We are now less than four weeks from Autodesk University 2019!
Autodesk University is the premier Autodesk customer event held yearly where several thousand creative design and visualization experts descend on Las Vegas. They arrive wide eyed, craving knowledge from the best in the industry. They leave tired and full of valuable knowledge to make them more productive back at work. After attending every Las Vegas based Autodesk University, I have compiled and published this annual long list of tips over the years for not only surviving, but making the most of AU and to thrive at Autodesk University. For many attendees, Autodesk University is not just 12 hours a day event, there are activities virtually around the clock so pace yourself and get organized before you land in Las Vegas with a plan.
AU dates and location
Preconference events: Monday, November 18
AU : Tuesday, November 19 - Thursday, November 21
Venetian/Palazzo Congress Center
3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
You are responsible for your own transportation from the airport to your hotel. Here are some suggestions:
Jump-start your AU networking while saving on the taxi or ride share fare and possibly save your company some money sharing a ride.
- Taxi (one-way): $25 USD
- Las Vegas Strip Hotel Shuttles (one-way): $9 USD to $25 USD
I personally suggest grabbing a few other attendees then arranging a ride share Lyft Airport Rides at McCarran International Airport (LAS) - Lyft
Register at AU and get your badge early:
The registration is open Sunday at 4:00 PM to 8:00 pm and Monday 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Follow the signs out in the Sands Event area for the registration area.
Check-in & badge
Pick up your conference badge and materials at The Hub-Venetian Hotel Congress Center in Hall C. Photo identification is required. You must wear your badge at all times to access AU events. If you lose it or want to change display information after it is printed, we can reprint it for a fee.
Sunday, November 17: 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. (Venetian/Palazzo Lobbies only)
Sunday, November 17: 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. (The Hub/Venetian/Palazzo Lobbies)
Monday, November 18: 6:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. (Venetian/Palazzo Lobbies only)
Monday, November 18: 7:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. (The Hub/Venetian/Palazzo Lobbies)
Tuesday, November 19: 6:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. (The Hub)
Wednesday, November 20: 6:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. (The Hub)
Thursday, November 21: 6:30 a.m.- 7:00 p.m. (The Hub)
Your AU Schedule
Sign in to your AU account, to review your AU schedule or make changes.
Be sure to download the AU Mobile app to your phone or your tablet so you can manage your schedule, get valuable information in real time, connect with other attendees, share photos, and join in conversations.
Mix n Mingle
You are encouraged to mix at the events and lunches and get to know your fellow AU attendees as well ask an Autodesk employee a question. I have highlighted a few of my favorite community events including the preconferences, AU5k, keynotes, so much to love that you do need to pace yourself and stay hydrated and alert and all electronic devices charged.
General Session - When it comes to achieving better project outcomes, automation is the key—whether you’re making buildings, products, or media . Automation is changing how we work, what we work with, and what we’re capable of making—for the better. Join Autodesk President and CEO Andrew Anagnost to hear about real and relevant projects from across industries featuring visionary teams embracing the opportunities of automation. Better outcomes start here.
This year, Autodesk President and CEO Andrew Anagnost will explore how automation can help us design and make in better ways, how it’s changing not only what we make, but how we work and what we work with.
He'll be joined onstage by these keynote speakers:
Executive Creative Director, Walt Disney Imagineering
Star Wars™: Galaxy's Edge is a place where you can live your own Star Wars adventure on a truly massive scale. Join Executive Creative Director, Asa Kalama, for a keynote presentation at the AU General Session, to hear how Walt Disney Imagineering creatively executed precision technical work to unlock the power of play.
Founder and CEO, Build Change
By 2030, more than a third of the world will live in substandard housing. Join Elizabeth Hausler, founder and CEO of social enterprise Build Change, as she talks about how culturally appropriate design, rigorous engineering, access to financing, policy change, and the power of technology can provide resilient and safe housing for everyone.
The General Session starts at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, November 19.
Watch it being live streamed online:
Technology Trends: The Future of Work
Join Autodesk CTO, Scott Borduin, and invited technologists from ANSYS, Dell, Epic Games, HP, Lenovo, NVIDIA, and Unity for a fascinating conversation on living (and thriving) in the machine age; how the convergence of industries is impacting how we design and what we can make; and the ways in which new design technologies are enabling a future that is economically, socially, and environmentally better. Arrive early for drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and a good seat.
Architecture, Engineering, & Construction Keynote
Today’s AEC industry is accelerating innovation in some areas and lagging behind in others. There’s an opportunity to do better, and it starts here. Join Autodesk leaders, customers, and partners as they share examples of groundbreaking projects that enable rapid industry innovation across design and construction for buildings and infrastructure.
Product Technology, & Manufacturing Keynote
Manufacturers are under more pressure than ever to deliver better products faster, at lower cost, and with less waste. Join us to explore future manufacturing trends and technology that can help you succeed in this rapidly changing era of digital transformation. Better product design and manufacturing start here.
