Category Archives: Speakers

IGNITE IS TONIGHT!: Here are our 16 speakers for Ignite 25

And we’re back! Ignite Seattle 25 is just a few weeks away on Tuesday, October 7 at Seattle Town Hall. The fun starts at 8 p.m., but doors open early so you can get a drink and chat it up. Thanks to everyone who submitted! Here are our 16 speakers:

  • Fact check EVERYTHING – Jason Rantz
  • Embracing the passion behind great works of interactive art – Meghan Trainor
  • Radical honesty – Why all my cards are on the table – Benjamin Caudill
  • Fixing politics – Nick Rubin
  • Stuck making a decision? Get help from a radioactive banana! – Elizabeth Grigg
  • Everyone is a fraud so just roll with it – Hanna Brooks Olsen
  • In which flying robots bring us stuff – Matt Shobe
  • Kitty Kafe – McRae Naayers
  • Trust your gut: how microbiology is influencing parenting – David McAndrew
  • Why working at Microsoft was making me mentally ill & how bodybuilding saved me  – Anushka Rehn
  • What it feels like to be hit in the face with a shovel – Randy Scott
  • Trial by fire – George Perantatos
  • Move over baseball, esports are here: or, why I shaved my beard – Jason Preston
  • Armageddon’s alternate ending: Bruce Willis’ character becomes a trillionaire  – Caitlin O’Keefe
  • Return to Planet Krypton: What I gained when I lost my superpowers – Candace Faber
  • Friendship science: How to enter a conversation – Camille Shea

Tickets are $5 – get them now and spread the word! See you then ~

Speaker Lineup for Ignite 24 (5/22) + Tickets On Sale

Ignite Seattle is back with out 24th show on Thursday May 22nd at Town Hall. Buy tickets now ($5) to reserve your place.

Doors open at 7pm (as does the bar) and talks start at 8pm. This is our list of speakers, though not necessarily in the order they are speaking (we choose the order using a just in time algorithm involving big data, tea leaves and stray cats). There will be, as always, a glorious intermission half way through the program for more drinking, snacking and chatting (or dancing if you are so inclined).

  • Change ALL the passwords (without pain, misery and suffering), Arcadiy Kantor
  • Your Diet Will Fail (And Why Mine Eventually Will)Dylan Wilbanks
  • Nightclub Bartending and Middle School Teaching: A Venn DiagramKristin Leong
  • The Force is Strong in IslamHusayn Raza
  • The 4 Step Guide to Becoming the 41st Best Rock Band in the WorldDaniel Lee
  • What You’ll Wish You’d Known Before You Joined that Nonprofit Board, Karen Anderson
  • Can bicycles be lonely?Seijen Takamura
  • Hacker Camps!, David Hulton
  • Why My Face is Bright RedKathryn Downie
  • Take the Initiative, please!Jan Gray
  • The Art of Epic Failure… or How a weird Norwegian folktale involving implied bestiality, trolls, and laundry taught me how to liveAbigail Anderson
  • A Story About Syphilis: More Than You Ever Wanted to KnowJennifer Whetham
  • A Geek’s Guide To Wedding PlanningNoah Iliinsky & Teresa Valdez Klein
  • Words vs. Ideas: What Comes First?Lindsey Engh
  • How I weaseled my way into the hearts of 31,273 peopleNoel Frame
  • How I Stopped Worrying About the Future and Learned to Love the Robot ApocalypseRichard Yonck

Get your tickets before they’re gone (there will be a live stream but you’d be a fool not to go to your own town hall for this. Get off your laptop and out of your house for once, eh?)

How to prepare to speak at Ignite Seattle

We know the speakers are the stars. As organizers we do everything we can to select speakers with great topics and passions, but we also work hard to help them prepare and make sure they have what they need to do a great job.

As the Ignite Seattle speaker coach I run a coaching session that all speakers are encouraged to attend. We talk about common mistakes, tactics for preparing and answer any questions folks have. It’s informal, it’s fun and we usually feed people (hungry speakers are bad speakers). We also let speakers do a dry run and get feedback from me and other organizers. And of course speakers at Ignite are interesting people and it’s a chance to meet the folks you’ll be sharing the stage with.

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Here’s the slide deck I use that covers the basic advice, including showing speakers photos of the stage and what to expect once they’re up there.

But many other folks have written advice on preparing for Ignite. There is no right way to prepare of course and the ends are far more important than the means.
We tell speakers that since they’re speaking about something they know well and are passionate about, they could probably spend time thinking carefully about  4 or 5 stories or messages and simply practice and present that, without any slides, and do fine. We strongly recommend people develop their ideas, points and stories before they make a single slide. What you say and how you say it is by far the most important thing.

Summary of more good advice on speaking at ignite:

Speaker Lineup for Ignite Seattle 22

Ignite Seattle 22 is next Wednesday, November 20th at Town Hall. You can buy tickets now to reserve your place. This is our list of speakers, though not neceassarily in the order they are speaking.

Steve Roth – Five Things You Don’t Know About Hamlet
Mandy Sorensen (@mandercrosby) – Superbugs: It’s What’s for Dinner.
Manuhuia Barcham – What Do You Mean the Culture is Different Here?!?
Lewis Lin (Lewis_Lin) – Negotiate Like an Angry Bride
Michael Grabham (@survivestreets) – Hey Mister, Can You Spare a Dime?

