Unofficial Guide to IBM Pulse 2014

IBM Pulse kicks off on Feb 23rd at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. As part of getting prepared, I wanted to share a few tips I’ve learned over the years to make attending IBM Pulse even better.

Planning before your arrive:

  1. Be prepared to walk: IBM Pulse is held at the MGM Grand. If you’ve ever been to the hotel before you know there’s quite a bit of floor space with the restaurants, shops, clubs, and casino floor. If you’ve ever been to IBM Pulse, you know that it’s peanuts compared to the walk to the Expo Center and convention hall. So bring a comfortable pair of shoes and be prepared to wear them.
  2. Plan on the extras: As you start to pack for your trip, make sure you have a little extra room in your luggage. Typically there will be some conference items you’ll want to take back. Packing your luggage to the hilt on the way to Pulse out won’t leave any room for the extras you picked up and want to bring home.
  3. Remember your business cards: Bring a lot of business cards. I admit that I’ve messed up with this tip before, but I paid the price for it too. When you get there, hand them out to everyone you talk to. You’ll be amazed at the contacts you’ll make doing it.
  4. Don’t plan on outlets: I know we’re all supposed to come to IBM Pulse for the presentations and learning, but sometimes work comes first. In the event you need to get some work done, in the past, IBM has done a good job with wireless networks for attendees. Unfortunately the hotel/convention center did not plan on you charging you’re laptop, iPad, or smartphone. Make sure you charge these devices before you arrive and at night in your room.

What to do when you’re there:

  1. Meet the Experts: This is the #1 reason why I attend IBM Pulse. In the Expo Center is an area setup with IBM employees who are the architects, developers, and support personnel for Maximo. Here’s your chance to reach out to the product experts face to face and get some of your questions answered. Make sure you give them a business card with your question on it if you can’t get an answer while at Pulse.
  2. TUC Lounge: As a member of the Tivoli User Community (you are a member, right?), There’s a spot to hangout in the Expo Center and meet other Maximo community members. Make sure you say hi to Franny!
  3. Make a new friend: When I first started attending Pulse, I was focused on the information I wanted to get out of the presentations, Meet the Experts, etc, that I forgot the best resource of information may be the person you’re sitting next to. Take time to personally network and make some new friends.
  4. End of session questions: At the end of a presentation session you are truly interested in, go up to the speaker and introduce yourself. Exchange business cards and include any additional questions you have on the back. The presentation speaker is generally getting over a rush from talking and will not remember names or questions as they are wrapping up their talk.
  5. Deferred refreshments - IBM does a great job with the amenities at Pulse, but sometimes the frequency of getting your caffeine rush doesn’t coincide with the conference snack schedule. When they put out the pop and snacks… take two. Put one in your bag for later. You’ll thank me.
  6. Take a test: IBM offers one free certification exam at IBM Pulse. Find an hour to take the test.
  7. Visit the lab: IBM has lab sessions that walk you through some mid to upper level exercises that can applied to real world examples - e.g. implement an Escalation to send an email when a record is changed. Take an hour or two and sit down in the lab. Remember to grab a CD of the lab sessions too.
  8. Visit the bookstore: IBM Pulse has a small bookstore that has titles you normally won’t see at Barnes & Noble at some nice conference discounts. Take a few minutes to walk through and see what might interest you.

Going home:

  1. Getting out of McCarran: Flights out of McCarran can sometimes get nerve wracking because of delays at security screening. Make sure you are at the airport checking your luggage at least 90 min before your flight.
  2. Reach out: When you get home, reach out to anyone you may have met at IBM Pulse. A simple reminder of who you are and thank you will go a long way when you want to call that someone in another 2–3 months asking them more questions or guidance.
  3. Think of next year: After taking it all in… think about presenting next year.

Got any more tips? Drop me a tweet at @MyGeekDaddy, hashtag #ibmpulsetip, and I’ll add the tip and who sent them to the list.

Hope to see you at IBM Pulse!

Bonus Tip: If you have to get your caffeine fix, and the MGM Grand shops don’t stock your favorite fizzy drink (aka Diet Mt Dew), there is a Walgreens about 5–10 min walk north of the MGM Grand on Las Vegas Blvd.

Comments from original WP Post:

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