Networking at SWW16: The Not-So-Traditional Methods

SWW - Send three for the price of two!

When we ask people why they come to SOLIDWORKS World, one of the top answers is networking. It’s definitely my favorite part. Seeing old friends and making new ones is why I do this. I love hearing what you’ve been up to this past year, and meeting a stranger is something you should absolutely strive for in a place where so many incredible minds are so easily available for the picking. Stay opened, extend your hand, and introduce yourself!!! I make it sound easy, right? I understand that this isn’t the case for everyone, and walking into a General Session auditorium full of thousands of strangers can be overwhelming. To help out, I’ve decided to introduce you to some of my favorite, super passionate, smaller, and less intimidating Community led groups at SOLIDWORKS World. Below, they’re going to tell us who they are, what they do, and why they do it. It’s my hope that you’ll share one of these interests and swing by and introduce yourself!

The Bacon Brotherhood
(with John Matrishon, Western Massachusetts SOLIDWORKS User Group Leader)

Gian Paolo Bassi - baconbrotherhood
Is that SOLIDWORKS CEO, Gian Paolo Bassi?

A few years ago in San Antonio, Texas, it was SOLIDWORKS World 2011 and one of my favorite locations to date. Every morning for the breakfast rollout were huge portions of bacon, sausage, and other awesome food goodness! Of course, many of us had heaps of delicious bacon on our plates, and that first morning set off the start of the Knights of the Bacon Brotherhood (Chris, Ed, Bill, Rob, and myself)! Each morning a few old friends and some new friends would find each other for the day’s bacon dosage followed by calls of “BACON” when seeing each other throughout the day. The whole thing was solidified when the special surprise guest on the last day was none other than KEVIN BACON, followed by a few of us yelling his last name in homage (followed by a few confused looks of nearby attendees). The next couple of SOLIDWORKS Worlds continued the bacon calls and I even made a few business cards with an ever evolving group of Knights. That’s when for SWW14, I decided we needed to do something fun with this interest in bacon, so I contacted my fellow Knight Ed Gebo. We had some ribbons made for the SWW badges and devised a contest to earn the ribbons by using Twitter to share a photo of yourself with some type of bacon related theme, tag us, and then find us to get your ribbon. This was pretty fun, and started to get a little buzz going as the interest grew and the days went by. Then, for SWW15 in Phoenix last year, folks were already buzzin’ and contacting us weeks before World even started wondering if we were going to have ribbons again? Wanting to continue on with the fun, we had a couple of custom t-shirts made up and really got into the whole thing! Now, there are many members of the Bacon Brotherhood, so you’re sure to hear the word “BACON” shouted many times as you walk the halls of SOLIDWORKS World in Dallas, close to where it all started!

The Coffee Clique
(with William Radigan, New Mexico SOLIDWORKS User Group Leader and
Deepak Gupta, Boxer’s SOLIDWORKS Blog)

SWW16: Coffee Clique

The SOLIDWORKS #CoffeeClique began in 2015 as a Vegetarian, Kosher, & Halal alternative to a certain other SWW sub-group. We were looking for an opportunity to create some friendly competition and maybe even a little rivalry, all while enjoying one of the world’s great beverages. We also feel that coffee and tea are an easy way to bring people together and create a friendly environment to share their views. As we spread the word last year about the new group, we wanted a name that would be inviting and recognizable to beverage connoisseurs everywhere. It took a lot of time and effort, but in a racehorse named ‘Coffee Clique’, we eventually found the perfect combination of the qualities that unite us as SOLIDWORKS CAD jockeys. Those qualities are [structural] strength, [rendering] speed, and beauty [in motion analysis].

If you’d like to join us, just look for a #CoffeeClique table flag every day at breakfast:

SWW: Coffee Clique Sign

It’s your ticket to friendly conversation, lively debate, and really great beverages. The #CoffeeClique is more than an opportunity to satisfy your caffeine addiction, it is a chance to connect with people from around the SOLIDWORKS World!

The Runners
(with Jim Wilkinson, SOLIDWORKS R&D, Vice President, User Experience Architecture)

#SWW15: The Runners

One of the long-standing traditions at SOLIDWORKS World is the early morning running group. This tradition dates back to the very earliest event in Palm Springs and has carried on every year, with the exception of one year; 2004. That year, SOLIDWORKS World was in Boston, Massachusetts, and with the combination of sub-zero temperatures (in Fahrenheit!) and employees staying at their homes, up to an hour away, instead of at the hotel along with the attendees, everyone took a pass on participating that year. Thankfully, the SOLIDWORKS World planners decided to go back to warmer venues after that year and we’ve been back in business ever since!

