If you had a magic wand...

newsletter Feb 10, 2024

I'm a huge fan of books, and there's a book I read several years ago which asked an interesting question:

"If you could wave a magic wand and become absolutely excellent in any one skill, which one skill would have the greatest impact on your earning ability?"

I was just starting out in the Salesforce world and wasn't entirely sure what one skill that would be for me.

The same book also recommended:

"Look ahead three to five years and determine the new knowledge and skills you will need in order to lead your field in the future. Then, start acquiring them today."

I looked around my company at the time and noticed they were always looking to automate things.

They had even hired Salesforce developers to write code in the past.

The problem was that no one else at the company knew how to write code. So if someone could learn that skill they'd become quite valuable.

Based on the situation, I figured, coding would still be useful in 3-5 years and would have a big impact on my earning ability.

So I set out to learn to write Apex.

I was confused. Learning Apex was slow. And I was, well, bad at coding.

My main learning method was watching courses on Udemy, and I had picked up another course about Flows (which were called Visual Workflows at the time).

After one tough study session, I decided a detour into "Visual Workflow" would help me forget I was bad at Apex for at least one more day.

I started the course and ended up watching it all the way through in one morning (it was a short course).

To my surprise I understood it, and I was actually able to build useful automations with it.

My company loved that!

The more automations I built, the more valuable I became.

Charlie Munger put it well:

"I find it quite useful to think of a free market economy as sort of the equivalent of an ecosystem.

Just as in an ecosystem, people who specialize can get terribly good at occupying some little niche.

Just as animals flourish in niches, people who specialize in the business world — and get very good because they specialize — frequently find good economics that they wouldn't get in any other way."

Without realizing it, I had stumbled into a Salesforce specialization

I occupied the little niche of flow building, and I did get opportunities that I, as a former poker player and college dropout, was unlikely to get without a specialization.

While I was lucky to have stumbled into Flows, I wouldn't have found them without asking those questions:

  • If you could wave a magic wand and become absolutely excellent in any one skill, which one skill would have the greatest impact on your earning ability?
  • What new Salesforce knowledge and skills will be useful in three to five years?

So, I like to ask myself those questions from time-to-time on the off chance that I can get lucky once again.

And today, my answer to those questions is AI.

We've all heard of ChatGPT, Bard, and Large Language Models (LLMs) in recent months.

Their power is breath-taking, and the rate of progress is fast.

Salesforce as a company is investing heavily in this trend.

Luckily, we won't need to build the AI tools ourselves.

We can occupy a new niche in the Salesforce ecosystem by specializing in the tools Salesforce creates for us as admins.

One example is the Prompt Builder.

I've been keeping an eye on this for the last few months, and supposedly it will be generally available shortly after the Spring '24 release.

The vision for Prompt Builder is simple: imagine ChatGPT for your personal Salesforce environment.

As an admin you'll be able to 

  • Create AI-based Sales Emails

You are a sales representative working for a solar panel manufacturer and your name is {!$sender.Name} working for {!$sender.Company}. Your client is {!$recipient.FirstName}. You need to draft up an email to improve your relationship with them and tell them about your new products that will help them achieve their sustainability goals. When I ask you to generate an email, you must strictly follow my instructions below.”

  • Populate fields on records using AI-based summaries

You’re a customer support representative and need to create a short summary of all open cases for {!$Input:Account.Name}. When I ask you to summarize the open cases, you must strictly follow my instructions below.

Imagine the prompt examples above being run by your Sales and Service teams!

Powerful stuff.

And the person who can build these tools for a company (hopefully you!) will be in a unique position to give value.

Super cool.

Now, I'm not saying this is the end all be all of future Salesforce tech.

I am saying that when we look ahead three to five years, Prompt Builder, and AI tools like it, will likely play a large role in the toolkit of a successful Salesforce professional.

Therefore, staying up to speed on AI in the Salesforce space is an excellent idea!

I'm sure there are other "specializations" that will be useful too.

So tell me, what do you see as the knowledge and skills we'll need to thrive in three to five years?

Let me know!

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