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A data-driven approach to create a killer AU talk

Let me know if this scenario sounds familiar to you.

  1. You present a class.
  2. Your class receives some votes.
  3. You see other classes having 100x +votes than your class.
  4. You hope your topic is good enough to be selected anyways.
  5. You received the Autodesk email with the bad news.
  6. And you cry.

If that’s the case we have the solution to your problems!

With some technology used by NASA, we gather all the information you need to create a killer AU class for 2023.

We collected public information about Autodesk classes from 2018 to 2022 to try to figure out what’s the secret sauce to be accepted.

⚠️ Disclaimer: While we did our best to gather and present the data, we are humans and errors can happen. If you have any doubts or questions, contact us or check the data (0).

First of all, how difficult is it for your class to be accepted? 

Classes per year

According to Autodesk, in 2022 more than 2,200 (1) classes were submitted and only 446 (2) were selected.

That means that 20% of the classes presented were selected (I didn’t know it was so high). You have 1:5 chances of presenting a winning class.

Classes per year by recurrent speakers. Grouping speakers who have or will have more than one talk between 2018 and 2019.

Recurrent speakers represent around 1/6th of the total speakers each year.

The graphic may be misleading because we don’t have information about the number of total ideas pitched for each AU.

Numbers about how much success a recurrent speaker are limited to the talks presented each year.

👌 So here is our first piece of advice, present more than 5 classes next year. Add more chances if you presented a talk in previous years.

Who will be your audience?

Percentage of industry per year

Autodesk has been marketing its efforts into the AEC. There are still no tags for 2022 classes but we can see the policy creating a trend in the previous years.

The heatmap below shows AEC, Manufacturing, and Software leading the industries which most talks aim for.

👌 Second advice, go for the AEC industry! They are buying anything.

What type of talk should you do?

Percentage of talks by type

Talks come in different flavors depending on what you want to communicate to the audience.

The most popular options seem to be Industry Talks (sharing experiences), Technical instructions (teaching a new skill)

👌 Share your experience and teach the audience. People want to see what you do and how you do it

Which product do you need to mention?

Percentage of talks with product tags
Product with more than 10 talks per industry in AUs 2018-2021

The amount of product-related talks is high compared to other talks. And talks about Revit, BIM 360/ACC, and AutoCAD are taking a big chunk of the product talks.

👌 So now you know, talk about a product and how you use it in the AEC industry.

Finally, what should be the topic?

The title of our talk it’s important. It’s the first thing your audience will see and needs to engage them to see what are you trying to sell.

Titles

Common words in title distributed by year

At least a fair amount of your talk needs to be about design. And construction. And Revit. And Revit in design and construction.

According to the data, talks about those topics are taking a big piece of the latest AUs.

Descriptions

Once you sold the title, you need to keep your audience captive. Descriptions need to close the deal and make them vote for you.

Remember when “workflows” were THE thing? That was so ‘2018…
5 year’s keywords in talk descriptions

Buzzwords in descriptions are pretty much the same as in the titles. We have “design”, “BIM”, “data”, and “project”.

👌Title your talk “Design a construction project using data with Fusion and Autodesk Revit in BIM 360”. Its a sure winner.

 

Let’s do a recap

  • Multiply your chances by presenting 5+ classes per year.
  • Most talks are oriented to the AEC industry, and Manufacturing and Software follow it.
  • Attendees are looking for experiences and learning new skills.
  • While Revit talks bloom on every AU, AutoCAD topics are still a thing
  • Fusion is being pushed hard this year.
  • Keywords Design, Data, BIM, Software, and Projects are sexy.

 

What should we do with this information?

You may think these is all you need to do a talk with 100% success. Well, not quite.

While the numbers can put you in the right direction, we face what is known as the survivorship bias. We know which classes were accepted, but not the ones rejected.

What made the other +1800 talks presented not suited for this AU?

The voting page is not accessible anymore so we can’t compare what’s in and what’s out.

We recommend you using the information as a reference for what the AU typically offers to its audience.

If you have a talk that involves any of the keywords we mentioned here, amazing! If not, present it anyways. Why?

  1. People don’t know what they don’t know. They probably are unaware of your elegant solution to a common problem.
  2. Part of the AU is to have fun and meet new people. Propose a topic you like and have fun.

We will be waiting for your comments on the article and your ideas on new ways to use the data.

See you next time!

PS: We are working on a second article using a different and amazing source we found. Stay tuned!

References

(0) All graphics and data can be found here

(1) Email: Subject “AU 2022: Proposal selection is complete

(2) Number of AU 2022 classes on Autodesk University web

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I'm an Architect who decided to make his life easier by coding. Curious by nature, I approach challenges armed with lateral thinking and a few humble programming skills. Love to work with passioned people and push the boundaries of the industry. Bring me your problems/Impossible is possible, but it takes more time.

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