Making your case for Cisco Live!

There is any number of blog entries about why you should go to Cisco Live!,  and while some are even lucky enough to hit up more than one event per year.

(Sidebar: I really want to try out Cisco Live Europe, I mean Berlin, really, but could they move it a few months later so that I can take a side trip to the Nurburgring on the way back?)

Here are a few online resources to help you justify your trip.

Cisco Live – Why Attend?

Cisco Live – Featured Blogs

So there are a few other opinions, here is mine.

Let’s talk about the reasons you will get some resistance.

  1.  A week away from the office, if your are in professional services, that is lost work time
  2. Cost – This is a complicated issue, especially when the company may not be able to send multiple resources.

Live vs Traditional Training

Traditional full training sessions tend to be 2-3 days of things we already know, and 2 days of real meat, with lunch and review crammed in there – so it is probably 1 maybe 2 days of really good stuff.     Assuming you do not have to travel for those (which many do) you would still have a loss of work time for sure, but you are not getting 5 days of benefit out of that session.

Many of us pick up new information via technical briefings.    Unfortunately those sessions are built for a wide audience, and tend to be “Powerpoint Hell” – not interactive, and sometimes remote.    That 3-6 hour session you were in – had what?  2-3 slides of good information?    These sessions just don’t have enough time to hit a real topic.   Take a briefing on a new router, let’s say the ISR series.   It would take literally days to explain in any reasonable detail everything that thing will do, you need multiple sessions even if it were possible.     What if you were voice focused?   Routing Focused?   This is where Live steps in.

Cisco Live – Immersive Efficient Learning

That’s the message I want to get across here.   It’s immersive, they cut through the junk and get right to the point.      The sessions are targeted at a particular audience.

So you want to talk sessions on ISR?

Advanved Troubleshooting on ISR, Converged Branch on ISR, QOS Migration on ISR, ISR architecture overview, iWAN on ISR 4000

Sure, you can hit up that archtiecture overview if you want — or simply read up on that ahead of time and then hit up the “Advnaced Troubleshooting” session and get some real meat.  That session would be 1 Hour and 48 minutes.   This isn’t being delivered by a sales guy either – these are high end TAC engineers – that you can ask questions!

8 solid hours of sessions at least – per day, that’s 2 hours,  so you have 3 other sessions. See where I am going?

The right speakers

We have all had our Cisco account managers or Technical Marketing Engineers deliver training or PowerPoint sessions – but really they are not the experts in the field.

You get amazing speakers like

Samer Theodossy – Sr Technical Leader of the Catalyst team

Denise Fishburne – CPOC Engineer and Lab Rat

Robert Barton – SE – Wireless

These are people that really know their stuff, and you can ask them questions!

World of Solutions

I call it “The Floor” – but what I really call it, is the ability to talk to everyone – because any vendor who is anyone is at Cisco Live, and they bring the best people.   Solarwinds,  IPSwitch,  Plantronics,  Splunk, HP, Intel, NetApp, EMC – you name it.    Take advantage and talk with them about your ideas, they bring high end brains to this event – grab one and talk.

Not to mention, Cisco has their own section demoing pretty much every single product, with product designers ready to answer questions.

Get Answers

I always have ideas, problems and things burning in the back of my head.   This is the place to get it handled.     Here’s a list of the ways you can collaborate and learn.

You can hit up a tech session and talk to the presenter after

Table Topics:   Sit down with other people – just like you – who have experience in a topic and “Talk shop” over lunch.

Meet The Expert:  Sign up for this!   Validate an idea, work on a design or talk troubleshooting and strategy with REAL Experts.   If you head in, and you need an extra expert – they will get you more.   You simply CANNOT get access to this outside of Live.

The Cost Battle – The 1/20th Argument

How do you justify the cost, let’s get down to it.

Flights: For those of us who have to travel from Canada, or a far away location, we are looking at significant travel costs – but when you consider we can have 20+ training sessions for the price of a single airline ticket – with quality presenters.   That’s a better deal.

Lodging:  The 20 for the price of 1 argument still works on this one.

Food:   No problem, the event has you pretty much covered on this one.

Event Cost:   You have options here, don’t wait till the last minute!

Pre-Reg closes March 14, and the price goes up by $300, so don’t wait.

Use Cisco Learning Credits if you have access to them, if you don’t – and you purchase Cisco – you need to call your account team right now and make sure you are maximizing your Cisco Learning Credit eligibility on purchases from Cisco.   25 CLC’s get’s you a full conference pass.

Talk to your partners, some will help you out here.

Do the math –  1/20th means that you can get into Live for $2000 or $200 per session if you do the math that way, and it doesn’t even factor in all the other learning.     Cisco Live costs about 1/2 or the same as some training sessions that deliver literally 1/20th the value.

Last Ditch Effort:  Explorer plus 365.   Ok so it’s not the best, and you miss out on technical sessions and the CAE,  but you are there, you get to see the World of Solutions, and have acces sto DevNET and Innovations talks and Keynotes.   This is worth it if it’s your only option or paying out of pocket.


Cisco Live is about VALUE FOR MONEY – You are away for a single week instead of multiple days that are broken up across the year, you get very high learning value per dollar and you are IMMERSED in it, which has been proven to cause better retention.

The networking capabilities with other professionals and Cisco engineers is something you simply cannot get anywhere else.

What are you waiting for?  Go book a meeting with your management and make your case!

See you in Vegas!




2 thoughts on “Making your case for Cisco Live!

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