Our conversation with Adam marks the first in a new series that will feature players in the Salesforce and tech arena and seek to answer the question, “So, what do you do all day?” We’ll dig to understand what it really takes to get the job done, what really catalyzes motivation and how readers can stretch themselves in their own career goals. Stay tuned for more inspiring and insightful interviews.
Every industry has them—the rock stars. These individuals are making waves and the other players are taking notice. Adam Seligman is one such rock star, specifically of the “Salesforce famous” variety, even though he might shy away from such a label. We recently got the opportunity to sit down with him, really dig into what makes him tick, and find out what he actually does all day.
For the uninitiated, Adam is the Senior Vice President of Developer Relations and Trailhead GM at Salesforce. Because Adam is part of a company that is constantly growing and innovating his job is packed daily with big responsibilities that are both exciting and challenging. In a nutshell, he helps the “engine go” by deploying a team of admins, developers, analysts and business experts to help his customers, consultants and partners be successful. He makes serious business of helping his developer and admin community thrive and seeks to make it the most inclusive and vibrant in the world. In less than five years since he’s been on the team the number of developers has risen from 600,000 to 2.4 million.
Adam admits that his official title of Developer and Admin Relations might be misleading or incomplete. “Relations isn’t the perfect noun,” he says, “It’s really about taking a community of developer admins and growing the community, and then making them incredibly successful.”
It’s said that the beginning of the day really sets the tone for the most successful people in business and Adam is no different. His palpable curiosity and energy fall right in line with how he starts the day. “Honestly, I check Twitter and see what’s top-of-mind in our community. Really, it’s about what [the developers are] trying to do and what technologies they’re going to use to try to do it.”
Next, he jumps into checking the Salesforce1 app. “Twitter tells me the sentiment of the community and the Salesforce1 app tells me how many people are signed up to be Salesforce developers, how many people are in Trailhead earning badges. Listening to what our developers have to say is super important.”
In addition to his morning ritual a typical day sees Adam making planning decisions for an upcoming Trailhead launch Salesforce. He also makes time for the lighter side of management by meeting and coaching a rising Product Manager and taking a tour of Galvanize—a company that offers a coworking resources.
Each day isn’t without its challenges. Everyone has that part of their job they wish didn’t linger. For Adam, it isn’t so easy—he was genuinely a bit stumped to find something that he doesn’t love. That said, he does find corporate training a bit of a snoozefest and hopes his work with Trailhead will influence training programs to move in a fun and innovative direction.
One of Adam’s greatest victories was at the launch of Trailhead. Gamer and developer evangelist on the team, Josh Birk, came up with the idea of making the training of Salesforce into a gamified app. They decided to really go for it and invest. Working remotely from Chicago, Josh “prototyped the live code checks via API that really brought Trailhead to life.” The free learning tool launched at Dreamforce a little over a year ago and has grown rapidly since.
For Adam, the culture of Salesforce is what keeps him loving what he does. “I think the heart of what makes us tick is not really the technology, it’s what it can do for companies and their customers, CRM, customer service and marketing campaigns. The heart of it is about people—making them happy. I think it makes Salesforce a very satisfying environment to work [within]. The culture here is really special.”
One of the reasons that the culture is so exciting, according to Adam, is that it is a culture of “yes.” He says, “If another group, customer, partner, or community member asks us to do something, we usually start with yes. If somebody else asks, it must be important, so let’s start with yes… We can do some pretty amazing things that way.”