Mike King is the author of Salesforce B2C Solution Architect’s Handbook, we got the chance to sit down with him and find out more about his experience of writing with Packt.
Q: What is/are your specialist tech area(s)?
Mike: Salesforce Solution Architecture
Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey. What was your motivation for writing this book?
Mike: I’ve always loved taking complex topics and finding ways to distill them down to something essential. It’s my day job as a solution architect, but it’s also a very handy skill when teaching someone else a new concept. I’ve had the opportunity to speak at conferences, conduct webinars, and teach both virtual and in-person classes.
When a former colleague introduced me to his editor at Packt and suggested a book about B2C Solution Architecture, it felt like something I had to do!
Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?
Mike: I’ve been professionally focused in the Salesforce B2C Solution Architecture space since the beginning of 2019. I worked on the certification exam development council, consulted on the training material, and leveraged these tools in multiple projects professionally. In many ways, my job was preparing me for this book.
Despite that, I still had a great deal of homework to do! My background is in B2C Commerce, so everything related to that product came easily, but Marketing Cloud and the core Salesforce topics required more research. I’ve done my best to not only distill the vital information but provide a trail of resources readers can use to grow their skills beyond the book.
Q: Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?
Mike: The biggest challenges for me were around time management. In many ways, I underestimated the amount of work writing a book while also maintaining a busy day job would add.
I tried to stick to writing 1,000 net new words/day. That meant saving diagram builds and editing for the weekend since they don’t add a lot of words, but it kept me productive. Sometimes all I could manage was some brainstorming or outlining, but I let that count and then came back later and re-worked it to my satisfaction.
Q: What’s your take on the technologies discussed in the book? Where do you see these technologies heading in the future?
Mike: I’m a huge proponent of Salesforce as a company and the Salesforce ecosystem as a software suite. Each of the component products of a Salesforce B2C solution is an industry leader in its own right: B2C Commerce, Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud, and complimentary products like MuleSoft, Order Management, and Heroku. The challenge, of course, is getting them all to play nicely together.
My intuition is that we’re going to see emerging products like Salesforce CDP and Loyalty Management playing a bigger role in harmonizing at least customer data across products in the ecosystem. We’re also going to see more productized integrations between systems and a strong pull towards the core Salesforce platform as new capabilities are developed.
Over time, I hope to see less of our time spent on integration and more of feature enrichment… the fun stuff!
Q. Why should readers choose this book over others already on the market? How would you differentiate your book from its competition?
Mike: This book isn’t a programming book, and it’s not a book about a product, it’s a book about how to design a solution that incorporates best-in-class products to meet the needs of a business-to-consumer organization. That means accounting for marketing, customer service, and sales at a minimum but it also means understanding how the business works, what the goals are, and how you’re going to scale.
This book teaches you about the products so you can tie them together into a harmonized solution. It’s a book about architecture and integration, about solving problems, and about thinking in systems.
Q. What are the key takeaways you want readers to come away from the book with?
Mike: This isn’t a journey you can undertake alone, you need a strong team, but every team needs a leader. The role of the B2C Solution Architect is to own the overall technical solution and coordinate the work of specialized platform experts as they design a solution to meet the needs of the business.
Start with the simplest solution that meets your needs and don’t be afraid to evolve.
Q. What advice would you give to readers learning tech? Do you have any top tips?
Mike: Just start, don’t worry about where to start, just start.
For Salesforce, go to Trailhead, find something that looks interesting, and start down that rabbit hole.
Q. Can you share any blogs, websites, and forums to help readers gain a holistic view of the tech they are learning?
Mike: Yes, https://quip.com/0qYbAXaiN9VE
Q. How would you describe your author journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?
Mike: Writing a book is a lot of work, but the Packt team has been there to guide me through it the entire way. I appreciated the detailed materials provided and the templates that helped me understand *how* to write the book. From there, the editorial support, project management, and overall guidance have been great.
I’d definitely recommend Packt to other aspiring authors!
Q. Do you belong to any tech community groups?
Q. What are your favorite tech journals? How do you keep yourself up to date on tech?
Mike: Trailblazer communities, release notes, Salesforce webinars, product documentation, partner advisory board meetings, and project work keep me deep in the weeds of Salesforce solution architecture every day.
Q. How did you organize, plan, and prioritize your work and write the book?
Mike: I started with a Miro board where I started brainstorming all the topics that felt relevant. I then looked for affinity groups, related concepts that “felt” like some type of unit. This eventually emerged into chapters and sections. From there I began looking for a logical flow or organization that would allow readers to move through the book from beginning to end or jump in and just catch the section they needed most in the moment.
Once I had the rough structure, I wrote a more detailed outline and began gathering reference materials. I used a combination of OneNote, Miro, and folders in OneDrive to keep track of all the topics I knew I needed to cover and where to find more information about them. This helped me focus on creating content in my daily writing sessions, which were typically 1-2 hours in length in the morning.
I worked closely with contacts at Salesforce and my technical reviewer to ensure the content was logical and accurate all the way through.
Q. What is the one writing tip that you found most crucial and would like to share with aspiring authors?
Mike: When you’re feeling stuck, just start. Writing something, even if it’s something completely irrelevant, can help break through that blockage and get you into a flow that will allow you to move on to meaningful work.
Find a time to work every day, be consistent, and don’t try to get it all done on the weekends or in big chunks.
You can find Mike’s book on Amazon by following this link: Please click here