Recap – Cisco Live US 2014

I don’t think I’m going to give a direct review of Cisco Live US this year.  The conference was great with lots of stuff going on, but I really can’t contribute any more than the vast library of other posts on the subject.  What I will do, though, is give my take on where I think the conference is headed.  These are all my thoughts and have little to do with reality in some cases.

Social Events Passes.  My wife had one of these this year, and it worked very well for meatspace networking and seeing the sites.  So did Bob.  And many others.  This was the trendy thing to do this year, and it was successful for sure.  I didn’t hear a single “I wish I could have seen that session” at all thanks to everything being available online afterward.  Next year, I predict that a good number of attendees in my circles will opt for the cheaper pass; I would say 40% or so of the group will do so.  After all, we go to see people and exchange ideas.  Traditional learning can come when you get home.

Host City.  San Francisco’s a great city (as others say…not me) and a great place for a conference.  I think the number of attendees of Cisco Live has reach critical mass there, though.  The Moscone Center can’t really handle the number of people that were in one place at one time.  There were 25k attendees this year, and we could find very few restaurants that could handle herds of 20 or 30 people that are common at these events.  Even available hotel rooms were few and far between by the time of the show (and don’t get me started on the price!).  Hell, I even got turned back for lunch one day because the cafeteria was full.  I don’t think Cisco Live will ever go back there when you think of the growth percentages year-to-year.  I’m thinking Las Vegas and Orlando might wind up being the only places that can hold us all.  San Diego will have its chance twice in the next few years, so let’s see if they can stay on the list.

Breakout Sessions.  With current attendance trends, there will probably be 27k people in attendance next year; that’s a lot of people to put into breakout sessions all week.  Expect to have a larger number of sessions next year, which means potential information overload when you enroll come March or so.  I hope to be able to better use the Interests feature of the scheduler better next year to keep the noise down.

Social Media.  This year, there was a split of the Twitter crowd.  There was the traditional Twiterati, but the Cisco Champions group emerged and took a leading role in the week.  Of course, no one says you can’t participate because you’re not a core member of one group or another, so it wasn’t really a big deal most of the time.  It all worked out this year, but expect to have to follow the activities of other Cisco groups next year when the event rolls around.

Extracurricular activities.  On top of all the events from some sort of Cisco entity, there were all sorts of things going on outside of the official schedules.  There was a Tech Field Day event going on over the course of a few days.  I can’t even count how many podcasts there were being recorded.  As usual, there were third-party events happening, too.  I had a great time at the INE party again this year, and I’ll go again next year.  One of my VARs had a get-together that I had to decline, but I did accidentally stumble on another company’s small “event” and wound up with free drinks and cigars.  The moral of the story, though, is there will be SO MANY THINGS TO DO next year.  It will be hard to keep track of them.

I’d like to say thanks to @Cisco and @CiscoLive for such a great event both in the real world and on Twitter.  This always has been and always will be the great event of the year, but times they are a-changin’.  Don’t be surprised if something more drastic may happen.

Send any frequent flyer miles questions my way.