Peace, Love, and Sustainability Design Slam
How could we design a music festival that’s both sustainable and fun? Come watch working designers create their own solutions before your eyes in short competitions using Dynamo and Fusion 360. Join us for this crowd favorite, make some noise, and decide who gets the prize.
Kick off your AU by joining architects, construction professionals, software developers, and industry leaders at one of our Monday preconference events.
Women at AU Reception
Join women and male allies from every industry to share knowledge and strengthen bonds with others who are solving the same challenges as you. This year’s reception will feature a short screening from The Chasing Grace Project, an independent documentary film series about women in tech. Refreshments will be served. Register to attend; capacity is limited.
Blogger & Social Media Meetup Tuesday, November 19, 7pm to 11pm by RSVP: Do you blog or participate actively in social media covering Autodesk products? Join us for a special evening event with many other social personalities in real-life to see some cool technology including VR, surprises, fun, networking while enjoying some pizza and beverages provided by our friends at LinkedIn Learning who will also be giving out some LinkedIn pro accounts. My friends at Techsmith will be giving some SnagIt and Camtasia licenses. Sign up to RSVP at Autodesk University 2019 Blogger and Social Media Meetup If you would like to help with the event and/or give something participants, contact me at shaan dot hurley at autodesk dot com (email me).
Top Notch Classes! After all this is a main reasons we attend AU, the classes and sessions are amazing. Don’t forget to ask questions, rate the classes, take the knowledge back with you to your office. Also pay attention in the lab sessions, and not surf photos of you on the web, in hot tub time machines.
Have a burning Autodesk product question?
AU is a great place to get that answer on how to do something or give feedback. Just cozy on up to the Answer Bar where solutions and wisdom are served tall without ice.
The New Community Zone at AU Las Vegas 2019
This year at AU Las Vegas we’re inviting you to visit a brand-new space in the Hub: The Community Zone. It’s a place to connect with some of the people behind a variety of Autodesk programs.
Idea Exchange: Meet with product and design teams to exchange ideas on what’s working, what’s missing, and how we can help you be successful. There are many opportunities at AU to participate in feedback and research sessions as teams want to hear from you and your needs.
Attend the AU Block Party – Thursday, Nov 21, 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Put on your party hat and join us on the LINQ Promenade for the closing night celebration. Enjoy great food and drink, rock out to fan-favorite live bands, watch dozens of entertainers, and revel in a host of activities, from bowling and karaoke to riding the High Roller, the world’s tallest observation wheel.
AU Pro Tip: Meet me at the Brooklyn Bowl for an epic time based on the past two years. Fun 80s music band complete with confetti, drinks, food, and there is bowling on the peripheral edges of the event hall too. https://youtu.be/A0yHNXbLvkQ
Visit the Expo
There’s more to AU than just classroom learning. Get hands-on with the technologies changing how we design, make, and build the world around us in the Expo.
Worlds of exploration
The Expo is the place to explore the technologies and tools that are changing how we live and work, and the projects that are breaking new ground. Find out how we can work together to shape the future of making.
- Meet Autodesk leadership
- Connect with your peers in the Industry Community Quads
- Test drive new technology
- Try the latest Autodesk products
- Get inspired by pioneering work
- Experience advances in virtual reality
- Make your design come to life in the Factory
- Discover new ways of designing, making, and building
- Talk to product experts at the Answer Bar
But please, don't climb on or into the exhibits.
Take an Autodesk Certification exam for FREE at AU for the products AutoCAD, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Inventor, Revit, 3ds Max , Fusion 360, and Maya.
Reserve your space today to take advantage of our on-site testing lab at AU—sessions fill quickly. This is a free opportunity to take your exam.
AU Dress Code Tips:
Dress business casual and comfortable. Remember this is a professional event where your peers and there are people you may want to network with. This is not the place to wear Bermuda shorts. Wear some fun socks and show off your funky style and consider compression socks so your legs don't feel like falling off at the end of the long walking days.
Business Cards: Bring plenty of business cards to hand out to the people you may meet and want to follow up with.
Shutterbugs Share your photos online using the free Flickr , Instagram, Twitter, or the AU App. Tag your photos with #AU2019 I am @ShaanHurley on Instagram.
Hashtags: When posting blog posts, or updates on social media like Twitter, Facebook, or photo sites like Instagram or Flickr please use the hashtag #AU2019. This way people can follow the event around social media.https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/au2019/. I am @ShaanHurley on Twitter.
Eat: There are light snacks and coffee each morning and then lunch is provided. A Tip: walk to the furthest food lines to avoid the longer waits due to people just taking the first line.
Hydrate: Drink lots of water. You will lose water faster than you can consume it. Soda, coffee, and beer do not hydrate you. You can purchase water cheaper outside the hotel at the Walgreens as well as get other goodies or aspirin.
Caffeinate: If you stay out late make sure to grab a coffee, tea, or healthy herbal remedy to be alert for the days sessions. There are several coffee shops in the Venetian as well as a fresh green juice shop.
Don’t get Lizard Lips: Your lips by the second day will look like something off of a lizard, so keep your lips lubed up to fend off the dry desert air.
