SolidWorks World 2007 – What to Expect on Monday

By Monday morning everyone has arrived and the conference really gets going.  Breakfast starts at 7:00am sharp (and the boss back home won’t like it if you’re sleeping in anyway).  Since the breakfast format has changed some from year-to-year, I won’t make any guess on the set-up, but you are guaranteed a hot, satisfying meal.  TIP – Go easy on the coffee.  If you can’t guess why, I’ll explain it later.

General Session
Monday’s general session starts the day off with a message from the CEO and always a few surprises.  Its amazing to see a crowd of 3000 – 4000 people sitting in one room together soaking up the information.  Big screens hanging from the ceiling provide the view of the stage if you are unlucky enough to be sitting in the back.  The opening music and video highlights are cool – make sure you sit down early enough to see and hear it.  TIP – finish breakfast early and head over to the general session ballroom to get the best seat.  If you wait too long, it can be a struggle just to get through the doors.  The morning session runs about an hour-and-a-half, make sure you use the restroom before you sit down (remember what I said about the coffee).

Most of the attendees are here for one main reason – training.  The breakout session schedule at SolidWorks World has something for every level of user.  If you pre-registered for sessions, you will have been provided a personalized agenda when you registered Sunday.  This does not guarantee you a seat at your chosen session – make sure you arrive in time or you may find yourself looking for something else.  TIP – ask questions to get answers.  Speakers at SolidWorks are tops in the field, but cannot always cover everything in an hour.  If you didn’t see something you expected to see, or if a nagging question you brought with you wasn’t answered – ask!  Engage the speaker and the audience – there are many times when someone in the crowd can add even more to the discussion.  The best sessions I have ever attended were the ones where everyone really got involved.

Lunchtime at SolidWorks World is great. A sit-down affair, the food is delicious and the service is impeccable.  But what really makes it special is the Birds-of-a-Feather setup.  As you arrive for lunch, SolidWorks folks (I’ll be one of them) will ask you if you would like to sit with other users that share the same interests or do the same type of work you do.  There are tables for users interested in hearing from others about drawings, mold tools, machine design, PhotoWorks, etc.  You get to discuss specific topics of interest with fellow users, and you’re sure to pick up some valuable information.  TIP – eat first, check email later.  The room fills quickly, and some of the BOAF topics are very popular.  Lunch lasts for 1-1/2 hours –  you’ll have plenty of time later to check back with the office.

The SWUGN Summit
The annual SolidWorks User Group Network Summit is an open meeting for all attendees that would like to learn a little more about user groups.  SolidWorks World 2007 marks the eighth anniversary of this meeting, and it won’t disappoint.  Special guests abound, the discussion is lively, and you get a chance to sit with as many as 80 user group leaders from around the world.  The annual SWUGN meeting also features an awards ceremony, regional updates, and an in-depth look at user groups.  TIP – if you’ve ever thought about starting a local user group chapter, this is the place to be.  Every user group leader that registered for SolidWorks World will be there.  Who better to learn from than the experts.

CSWP Offsite Event
If you are a Certified SolidWorks Professional (or if you passed the test on Sunday), you will be invited to join all of the other CSWP’s at the special off-site event.  Jeremy Lucchini and the entire certification team do a great job year-round, but they really shine when it comes to showing their appreciation to the CSWP’s at SolidWorks World.  TIP – hang out with Adam Perry for a while if you get a chance.  He’s one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met.

Monday Evening Reception
Similar to the Sunday reception, here’s another chance to see the offerings of over 100 SolidWorks Partner companies in the exhibit hall.  Monday is a little slower due to the CSWP event, so you can spend some real quality time researching products and services that interest you and your company.  There’s food, drinks, and some special presentations by some of the conference sponsors.  You also get a chance to win some really great prizes.  TIP – visit every booth and at least pick up their literature to take home.  Even if it doesn’t necessarily interest you, it might be an opportunity to pass the information along to a colleague that couldn’t attend.  Your next local user group meeting would also be a great place to pass this info along.

You might be a little tired at the end of the day Monday, but keep in mind – You’re just getting started!!

Richard Doyle
My official title is Senior User Advocacy & SolidWorks User Groups - but most people just call me "The User Group Guy". I've been a SolidWorks user since 1997, and was one of the founding members of the SWUGN Committee. Since starting the Central Texas SolidWorks User Group in 1999, my career path has led me to DS SolidWorks and a dream job supporting the SolidWorks User Group Network worldwide.
Richard Doyle
Richard Doyle