Today was a special day for me and marked the first time I was a main presenter in a session. The class was at 10 am, so by 9:15am I was at the lounge waiting for Steve. He anxiously called me around 8:45am when he didn't see me around! I prepared a lot for this class and Steven really helped shake off the early jitters and kept me on track really well, driving the PC and switching between Revit examples and the Powerpoint Presentation. The class size was 200 and in quite a compact room. So far from the feedback that people left, it seems to have been well received and I appreciate all your kind comments and support! You have been a great audience too and made my first experience very enjoyable. Thanks to all of you too for introducing yourself.
We went to enjoy a good lunch at a Wolfgang Puck restaurant in the piazza once again and chatted over the good old days of pre-Autodesk Revit, how it all started and how difficult Steve's job is to manage the Revit content across all platforms. Soon after lunch we attended Paul Aubin's mega-class on detailing in Revit. Then my stomach sank to my feet when Steve pointed out that we would be presenting there tomorrow morning! There are 423 signed up right now. Obviously the last day I won't bank on all of them being there ;) I'll make sure to snap a picture tomorrow.
Afterwards I went to a CAD Manager's round table Unplugged session that was organized by Joseph Wurcher. It was great to see Autodesk trying hard to figure out ways through this discussion to give CAD Managers a platform to connect, communicate and share experiences. I'm not sure we reached a clear goal as to how Autodesk can help, but the theme was clear: there's need for more networking outside of our everyday competitive environments to help implement technology and lead & empower people. Autodesk needs to also step up to the plate and help drill straight down to answers, especially when professionals of certain caliber are the ones asking the questions. They need to cut to the chase quickly, avoiding the usual "is the power turned on" kind of questions. Overall I wasn't sure I would fit in this session since my role isn't really "CAD Manager", a title which I despise. I would rather change it to something else that puts emphasis on how we help people use technology effectively, but I have not been able to sum it up yet.
Then I was off again to the mega-space (Palazzo E, F & G) where members of the Revit team gave a great interactive presentation about the process of Revit development. It is remarkably similar to how we program and design buildings. There is a very rigorous process of collecting data through various sources such as surveying users, wishlists, usability sessions, direct observation of users at work, etc. All this is then analyzed and condensed into a set of useable formats utilizing whatever medium that works. It could be as simple as colored cards. Priorities are set, functionality is outlined and visual mockups are created. It is quite similar to story-boarding for movie making. Then each part is turned over to coders to implement it and things are adjusted so a reasonable scope can be defined for a year's worth of development, keeping an eye and resources focused towards the future and long-term plans, and some resources applied to bug-fixes, etc. Then software is Alpha and Beta tested before finally being released, with hopefully little need for more fixes, although we all know that's difficult to achieve. Data and feedback from attendees was actually collected and great points were raised, such as why certain tools are turned off in Revit Architecture and turned on only in Revit Structure. In a future post, I plan on elaborating on this subject that I feel strongly about and I'm sure lots of you out there agree that it's a ridiculous marketing ploy.
Finally I went to the closing party, with great entertainment by Don McMillan. He is awesome and my jaws still hurt from all the laughter. If you're easily offended, this might not be for you! I wish I could get more of this kind of comedy. There were also two sessions of the Design Slam, where designers and power users produced their creations in 20 minutes while they worked to loud music at a very fast pace. They used a variety of Autodesk software tools such as Alias Studio and Maya. Amid great food, drink, gymnastics and other "weird" entertainment, AU celebrations came to an end with the announcement that AU2009 will be held at Mandalay Bay. And since I forgot my camera and don't feel like downloading bad pictures from my phone, I'll close here with no imagery for the day!