Recap of my CLUS Experience

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I came back from my first Ciscolive US event (June 10 -14 in Orlando), which was the best Ciscolive experience so far (I have been to Ciscolive Melbourne for past 6 years).

What made CLUS experience so special ? People, they created so many happy moments for me. Sometime you do not believe, that you can make someone happy with such small act of kindness/appreciation. In my case I met lot of people for the first time & many of us had only a brief conversation, still those had great deal of joy & happiness.

Since I was part of Cisco Designated VIP program & Cisco Champions program, there were extra activities scheduled outside of normal breakout sessions, DevNet & WoS visits. Even though I could not attend all of  those extra activities, I managed to go for few sessions that I found really useful. With all of those other activities, I had do pick limited number of breakout sessions in each day.

Here is a quick recap of what I did during those 5 days.

10th Sunday

It was Day 0 of CLUS & most of techtorials/paid sessions took place on that day. I did not go for any of those session. However there was an important event scheduled for me on that day.

I had an opportunity to do my CCSI (Cisco Certified System Instructor) presentations at Cisco office in Orlando. You have to do 8hr lab exam & two 30min presentations to become a Cisco Instructor. When I did it last year, I managed to pass Lab, but my presentations were not up to the mark. So this was my 2nd chance on presentation part & did really well this time.

Even though it was not part of Ciscolive, achieving that goal set the tone for rest of my Ciscolive. I’m truly humble to become a CCSI & share my knowledge on Cisco technologies in years to come. I am so grateful  to WiFi Training team, Cisco ICP program team & all others helped me during this journey.CCSI_Instructor_300px

Here is a picture of Orlando Cisco office, a special place for me. Now all of you know why is that  🙂

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From Cisco office, I came to convention center where Ciscollive event take place.

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Arrival tweetup (5:30-7:30PM) was the highlight of my Day 0 at CLUS.

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That was the opportunity to meet people I know virtually, but haven’t met them in person. I met most of Cisco Champions program team members (Andi, Brett, Kim, Lauren) & other fellow Champions as well as many other new faces. Here are some of those moments captured.

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Day 0 ended with a delicious dinner for key clients of Active Expert (Parent company of WiFi Training)

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11th Monday

Day 1 started the day with a breakout session (BRKIOT-2394 Unlocking the Mysteries of Machine Learning & Big Data by Jerome Henry & Robert Barton). Then to opening keynote (you can watch it using this link if you missed it).

I Spent an hour with ExtraHop guys and gave a testimonial on their product. That was a unique experience for me & will share it here once that become public.

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During the day, I met few individuals who made special moments & established new friendships. I hope I was able to provide some value to you in return.

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Also met few Cisco friends that I knew, few years back

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In the evening we had CCIE/NetVet session with Chuck Robbins, CEO of Cisco. I think that was a great experience for me. There was direct feedback opportunity & many queued up for raise their concerns. Most of queries about poor TAC service, code quality vs timing of product releases, etc.

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At the end we got an opportunity to meet & greet with Chuck & it was one of the memorable moment in CLUS Day 1.

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I finished my day with CSC VIP Dinner, which is a unique opportunity to meet fellow VIPs who spend most of their time in Cisco Support Community. Special thanks to Monica Lluis, CSC VIP program manager & her team to doing an excellent job to keep the community together & having such functions during CiscoLive.

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12th Tuesday

Day 2 started with Cisco champions NOC tour. It was a unique opportunity given to Cisco champions & glad I was part of it. I had the privilege to meet Scott Morris whom training materials helped in my CCIE R&S preparation.

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There was technical keynote afterward. Then it was time for another Champions event to know about Apple & Cisco Partnership (under NDA). In that session I got opportunity to meet Rowell & Francois (CleartoSend podcast), If you are into WiFi, you may already know them through their podcast series.

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Then went to a Breakout session about SD-Accesss Wired & Wireless Deployment using Cisco Validated Design – BRKCRS 1501.

