I’m back from my first Cisco Live which was in San Francisco. It was a great experience and I hope to be back for many more events. Why should one go to Cisco Live? Here are my reasons:
1. Sessions – Cisco Live has a great variety of sessions with amazing speakers such as Denise Fishburne, Scott Morris, Pete Lumbis, Shelly Cadora, Shannon McFarland and many more. You can get deep dives into protocols, the inner workings of different Cisco platforms or sessions on the future of networking relating to topics such as SDN.
The best part is that after the session you can meet with these speakers and ask them questions. Don’t be afraid to interact with the speakers, maybe you will even keep in touch after the session. To make sure that your favourite speakers come back, fill out the surveys!
2. Networking – Cisco is a networking company but Cisco Live is also about networking with people. Cisco has done a lot to create a good environment to network through the tweetup area and the Social Media Hub. The Social Media Hub is a place with big screens showing live tweets, pictures from Cisco Live and a leaderboard for the tweets.
The Social Media Hub is a great place to connect with people. You can meet with friends, new people or with us, the Cisco Champions. Some of these contacts might land you your next job or provide valuable insight into work related tasks. Don’t be afraid to say hi!
3. Table topics – Table topics are a great way of meeting with peers in the industry with the same interests as you. Want to discuss deployment of ISE? Want to discuss Application Centric Infrastructure? These are the kinds of topics you can discuss and Cisco will also provide their expertise by being present at the tables. This is a unique opportunity to find peers working on the same technology you are.
4. Meet The Expert – Cisco has a program called Meet The Expert. This is an opportunity to meet with distinguished Cisco employees and discuss customer projects, deployments, network designs and much more. You will gather in a meeting area and you can use the white board to interact with the Cisco engineers. This type of meeting provides you both valuable insight and a channel right into Cisco which may prove very valuable.
5. Devnet Zone – Are you interested in OnePK, Application Centric Infrastructure, Python, Software Defined Networking? Then this is the area for you. This was the first time the Devnet Zone appeared and it was a huge success. Cisco hosted hackathons, sessions and the opportunity to interact with other people with the same interests. There were also demos of ACI, Internet of Everything and other related topics.
6. Certification Lounge – Are you Cisco certified? Come hang out in the Certification Lounge. Hang out with other Cisco certified people, have something to eat and drink. If you are a CCIE you will also get a gift and a ribbon for your badge. This year there was a demo of the Cisco Learning Labs and Cisco Modeling Labs. Matt Saunders and Brett Lovins were there to represent the Cisco Learning Network. A lot of very distinguished people like to stay in the Certification Lounge.
7. Fun – Cisco Live is fun! Imagine going to a 4 day course with your friends. The teacher is awesome and afterwards you go do fun activities together. If all training was like this wouldn’t we go more often? There are a lot of things to do at Cisco Live such as visiting the World of Solutions where all the Cisco partners and other companies showcase their products. If you are a CCIE, don’t miss the CCIE party! Cisco also hosts a Customer Appreciation Event where this year we got to see Lenny Kravitz and Imagine Dragons playing. Don’t forget to have fun at Cisco Live! Not too much fun though! Or the 8 AM sessions might seem like a bad idea…
Cisco Live is an all in one package you won’t find anywhere else. You get to learn, have fun and meet with great people! Some of these contacts may prove to be invaluable in your projects at work. If you consider all the value you get from going to Cisco Live, it’s totally worth it!
I hope to meet you at the next Cisco Live!