There is nothing like the open bar at a trade show. Bottom shelf liquor in large quantities fueling and evening of regret with coworkers. Its that lovable gray area where everyone enters into a non spoken pact that 'from this moment forth non of this makes it back to HR.'

This would probably be the one big missing piece of the otherwise enjoyable "Future of Making Things Digital Conference." I must say Autodesk did have the foresight to include the "Networking Lounge." Unfortunately this was a G rated version of the hotel bar where the alcohol was replaced by emoticons. So there were no lovable plunging necklines of non-professional attire and no introverted engineers breaking out of their shell and letting you finally learn the source of their inappropriate nick names. It was all pretty PC. That said, they did make it happen on a Friday which kinda gives you that schools out feeling after the event and since this company isn't paying to send me to and trade shows, ill take it!

Despite the lack of alcohol, Autodesk did make it fun and tried their best to give it that trade show/conference feel. As seen from my tweet (thats right im on twitter... for as long as i can keep it up) they put together a fancy entrance which was a convenient way to make your way to the different menu options. In the theater section and yes they even made it look like a theater as seen in my instgram photo (bam! dropping all the social media bombs in this post) you could see the speaks and sessions and their start times. I'm a sucker for a nice wrapper and i can say i appreciated all the trouble they went through to make this an aesthetically pleasing and content/experience relevant interface. 

They had quite a few options as far as speaker but the two main speakers were Lisa Campbell and Chris Mayer. It was kind of a bummer cause i generaly like to hear all the people i can but you have to make trade offs. In addition to the two keynote speakers I sat in on Heidi Hewett and Terry Bennett. The full speaker list is below:

Lisa Campbell: Harnessing the Power of Disruption

Alan Guyan: Under Armour's Got a New Pair of Shoes!

Dominic Thasarathar: A New Manifesto for the Construction Industry

Heidi Hewett: Mastering AutoCAD in the Cloud Era

Chris Mayer: Improving predictability

Sean Manzanares: Increasing Innovation Capacity for Competitive Separation

Terry Bennett: Putting the Project at the Center with BIM

Lynn Allen: Meet AutoCAD 2017


Once the presentation started you were sent to another GUI which had an area for the speaker to be seen as well as any visual aids or slides. there was also a Q&A screen and a chat window. All the elements were movable and sizable so you could set it up for your own liking. I think it was pretty damn slick. I was kinda bummed cause there wasn't a video feed for the non keynote speakers though. I'm not sure who made that call, but in the age of youtube, it made the speaker harder to sit through. 

Lisa Campbell's topics was pretty interesting. The upshot is that things are changing and we had better be aware and harness the advantage offorded by the changes. She provided a quote that really stuck with me. "If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near."

The next speaker I listened to was Heidi Hewette. There was a lot of stuff i heard before but there was also stuff i hadn't. The upshot is that there is a tone of information out there about Autodesk and their products. Its all up to you to go after it. Here is a slide i captured with some of their featured links. 

Next up was Chris Mayer... unfortunately the world Autodesk created broke down for me at this point. The problem with being at your desk... is that some people think that you should be working. So the inevitable interruption left me with a weak understanding of his presentation.



Last but no least was Terry Bennette. Unfortunately i was still having desk interruptions.. yay... I did enjoy the parts of the talk i was able to catch.



but the thing that really left an impression with me on this one was the lackluster investment form my local firm in the quality of their internet.




Once this sets in for the day our internet at work is toast.... So it was fun to take part in the digital conference but it was susceptible to local poor management of connectivity. This made me a sad panda. 

Lots of fun, but honestly I would rather see the live event... ok.. ok.. maybe its because of my predisposition to favor alcohol. Its not a bad way to get connected into whats going on. Lucky for those who were not able to attend is that all the videos were recorded and are now are avalable to be viewed in the same environment. So go check it out for your self. As i understand it though the video for The Future of Making Things Digital Conference will only be available for a limited time so get on it!