Choosing the right sessions to attend and putting together your AU schedule can be a daunting task. 2019 will be my seventh year attending AU Las Vegas and I still have memories of the first couple of years where I would get a headache from figuring out my schedule. Luckily, things have gotten easier for me and I now love the process of selecting my classes and planning the great week that I’ll have in Vegas.
Here are a few tips and tricks that I use when putting together my AU schedule:
Don’t miss the big presentations—The General Session and Industry Keynotes are huge, dynamic, and inspiring. I always compare Tuesday’s General Session to going to a concert. You have thousands of people in the same room, all happy to see each other, and learning about new ideas, technologies, and opportunities. The Industry Keynotes are also amazing, so make sure to attend them, or at least the one that is closer to your field (in my case, it’s Product Design & Manufacturing). Note that the General Session is prepopulated on your schedule. The Industry Keynotes are prepopulated on your schedule depending on the industry segment you select during registration.
Filter sessions by your main interest/software/industry—You can filter the class catalog by topic, industry, role, product, level of expertise, and more. In my case, I do a search for Fusion 360 first, as I want to make sure that I am exposed to as many new workflows as possible. One of the most important reasons to attend AU is to grow professionally, after all. It also happens that during these sessions I get to connect with friends and colleagues who share my same interest in Fusion and design. Networking at AU is a powerful and exciting force.
Use keywords to find relevant topics across industry—Next, you can start searching for other topics that interest you. In my case, I’ll search for topics like generative design, machine learning, education, or additive manufacturing. This is a good way to find sessions that are relevant to you but that wouldn’t necessarily fall on your radar.
Sign up for a couple of classes outside your industry—AU brings together great people from all industries. While I’m in product design, I normally check out classes in architecture or media & entertainment and add a couple of them to my schedule. In fact, many of my most memorable classes from past AUs are from outside my discipline. There is something very refreshing and inspiring about learning new things and approaches versus just hearing more of what you already know.
Bookmark anything that sounds interesting—As your schedule fills up, you’ll start finding sessions you’re interested in that overlap or conflict with each other. I like to bookmark those I can’t attend, just in case I change my mind later. Your bookmarks will show up in the mobile app, so you can reference them at AU, and in your profile on the AU website after AU.
Include social events—One of my highlights during AU is running the AU 5K on Tuesday morning. Some other people look forward to yoga, the Design Slam, or many other fun events. AU is about socializing as much as it is about learning new technologies… take advantage of it.
Use the calendar to fill in gaps—Once your schedule is mostly full, searching for classes through the catalog won’t be as useful, as many of them will show a schedule conflict. At any point, you can view your schedule, click on a specific time/day, and a window will pop up with the sessions that are scheduled for that time. This will save you time for filling out specific spots in your schedule.
Don’t be afraid of downtime—It is okay to leave open space in your schedule. Chances are, during that time you’ll get to meet new people in the hallway or in the Hub. You can also go outside and get some fresh air for a few minutes, which is actually a rare opportunity during this busy week. Downtime helps to recharge batteries and to absorb everything that AU has to offer.
These are just a few tips to help you put together your best AU schedule. The most important thing is to have fun while at it and to prepare yourself for a week full of great stories, technology, and people. Good luck and see you at AU!