The first SolidWorks World that I attended was 2008 in San Diego, as an attendee. My schedule was full of breakout and hands-on sessions, from which I learned a lot. I also remember attending focus groups, the beautiful San Diego days, seeing lots of cool stuff at the Partner Pavilion, fun at special event in the Gaslamp District, the free iPod (still using from time to time), General Sessions, and meeting a lot of new friends.
For SolidWorks World 2009, something strange happened. When you are a regular blogger of SolidWorks and CAD related topics, there’s a chance you’ll be invited to come to SolidWorks World as Press. You don’t get “press credentials” or anything. You simply get a badge that says “Press” and the right to go just about anywhere at any time in the conference. This happened to me.
Being Press at the conference was somewhat surreal in 2009, 2010, and 2011. The experience is completely different. I never had time to attend more than a couple of breakout and hands-on sessions. Instead, my time was spent at news conferences, interviewing important SolidWorks employees, quickly meeting special keynote speakers (Gene Kranz [smart guy], James Cameron [loved the campy Dark Angel show], Dr. Mike North [so sad his show got cancelled]), actually blogging, visiting historical locations, press events and other socializing.
At SolidWorks World 2011, I did double duty as a presenter. Presenting a breakout session isn’t as hard as it might seem. Being a great presenter isn’t the expectation that most people have of you. Knowing your material is most important. Being a presenter also gives you a new and unique experience at the conference, though arguably attending as Press is the most unique of all for people who are not employed by SolidWorks.
Well, this last year, something else strange happened. I was hired as a SolidWorks employee and started my job in June. Not only that, but my position has a significant number of responsibilities at SolidWorld World. So, this year, I’ll be attending SolidWorks World 2012 as a working employee of SolidWorks. Yet again, this will afford me the opportunity to see SolidWorks World from a completely different perspective. To complete the circle, the conference is again in San Diego.
I’ve gone from presenting one breakout session to now presenting 3 sessions (1 breakout, 2 hands-on). As if I wasn’t social before, I’ve got to be even more so now, talking to as many customers as possible, I’ll be running two focus groups, conducting product tests, and other behind the scenes tasks.
Unlike Mike Puckett, who has had a similar experience with changing rolls at SolidWorks World, I will not be presenting on the main stage during the General Session. However, I will have a chance to see the response to my changes to SolidWorks by attendees during the What’s New for 2013 presentation.
If you are attending SolidWorks World 2012, try to find me. My cell is 40…hmmm, yeah, just try to find me instead. I’ll be looking for you to talk to! 🙂