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AU2011: Kung Fu Drafter's Beginner's Guide to Autodesk University - Part 2 ...


Guide postIt’s time for Part 2 of our Beginner’s Guide to Autodesk University. As you probably recall, Kung Fu Drafter knows that heading to a massive convention like AU can be intimidating. While some tradeshows or conventions may have one or two thousand visitors, AU is expected to hit about 8,000 attendees this year! If you want to be in the know and not look like a n00b we are here to help!

In Part 1 post, we discussed to importance of traveling light. Trust us; you do not want to be hauling 20 pounds of kit around on your back for 12 hours a day. Even worse, if you can’t make it back to your room you will have to keep up with that nonsense during the evening social events! Total bummer.

The Essentials

Water bottlesOk, so you know what NOT to bring in you AU backpack, but what DO you bring? We’ve gotten some great suggestions from readers and we have definitely learned the hard way over the years so here are some essentials to pack:

  • Business Cards – Networking is an essential activity at AU! You will be rubbing shoulders with the most talented people in your industry. So take the opportunity and say hello, pass out cards, and build that network! Trust us, it pays off!
  • Notebook – We may be old school but we carry little notebooks with us to every conference. Sure phones, tablets, and brain implants are great and sleek, but what happens when they are low on juice? The trusty notebook will never let you down when you need to write down your email address or take notes in class!
  • Antibacterial Stuff – Wipes, lotions, or a really absorbent hedgehog; whatever type you like, this is a must have. Germs spread faster than a bad joke at a convention. A little tube of lotion can save you days of illness. Use it EVERY time you shake someone’s hand. Trust us, they won’t be offended. Offer them some and they will even thank you!
  • Schedule – PRINT YOUR SCHEDULE OUT! Fold it up and put it in your AU ID pouch and you will never be at a loss as to where you are headed next.
  • Beverage – Las Vegas is dry. Really dry. Which probably isn’t a surprise considering it is in the dessert. Surprise or not, it will take its toll. So keep a bottle of water or juice with your. All that talking and dry air will make for a sore throat in no time.
  • Small Camera – One of the best things about AU is seeing friends from around the country and around the world. You’ll go to classes, eat lunch, and party it up at night, so naturally you’ll want pictures! Avoid the urge to bring a giant, fancy camera. A small point and shoot that fits in your pocket will do just fine and won’t set you back $2k if you lose it. But don’t lose it, it has your pics!

The Extras

Lots of batteriesWe carry just a few extras when we are on the scene at AU. Hey, other people may be there to only learn or only party, but Kung Fu Drafter comes ready to work! Therefore, we need to carry a bit more gear than the average attendee does. If you are a blogger or journalist, these items might help you.

  • Extra Batteries – Everything takes batteries and you will need more of them than you think. Bring at least one extra battery for every electronic item you have. Also, be sure to charge those batteries at the end of each night. Dead batteries will not help anyone!
  • Pocket Tripod – Great for taping short interviews, catching one of the in-hall presentations, or even recording some “Hi Mom” videos.
  • Camcorder – If you are capturing video, make sure your camera is light and has enough media for 5-10 hours. No one ever gets enough footage, so don’t worry about going nuts.
  • Cell Phone – Everyone has one and everyone uses it for everything. From trading pics to taking video, your phone does it all. Be judicious on its use because that battery will die. That will probably happen just before your team members try to call to tell you something awesome is happening that you need to go see!

Yes, it’s true. The Kung Fu Drafter team carries more than we should. The pack is heavy and the days are long, but we do it for the readers! So we encourage you to travel light, take only what you need, and be sure to empty that bag of swag every night before bed. When we think of the huge pile of goodies piled up in our hotel rooms each year it makes us feel like Smaug, the dragon. Yeah, we went there …

- KFD -

Image credits: Autodesk, Heather KatsoulsEarthworm, and Zorbs.

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