Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cisco Live 2013 Experience

Cisco Live 2103 in Orlando is over and and I'm reflecting on my first time experience.  In short, I loved it.

I flew in Sunday without any hassle.  My airport for this particular trip was DCA.  I was sitting there reading on the iPad when another passenger sat next to me.  He had the look of someone going to Cisco Live so we started talking.  Eventually, the flight was ready to go so we exchanged information and headed out. Dude sent me a linked in request from his wifes account which was pretty strange but whatever.

Arrived in Orlando and looked for a cab.  I was quoted $50 or something crazy.  Forget that.  I looked for a shuttle and that was $30 round trip I believe.  

I arrived before I could check in to the Rosen Centre hotel so I left my baggage and walked around the convention center.  Place was huge.  I'm so glad I researched the hotel before booking and picked the one with the connecting walkway.  I registered with Cisco Live registration, picked up by badge and all was good.  I mostly walked around getting a gauge where everything was.  Posted a tweet so I could see my picture on the screen.

I'm not a social person at all but thought I would give the Social Meetup a try.  Before the trip I read some tweets about the social media badge and someone complaining they were going to be handwritten so I created a twitter handle label before heading down and it seemed to work pretty well for my badge.  The meetup was pretty interesting.  I approached a few people on twitter that I follow such as @swackhap, @networkingnerd, @ecbanks, @etherealmind, @pjwelcher, @icemarkom, and Cisco Social Queen Bee @commsninja.  Dr. Welcher explained his views on SDN which were interesting.  I hope to see some posts from him on the subject.  It was great to meet the guys behind the packetpushers podcast, certainly a podcast I enjoy listening to.  To my surprise no one was bugging Amy at the moment so I decided to.  I mentioned the geek whispers podcast and spoke briefly about Cisco social media.  I also spoke to quite a few people in the room. Basically if I saw someone standing alone or maybe 2 people alone, I would walk up and start talking.  I actually ran in to someone who knows one of our AM's from our PA branch (that I was meeting with the next day).  One thing I will say is I did notice a few people who would just look at a badge.  If they didn't recognize the name they would move on.  I saw a couple of very awkward interactions between people that made me chuckle actually.  (not saying mine weren't, it was just funny to watch!).  Eventually I bolted and caught up with an old coworker who also showed up at the convention.  I did make the group picture though :)  I also saw the IT youtube guy interviewing the old Cisco Live host?

The rest of my conference was filled with sessions sprinkled with visits to World of Solutions.  I visited the Cert lounge and picked up a space pen and CCIE mouse.  Talked to a few vendors for real, some for free junk and T-shirts I'll never wear.  When possible I got smaller sizes for my son to tear up!  I did get the VCE lego set which is pretty funny I think.  It will go good with my lego phone holder on my desk my son made.  Perhaps I can have him make a lego data center to put the vBlock in :)

Monday night was nuts.  I met with a customer team and an AM with his girlfriend who happened to be in the area..  All I'll say is a series of events occurred where my wife said it sounded like a hangover movie.  I did nothing illegal. If you know me personally and want to know, just remind me the next time we talk.

I went to the CCIE event the next night which was interesting.  It was funny seeing the signs and jumbo tron with the CCIE logo.  I basically got some food, stood around, and left before they even opened the ride part.  I generally leave alcohol drinking for others.  Mostly to try and avoid situations like in the previous paragraph.  For the record, I didn't drink anything Monday.  One guy even came up to me to strike up a conversation about how it seemed we were the only 2 drinking water, ha.

I thought about going to the Customer Appreciation Event (CAE) but didn't feel like having the same type of food as the previous night.  My wife loves live music, I don't, so why tortue myself.  Plus, I just don't see myself going on rides without my kids but with other middle aged adults. I did hear the food was good though so that was a miss on my part.

I wish I had made more effort to schedule time with Experts or table talks I just didn't have a particular agenda.  My sessions were all over the map.  OTV, LISP, ISE, Multicast on NX-OS, Wireless, PfR, IGRP (jk).  Man, hearing the sessions from some of the guys who wrote the books on their subjects was just great.  So much comfort in their technologies.

Other news item was I passed my CCDE written which was nice.  I actually forgot it would renew my CCIE so I'm good til 2016 now.  I may hook up with an old coworker/Barry to take the practical.  Not sure I want to go down that route yet with the studying.

One thing that was different to me then what I've read is how exhausted people were after the event.  If this sort of thing wears you out, you must not work for a VAR!  I couldn't get enough info, I wish I could have fit more in.  Honestly, I wish it was 24/7.  Sessions during the day, labs open day and night to reinforce items.

Other thing I forgot to mention were keynotes.  I started walking in to the first one, screw that.  I turned around, grabbed a coffee, parked on a comfy couch and watched on my iPad while catching up on work.  I missed Richard Bransons close out but I had no interest in that anyway.  If he was going to show me something like best practices on the ASA I'd be in, otherwise go back to flying planes or whatever he does.


John Barness said...

Thank you for sharing your experience.
I believe it is very important to keep contacted with experts in the field you work. Having read your post I found myself interested in such kind of meetings. All I need is to find an appropriate one which would be oriented to data room service.

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