In my previous article I talked more about my personal experience at AU 2012 and included some whining. I am sure being sick the later half of the week did not help my attitude. I wanted to follow up with a bit more on some specifics of why AU is such a great event to attend and what you can get out of it.
This is only my third time attending AU, but have wanted to go every year for as long as I can remember – it’s just hard to get some companies to foot the bill for the experience, especially when they hear it is in Las Vegas. If you are an Autodesk product user (and that covers a lot of software users), AU is a the mecca of events to learn more about your software and what is coming down the road for your industry. If like me, you have trouble getting your bosses/manager to approve and finance the trip, start working on them early – like now! Let them know what a great event you missed and how other industry folks are raving about the experience and what they learned. Check out Lynn Allen’s video on the benefits of attending AU and get the Convince Your Manager Tool Kit from the AU site and start planning now. Keep in mind, your a professional, and avoid the traps in Las Vegas – there is plenty to do at the event that has nothing to do with the Casinos and the strip. If you do get to go focus on what the event is about so that maybe next year you will get to go again!
So what does AU off that makes it so worthwhile? Below are just a few of the items that I see/saw:
- Industry forecasting of what is coming down from Autodesk and where my industry is headed
- Tons of classes with experienced instructors on a variety of Autodesk software – way more than you could possibly take
- Huge peer networking opportunity to make connections with others that do what you do
- Learn about new products from various vendors that are not even on the market yet
- Talk directly to the manufacturers about your experiences and questions – not a help desk person from India
- During one lunch I sat with and discussed AutoCAD with a lead Autodesk tester
- Tips and tricks from some of the best. I sat in two Tips/Tricks sessions that had over 500 people in each one!
- Time away from your job to actually focus on the technology that you use everyday, instead of trying to figure it out during production