Cisco Live – reImagined (2022->2023)

I’ve been to Cisco Live a few times, and while the events are years a part I could easily state that I’m familiar enough to have a good picture of what to expect and how to focus and organize myself around the conference.
And as such I’m not the target audience of the many “New to Cisco Live” guides out there.

Yet, my attendance to last two Cisco Live US conferences have completely changed they way how I view the conference and hopefully changed “how” I attend for all future Cisco Live conferences.

  • 2007 – Cannes (Cisco Live(Networkers) Europe)
  • 2011 – London (Cisco Live(Networkers) Europe)
  • 2014 – San Francisco (Cisco Live US/CLUS)
  • 2018 – Orlando (CLUS)
  • 2022 – Las Vegas (CLUS)
  • 2023 – Las Vegas (CLUS)

For some background context, I live in Iceland, so my immediate networking community is, well, people from Iceland, where everyone knows everyone (kinda, in this profession at least.)

For the most part, my employer’s view on conferences (including CLUS), has historically been focused on networking with our existing customers. The decision on who and how many my company sends, if any, depends on how many, and which, of our customers are going.

Due to the nature of this arrangement, my “networking” at Cisco Live has primarily been with other people from Iceland, my customers, prospects, peers (& competitors, since we’re all friends.)

Cue – CLUS 2022 with Cisco Live Squad

I had the opportunity in collaboration with the Cisco Learning Network team to be a part of a “Cisco Live Squad”. The idea was to be active on social media surrounding CLUS, share pictures and other engagements related to Cisco Learning Network.

This was an extremely difficult task for the introvert in me, which is also the primary reason I wanted to participate in this. I wanted to see Cisco Live differently, and not within the security of my comfort zone.
And that’s exactly what happened, off to a rocky start but ended up with getting to know and meet a lot of wonderful people, and this Cisco Live wasn’t only different from every other Cisco Live conference I’ve been to, but the most rewarding as well. (Subject to another blog post, hopefully 😛 )

On to 2023 – with Cisco Champions!

Initially I wasn’t supposed to attend.

But due to several reasons; one of which was the fact that I joined the Cisco Champions program this year, with less than 5 days to CLUS I was added to the attending entourage from my company.

With most sessions being fully booked and only a few days to spare, I had to quickly try to plan what I would focus on and how I would want to get the most out of Cisco Live US.

From an overall point of view, I decided two things:

  1. Do something similar as I did in 2022 – trying my best to leave my comfort zone and getting to know new people.
  2. Getting the most value out of being a member of Cisco Champions 2023. (Which has a strong connection with #1)

I’ve already stated that I’m an introvert, and small talk isn’t my area of expertise. What I learned in 2022, however, is that the simple act of asking for a selfie with others to post on Twitter can be a great icebreaker in approaching and starting to talk to people.

This can even result in others, who are attending and active on social media, to come to you for a selfie and/or start a conversation. What’s even better is, when you meet some of the people you befriended the year before, already off to a head start. So that’s what I decided to do. A whole lot of selfies with others! (And post them on twitter…)

Since this was my first year as a Cisco Champion, I wasn’t really sure about what to expect. But turns out that there are plenty of [exclusive] Champions related activities that augment your CLUS experience in a wonderful way and you get to meet a whole lot of amazing people!

I’m not exaggerating when I say that my participation in the Cisco Champions program made this the best Cisco Live experience ever!


Before (?) this blog article turns into a small book, there are just a few things I want to emphasize when going to a conference like Cisco Live.

  • Many sessions are recorded, many sessions and activities are not, meeting people is not.
    • Prioritize human networking and non-recorded activities over recorded breakout sessions.
      • There are some sessions you definitely want to go to, or some speakers you want to meet or listen to, but don’t use [recorded] sessions that you’re vaguely interested in as filler material.
      • Instead, you could:
        • If you see someone you recognize, go and ask to take a selfie with them and speak with them.
        • Walk around World of Solutions and even go into random exhibitor’s booth and ask what value they provide. (You’d be surprised.)
        • Join Cisco Advocates / User group and check out their lounge area.
        • Check out the social meetup zone.
        • Look into the many activities in the DevNet zone and within the Security village (lock-picking, capture the flag, etc)