Cisco Live presents a unique meeting of the minds in a manner that I have yet to see replicated at other conferences (be they vendor sponsored or agnostic). The breadth of topics is quite wide, covering everything from BYOD enterprise issues to IGP scaling issues to carrier ethernet evolution. (I make a point to attend the latter two). As a network architect I’m expected to keep abreast of industry trends and emerging technologies. Conveniently, the folks submitting RFCs and writing actual forwarding code are also in attendance. Most C-NSP superstars attend, and often present. (Oli Boehmer, Ari Vayner, Waris Sagheer, Tim Stevenson, Greg Schudel). With so much of Cisco’s organizational stack present, it’s possible to have very productive meetings. My most memorable example is a round table discussion with the product managers for the Provider Access BU where they solicited feedback from multiple SPs represented. I often find myself referring back to archived presentations from previous years when researching topics. It should go without saying that there’s a huge difference between attending a lecture and getting someone’s notes secondhand. Also, I’m that guy that asks questions. In summary, conferences like Cisco Live enable me to perform my duties in a more competent manner. Many presentations have directly applied to the challenges [REDACTED] faces, and I don’t anticipated that changing in the near future.