Autodesk University 2018 Tips

We are now less than two weeks from Autodesk University!
Autodesk University is the premier Autodesk customer event held yearly where several thousand creative design and visualization experts descend on Las Vegas. They arrive wide eyed, craving knowledge from the best in the industry. They leave tired and full of valuable knowledge to make them more productive back at work. After attending every Las Vegas based Autodesk University, I have compiled a long list of tips over the years for not only surviving, but making the most of AU.  For many attendees, Autodesk University is not just 12 hours a day as there are activities virtually around the clock so pace yourself and get organized before you land in Las Vegas with a plan.

Register at AU and get your badge early: The registration is open Sunday at 4:00 PM to 8:00 pm and Monday 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Follow the signs out in the Sands Event area for the registration area.

AU  dates and location
Preconference events: Monday, November 12
AU : Tuesday, November 13 - Thursday, November 15
Venetian/Palazzo Congress Center
3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Airport Transportation
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 fare. Look for AU taxi ambassadors holding signs that say AU Share Rides.

  • Taxi (one-way): $25 USD
  • Las Vegas Strip Hotel Shuttles (one-way): $9 USD to $25 USD

I personally suggest grabbing a few other attendees then arranging a ride share Lyft Airport Rides at McCarran International Airport (LAS) - Lyft

Check-in & badge
Pick up your conference badge and materials at The Hub-Venetian Hotel Congress Center in Venetian Ballroom E, Level 2. Photo identification is required. You must wear your badge at all times to access AU  events. If you lose it or want to change display information after it is printed, we can reprint it for a fee of $75.00 USD.

AU Self Check In

Check-in hours
Sunday, November 11:        8:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.  (Venetian/Palazzo Lobbies only)
Sunday, November 11:        4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.  (The Hub/Venetian/Palazzo Lobbies)
Monday, November 12:       6:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.  (Venetian/Palazzo Lobbies only)
Monday, November 12:       7:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.  (The Hub/Venetian/Palazzo Lobbies)
Tuesday, November 13:       6:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. (The Hub)
Wednesday, November 14:  6:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. (The Hub)
Thursday, November 15:      6:30 a.m.- 7:00 p.m.  (The Hub)

Your AU Schedule
Sign in to your AU account, to review your AU schedule or make changes.
Be sure to download the AU Mobile app to your phone or your tablet so you can manage your schedule, get valuable information in real time, connect with other attendees, share photos, and join in conversations about the themes and topics discussed  at the conference.

Mix n Mingle
You are encouraged to mix at the events and lunches and get to know your fellow AU attendees as well ask an Autodesk employee a question.

Make sure to attend the General Session and keynotes:

General Session - Tuesday, Nov 13, 10:30 AM - 12:15 PM– Hall D, Level 2
Autodesk President and CEO Andrew Anagnost will share his perspective on automation, the changing nature of work, and how technology can unlock opportunities to do more, better, with less negative impact on the world. Andrew will be joined by Autodesk CTO Scott Borduin and Director of Robotics Erin Bradner, Autodesk customers, and former GE Chair Beth Comstock.
Unable to Attend, but want to see the General Session by the web?


  • Architecture, Engineering, & Construction Keynote - Wednesday, Nov 14, 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM – Hall D, Level 2
    Whether you're an architect, engineer, or contractor, join us to learn how Autodesk and leaders across AEC are using today’s tools to design and build better, smarter, and with more project insight.

  • Top Notch Classes! After all this is a main reasons we attend AU, the classes and sessions are amazing. Don’t forget to ask questions, rate the classes, take the knowledge back with you to your office.
    Also pay attention in the lab sessions and not surf photos of you on the web.

  • Have a burning Autodesk product question?
    AU is a great place to get that answer on how to do something or give feedback.
    Answer Bar: Just cozy on up to the Answer Bar where solutions and wisdom are served tall without ice.
    Leadership Listening: Engage 1:1 with Autodesk leaders. Give your perspective on how we can help you overcome challenges and better equip you for success.
    Idea Exchange:  Meet with product and design teams to exchange ideas on what’s working, what’s missing, and how we can help you be successful.
    Feedback Workshops: Join a small group of your peers at feedback workshops to give your input on specific topics that matter to you.

  • Attend the AU Party - Wednesday, Nov 15, 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
    The annual epic AU party is a must to attend and enjoy the entertainment, drinks, and food.

  • Visit the Expo
    See the latest in tech, exhibits, and partner solutions as well as get some free goodies. But please, don't climb on or into the exhibits.
  • Get Certified!
    Take an Autodesk Certification exam for FREE at AU for the products AutoCAD, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Inventor, Revit, 3ds Max , Fusion 360,  and Maya . Learn more and get preregistered at
  • AU Dress Code:
    Dress business casual and comfortable. 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.  Wear some fun socks and show off your funky style. 
  • Business Cards: Bring plenty of business cards to hand out to the people you may meet and want to follow up with.
  • Help Shape the future of Autodesk products by participating in research:
    There are many opportunities at AU to participate in feedback and research sessions as teams want to hear from you and your needs.
  • Shutterbugs Share your photos online using the free Flickr , Instagram, or the AU App.  Tag your photos with #AU2018   I am @ShaanHurley on Instagram.
  • Hashtags: When posting blog posts, or updates on social media like Twitter, Facebook, or photo sites like Instagram or Flickr please use the hashtag #AU2018. This way people can follow the event around social media. I am @ShaanHurley on Twitter.
  • Eat: There are light snacks and coffee each morning and then lunch is provided.  A Tip: walk to the furthest food lines to avoid the longer waits due to people just taking the first line.
  • Hydrate: Drink lots 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 the Walgreens as well as get other goodies or aspirin.
  • 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.
  • Don’t get Lizard Lips: 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.
  • Dragon 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.
  • Get fresh air and make friends: We have been running for the past few years and it has grown in popularity with over 200  runners last year and over 300 expected this year. This AU 5K and Fun Run is an official AU event on Tuesday morning complete with staff and most likely Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost.  The AU event sign up is full but you can just show up Tuesday morning before 6am to join the fun.
    AU5K 2017
  • Shoes: Wear comfortable shoes as the walking distances between rooms and the event can add up and you will feel it at the end of the day. My step counts show that I walk about 4-10 miles a day at AU.
  • Fuel: 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.
  • Air: Due to the dry air and smoke in the casinos, make sure to bring some eye drops and perhaps a nasal spray.
  • Humidifiers. 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. 
  • 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.
  • Wireless Security: Make sure if using the public wireless connection to have a firewall enabled to prevent someone from messing with your machine or gathering data. It would be good to use a VPN connection to secure your data.
  • Static Electricity! Be careful and touch a door nob 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 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.
  • Keep Notes: Use an app like OneNote Evernote on your mobile or tablet to jot down notes during a session or those follow up questions for the speaker.
  • Can you hear me now? You may not always be able to get a cell phone signal or Internet. AU will provide a Wi-Fi in the conference area.
  • Gadget cables, cords and power supplies. You devices may run out of power while at AU so carry some of the most needed power cords, portable batteries, and chargers with you.
  • 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.
  • Breathe, Relax, Pace Yourself: Go to the lounge and relax in a beanbag while catching up on email or in between events. Don't run yourself to exhaustion.
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  • There are many more events and opportunities so please check your AU schedule and plan accordingly as you will get extremely busy.

    See you soon and have safe travels!
    Shaan @ShaanHurley on Twitter and Instagram