Gaurav is a Spring’16 MVP and is the head of Mobility Practice at Metacube. A Mobile Evangelist, he is a 5x Dreamforce speaker and holds 3 Salesforce Certifications. He is also the co-organizer of the recently held Jaipur Developer Fest.
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.
I don’t see being a MVP as either a means or an end – I see it as a milestone in my ongoing journey.
Q: How did your love for Salesforce start? Was it a conscious choice or did the whole universe just conspire and make it happen?
Circa back to year 2007 (nearly a decade back), I was happy in my world of developing protocol stacks and device drivers – tangled with several devices, countless cables and wires, modems and routers at my desk. This is exactly what I had wanted to do when I passed out from BITS Pilani and trust me – if you’re a hardcore geek who loves programming, it does not get much better than this.
Of course, life as they say, has it’s own plans and I’ve lived by that rule. I moved back to my home town Jaipur in 2007 and that set me on a rather unexpected journey with Salesforce.
And now when I look back at the last decade, I have a sense of satisfaction, gratitude as well as pride on how things have turned out to be.
Q: What is your current role?
I am the Vice President for Mobility and Technology Evangelism at Metacube – a Silver Consulting Partner and Product Development Partner with Salesforce. I’ve played multiple roles at the organisation for the last 10 years starting off as a Technical Lead and then transitioning to Project Manager, Account Manager, Practice Head – Mobility. I’ve consciously moved from a delivery oriented role to a more strategic position to help evangelise new technologies within the organisation – in turn enable people to ramp up and grow in their careers.
Q: What does being a Salesforce MVP mean to you?
Although I’m not a big fan of numbers and titles, being recognised as a Salesforce MVP has been a very special feeling for me. I actually wrote in a lot of detail about what it means to me.
To keep it short, I don’t see being a MVP as either a means or an end – I see it as a milestone in my ongoing journey. It feels good to be recognised for my contributions – but as they say, “But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep!”
Q: If not a Salesforce expert, what would you have become?
This may actually surprise a lot of people but when I was a kid, I wanted to become a professional Hockey player. I played state level hockey as a junior in my teens and I travelled to several states and cities for tournaments. Unfortunately, as the tournaments increased, so did my injuries and after a match where I had a fractured jaw and a broken kneecap, my family decided it’s time for me to move on.
I’ve a passion for writing and I’m a hobbyist blogger so if I weren’t doing Salesforce development, I would have probably taken that up as a full-time profession. If you’re someone like me who’s a voracious reader and a compulsive writer, that’s definitely something worth exploring!
Q: How has the changeover been from your first role at Alcatel Lucent to being the popular 'Salesforce Mobile Guy'?
Being in the Salesforce ecosystem has been a 2nd innings in my professional career. I actually did fairly well in the first one as well – Alcatel Lucent where I spent a fair bit of time working out of Paris.
From a community perspective, the collaborative spirit of Salesforce Ohana is something which I’ve not experienced anywhere else and it’s gratifying to be a part of this amazing culture.
It was about 5 years back when I got commonly referred to as to the go to person for a lot of Salesforce mobile questions and folks started to use the term ‘Salesforce mobile guy’ and I’m happy to be in this boat as these are the two technologies I associate myself with the most – Salesforce and mobile development
Q: Which blogs / channels do you follow to get your Salesforce elixir?
As I mentioned, I’m a voracious reader. I can’t go to bed until I finish my daily dose of reading. These are some of the blogs I read on a regular basis
And there are more – though these aren’t exactly blogs but reading them is a daily ritual for me
Q: What was the inspiration behind the Jaipur Dev Fest’17? What are the advantages you foresee for the Indian Salesforce community from this fest?
Our only inspiration for Jaipur Dev Fest 2017 was to give back to the community. The Indian community is a big part of the overall Salesforce ecosystem but we didn’t have a stage to bring everyone together. As the name itself suggests, Jaipur Dev ‘Fest’ was a festival to celebrate the Salesforce ecosystem in India.
It’s been an immensely satisfying experience to be a part of JDF17 – 500+ attendees, 8 keynote speakers, 30+ breakout speakers, 10+ Women In Tech speakers and an army of 50 volunteers – and although it’s been nearly a fortnight since the event concluded, we’re still getting a lot of positive feedback from all quarters.
Q: What’s next in line for you after the coveted MVP title?
Like I mentioned earlier, being a MVP was actually never a goal so there isn’t a question of what’s next in that sense. However, I need to catch up on a few certifications and some pending super-badges on Trailhead – hopefully I should be able to knock these off within the next couple of months.
Q: Tell us about the JDF experience from an organizer’s perspective. Also, what’s in line for JDF’18?
It was all about a group of people with the same passion coming together and trying out pull off something that had not happened at this scale in the Indian community. Trust me, it was a lot of work and a lot of pressure to get things done on time as the event date approached.
However, I think we did reasonably well to split the tasks between various core team members (Abhinav, Ankit, Bhawani, Durgesh and myself) and eventually everything went as planned.
We did receive a lot of support from all corners – an amazing line up of speakers from Salesforce India, sponsors who went above & beyond, some of the best breakout speakers, WIT members and volunteers. We’re glad that everyone went back with a smile on their face after having a good time & learnt something new during the day.
There were surprises for us as well – when two of our keynote speakers (Shekhar Bhagat and Evan Hollonds) walked up the stage in Rajasthani attire and greeted the audience in true Jaipuri style – “Ram Ram Sa”!
As for JDF18, I think it’s too early to think or talk about it. Most of the core team members were sleep deprived, physically exhausted and mentally drained for last few weeks so I think we’ll get our act together after a break.
Q: What has been your most memorable Dreamforce experience till date?
I consider myself very fortunate to attend and speak at Dreamforce every year since 2012. Though presenting each session and meeting with friends from all over the world is always memorable, there’s one thing which stands out in my Dreamforce memories.
I had a rare coincidence. I presented the same session in the same room ‘Building App Cloud Mobile Extensions with Swift’ at Dreamforce in year 2015 as well as year 2016. In fact, the best part was when I mentioned this during my session, there were a couple of people (I don’t know them personally) who attended my session both years. It was quite a special moment!
Q: Other than Salesforce, what does your world look like?
My world revolves around my family comprising of an adorable & supportive wife, a 10 year old princess, a 5-year old brat and my mother. Although I need to travel on and off, I’m strongly a Home is where the heart is person!
Q: What’s something about you that you think would surprise others?
As I mentioned above, not many people who would expect me to be a state-level hockey player.
Q: Anything we missed?
Nothing else, but please do not miss the $1000 cheque you promised once this is published! ☺