On my way to Vegas

On my way to Vegas
I knew I was on my way to Los Vegas when the flight attendant began taking drink orders at 8:30AM on the one-hour flight from Los Angeles. I settled for coffee in a styrofoam cup whilst the gentleman next to me complained of too much vodka in his bloody Mary.

I haven’t been to Vegas in years and forgot how big it is. This is my first SolidWorks World event, and I am struck by the shear size of it as well. The event consumes two large floors of conference rooms at Caesar’s Palace, and people with red SolidWorks badges are everywhere, roaming the Casino, the hotel lobby, on the escalators. It took me a few hours of dragging my suitcase around to get the lay of the land.

During my wonderings, I ran into Mike Volpe, director of marketing communications for SolidWorks, who had time for a quick chat. Last year’s user conference was in Orlando, Florida and the year before that in Boston, Massachusetts. “We felt it was time to return to the West coast,” said Mike. It’s been four years since SolidWorks World was held in Vegas.

According to Mike, there are 3,500 attendees at this years’ event, up from 2,300 last year. This year, 1,500 of the attendees are users and the rest are partners, exhibitors, resellers, and employees.

Mike said the growing attendance is due to enthusiasm. SolidWorks users are passionate about their work and the products the make, he said, so much so that at 7AM Sunday morning, there was a rush-hour lineup at the registration area. “It’s like a family reunion,” said Mike.

Mike threw some other good factoids at me. People are here from over 100 different countries, as far away as Africa and Asia Pacific. Over 100 exhibits line the Partner Pavilion. Everyone gets a shirt when they register, and the most popular shirt size is men’s large. The next most popular is men’s extra-large.

Matthew West

SolidWorks alumnus. I like plate reverb, Rat pedals, Thai curry, New Weird fiction, my kids, Vespas, Jazzmasters, my wife & Raiders of the Lost Ark. Not necessarily in that order.