Last week I was in Dallas, Texas, for TechX 2023, Autodesk’s annual internal event for technical and design staff.
As the technical content shared at the event is company confidential, I’m mostly sharing pictures of people I had the good fortune to hang out with, during the course of the week. There was quite a bit of “real” work going on, too, though, so hopefully you won’t come away with the impression that it was just a week-long party. Ahem.
As there’s no direct flight to Dallas from Switzerland, I chose to fly via Heathrow from Geneva on the Sunday morning.
The onwards flight was operated by American Airlines, which meant a change of terminal from 5 to 3.
There was plenty of time for the terminal change, though, as the flight to Dallas was delayed by a half-hour or so. The gate was heaving with passengers.
I was part of boarding group 7 (is it me, or is this group thing getting out of hand?), so was quite late to board. Luckily with still enough overhead space, as I really didn’t want to check a bag.
I felt a tap on my shoulder as I settled in – it turned out that Pete Meltzer, my Research Engineering colleague, was sitting across the aisle from me. This wouldn’t be surprising on a flight to AU – which are often full of people heading to the conference – but Pete was the only person I recognised on the flight. A fun coincidence!
I was at the event a day early to attend our spring Architects Forum (for software architects, not real architects), so the Hilton Anatole was quite quiet when we arrived. The TechX registration desk was ready to go, though.
On Monday evening I went with a few members of the Research Engineering team for some local food.
Being a vegetarian, it was quite the experience seeing my colleagues demolish some good Texan BBQ.
I’d have been happier about the whole deal if my salad had been washed properly: I nearly lost a filling. But then I’m guessing they don’t sell a whole load of them.
The Hilton Anatole was possibly the nicest venue I can remember for a TechX. The hotel is full of Asian artwork and has a very clear focus on natural design elements.
Judging from the great, natural feel in the atrium, I’m almost certain that their architect worked with a biophilic design consultant.
There was a fantastic outdoor area that was easily accessible from the conference area. What a change from Las Vegas, where I used to head to the Grand Canal Shoppes to feel like I was outside!
In fact the welcome reception – on the Tuesday night – was held in this outside area. It was so much fun to catch up with old friends.
Jonathan Geffen is in our technical sales team in Barcelona (I’ve mentioned him before), and this was his first time at TechX. I hope we see each other at more in the future!
There were professional photographers at the event… once registered in their system for a single photo, you’d get links to all other photos taken of you thanks to the magic of facial recognition. Kinda freaky.
On Wednesday night we had an organizational event (meaning one for our organization, not one where we organized things ;-) where I bumped into Jonathan Breton, another friend I’ve mentioned before.
Thursday was May the 4th, so I put on a Star Wars t-shirt for a while, although I did dress up a bit more smartly for a presentation I had to give.
As the last official day of the event, we did our best to get together for a team photo (with the Research Engineering folk who were present, with the exception of Dianne and Kosala).
The closing night party was held at another fantastic party venue, the Frontiers of Flight Museum at Dallas Love Field.
I love events held in spectacular but interesting venues – it was like having a party at The Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum!
It was a lot of fun to mingle with old friends while checking out the exhibits.
And afterwards there was dancing, which was also fun.
I did end up getting tagged in a few more photos…
Afterwards I ended up hanging out with friends from Research and the Impact team. We arrived back at the hotel in one piece, thankfully.
On the Friday morning I attended a Forma Hackathon, where we learned about the platform capabilities of this new offering. I can’t talk about what I learned (for now), but Forma has since been released, in case you want to check it out.
The flights back – once again via Heathrow to Geneva – were uneventful, although I didn’t manage to sleep much on the way.
Once home – at around 1pm – I napped for 90 minutes and then forced myself out of bed to walk the dog down by the lake.
It was just what I needed to start feeling restored.
It’s now Tuesday and I’m feeling pretty much back to normal. It was really nice seeing so many old friends during the course of the week in Dallas, aside from learning a lot about Autodesk’s various technological endeavours.