In the last post we took a look at the first day of last week's Autodesk DevCon in Munich. Today’s post focuses on the second day and overall impressions of the event.
For me day 2 of the DevCon started with a short U-Bahn trip from Goetheplatz to Harras.
From the U-Bahn exit, I instinctively started walking the wrong way - I’d like to say this is easily done, but anyway - but luckily a fellow DevCon attendee coming from the other direction helped me realize my mistake. I do love the Autodesk developer community!
The general session filled up quickly, once again. Rather than sitting near the front, this time I found a convenient coffee table near the back.
Then came the moment I'd been waiting for, and to some degree dreading.
Jim Quanci, my friend and mentor, is retiring in the spring and this would be his last European DevCon. (It's one of the reasons I chose to come across - I was not going to miss this, even if I had to pay for my own trip.)
I have worked closely with Jim since the late 90s and reported to him directly for several years from 2005 to 2012 (give or take). I have learned so much from Jim, over the years: how to prioritize what's best for the company over what's best for your organization, how to speak openly and frankly about technology in a way that inspires trust, how to engage with an audience, how to manage a large team… the list goes on.
I choked up a little (actually a lot) as Jim bade farewell to his community. I know I’ll get to see Jim at AU and beyond - he promises me he’ll be across in Europe for a visit before too long - but this was the last big developer event I’ll see him at. It’s been an honour and a privilege, Jim. May the wind be always at your back.
That was the end of the general session. From there on out it was break-outs. These were the ones I attended (I would have also attended the Fusion session but ended up having an interesting discussion about robotics).
My old friend Jan Liska is now a Developer Advocate in the Tandem team and presented the product and its platform.
Jan posted links to the Tandem samples, which I'm sure will be helpful to folks.
As well as a testbed for Tandem's REST API.
Michael Beale showed a sample project integrating PowerBI with Tandem - a hot topic for people building dashboards and analytics.
We had an internal hackathon earlier this year where I built a rudimentary generator, but it’s good to see that the mechanism is now documented publicly.
This presentation is a must-see for anyone curious about the dynamics between smaller companies and larger platform providers (Jim's insights are true for small companies working with Autodesk but also for Autodesk working with - say - AWS or Microsoft).
One really important slide focused on the way people in different positions are measured. Understanding this is extremely important for nurturing beneficial relationships with platform providers.
Jim also talked about different approaches to dancing with elephants, whether you’re off to the sides, picking up leftovers or running out in front. Each of these strategies comes with its own risks.
The last break-out I attended was on the APS Viewer.
Petr Broz told a great anecdote about his Dad using the Autodesk Viewer for a chemical plant project. He also talked about how the Viewer strategy is on enabling better large model performance through selective loading or other performance optimizations.
All in all it was a fantastic DevCon: the venue was perfect, as was pretty much every aspect of the organization. There was a decent mix of strategic and technical content, and it was really great to catch up with so many old friends. I very much hope there’s another in 2024!
Over dinner I managed to catch up with some former Autodeskers - all of whom worked in Neuchatel before settling in Munich - which was a lovely end to my quick trip to the city. It was great to see you again, Lisa, Markus, Petra and Marion!
The following morning I walked back to the central bus station to take a very early bus back to Zurich and then a train back to Neuchatel. I’m very glad I made it across for Jim’s last DevCon, although I admit I’m still coming to terms with this fact.