A Big Salesforce Tech Nerd: CRM Science's Kirk Steffke
I started working at CRM Science back in 2012 as I found myself looking for a career change and wanting to pursue my personal passions. I had been babysitting a company's network and tending to their small farm of servers while spending "downtime" playing the role of Salesforce admin. I always joke that I became more attracted to working with Salesforce only because "it didn't call me in the middle of the night complaining that it was down."
In reality, I was attracted to working with Salesforce as it allowed me to become more intimate with the day to day operations of the business and provided a suite of tools to enhance the existing processes and even create entirely new solutions. So long server-life!
My primary role at CRM Science has been focusing on our AppExchange client side of our business, as the company's AppExchange Practice Lead. My client focus ranges from companies looking to build out an app for the AppExchange and don't know the first thing about the process to those that have already gone through the process, but aren't happy with the results.
I've developed a passion for driving customers towards success. When we're involved with the process from the start, it's easier to guide new clients towards that goal. However, the most fun is putting together the strategy to turn around a failing app that customers aren't satisfied with. Engaging with these customers that are hands on with the app, have the complaints, and typically aren't the happiest folks to build a level of trust where their voiced "pains" are being remedied through improving or delivering the missing or lacking pieces is just priceless to me. Making sure our clients' customers are happy is the most important piece of the AppExchange business.
Currently, I’m excited about Salesforce Einstein, the artificial intelligence layer that is making the platform smarter. The Einstein announcement at Dreamforce 2016 essentially laid out the next evolution of the Salesforce platform. Einstein is a huge investment by Salesforce in bringing together a number of key company and technology acquisitions over the last few years, as well building out a team of more than 175 data scientists. There will be spin-offs concepts in the AppExchange that have the same goal, to make business applications built on the Salesforce platform, intuitive and intelligent. This is nice for us, as we geek-out on that sort of thing, and enjoy innovating right alongside Salesforce. In fact, we recently won the prestigious Connected Ecosystem Salesforce Partner Innovation Award, recognizing our ability to meld multiple facets of the Salesforce platform into wholistic solutions for our customer's success.
Check out my recent Lab Coat Lesson blog post on using one of the Einstein technology acquisitions, MetaMind.io, and its Predictive Vision Service API to train models around datasets of images to identify whats in user provided images programatically.
Lab Coat Lesson: Einstein/MetaMind.io - Predictive Vision Service
Outside of Salesforce and CRM Science, you guessed it, I'm still a big tech nerd at heart. I've been using Feedly as my post aggregator since Google Reader went the way of Google Buzz and Wave. In it, you'll find posts from Engadget, Digg, Twit.tv, Hack a day, Ars Technica, Lifehacker, Consumerist, etc. It helps me keep a finger on the pulse of the tech-world. Surprisingly, I only discovered Reddit a year or so ago, and I am fascinated by the sheer number of users for any topic you could imagine. Love me some TIL, ELI5, AMA, and AskReddit.
A book that has impacted my career in a positive way is oddly enough a sales book. I was given a copy of Dan Roam's The Back of the Napkin. I don’t sell for a living or use what’s explained in the book as it was intended, but it did get me into breaking down difficult concepts on paper. For example, when I dive into some new code, either cranking out new lines or trying to digest someone else’s work, I use Roam’s method of putting pen to paper to “see” what’s in my head. It's really worth the effort.
I think people should consider attending a local Salesforce Developer User Group meet-ups. The wealth of expertise and connections at these events are invaluable. I’m partial, being one of the organizers of PhillyForce, but we have a growing collection of 900+ members made up of prospective and new Salesforce customers, end-users, admins, developers, architects coming from enterprise and consulting backgrounds. The meet-ups are proof of the booming and wide-reaching Salesforce ecosystem and it’s always nice to be able to talk-shop and toss around ideas.
If your company or nonprofit is interested in taking your Salesforce org into the intelligent application and Lightning era, click the lab coat: