The first day of Autodesk University 2012 was kicked of with the AUGI volunteer breakfast with lots of traditional high cholesterol yummy foods, awards for some of the dedicated volunteers, and discussions of changes happening within the membership area. After breakfast, it was off to get things started with the annual key-note address. Although the concept of talking about the tools and capabilities available now, instead of all about the future was refreshing, the keynote session was nowhere near as interesting or inspiring as last years. I left just before the end to check in at the office back home then headed out to start the classes/sessions.
My focus this year was on learning as much as possible about Revit MEP. As our firm is stepping in to the Revit arena I signed up for as many Revit related classes as I could no matter the discipline. My first class was a bust as it was more of a sales pitch for a product that was not yet ready for the US market and the presenters, although I am sure were very competent had a major language barrier and we’re so hard to understand that I left after about 20 minutes. My second class was on creating HVAC content in Revit, but was really more about just creating content in general and was one of my favorite sessions of the trip.
The last class was on migrating AutoCAD standards to Revit and was another favorite.
Myself and my buddy Scott from Texas ended the evening at the Imagint customer appreciation even in the Mix lounge.
The grab and go breakfast was not a good start for a day of learning, with huge muffins and slices of breakfast cakes. The carbs and caffeine pretty much set you up for a mid morning crash and the need for lots more caffeine.
This days sessions we’re more on Revit optimization. Another favorite, Lynn Allen’s 90 tips in 90 minutes was very fun and educational, especially the newer versions tips.
The day ended with the AUGI annual beer bust which we skipped out on in favor of a brisk walk to Outback. In lieu of beer and munches I chose a salad, steak, and baked potato with a sweet bowl if vanilla ice cream for desert and another brisk walk back to the hotel.
I skipped the grab and go carb fest today and had a banana and pumpkin loaf from Starbucks (not much better). My first session was on personal branding with Curt Moreno from Kung Fu Drafter and Marielle Covington, a social media manager from Autodesk. This was also a good session. The day ended today with more AutoCAD tips from Jeanne Aurhus and then back to the room to rest for the closing AU appreciation event at the Hard Rock hotel.
The closing session at the Hard Rock Hotel was quite the production. Autodesk was celebrating its 20th Autodesk University event in a big way. Think of the resources and cost to move around 5,000+ people from the Mandalay Bay Hotel alone to the Hard Rock via buses. Autodesk rented out the entire entertainment area of the Hard Rock which included about a dozen bars, dance floors and stages with live entertainment in each area. There were women dressed up in all kinds of getups from cowgirls to 10 foot tall guitar players and Vegas style dance outfits. Did I mention food in every area and open bar! Knowing I had an early flight, I contemplated not going, but I am glad I did!
The good and the bad:
Every event has some great moments that create good memories and some that create bad ones and AU is no different.
The all new AU app was a great way to verify my next scheduled class and location and was far better than carrying around a paper list – as long as I could get a WIFI or cellular signal. No ability to download course material from the app to me was a disappointment as I used it on both my phone and tablet. Not being able to see full course titles was another disappointment, hopefully these will be addressed by next year. Great addition to AU experience though.
The grab and go breakfast was a disappointment. Lunches were really pretty good with good options for veggies, proteins and carbs. The snacks were as expected with cookies and pretzels, coffee and soda, and water was always available. This years ice cream fell far short of last years. I left a class 5 minutes after it was done and the ice cream was all gone, last year I had more than one while walking between classes.
The best evening food was at the private customer appreciation event thrown by Imaginit. Thanks Kim! : )
I stayed at the Mandalay Bay hotel, which made trekking to the conference easier, but still not short. You get lots of exercise at this event for sure! The room was clean and roomy, but a few things were buggy. Pillows were very uncomfortable, the bathroom door handle kept falling off and the doors the bathroom were very loud when closing which would wake up one of us if the other went in the middle of the night. We had to close them because we could not see how to turn off the lights under the bathroom counter. Wireless access sucked and my cell signal came and went. This was not a very “Connected World” experience!
Overall the event was very informative and enjoyable! The bags were nicer than least years, a place to carry a water bottle or coffee thermos in my case was a nice benefit. One thing that would have been nice is to have “You Are here” stickers on the event mapping boards – with the complex being so big, it was easy to get turned around.
Thanks to all the event sponsors, floor personnel, instructors and of course AUGI and Autodesk for their work and investments in keeping this going! Hope to see you next year!