Hard to believe that another Cisco Live US is only a few weeks away! It doesn’t seem like a year has already passed since the last CLUS in San Diego. Last year’s CLUS was a different event for me as I really focused on tracks that are not my strength and I was fortunate to attend a few briefings on Cisco’s onePK initiative. For the past 5 years I’ve been allowed the opportunity to attend CLUS and create a lot of new friendships along the way while growing myself professional, hard to believe but it’s already been 4 years since I passed my CCIE Wireless written in San Fran!
Why do we attend CLUS? What brings us back year after year? Especially considering that this year just might end up being on my own dime. For me what keeps driving me back is the ability to network and talk with great minds that think like me. CLUS gives me an opportunity to meet listeners of the No Strings Attached Show podcast for example, last year Tom Hollingsworth, aka NetworkingNerd, and I were waiting in line for the CCIE ribbon and we were recognized by our voices by a listener of the various podcasts we have done. We get to meet authors of some of the Cisco Press books we have read over the years and ask questions or provide constructive feedback. Over the last few years the social media aspect of CLUS has vastly improved bringing us all together, after all isn’t that what the old “Networkers” was all about? Bringing like minds together to learn about the products and solutions riding on those products?
My 2013 schedule is pretty full, CCIE Wireless recert, tons of ISE sessions, maybe some Nexus sessions, CCIE party, CAE, keynotes, and meetups with fellow twitterers. If you see me in a session or somewhere stop and say hi, I’m sure I’ll have NSA Show buttons and stickers to give away!
Lastly, if you have never attended here’s some tips:
- Arrive on Sunday if you can and get your badge early, Monday gets a little crazy!
- Stay until Friday if possible, many people will get together on Thursday afternoon/evening for dinners and networking
- Don’t undervalue the World of Solutions – make time to visit the booths and learn about the products, don’t just go for the swag. Remember all that
crapstuff needs to get home somehow!
- Schedule your free Cisco exam early, and especially not Wednesday morning if you are attending the CCIE party or Thursday morning if you are going to the CAE
- Attend the CAE on Wednesday night, Universal was a ton of fun back in 2008 so I can only imagine how great it’ll be this year!
- If you use twitter, start following people on the twitter list over at NetworkingNerd’s site
- Make sure you follow @CiscoLive on twitter, they rock at supporting us!
- Install and use the mobile applications – surveys, maps, session schedules are all available from the app
- Pack light while walking around, I used to carry two laptops and a tablet, this year I will probably only carry my MBA or Surface Pro and that is it.
- Leave space in your baggage for the goodies/shirts/books/etc.
- Lastly, remember, this isn’t just a party. This is a business networking opportunity, don’t assume someone is in a casual conversation and rudely interrupt or make snarky comments.