This year, Cisco Live is back in Las Vegas and I’ve already got my spot booked. My very first Cisco Live was back in 2011, which was also the last time that it took place in Las Vegas, so I’m looking forward to another fun week in the sun and heat of Vegas for my fifth CLUS in six years. Looking back, however, there are some things that I would tell myself that I think most of us who have attended multiple times wish we would have known that first time we attended.
Building Your Schedule
After you decide to book your trip to Cisco Live, the first thing that you are confronted with in the March/April time frame is building your schedule. When you first see the shear number of sessions that is available, along with the massive breadth of topics that are covered, you will freak out. Not only does the massive amount of available information overwhelm you, but you won’t even know that there is more to take into consideration than just the sessions themselves. Networking with others, strolling around the massive vendor floor, DevNet, and even the time to get from point A to point B all should be considered.
Now that I’ve attended a few of these, the way I build my schedule is that I focus on one or two topics that I want to attend sessions on and then schedule those first. Usually, this is more than enough to cover the entire CLUS calendar. Do not burn out on sessions, it does happen and I’ve done it to myself more than once. Just remember, everything here is recorded and available for free online, so if there’s a session that you have to miss or can’t schedule, check it out any time at ciscolive.com.
Get on Twitter!
If you aren’t already on Twitter, get on there and start finding people to network with. Twitter is where social media at Cisco Live happens. Networking Nerd usually has a great list ever year for Cisco Live at http://networkingnerd.net/cisco-live-twitter-list/ (@networkingnerd).
As my handle would indicate, I’m not a very social person by nature. It’s easy to get lost in the crowd at Cisco Live, but I implore even the most introverted person who hates talking to complete strangers to get out of your comfort zone, if only for a few minutes, and strike up a conversation. Don’t be intimidated because someone has 20,000 followers on Twitter and you have 3. The Social Media Hub is the main place to find like minded people. I’m hoping that the area is much bigger this year in Vegas than it was in San Diego last year.
After Hours advice
Let’s face it, after a long day of listening to more information that many of us can possibly process, some people like to relax with a nice drink. I’ve been there, and while I don’t drink anymore, I certainly understand that while in Las Vegas, this will be tempting. My advice is to not get overly inebriated. No judgement from me, but I know from experience that nursing a hangover in an 8am session is not enjoyable and I certainly don’t get nearly as much out of it. It’s Vegas though, so if you do drink, make sure you have tons of liquids around the following day to remain hydrated.
Cisco Live is my favorite event of the year, hands down. Even though my current position doesn’t have me doing as much work on Cisco devices as it once did, I enjoy the sessions and the people (even though I’m sometimes lurking around). Have fun, make friends, and learn new things. I’ll see you out in Vegas!
PS…make sure to enter the Social Media contests. I was lucky enough to win last year and had my picture taken with Aerosmith!