CLEUR 2012 was a LOT better than 2011. They had redone the entire venue from last year. Last year the venue felt extremely large (which it is) because there was so much walking about and while walking between different areas there were no real sense of continuity. For 2012 they had obviously given it more thought. Everything felt more like one (extremely) large area instead of several different islands who just happened to be in the same (extremely) large building.
CLEUR 2011 also left a lot of people hungry because quite frankly, the food was utterly worthless. I’m sorry England but you have no sense of taste what so ever. I’m guessing that quite a few people expressed this in the event review afterwards. This year they had given it more effort and I have to say that none of the lunches attached themselves in my memory. That might not sound good but remember that we’re talking about lunch for oh I don’t know how many, around 7k? It’s impossible to serve something that anyone will remember as one of the top 5, 10 or even 100 experiences of their lives. Look at it from the other angle instead, if I don’t remember the lunches they can’t have been bad, right? Well done!
But same as last year, there’s just not enough coffee available. I realize that they don’t want to serve coffee outside of the breakout rooms because they of course want the people to move down to the World of Solutions. They need to have people there or no one will pay for a booth next year. That’s all understandable and acceptable. BUT! With only one escalator going each way to/from the breakouts and World of Solutions as well as a pretty damn long walk it takes better part of a 30 min break to just do a coffee raid. And what’s with not even having coffee in the World of Solutions at the lunch break? Official response from @CiscoLiveEurope was that there would be Coffee at 3 pm. Guys, seriously. We swedes need our own coffee container!
I barely remember what Padmasree Warrior talked about. The entire speech felt more like something aimed at management and not the more technical types who I am sure makes up at least 98% of the attendees. We’re not interested in fluff. Fluff is for those who don’t understand what’s really going on. Yes, I’m talking about management.
Dave Evans gave the second keynote. It was slightly more interesting but I think he left his charisma in some sort of jet lag or something. Don’t look at the floor! Change your tone now and then! And be more prepared when you “interview” the guest speaker.
Richard Noble from Bloodhound Project was guest speaker during the second keynote. Excellent! He was way more charismatic than Dave and I would really have liked to hear more about the Bloodhound project!
So in summary: this years keynotes lands at the bottom in the list of Live’s I’ve attended (only 3 so still Bronze, I guess).
It was much harder to schedule my breakouts this year. Probably because it was my third time in four years. I skipped a lot of sessions because they felt like something I’ve heard before. But as always there were a couple of good sessions. I especially liked the session about IPv6 security. I wish I hadn’t changed form Advanced LISP to Carrier Ethernet as techtorial. I’ve been to three techtorials now and the best one was my first. It was about Datacenter and they did about 60 min (?) of talking followed by 15 min of demo about what they had just talked about and then on to the next subject. The other two were pretty much 98% talk and 2% demo. That’s not a good setup for a 9 hour day. It needs to be more alive. I will have to think very hard about a techtorial next year. It’s not worth the 500 extra quid for about as many extra slides.
All in all I’m happy with the week. 8.5 routers out of 10. I can’t really think of anything they could do to make it better. At least not something that is likely. More escalators would be a nice surprise, I guess. I feel a bit Cisco-Live-saturated and as it is right now I don’t feel like going next year. But I know that will change I will most likely be back in London this time next year.
So yeah, apart from not having coffee CLEUR 2012 was a VERY well planned and designed. Well done!