After attending 32 Autodesk University events, I won't be at this year's event, and no longer work for Autodesk. However, my tradition of providing tips to make the most of Autodesk University (AU) continues. This guide aims to help you not just survive, but thrive at AU 2023.
What is Autodesk University?
Autodesk University is an annual event where thousands gather in Las Vegas to learn, network, and share knowledge. It's not just a 12-hour-a-day event; activities run virtually around the clock. So, get organized and plan ahead.
Dates: Monday, November 13 – Wednesday, November 15
Location: Venetian/Palazzo Congress Center, Las Vegas, NV
Online Access: Free streaming of keynotes and events
Registration: Register for AU Here
Cost: $2,250 (Sept 16 - Nov 15, excludes hotel and travel)
Las Vegas will be bustling due to the FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX race starting on November 18th, immediately after AU.
In-person class session list
- Highlights for Architecture
- Highlights for AutoCAD Users
- Highlights for BIM & CAD Managers
- Highlights for Building Engineering
- Highlights for Construction
- Highlights for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
- Highlights for Education
- Highlights for Infrastructure
- Highlights for Media & Entertainment
- Highlights for Product Design & Manufacturing
- Highlights for Software Developers
- Highlights for Sustainability
You are responsible for your own transportation from the airport to your hotel. Here are some suggestions:
Jump-start your AU networking while saving on the taxi or ride share fare and possibly save your company some money sharing a ride.
- Taxi (one-way): ~$35 USD
- Las Vegas Strip Hotel Shuttles (one-way): ~$12 USD to $40 USD
- I personally suggest grabbing a few other attendees and then arranging a ride share Lyft Airport Rides at McCarran International Airport (LAS) – Lyft
Sign in to your AU account or the mobile app, to review your AU schedule or make changes.
Make sure to attend the General Session and keynotes:
Monday, Nov 13 at 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM PST
”Our industries are changing faster than ever. And though the uncertainty we’re all facing is accelerating, so is the technology available to us all. With AI looming ever larger for all of us, it feels like our industries are reaching a tipping point. As the cloud connects more of your data, it enables AI to unlock powerful new ways of working. Join Autodesk President and CEO Andrew Anagnost and colleagues as they show how our Design & Make Platform is taking us closer to the cusp of a new era, one where technology will unleash your productivity and your creativity, no matter what industry you work in.”
- Andrew Anagnost, President and CEO, Board Director, Autodesk
- Amy Bunszel, Executive Vice President, Architecture, Engineering and Construction Design Solutions, Autodesk
- Diana Colella, Executive Vice President, Entertainment & Media Solutions, Autodesk
- Jeff Kinder, Executive Vice President, Product Development and Manufacturing Solutions, Autodesk
- Raji Arasu, Executive Vice President, CTO,
General Session Day 2
Tuesday, Nov 14 at 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM PST
“It is well established that our industries are changing faster than ever. Although change is inevitable, how you respond to change is a choice. Change can be forced upon you. Or you can be a force of change. In this session, Autodesk’s COO, Steve Blum, will share inspiring stories of customer change and impact, and host a conversation with Ryan Reynolds, the actor, producer, and businessman who has become a force of change in an ever-changing world.”
- Steve Blum, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Autodesk
- Ryan Reynolds, Actor, producer, screenwriter, and entrepreneur
Attend the AU Party
The Design and Make Celebration
Wednesday, Nov 15 at 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM PST
- Taxi: ~$35 USD one-way
- Hotel Shuttles: ~$12 to $40 USD one-way
- Ride Share: Consider Lyft Airport Rides at McCarran International Airport
Networking and Socializing
- Use the AU mobile app to review your schedule.
- Attend community events, keynotes, and the AU Party.
- Engage with fellow attendees and Autodesk employees.
- Dress Code: Business casual; no Bermuda shorts.
Remember this is a professional event where your peers and there are people you may want to network with. This is not the place to wear Bermuda shorts.
- Business Cards: Bring plenty or use a QR code app.
Bring plenty of business cards to hand out to the people you may meet and want to follow up with. Or better yet, get an app that exchanges contact information by QR code. Or use the new iOS feature NameDrop by moving your iPhone next to the other person's device also on iOS 17, wait for your contact cards to automagically appear, then click to share your contact information.
- Food & Drinks: Light snacks and lunch provided; stay hydrated.
Carried some spare snacks for when you get hungry, perhaps granola bar, nut butter packets, or something to tie you over as your brain is running full power during AU sessions.
- Shoes: Comfortable footwear is a must.
- Health: Carry hand sanitizer and consider a face cover in large crowds.
- Wireless Security: Use a VPN and enable a firewall.
- Notes: Use apps like OneNote or Evernote for note-taking app on your mobile.
- Power: Bring extra cables and portable batteries.
- Static Electricity! Be careful and touch a doornob before touching your laptop. A few people including me fried their laptops due to all the static electricity built up on the carpets and the dry air. There is nothing worse than your entire laptop frying the day before your class session you are teaching and having to stay up all night to re-write and redo some content that was edited during AU. I have heard having a dryer sheet or coins in your pocket will help minimize static electricity risks.
- Watch and Secure Your Valuables: Keep an eye on your laptop and valuables. Like any place with thousands of geeks and cool electronics in one location, the crooks will be around in sheep's clothing.
Comfort and Well-being
- Hydration: Drink plenty of water.
You will lose water faster than you can consume it. Soda, coffee, and beer do not hydrate you. You can purchase water cheaper outside the hotel at Walgreens as well as get other goodies or aspirin.
- Humidifiers for dry air: Did you know you can escape the dry air problems by requesting a humidifier free in your room? Hurry before they are all spoken for. These are amazing and make the stay in Vegas all that much more enjoyable.
- Caffeinate: If you stay out late make sure to grab a coffee, tea, or healthy herbal remedy to be alert for the days sessions. There are several coffee shops in the Venetian as well as a fresh green juice shop.
- Lip Balm: Your lips by the second day will look like something off of a lizard, so keep your lips lubed up to fend off the dry desert air.
- Air Quality: Consider eye drops and nasal spray.
Due to the dry air and smoke in the casinos, make sure to bring some eye drops and perhaps a nasal spray.
- Breath: You do not want to walk around and talk to your peers with breath that smells like a mixture of coffee, garlic, and road kill. Take some mints or gum and drink lots of water.
- Sleep: Earplugs can help you get quality sleep.
I am not sure if it is all the stimulation of the sights and sounds or if there is different oxygen levels, but it is pretty hard to get to sleep at night so bring some earplugs to quiet the ambient noises.
- Cold in Vegas: Do not be fooled by the palm trees along the streets and casinos, this desert oasis is only hot 75% of the year. In winter it can be downright chilly, and has even snowed the day after one AU. Bring a jacket and do not expect to dress in beach clothes if walking outside.
- After Hours Dress Code: Make sure that if you plan on attending some events or venturing out to the clubs that you do not wear tennis shoes or a tee-shirt. Most clubs, some events, and finer restaurants will enforce a dress code and normally do not permit sneakers or tee-shirt wearing guests.
- Get Outside: Take breaks and get fresh air.
- Pace Yourself: Use downtime to relax and catch up on emails.You can go to the AU Lounge area for this including petting dogs in past years.
Autodesk University offers an almost endless supply of opportunities. Plan wisely, and you'll not just survive but thrive. Share this guide with anyone attending AU 2023.