On Monday I flew from Geneva to Paris and then changed flights to head across to Atlanta for TechX 2022.
TechX is Autodesk’s annual internal technology geekfest. This year’s TechX – the first in-person event since 2019’s in New Orleans – has been held in the Atlanta Hilton.
I have a room that’s on a high floor, and as I’m waking up with jetlag for the first time in nearly 3 years, I managed to see the view across the city as the sun came up.
The mornings have kicked off with keynote sessions. Andrew Anagnost, our CEO, showed a slide with a nice image of Pete Storey working on the 2m Dar Smart Bridge project.
There were also a number of panel sessions and fireside chats on various topics.
The scripted sessions had a huge projection-based teleprompter at the back of the room. Here’s a shot of me and Zach Kron attending a session.
The breakout sessions were quite short, this year, at 20 minutes of delivery with 10 for Q&A. I wasn’t sure I’d like the shorter format, but I’ve definitely enjoyed the additional time it’s allowed for catching up with people.
Here’s a shot taken by Zach during the talk Rhys Goldstein and I gave on VASA.
Lots of people have chosen not to travel to Atlanta for this year’s event, whether because of Covid or their desire to reduce their carbon footprint. Rhys joined virtually, for instance.
I was really impressed with how the physical/virtual mix was handled. Here’s a session by the Neuron team, from which only my friend Nono Martínez Alonso was physically present.
Some sessions were presented completely remotely, or pre-recorded. Sebastian Dunkel presented his session from Germany.
Pete Storey had a packed audience for his session on Additive Manufacturing in Construction, presented from the Netherlands.
It may have been harder for the remote presenters – not having direct audience feedback – but the Q&A seemed to work really well.
TechX for me is above all an opportunity to renew friendships and maintain professional connections.
I was very happy to get some quality time with my old friend and former manager, Jim Quanci, for instance.
And there’s often time in the bar to hang out. Here’s Alex Tessier and the Webb brothers (Fenton and Mark aren’t actually related, believe it or not).
Here are some members of the Autodesk Research team, hanging out in a Tiki bar.
TechX attendees often take their socializing really seriously. These kind of technical interactions and knowledge sharing is super-valuable for the organisation, especially after 2 years of pandemic.
I’d been seeing some interesting characters – who clearly weren’t here to TechX – in the lobby of the Hilton. Shaan Hurley and I decided to head across to the Mariott – conveniently connected to the Hilton by a sky bridge – to check out its impressive architecture and see what was going on there.
On arrival it was clear something very different to TechX was going on.
The Marriot’s atrium is world-renowned and really impressive.
The event being held there alongside TechX is the Enchanted Forest, an event for people interested in furry culture. I must be either old or sheltered – or both! – as this was a real eye-opener for me.