Prepping for AU 2012

As mentioned in Matt’s post (AU2012: It’s Almost Here!), Autodesk University is upon us! Geeks, Nerds, Dorks and everything in between will descend upon Las Vegas in less then two weeks, holed up in Ballrooms and Cafeteria Hangers. After 4 days they will emerge more pale (if possible) and squinting at the bright sun. I can’t wait!

Like any proper Geek, I have been pouring over my schedule, reviewing handouts, studying the ballroom layouts and getting things ready. Last year was my first year and there is definitely a learning curve to going to an event like this! Let me share some tips to might help you have a great experience!

  1. Know Thy Schedule – You have a Smart Phone right? AU lets you export your class schedule in a variety of Calendar formats. Make sure you have that thing handy! The trick is getting the time zones right. A great tip came from @cjridder: “make another google cal just for au and set time zone for that and import.”
  2. Freshman Orientation – First year going to AU? Make sure to attend the Freshman Orientation on Monday night! Autodesk’s Lynn Allen and a host of others will be there to provide plenty of tips for having a great conference. They might even give away AU Swag!
  3. Don’t overwhelm Thyself – It can be real easy to get overloaded when your schedule is packed with classes. Have a class you signed up for that might be basic review for you? Don’t feel bad about skipping it! Get outside! Enjoy some sunlight and fresh air! Don’t sit in a conference room for 90 minutes mentally critiquing the presenters choice of shoes because you already know a topic.
  4. Win Stuff! – The Exhibit Hall is PACKED with companies wanting your attention. To get said attention, they lure you with a chance to win everything from Laptops & iPads to stuffed animals and flashing buttons (great to take home for the kiddos). Spend some time there, browse. There are plenty of comrades that have some great war stories that could be just as useful as those classes you are going to.
  5. Network, Network, Network – Where else can you gather with thousands of people in the same industry and similar interests? Take advantage of the meal times. Sit with people you don’t know. Introduce yourself. Chat about what you are doing, your successes, your failures. This is another great opportunity to learn new things! There are also plenty of non-sanctioned AU events happening (Like the #CaseTweetup)

This is a very short list, but very import things I felt could help you improve your AU experience.

Here are a ton more AU tips from someone with a lot more AU experience than me: Autodesk University Survival Buffet by Shaan Hurley

The most important two things- LEARN SOMETHING NEW and ENJOY YOURSELF! You’re in freaking Vegas people!