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Monday, August 1, 2016

5 Days ON the Sun: #RTCNA Recap

"It's a dry heat", they say... I don't care what they say... 120 degrees feels HOT with or without humidity. 

Two weeks ago I attended my fifth Revit Technology Conference North America (RTCNA).  I can't believe it has already been five!  For a look at my recaps and posts from the last 4 years of RTCNA's click here... 

This year the conference was held in Scottsdale, Arizona at the Kierland Westin Resort and Spa. The venue was fantastic with lots of great amenities including a beautiful golf course.  In fact, my buddy Steve and I decided to get up early Saturday morning and play a round before the conference started....  After all, the hotel does a great job at supplying amazing views of the course everywhere you turn... It makes you want to play...

Takeaways from RTCNA 2016

So Many Good Classes...

As with the last four years, RTCNA 2016 did not disappoint.  In fact, this is the first year that I truly struggled to pick classes because there were so many great topics being discussed at the same time!  One of the great things about RTC events is that you aren't forced to stick with your original schedule.  I found myself flipping around and absorbing as many classes as possible. 

I'm sure I have said this in previous posts but it is so important I will say it again.  Even for the most experienced Revit user there will be something you've taken away from RTCNA.  Even if you sit in a class and completely know where the speaker is going he or she may take a completely different path to get there.  Sometimes the best things I learn from RTCNA are not entire classes but little gems hidden throughout.  When you put the best and brightest Revit users around the world in a conference room for an hour you are guaranteed to learn something new.  This year was no different.  Plenty of gems.  

You All Rock!  

You all, the readers of this blog, were out in numbers this year and introduced yourselves to me all over the conference center.  I can't even begin to tell you how humbled I am when I hear that you have followed the blog for years or that it helped you work through a problem at one point in time.  I started this blog seven years ago as a resource for my fellow students learning Revit.  Seven years later, those type of interactions keep me going and remind me of why this blog exists.  Thank you for being so kind and reaching out to say hello!

One gentlemen came up to me after I gave my class and said, "Thank you.  Volume 1 [ of BIM After Dark ] got my through architectural school."  I will never forget that.  

Cheers to all TheRevitKid supporters that said hello and those who didn't!

If you were one of the lucky 25 or so people to get a free t-shirt make sure you Tweet, Instagram, or E-mail a photo of you wearing the t-shirt and I will share it here on the blog!

Dynamo is "Normal" and Virtual Reality is Everywhere...

Dynamo has rapidly become just another part of the Revit workflow and our daily lives.  There were plenty of Dynamo classes this year demonstrating some awesome things. I remember, not to long ago when there was a single class at RTCNA by Matt Jezyk demonstrating this node based visual programming tool that only ran inside of Vasari.  Dynamo is all grown up now and it is awesome.

Virtual Reality (VR) appears to be the focus of many companies today.  All of the visualization tools are integrating VR capabilities into their software and it was on full display in both the exhibit hall and the classes.  In fact, I was a bit disappointed when I sat in on the V-Ray for Revit class and the software did not seem to progress much further than the beta I tried last year... Yet, they added "VR"!

I Forgot How Much I Enjoy Speaking...

Photo Credits: Random Twitter users... ;)  Thanks for the tweets!

I have submitted a class or two for each of the last five Revit Technology Conferences (except 2013... when I was finishing my masters thesis) and had the opportunity to speak at three of the last four events.  This year, I submitted a few classes and "How Are Contractors Using My Model?" was selected.

This was a completely new experience for me.  Why?  Because it was not a "demonstration" type of session.  Sitting up on stage and walking through Revit steps live is second nature to me now (ie. all the videos on this blog!).  My session this year included some pre-recorded videos but no live demonstration.  Getting up and speaking for 75 minutes without the crutch of live demo was intimidating at first.  But, I knew what I had to say was important and I believed in my message.

The session was a huge success.  It was well attended (thank you all for coming!) and everyone appeared engaged the entire time.  In fact, it was the last class of the day on Friday and many people hung around for 35+ minutes of questions and answers.  My goal was to set an informal and comfortable tone to the session that allowed the freedom for discussion at the end. I think I succeeded. 

I plan on sharing the information discussed here on the blog over time and maybe even a recording of the presentation itself (or pieces of it).  So stay tuned for that...