WiFi meetup was my highlight of day 2. It was organized by us, team behind WiFi training. It was an open invitation event for any WiFi professional to meet each other & that turned out to be the best thing we did during CLUS. ( I had to drop CCIE party for this event & well worth & happy about it)

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Here is WiFi Training team (John, Chris, Francois, George & me) all in one place due to CLUS.

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It was a great honor to meet Cisco Learning Network Wireless program members (Santi– CCIE Program Mgr, George – CCNA/CCNP Program Mgr & Jeal– Wireless Lead) during that event. They were such a humble group of people. I am sure they bring a great value to Cisco wireless certification program & help to make it popular among WiFi community.

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I met lot of new faces during that event coming from different part of the world. Lot of them knew me through my blog, but I haven’t seen them in person. They were very appreciative of work I am doing. I am sure each individual got a great opportunity to know each other & many established new friendships during that night.

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13th Wednesday

Day 3 started with a special task of teaching someone how to practice mindfulness or living in the moment. On Day 1, Juls requested me (via twitter msg) to teach him how to practice mindfulness while walking. I was so glad to help him & show how I practice it. I hope he will continue his practice & get benefit out of it in near future.

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On the same note, I had a long conversation with Jeal on Mindfulness during lunch time. He has similar interests like me (CCIEW/CWNE & interest in meditation, his twitter bio says it all). Meeting him is a great motivation for me to keep practicing “living in the moment” & help others to try it for themselves.

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In the afternoon went for a breakout session of Jerome’s. BRKEWN 2003-Optimize WLAN for iPhones & iPads. I always enjoy learning from him and was lucky enough to meet him in past Ciscolive sessions in Melbourne as well.

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I was delighted to meet Glenn who is a real nice & kind person. He has praised my efforts in wireless blogging many times & I wanted to see him in person to thank him for such kindness towards others. He was delighted to meet me in person.

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Also had a quick catch up with Scott (fellow CSC VIP) & his colleagues at Microsoft who came to meet me after that session.

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Day 3 ended with CAE (Customer Appreciation Event) held in Universal Studio. That was a unique experience with many different options (rides, music, shows,etc). I had to finish it early 10:30PM as I got to do an exam next day morning.

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14th Thursday

It was Day 4 which was the final day of CLUS. As everyone of us get opportunity to sit for an Cisco exam for free, I have scheduled my CCIEW written exam as my renewal date is end of 2018. I took the exam in Feb & failed with 800 marks (825 was the pass mark). I think I was lucky enough this time to pass it by 12 points with 837 marks. Overall I was very happy with exam quality and not felt too many questions in Evolving Technology area (last time only got 30% for that section  &  one of main cause for my failure)

I Had opportunity to meet Peter , another nice & kind individual who inspired us in CSC community. He was an ex CSC VIP member & currently works for Cisco. He has given amount of his time & effort for others benefit in Cisco community. I was so glad to meet him with Elaine – CCDE Program manager, another beautiful individual I met few times in CL in the past.

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I went to 2 breakout sessions on that day prior to closing keynote. If you missed it you should definitely watch it (using this Link) to see a glimpse of our future from Dr. Michio Kaku & Amy Webb.

Even during the last moments of the day, I was able to meet few great human beings. Here I am with Nicholos Russo & Daniel Dib who are true legends in CCIE/CCDE community.

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Also had a chance to meet Monica (CSC VIP Program Manager) &  Deji (fellow CSC VIP) again in the last day.

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Many gathered for departure tweetup which was the last moment of CLUS. I was glad to be there & spend few moments with new/old friends.

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Once CLUS is over, I spent 2 days in Orlando to relax before heading back home in Melbourne -AU. I am glad my friend Tuhin extended his stay to hang out with me. He was part of CiscoLive NOC team (wireless) & exhausted by the event duties. So Friday gone for relaxing (I used opportunity to encourage him for 10 day vipassana to deal with stress situations with ease)  & Saturday gone to explore Epcot Theme Park at Disney World. Here is few moments

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Overall, I really enjoyed my CLUS experience & looking forward to CLUS 2019 in San Diego

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