Wed, 4 March 2020
Another day, another episode of the Salesforce for Good mini-series on the Salesforce Admins Podcast. These special episodes are hosted by Marc Baizman, Senior Admin Evangelist at Salesforce and nonprofit veteran. This time, we’re joined by, Matthew Poe, Salesforce Architect and Senior Administrator at Open Philanthropy Project, to talk about how to go from admin to architect and what advice can help you out.
Join us as we talk about how user groups can help you at any stage of your Salesforce journey, how consulting helped Matthew take his career to the next level, and how his organization practices effective altruism to do the most good it can.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Matthew Poe.
Effective altruism and the Open Philanthropy Project.
“Sometimes when I say ‘Architect,’ people don’t know what that means,” Matthew says, “in my case, I spend my days designing solutions and applications for our users at Open Philanthropy, and I’m also responsible for making sure Salesforce is talking to the other endpoints in our systems.” While he’s still working on getting that Technical Architect certification, he’s no slouch, with 20 others including the Domain Certification and System and Application Architect Certification. “If you’re a person who thinks in a structured way about things and likes to set a goal and pursue it and is looking for a structured way to think about different aspects and learn about different pieces of the platform, it’s a good way to do it,” he says.
At the Open Philanthropy Project, he’s helping an organization that is quite literally trying to figure out how to do the most good in the world. If you’re a philosophy nerd, they’re rooted in the effective altruism movement, the idea that you can use evidence, rationality, reasoning, and logic to use limited resources to do the most good in the world. The Open Philanthropy Project tries to solve big problems that are both neglected and solvable—other than that, anything’s game. Some examples include impact investing in Impossible Foods to ultimately support farm animal welfare, funding campaigns to support criminal justice reform, funding in basic science to ultimately tackle malaria and the opioid epidemic, and more. Check out the episode because that’s only the beginning.
How Matthew got hooked on Salesforce.
A little over five years ago, Matthew moved across the country for love. He left an arts administration job he had been at for a long time and set out for a new position at a university in the Big Apple. “They knew I liked to solve problems with technology, so they had asked me to think through some content management challenges they were having,” he says. They were trying to get their law students to work in public interest or public service work, which meant they needed to track their experiences and opportunities as students through the careers they eventually went on to have.
Matthew quickly recognized that this tracking problem was perfect for Salesforce, and jumped into developing solutions to replace all of the spreadsheets they were using whole hog. “I saw so much potential in this technology to really change the way nonprofits work for the better that I just wanted to solve these problems all day with Salesforce and that’s what I was lucky enough to do,” he says.
Matthew’s journey to Salesforce architect.
Eventually, Matthew left that job to become a Salesforce Consultant full time. “Five-year-ago me would’ve liked to have heard that it’s more possible than you think it is,” he says, “if you want to do it’s a realistic goal.” He worked exclusively with nonprofits, and got to learn about all the different ways that people use Salesforce. “Having a team of experts you can talk to when you’re working at a consulting firm is such a shift from the way of thinking when you’re a solo admin trying to solve every problem on your own,” he says. Access to a Slack channel of 50 of the smartest Salesforce people you know who have seen every problem three times was such a big part of Matthew’s growth on the platform.
After he was a consultant, Matthew got the opportunity to lead an enterprise implementation of the Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) at an environmental nonprofit. “The had been working with an implementation partner already, and I had a lot to catch up with on a short time,” he says, “and I realized I could attack this architect pyramid at the same time as I structured my thinking about how to approach this new project.” When he was working on their security model, he was also studying for the security exam. When he reworked their integrations, he studied for the integrations exam. “It was objectively a crazy amount of time to spend thinking about Salesforce in a very short period, but it was also really really helpful,” he says, “thinking about the real-life scenarios that I could see in my org helped me prepare for the exam, and preparing for the exam helped me think about the scenario in the org.”
This episode is jam-packed with insights about how Matthew helps Open Philanthropy Project get the most out of Salesforce, the work that they’re able to get done because of it, and the challenges he’s overcome along the way, so make sure to take a listen!
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