Cisco Live Report Card

Now that Cisco Live (Networkers) is over, and we are all heading home, I thought it would be a good idea to give the event a report card in as many categories as I can think of.

Category      Grade  Comments
------------------------------------------------------------------
Hotels        B+    I liked the selection of hotels and 
                    proximity to the conference.

Buses         C     They worked quickly, but were often 
                    full.  I had to wait 35 minutes on 
		  Thursday morning (after the party) 
		  as 5 full buses drove by. Better 
		  coordination and some express buses 
		  from each hotel are needed.

Conference    A     I liked the size of the rooms, and 
Center              openness of the convention center and 
                    the size and shape of the keynote rooms.
		  Definitely a good spot.  Oh, and it's 
		  finally on the East Coast for once!!!

Training      A-    I took all wireless classes and was 
                    very happy with the training. 
		  Presenters were prepared, PPT slides 
		  were nearly correct, and, at least for 
		  wireless, there were a good amount 
		  of demos instead of just <a href="http://jeremiahsjamison.wordpress.com/2008/05/31/presentation-training-how-to-avoid-death-by-ppt/">death-by-PPT</a>.

Food          D+    Cisco continues to go cheap on 
                    Techtorial-day lunches, handing out a
		  cheap sandwich for people already paying 
		  $700 for a class.  Plus, the breakfastes 
		  are now continental which is not exactly 
		  a power breakfast that is going to keep 
		  me awake all morning.  The other meals
		  were uninspiring also, except for one 
		  lunch which I enjoyed.

Snacks        F     These were ultra-cheap this year.  What 
                    was with those rice snacks? Other 
		  snacks included small bags of chips or 
		  fruit bars.  Where's the good stuff?  
		  Drinks were bad too, limited to Pepsi 
		  products.  Even water was from water 
		  coolers which was warm.  If you are 
		  going to put out water coolers instead 
		  of bottled water, have some ice for people.

On-Site Help  A     I found the support staff helpful and 
                    outgoing, ready to answer questions and 
		  provide help.

Cisco Store   D     Most of this stuff must be made out of 
                    gasoline becuase it was PRICEY!  $65 
		  for a Cisco shirt?  I think Cisco can 
		  sell at cost during Networkers instead 
		  of their normal 40% margin.  (That being 
		  said, it seemed people were buying stuff 
		  like crazy).  The store was a tad small 
		  too.  Needs a bigger room.

Conference    
Bages         B     After I <a href="https://www.networkworld.com/community/node/17774">ripped Networkers last year 
                    in this blog for providing cheap bags</a>, 
		  Cisco ran an <a href="https://www.networkworld.com/community/node/23083">on-line survey to 
		  pick the new bag style</a>. The style I 
		  liked won out and the bags this year 
		  were decent.  Not as good as 2005, but 
		  still nice bags.  A significant improvement
		  over last year's disaster.

Internet 
Access        C     More on this in an upcoming blog.

Mobile 
Coverage      F     Some rooms had no coverage.  Zero, nothing.  
                    That needs to be fixed.

World of 
Solutions     B+    I was very impressed by the amount of 
                    vendors at the conference, but this 
		  is what lowered the grade.  There 
		  were too many in that room.  It was 
		  hard to move around and see things.  
		  More room is needed next year for 
		  the people.

Food at WoS   B     This was better than the other meals, 
                    but still not great.  

Certification 
Lounge        B-    Great stuff, especially the <a href="https://www.networkworld.com/community/node/29094">CCDE 
                    Practical Demo</a>, but needs to be 
		  about 3 times larger.

Chambers 
Keynote       A     This was good for a reason I'm not sure 
                    many people understand. More on this 
		  in an upcoming blog.

CCIE Netvet Lunch
w/ Chambers   A+    John (as he asked us to call him) 
                    showed up a little late, but did not 
		  make a speach, he just started taking 
		  our questions for 45 minutes. He covered 
		  any topic, including some I can't 
		  believe people asked him - like 
		  "why the new IOS lines on the 7600 
		  have so many bugs". Come on people!  
		  This is the CEO who meets with 
		  world leaders, not the QA manager.  
		  But, to John's credit, if he didn't 
		  have a good answer for a technology 
		  issue he gave people his card and 
		  asked them to call or e-mail him 
		  (wow!).  He then asked us some 
		  questions and then posed for pictures.  
		  Well done!

CCIE Party     C+   A nice affair where I got to meet and 
                    network with some very interesting people, 
		  including fellow blogger <a href="https://www.networkworld.com/community/odom">Wendell Odem</a>.  But,
		  it was not a killer party and when you're 
		  <a href="https://www.networkworld.com/community/node/25590">comparing it to the 2005 party at the 
		  Ghost Bar</a>....well, it's hard to 
		  get above a C+.

Warrior's 
Keynote        B    I enjoyed her keynote address.  Despite 
                    some negative press in the past, I 
		  think she came off well and discussed 
		  good topics.

Conference 
Party          B    This was a decent party at Universal.  
                    I was impressed they closed off a good 
		  part of Universal just for us.  The food 
		  was decent also along with the drinks.  
		  Bare Naked Ladies...well, probably more 
		  of a concert I'd like to take a date too 
		  instead of 3,000 men, but still a good time.
		  Tickets for Blue Man Crew went too fast.  
		  Better coordination of that show would've 
		  been helpful, including a way to get 
		  tickets beforehand.  I had no idea only the 
		  first 1,000 could attend.  :-(  Also, since 
		  the place was so big, I would've like more 
		  time to get around to see things.  Starting 
		  the party earlier may have been a good idea.

Ben Stein 
Keynote        A    I really liked Ben's speach.  I was 
                    expecting a typical conference speach about 
		  working hard and striving to achieve, but 
		  Stein gave his (I'll assume "standard") 
		  political speech about the economy, the 
		  country, and values.  It was something I 
		  didn't expect and was well received by the 
		  audience.  A very nice departure for 
		  Networkers.

Overall        B    Not the greatest event I've ever been too, 
                    but a well done conference. I think if 
		  Cisco smoothes out some rough edges (food, 
		  buses, mobile coverage, Cisco Store) they'd
		  hit the "A" range.

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