Okay, we’ve seen plenty of offical guides and articles offering advice on what to pack, how to get there, where to stay, how to choose sessions, etc. What none of these articles tell you are the key facts for the social side of the conference. Since networking is everything, it’s just as important to have a plan for the evening as it is for the conference day.
So, let’s start a discussion on all the important social events and customs a new ESRI User Conference attendee should know about. For example, where should I eat for lunch? Dinner? Which bar has the best beer? Where are the best industry parties? etc. I’ll start:
Dick’s Last Resort: Sure it’s a chain, but at some point in the conference, just about everybody eats here for lunch. So if you’re looking for someone to meet up with or spy on, this is the place. Occassionally you’ll also get the bonus of seeing some tourist get furious at the servers becuase they don’t understand that being treated rudely is part of the Dick’s experience.
Industry Parties: Get to know someone in the Electricity and Water/Wastewater User Groups. Tuesday and Wednesday nights are the vendor and industry sponsored parties; and the utilities always throw a good one. Attend the Electricity and Water/Wastewater User Group Socials in the evening and buddy up to a vendor to get a pass for the industry party that will happen afterwards.
Okay, now it’s your turn… add a comment with your advice.
(I received a number of suggestions by email, so I’ve added several in the Comments below)