Salesforce fan out there.  Among the games played would be the final round of the greatest game of Dungeons and Dreamforce ever played.  The heroes would slay the dragon for the great Lord Benioff and all would celebrate with a clink of their glasses.  I would say we didn’t get everything we aimed for, but we had an amazing time and it will only get better next year. adventure time happy dance dance party party reactions Dungeons and Dreamforce went rather well.  Mark Ross led our jaunty band of heroes through buggy lairs and we battled hags and pizza flavored dragons.  We had unbeknownst guest stars in the likes of Dresh, the Patron of the West End Dream; Captain Wolverton; EriKuhl, the long lost sister of one of our heroes; Ranger Duarte and of course, Mighty Lord Benioff with his Boots of Magic.  It was amazing building a story with my fellow heroes, Brian Kwong, Amber Boaz & Samantha Safin, but the greatest feeling came from the collective $1400 we raised in this portion of our fund raiser.  On that note, I need to take a moment and recognize someone for making the largest impact on the entire fundraising drive.  Patrick Connelly has a huge heart and made a donation large enough to completely tip the scales of the game.  How he chose to use this power was curious but it was fun regardless.  You should listen to the story in whole.  You can catch the audio here: Episode01, Episode02, Episode03 or you can watch the fun Here.

The Dreamcrate was equally fun,Media preview
because it was more of a scavenger hunt for Nana and myself.  We wanted the best collection of Salesforce nerd
items and “By George! I think we did it!”  Seriously, as the word went out to the community we were flooded with gifts for the crate and it swelled to an enormous size.  Some would say it was too large.  There were a ton of people who gave to the Dreamcrate.  For brevity, I won’t list them all out here but you can see all of them HERE.  Once it was all said and done, the highest bid came in at $717 and our Dreamcrate Champion, Adam Olshansky rounded up his donation to make an even larger impact.  I can’t wait to do this again next year!!!

The NerdforceCon Event was equally fun.  Apttus was our gracious host and gave us a physical space to celebrate our efforts to give an Extra Life and our general Nerdiness.  I was very busy and disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to personally thank each and every one of our guests.   Nana Image result for extralifeon the other hand, played host and and did it splendidly.  It was an early morning event, so many of us had a chance to sit down, drink some coffee and relax our feet.  Gaming is at the core of the Extra Life drive.  I love games and when I saw a few people playing, I knew that NerdforceCon had elicited that childlike mentality that so many of us have forgotten.  We raised $900 on the event alone!!!!

So, it can be said that a great portion of this event happened just as we planned.  It went really well actually.  We raised well over $3000 for those Courageous Kids fighting Evil Monsters through Extra Life and the Children’s Miracle Network.  There is one more chance to help out though.  I have one more item to auction off for our Extra Life efforts this year.  I have now attended 5 Dreamforces and the friends I have made over those years have become a collection of the best friends I have had my entire life.  That is why I choked up a bit explaining how I acquired this treasure.  The feature image of NerdforceCon was commissioned through a talented Comic artist here in Oklahoma City.  I printed the drawing as an 18X24 poster.  It was a sizable work of art.  When I had the chance to meet Erica Kuhl on Dreamforce Day 1, she encouraged me to try and get it signed by key Salesforce Personalities.  The list was short but it seemed impossible to complete, considering some of the people are very big names in the Salesforce Universe.  Here’s a small secret though, if Erica Kuhl says she NerdforceCon16believes in you, you can climb any mountain she points at.  SteveMo was pretty easy.  Steve is a humble and gracious man.  Say hi if you ever get the chance.  Chris Duarte was equally open and welcome.  Astro was tough to hunt down, but I eventually found her hiding at the Lightning Lookout.  She’s smaller than you would think by the way.  Eric Dreshfield was fun because I bumped into him perhaps a dozen times over those few days.  I didn’t ask for Erica’s until I had all of them.  So it was the penultimate signature that made this hunt the greatest adventure of anyone else at Dreamforce this year.  I needed Parker Harris to complete the collection.  It was immediately after the main Keynote address and I knew Parker would be booking it to his True to the Core talk.  I rushed over to where all my MVP friends were soaking in the post-Key Note excitement.  Most of them knew what I was after.  Led by the fabulous Lauren Jordan, they blocked Parker from leaving and insisted he come talk to me.  I was nervous and fumbling for the poster and pen.  I barely squeaked out what I was doing and he gladly signed the myparkersignatureposter.  I was in such a daze, it took me a couple hours to realize how they all came together for me.  To feel that much care and love from that many people is something I can only wish upon every human being at some point in their lives.  Perhaps the world would be a happier place.

So I have droned on enough.  The auction is ON.  Our first bid comes from the one and only Charlie Isaacs.  Go HERE to bid on the poster and bring home not only a beautiful work of art or even an amazing story of enthusiastic friendship, but a chance to help a 7 year old little boy with a brain tumor or a 5th grade girl with acute leukemia. The bidding ends at 9PM CST Friday 10/21/16.  I look forward to another year of Nerdforcing around with all of you.  Thank You!

Nerdforce Presents – Dungeons & Dreamforce Part 3

Our #DnDF16 Heroes worked their way into the vile depths of the tunnels to find an evil Fern Gully of sorts. They battle a wretched foe who winds up having more in common with one of the heroes more than one would imagine