A 3x MVP, David is a Technical Architect at Google and also the creator of SFDC99.com. He’s also a Salesforce UG Group speaker and a 20x DF Speaker.
We’d like to know more about the fun side of the MVPs! And from what we heard, so do a lot of people in the community. Welcome to the Proust for Salesforce experts.
Passing on the knowledge that former MVPs taught me, and hopefully, inspiring the next generation of MVPs.
Q: How did your love for Salesforce start? Was it a conscious choice or did the whole universe just conspire and make it happen?
It was total luck! I was a new college graduate who really knew nothing about what CRM or Salesforce was, but I put in 100% of my effort into learning it anyway. It wasn’t until a year later that a coworker came up to me and told me what kind of salaries Salesforce professionals made – that’s probably when I really fell in love (ha ha ha). Lucky me!
Q: What is your current role?
By day I’m a Salesforce Technical Architect for Google, and by night I write articles for SFDC99.com and create Salesforce video courses for Pluralsight.
Q: What does being a Salesforce MVP mean to you?
It’s a great responsibility – it means I’m passing it on. Passing on the knowledge that former MVPs taught me, and hopefully, inspiring the next generation of MVPs.
Q: If not a Salesforce expert, what would you have become?
I was a professional email spammer and I was a darn good one too! I used to be the most well dressed person at work everyday – I’d wear a tie even though everyone else was more casual. Very different than the free t-shirt and jeans I wear nowadays, but if I hadn’t stumbled on Salesforce, I’d probably be wearing a tie right now.
Q: When someone opens up a David Liu course for the first time, what can they expect?
I try to write coding courses that are simple enough that my mom can learn from them! (Love you mom!)
I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, so I got really frustrated when I was trying to learn to code from a lot of tutorials. I had to think really hard, and I wasn’t used to that! So now when I make courses, I time travel back into my own shoes a few years ago and imagine if I would understand the content.
Q: Which blogs / channels do you follow to get your Salesforce elixir?
I used to follow just a few people but nowadays the Salesforce world is getting so big, and there are so many people who know a lot more than me, that I try to read a little bit of everything. Twitter is probably my main source of Salesforce news!
That said, my heroes will always be MVPs Jason Venable, Steven Herod, and Dan Appleman. I owe everything I know in Salesforce to them!
Q: From being a Salesforce Admin to a Developer...tell us about the transition and how you learned to code?
I concluded one day that I didn’t want to die without giving 100% of my effort into learning to code. That was the single most important decision of my life, from there it was just a matter of time. I believe commitment is key to learning.
I really devoted everything to learning to code. During lunch, I’d read coding books. At night, I’d go to classes, do homework, then read more coding books. At work, I’d sit next to engineers hoping that some of their knowledge would rub onto me. I went to developer user groups of all languages, even though they were far away and I didn’t know any of the code. I used to play a ton of video games and I stopped cold turkey. It was a massive effort.
I finally got my break when I volunteered to code something in our Salesforce org that a consultant was quoting a lot of money for. After many weekends of working on it, I finally got my break and they transitioned me to the engineering org!
Q: What’s next in line for you after the coveted MVP title?
You know, I still feel like I’ve only just begun the work of “passing it on” to others. There are many ways I can be a better teacher and there are still so many things I don’t know about Salesforce. I always dream about doing more mentoring too. That includes mentoring my new baby and being a good father!
Q: What has been your most memorable Dreamforce experience till date?
A few years ago I emailed Marc Benioff, begged him for a free Dreamforce ticket, and promised him I’d one day do great things in his community. He took me up on the offer, and it was that Dreamforce that I met Jason Venable and was fully inspired to code. Emailing the Benioff was one of the most important random things I’ve done in my life.
Q: Other than Salesforce, what does your world look like?
I live a very simple life. My ideal night is sitting on the couch with my family, eating a home cooked meal, and watching a movie. Most weekends are like that. I love playing tennis, and if I had more money, I’d open up a tennis racket store that had a tennis court in the back with sensors to gauge your performance. When I retire I hope to snowboard on most days as well.
Q: What’s something about you that you think would surprise others?
Contrary to my Salesforce world, I live a very private life. Most of my friends and family, even close ones, have no idea that I have a website or teach Salesforce. I don’t even have a Facebook profile.
I also drive a minivan, and bought it even before we planned on having a baby. It’s my dream car and I’d buy another one if it broke down.
Q: Anything we missed?
Thank you for having me in this series, it’s an honor!