Dragon Breath? You do not want to walk around and talk to your peers with breath that smells like a mixture of coffee, garlic, and road kill. Take some mints or gum and drink lots of water.
Try new things and technologies. Keep an open mind and explore outside the box. Take a look into the future or just have some immersive fun.
AU 5K and Fun Run: Get fresh air, exercise, and make friends:
Grab your running shoes and join us on the Vegas Strip for this annual AU tradition started by avid runner and Autodesk expert Shaan Hurley. What better way to jump-start your morning and your endorphins while connecting with fellow attendees—all before your AU day begins. Runners of all fitness levels are welcome so feel free to run, jog, walk, crawl, or just come to cheer others on. 5K and 2.8K route options available.
We have been running for the past few years and it has grown in popularity with over 200 runners last year and over 300 expected this year. This AU 5K and Fun Run is an official AU event on Tuesday morning complete with staff and Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost.
The AU event sign up is full, but you can and are officially encouraged to just show up Tuesday morning before 6am to join the fun. Please show up near the big Venetian outdoor fountain out front around 5:45am. Spread the word to everyone attending or thinking of attending. There will be marked staff there to sign you in, and light breakfast goods and coffee. Please feel free to wear fun shorts or dress as teams. We Run Autodesk University
If you are a hardcore runner and like fun, you join some other AU attendees by participating in the Rock n Roll Marathon on Saturday or Sunday.
My hyperlapse video of the AU5K run.
Shoes: Wear comfortable shoes as the walking distances between rooms and the event can add up and you will feel it at the end of the day. My step counts show that I walk about 4-10 miles a day at AU.
Fuel: Carried some spare snacks for when you get hungry, perhaps granola bar, nut butter packets, or something to tie you over as your brain is running full power during AU sessions.
Air: Due to the dry air and smoke in the casinos, make sure to bring some eye drops and perhaps a nasal spray.
Humidifiers. Did you know you can escape the dry air problems by requesting a humidifier free in your room? Hurry before they are all spoken for. These are amazing and make the stay in Vegas all that much more enjoyable.
Sleep: I am not sure if it is all the stimulation of the sights and sounds or if there is different oxygen levels, but it is pretty hard to get to sleep at night so bring some earplugs to quiet the ambient noises.
Wireless Security: Make sure if using the public wireless connection to have a firewall enabled to prevent someone from messing with your machine or gathering data. It would be good to use a VPN connection to secure your data.
Static Electricity! Be careful and touch a door nob before touching your laptop. A few people including me fried their laptops due to all the static electricity built up on the carpets and the dry air. There is nothing worse than your entire laptop frying the day before your class session you are teaching and having to stay up all night to re-write and redo some content that was edited during AU. I have heard having a dryer sheet or coins in your pocket will help minimize static electricity risks.
Watch Your Valuables: Keep an eye on your laptop and valuables. Like any place with thousands of geeks and cool electronics in one location, the crooks will be around in sheep's clothing.
Keep Notes: Use an app like OneNote Evernote on your mobile or tablet to jot down notes during a session or those follow up questions for the speaker.
Can you hear me now? You may not always be able to get a cell phone signal or Internet. AU will provide a Wi-Fi in the conference area.
Gadget cables, cords and power supplies. You devices may run out of power while at AU, so carry some of the most needed power cords, portable batteries, and chargers with you.
Cold in Vegas: Do not be fooled by the palm trees along the streets and casinos, this desert oasis is only hot 75% of the year. In winter it can be downright chilly, and has even snowed the day after one AU. Bring a jacket and do not expect to dress in beach clothes if walking outside.
After Hours Dress Code: Make sure that if you plan on attending some events or venturing out to the clubs that you do not wear tennis shoes or a tee-shirt. Most clubs, some events and finer restaurants will enforce a dress code and normally do not permit sneakers or tee-shirt wearing guests.
Tip from Ray Gorman and I whole heartily agree.
“One of my favorite tips for anybody going, especially first timers, is to GO OUTSIDE during the day. A few minutes, or even schedule an open period to get a walk in the fresh air. There is no need to be a troll for the 4 days. You can get lost in all the activities and lose track of time. You get a rest from the noise, smoke, recirculated air and a chance to get rid of that annoying buzz that fills your head after 8-10 hours of classes and Expo stuff. And I would recommend at least a 10-15 minute outdoor session before hitting the hay at the end of the day if you can't get out during the day.”
Pace Yourself: Go to the lounge and relax in a beanbag while catching up on email or in between events. Don't run yourself to exhaustion.
Look for the dogs… There are dogs from a Las Vegas non profit group and they love to be petted and loved on and that helps attendees calm down and escape.
There are many more events and opportunities so please check your AU schedule and plan accordingly as you will get extremely busy. Also keep an eye on this blog for more AU updates as well as my twitter account which I do update while at the event. Make sure to share this Autodesk University 2019 Thrive Guide with others that may be attending to help them out to not only survive AU, but thrive.