SolidWorks World 2009 User Conference and Exposition will be the largest 3D CAD event in the world. There are a lot of things going on before and after the conference. You can expect to learn a lot of great SolidWorks Tip & Tricks, learn new applications that work with SolidWorks, meet a lot of people, enjoy receptions and parties, and do a lot of walking. That is a lot to do in a 4 day conference, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for, and survive, SolidWorks World 2009.
Wear comfortable shoes. The Disney Swan and Dolphin Hotel is a huge facility, this means you will be doing a lot of walking during this conference. Wear the most comfortable shoes you have. There will also be a lot of people there which means the walking will be slow going. There is no specific dress code for this event, but consider “Smart Casual” attire as appropriate.
Be ready for information overload from the content of the great technical presentations to the demonstrations in the vendor pavilion and the size and energy of what is SolidWorks World. You will be overloaded with information. See my next tip.
Be smart when taking notes. If you are registered for the full conference, and you should be, you will be able to download most of the technical presentations, a month or two after the conference. Because of this, you don’t need to take notes on everything that appears in the presentation slides. I carry a small notebook, and hopefully extra pens, that are easily accessible so I don’t have to dig into my backpack.
Arrive early for the presentations because they tend to fill up fast. If the room is already full, you may not be able to get in even if you signed up for it. Pick alternate presentations ahead of time in case this happens.
Attend technical presentations that can benefit you now and in the future. Pick technical sessions with the following in mind:
- Tips & Tricks will always benefit you because you can learn about techniques that will improve your productivity.
- Attend technical presentations on SolidWorks features you normally don’t use. If you create a lot of “blocky” parts, go and see a presentation on surfacing or sheetmetal. You never know when you may be able to use what you will see at these presentations.
- Look ahead at improving your work environment. If you know many people are complaining about the PDM software you are using, learn about the concepts and technologies of PDM, and look at alternatives.
- If you are a CAD Administrator, check out the Cad Managers Boot Camp on Sunday afternoon. This is a great session that covers what you need to know to effectively support SolidWorks at your place of work. This includes everything from computer systems, software installation and setup, PDM integration, networking environments and customizations. This boot camp pulls it all together in one place.
- Look ahead, at technologies you are not currently using, but may need in the future, such as Routing, CosmosWorks, FlowWorks, KBM, etc…
Talk with other users at the “Birds of a Feather” lunches. This is a great way to meet others from your region, technical expertise, or SolidWorks interests. This networking may lead to learning better ways get things done in SolidWorks, or lead you to additional resources that can help you in your job.
SolidWorks World is also a great place to meet users you talk with online, whether it is in the newsgroups, forums, or other emails. If you want to meet with someone specific, make arrangements for meetings before you go to the conference. At the conference, they will be as busy as you are, and they may be harder to find. If they are giving a presentation, catch them at their presentation after they are done.
Meet with, and talk to, SolidWorks personnel. SolidWorks wants to know that issues you, the users, are facing. SolidWorks uses this information for developing product features and improvements. If someone from SolidWorks approaches you to do a ‘User Survey” or participate in a “Usability Study”, please consider spending some time to do so. Please read my blog on “How do you use SolidWorks” for more information.
Get involved by participating in SolidWorks surveys. These surveys are typically on computers in the Vendor Pavilion. SolidWorks Corporation uses the information from these surveys to improve the SolidWorks software, the SolidWorks Community, and SolidWorks Corporation. You may even get a free gift for participating.
If you are a CSWP, attend the CSWP party on Monday night! There are some great activities lined up for this party.
Have fun at the off-site party on Tuesday night! This is a great place to unwind, meet up with some friends and have a good time.
If you are planning a vacation in conjunction with SolidWorks World, do it the weekend before the conference so you can enjoy the vacation, and relax (somewhat) during the conference. The SolidWorks World website has many links to attractions you can see while you are in the Orlando area. FYI: The Space Shuttle Discovery is scheduled to be launched at 7:30 a.m. ET on Thursday February 10.
Good Luck, have fun, and I hope to see you there! It's going to be a great time for everyone!