|So I'm spending this week with a few friends and colleagues in Las Vegas
-- slightly more than 16,000 of them. Here we are at the MGM Arena at the
MGM Grand Hotel -- yeah, the one where most of those boxing matches, etc.
Up very early Sunday morning -- off to the airport very early to get through
security (which actually doesn't tend to take very long at the Providence
airport, but who wants to be stuck in a security line while your plane
takes off?)... 9 a.m. flight, change planes at Detroit, reach Las Vegas
about quarter past one (three hour time difference, so that's quarter past
four to us), takes a while for baggage to be unloaded, etc. (but we are
able to check into our hotel -- including getting our room keys -- at the
airport), finally get to hotel, find our rooms -- because of the expense
of this week of meetings and training sessions we have to double up on
rooms and I am sharing a room with Hamid -- and then find the conference
registration area. (The 16,000 attendees are spread among five hotels:
MGM Grand, Balley's, Paris, Mirage, and Venetian.)
||The picture above was taken at the Sunday evening meeting (when I had seats
up in nosebleed territory) and the one on the left was taken at a Monday
meeting (when I had seats only four rows from the boxing ring they used
as a speaker's platform).
That's a big crowd!
By the time we have registered we are told that we will not be able to
catch a shuttle bus that will get us to the MGM Grand in time for the meeting
so we decide to walk (it's not really that far, less than a mile) -- I
swear that once we reached MGM, the walk inside through the casino and
restaurant and shopping areas was longer than the walk from our hotel had
been. The meeting lasted until around eight o'clock and then we headed
off to dinner, split between the largest ballroom area in MGM and a gigantic
tent area outside. (Please note that to Eastern Standard time zone stomachs,
this meant we were eating around eleven p.m.)
Monday's presentations began at 7:30 a.m., mostly at the Venetian (although
some, especially those involving hands-on computer labs, were at the Mirage).
We called them presentations or sessions, but they were mostly training
sessions, a series of brief technology classes, although there were also
some special sales meetings for those on the sales side of the business.
Today my classes began at eight a.m. -- three morning sessions followed
by lunch and then two more sessions in the afternoon (I have mostly signed
up for technical sessions related to web portals and to J2EE, although
I have slotted a couple of non-technical topics such as active listening
and managing stakeholder expectations) followed by another six to eight
p.m. series of executive speeches back at the MGM Grand Arena.
|At eleven there was another gigantic meeting back at the MGM Grand for
all 16,000 of us, followed by lunch. This is one side of the tent area,
which was only one of the venues for lunch...
Another session back at the Venetian in the afternoon and then a meeting
for a subset of about twenty-five hundred of us at Balley's from six to
eight, followed by dinner.
Yes, there is a huge fleet of shuttle buses.
I did something very stupid this afternoon -- I spilled a cup of freshly
poured hot coffee (I take it black) on my right foot, badly blistering
my big toe. An EMT at the first aid station at the Venetian conference
center took good care of me but my toe hurts and there is a lot of walking
involved in getting from one session to the next.
I don't know when I am going to get this posted to my site. I've just tried
the supposed broadband connection in my hotel room and can't get a connection.
I may try a dial up connection but not tonight because I am exhausted and
need to get to sleep. But, if you are reading this, obviously I did get
it posted at some point.