What better way to digest the food and beverages from the night before than getting out for some exercise the next morning? Plus, you get extra time to talk with other users, VARs, partners, and SOLIDWORKS employees. The main group usually goes out at a 8:30-9:30 minute/mile pace, but there are often other groups that form at other paces or to walk instead of run. It is always a great time as can be seen by the photo of this chipper group in Phoenix, Arizona last year. Come and join in the fun! You can find out more information about when and where we will meet by tracking this forum thread.

The CAD Monkey Dinner
(with Daniel Herzberg
Boston Area North SOLIDWORKS User Group Leader)

CAD Monkey Dinner SWW15

Hard-core, gung-ho SOLIDWORKS super-users who arrive in the convention’s host city early enough can eat, drink, mingle, and network at the semi-official Saturday night CAD Monkey Dinner. Since SOLIDWORKS World 2012, bloggers, users, employees and user group leaders have been taking in the city’s sights and tastes before the main even gets underway. Ever since I started meeting the friendly SOLIDWORKS community at my first SOLIDWORKS World in 2011, I wanted to put together an event where we could all get together to check in, catch up, and celebrate another year at SOLIDWORKS World. I started planning a gathering for the following year, and by the time SOLIDWORKS World 2012 rolled around, over a dozen people were eager to meet up at the Hard Rock Cafe on Saturday night.

This event started off big in 2012, and has only grown since then. Word has slowly spread about THE place to be on Saturday night, and attendance has risen steadily. At the 2015 event at Alice Cooperstown in Phoenix, dozens of CAD Monkeys took over a large section of the restaurant. One user group leader even made up a special shirt for the event!

I’ve tried to make sure this event capture the spirit of the host city, including the best food, locations, and views each city has to offer. This year’s event is no different. Almost 40 people are expected to enjoy a multi-part evening, which will span several locations around the convention center. We’ll start the evening with dinner at one of the greatest steakhouses in Texas, then take in the sights of the JFK memorial and Pioneer Park as we stroll around the city towards our final destination: an upscale rooftop bar complete with gorgeous views of downtown Dallas. It’s sure to be an unforgettable night!

The SWUGL Event
(with Nicole Walden, Chattanooga SOLIDWORKS User Group Leader)

Nicole Walden

The User Group Leader event (SWUGLe) began when Casey and I arranged a dinner from a collection of group leaders who were not leaving SWW until Thursday. The night before I was on the bus, coming back from the offsite event, when I hear two gentlemen discussing ideas on how they could become active with the user group leaders. I could not resist the opportunity and popped up out of my seat and asked if they would want to join us at the following night’s dinner to get ideas. Turns out those two gentlemen worked at Hewlett Packard (HP). HP graciously picked up the check and became our first unofficial sponsor. HP has since been a sponsor of the event each year. We have several loyal sponsors to thank for the event.

We have had the event in a meeting space at a hotel, a few restaurants, and this year, a private meeting space with a buffet, DJ and games. Most user group leaders manage to find one another during the conference and stay in touch throughout the year. Some are new to the group or maybe on the other side of the world. I hope that every user group leader who isn’t busy from 4-8 Wednesday night is planning to attend the event. We would love for you to come and join our crazy little family. I was asked to share funny stories but everyone knows…. What happens at SWW, stays at SWW! 🙂

A special thank you to our SOLIDWORKS User Group Leader Event sponsors this year: Hewlett Packard, The Rapid Group, SOLIDWORKS, Mastercam, 3DConnexion, MakerBot, DriveWorks, and CADLink.

The SWUGL event team is made up of myself, Casey Gorman, and the bacon brotherhood (John Matrishon and Edson Gebo).

 

Nothing for you on the agenda? Start your own group and become part of Community magic at SOLIDWORKS World! Feel free to reach out to me at SOLIDWORKS.Social@3ds.com if I can be of assistance! As always, thanks for reading! Can’t wait to meet you in Dallas!

Rachel Diane York

Rachel Diane York

Community and User Advocacy Manager at SOLIDWORKS
I was the founding member of the Tech Valley SOLIDWORKS User Group and a huge fan of our fantastic Community. I've taught and provided technical support for SOLIDWORKS as well as presented at many user group events. In my spare time I enjoy: billiards, reading, and playing video games. Please feel free to reach out!
Rachel Diane York
Rachel Diane York