Las Vegas, Nevada, is world famous for its unprecedented grandeur. Bathed in flashing lights and bursting at the seams with award-winning performances nightly, it's not a place for the faint of heart. So if you host an event here, you need to go big or go home.
That's exactly what Autodesk did at this year's Autodesk University. Occupying the majority of luxury hotel Mandalay Bay's expansive Convention Centre, AU 2010 undoubtedly delivered on size. Myriad attendees seemingly took over the giant hotel, filling its shops and restaurants with people donning conference name tags.
Amidst numerous remarkable exhibits in the open exhibit hall, and several hands-on training classes, were impacting keynotes from industry leaders spanning a variety of pressing topics such as inspiring the students of today to shape innovation for tomorrow.
Of course, big can easily turn into intimidating if not checked at the door. Thankfully, the considerate folk at Autodesk deployed dozens of red-vested staff. These strategically located helpers were friendly and always willing to lend a hand to assist attendees.
Talking to random attendees gave me a clear vision of people's general impressions. Positive comments were in abundance, and scrolling through the #AU2010 hashtag on Twitter affirms how worthwhile the event was.
Unfortunately, not everyone can fly to Vegas for a few days, or afford the conference tickets. But Autodesk thought of this too, offering Autodesk Virtual, a comprehensive online alternative that is surely one of the best virtual event experiences available today.
The only thing that can make Autodesk University 2011 better is to host it in Canada. (No, really!)