Work Hard, Then Give Back: An Interview With MVP Phil Walton

(cue Terminator theme, spice up with a light Austrian accent) This month, we’ve got one of the busiest Salesforce MVPs out there. Between owning a successful consultancy, writing an influential blog and leading 3 user groups with finesse that very few can match, Phil Walton has indeed earned his place as a Salesorce MVP and partner.   You’ll usually find him talking to a large audience as the keynote speaker, but today it’s all about one-on-one talk.  

So Phil, tell us a bit about yourself.

  Phil Walton: I started using Salesforce in 2004 and found it so easy and logical to get things done, and achieve great things in a short time. I still feel that way now…although there have been an extra 11,000 pages of release notes since then! If someone is starting Salesforce from scratch now I think they have so much to learn. So if I can help out then I am happy to do so, and that’s why I run User Groups, blog, and speak at events.  

What is the one Salesforce app you can’t live without, and why?

  Phil: This is a tough one!   I have reviewed hundreds of Apps, and this is one of my ‘specialist subjects’ when I speak at events. I could give you my top 101, maybe my top 10, but it changes every month. So my recommendation is not one App itself, but actually ALL of the appexchange! Most people have installed a couple of Apps, but there are thousands to try, and many of them free.   So I would recommend everyone to use the appexchange more often. When you get a requirement from the boss/the client before you start to click or code, stop first and search the Appexchange…the functionality may exist already, possibly better than you had planned it, and it may even be free.   (But ok, if you push me, try Octopus on Appexchange, and Schema Puker on this site

Describe your Salesforce philosophy in 5 words

  Phil: Work hard then give back.


If you could give one advice to your younger self on your first day of working with Salesforce, what would it be?

  Phil: Buy some Salesforce shares!  

You’re interviewing a new Salesforce admin. What’s the most important question you should ask him/her?

  Phil: You can not instill passion into somebody, you either have it or you do not. But everyone I work with needs to be passionate about Salesforce.   I would ask them where they learnt their best Salesforce tricks from. If they attend user groups, read blogs, listen to podcasts, then they are doing it in their own time…it’s not just a day job;maybe that’s my six word Salesforce philosophy!  

As a Salesforce Consultant, what’s the best tip you can give to a company that is about to implement it?

  Phil: Take your time with the initial plans. The most important work I do with clients is getting the initial foundations right.   What data will they hold in what objects. What will be a drop down list, a lookup, an external object.   Get that right at the beginning and most future enhancements will magically sit on top of those perfectly. phil2

What keeps you motivated at work?

  Phil:  Last week I was sat in Salesforce Tower looking over an amazing view of London.   Last month I was in some great café’s in Paris after French Touch Dreamin.   The month before, jogging through Golden Gate Park before speaking at Dreamforce.   Plus in May we hired Darth Vader and friends to help at our London World Tour booth!   It’s not really work is it 🙂    
Amanda is the Lead Author & Editor of Rainforce Blog. Amanda established the Rainforce blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Salesforce usage.