Back again! As I start to write this post, it’s 4:30 pm Tuesday December 1. I’ve been awake for roughly 12 hours, but then…. it’s Vegas and AU… no one sleeps here! This has been a full day so far, as you would expect for the first full day of the conference. Bright and early I hit the main dining hall for breakfast. It was just beginning to fill up with people, so I decided to try my hand at a panoramic shot to show the scale of the place. It gives you an idea of how many people they intend to feed.
Breakfast, as usual, was…. ok. There is always plenty of fresh fruit, yogurt, coffee (most important!) and juices. The entree was a breakfast burrito that left a bit to be desired in the flavor and texture department, but it had some protein to help get the day started. As with most meals, the best part of breakfast was meeting new people.
So, coffee in hand and burrito eaten, I headed off to my first morning session. The topic was good and the presentation was good, but I had to leave early none the less. Expert Elites were being offered priority seating for the opening session, and we had to be by the doors 30 minutes prior to start. Several of us made our way as close to the doors as we could and watched as the crowd began to grow behind us.
The seats did turn out to be quite nice, and very close. So much the better for pcitures.
Dancers came out to warm up the crowd of well over 10,000 people, and then…. it got weird. We began to hear the Imperial March music from Star Wars… and stormtroopers could be seen marching through the aisles. They were shown on the big screen, and the appeared to be escorting a prisoner. As expected, they took the stage, a curtain parted, and there was Lynn Allen. Now that was an entrance.
Lynn, in her usual role, welcomed everyone to AU and gave a run down of some of the big events to look for during the week. After her introduction, more dancers took to the stage for an interlude before the main attraction. As in years past, CEO Carl Bass and CTO Jeff Kowalski took turns inspiring everyone and challenging us. Carl talked about reframing the way we look at problem solving, and making sure that while we do that, that we are solving the right problems. Jeff talked about how our technology tools are evolving from passive, to generative… and soon to intuitive and even empathic. Soon, he said, instead of us learning about our design tools, our design tools will be learning about us. Anyone say Skynet?
For a video of the full opening session, just click on this link. I can’t do it real justice here. Let me just say it involved a man who climbs mountains with bionic legs….
So, after the opening session, several of us headed into the Exhibit Hall, which is open earlier this year, and is where lunch is being serverd. It gives people more time to walk around and enjoy all of the vendor’s booths and see as much as possible. I really need to do some more exploring tomorrow. After a quick lunch, it was time for afternoon class sessions, which all went well. Then,… I took a break and sat in one of the lounges to begin writing this.
I knew I had a meeting at the Community Pavilion at 6:00 to discuss the class we are presenting Thursday morning, so around 5:00 I headed in that direction. Since the doors don’t open until 6:00, I stopped at the Answer Bar. This is a series of product specific help desks set up with product specialists and developers on hand to discuss problems, demonstrate features and even listen to suggestions. I met with a couple of Autodesk Inventor product guys, and talked about the future of Tube & Pipe until it was time to head into the hall. It’s great that these guys are genuinely interested in our ideas and are willing to listen, and even work with us to help improve the products.
6:00 the doors to the hall opened, and a throng of hungry people swarmed in to hit the food tables (and the beer, of course). I went directly to the Expert Elite lounge to set up for our meeting. Things immediately did not go well, when no one could get a WiFi signal to open the files we had saved in the cloud. They got worse when we managed to get to the files on a Community workstation that was hard wired to the internet, and downloaded the files to my laptop, only to find I have the wrong version of PowerPoint, and none of our videos were working. THEN one of our group was a no show… the meeting ended abruptly, and was rescheduled. We did manage to find a laptop that has the right PowerPoint on it,… so there was some progress. Sigh… the joys of planning a complicated class with multiple speakers.
So…. instead of our planning meeting, we all got some food and spent the evening visiting and wandering the Exhibit Hall. I even got my picture with the AUGI hat, like every year. Stay tuned for those pictures. Finally, as they began to shut the lights off around us, I left and wandered wearily back to my room to finish this, and get some sleep. Day 3 is in the books, and I’d say overall it was a successful day. Stay tuned for tomorrow!