Paul Shoemaker (@paulshoeSVP) – Hacking Social Good: 3 Questions to Unlock Your Potential
Molly Bullard (@seattlephotoorg) – How to Tame Your Digital Photos
Hanne Ockert-Axelsson (@hanneoa) – Revolutionary Compassion
Christine Klimkowski (@c_klimkowski) – Ship That Matters
David Hoang (@davidhoang) – Coast-to-Coast: How to Live in Two Cities
Shannon Houghton (@MsHoughton) – We Need Math Pushers

Jeris JC Miller (@dakini_3) – Adventures with Google Glass
Darcy Burner (@DarcyBurner) – The Protest Algorithm
Sarah Schacht (@Sarahschacht) – I Got E. Coli so You Don’t Have To; How Open Data and Usability Can Prevent Food Poisoning
Shango Los (@VIMEA_grows) – Embrace Your Local Pot Farmer
Cristina McAllister (kinabutterjelly) – Reject to Lab Tech

Speaker Lineup for Ignite 21

The next Seattle Ignite is Sunday August 18th at the Fremont Outdoor Cinema. Tickets are $5.

Here is our list of amazing 5 minute talks and speakers:

  • How video games are like kissing – Jenny Kuglin (@jenkuglin)
  • Getting geeky about Civics – Web Hutchins (@civicsforall)
  • Where my girls at? (Or, How one obvious “discovery” revolutionized my world view) -Maris McEdward (@mmcedward)
  • Gleaning molten lessons – What I learn from Glass – Pallavi Garg
  • Wobbling Is Normal – Laura Lantz
  • High school majority: I like pink, but I that doesn’t mean I cant think – Riyanka Ganguly-
  • Going Fast on One Wheel – Bruce Dawson
  • Being a Tech Entrepreneur in Baghdad - Othmane Rahmouni (@othmaner)
  • The Geek Diet – Dan Shapiro (danshapiro)
  • From Refugee to Technologist: How I’ve Used Software to Persevere – Tai Pham
  • Tap me on the shoulder if you’d like to chat –  Jason Simon (@jasonasimon)
  • Urinals. A Political and Aesthetic Expression – Christian Hagel-Sorensen (chrhage)
  • How to write your own user manual – Heidi Miller
  • An hour of coding for every student in America - James Gwertzman (gwertz)
  • Baby, I Was Born This Way! (Or Why A Polish Psychologists Let Me Know I’m Sane Amy Voros (coachaddamy)

(Note: this is not necessary the order speakers will appear)

Advice for getting accepted at Seattle Ignite

Ignite Seattle is an amazing event, with one of the largest and friendliest crowds you will find. We take open submissions for talk ideas and want to help you to pitch us well. This post explains the best possible advice for getting your talk accepted.

(This post is based on co-organizer Randy’ Stewart’sIgnite talk called How to Pitch an Ignite talk)

Important Facts

  • Talks are strictly 5 minutes long with automated slides. You can speak about anything, but all talks must consist of 20 slides, each timed to be on screen for 15 seconds, for a total of 5 minutes (Similar to Pecha-Kucha). It’s an exciting and dynamic format and if you’ve never seen an Ignite talk, watch some.
  • There are only 16 slots / we average 60 submissions. This means far more people are rejected than accepted. This is competitive so bring your A game. But don’t take it personally if you’re rejected – these slots are precious and you’re competing with Seattle’s best.
  • The organizers meet to vote on who get accepted. We review all submissions, with a short window of time for discussing each submission. We quickly filter out poorly written, under-thought or vague ones.
  • Your submission will be reviewed in a huge spreadsheet (shown below). Submissions that are concise, clear, compelling or funny prove to us you’ll do well in the Ignite format, where you’ll have similarly tough constraints.
  • 98% of speakers at Ignite are glad they did it. Ignite is challenging but a great professional and personal opportunity. If you’re going to submit, do it right.

Invest in a great title

Spend the time necessary to come up with a great title. By demonstrating you can name your talk something simultaneously descriptive, informative, compelling and perhaps funny, you prove you’re worthy of a slot on our stage. Ignite is about concision. Show us you’re good at this. By working hard on the title I promise you, the talk itself will improve.

When the organizers meet to review submissions, we look at a giant spreadsheet of the submission data (see below). It’s overwhelming. An easy way to cut through the noise is to give us a strong quality signal in your title.

ignite spreadsheet 2

Good titles distill big ideas into a single, easy to evaluate sentence. We read the descriptions of course, but nothing gives us more confidence in you than your title.

Good titles from past Ignites include:

  • SCRUM management for wedding planning
  • Fighting Dirty in Scrabble
  • Hacking Birth
  • Commut-A-Pult
  • Build your own Standing Desk
  • Welcome to the Psych Ward
  • What cities can learn from Burning Man
  • How Science is Destroying My Childhood

These titles express an interesting angle on a topic. These angle choices can make a seemingly boring topic suddenly fascinating. It’s easy to imagine what the talks will contain, and even when it’s hard to imagine, they are compelling enough that we’d want to find out.

As opposed to failed topic submissions like these:

  • Generic management advice from a Fortune 1000 company 
  • Why I don’t mind Subway sandwiches
  • Ten ways to do something even I don’t care about
  • How web 8.0 disruption widgets will bore the world to tears

Share your passion on any topic

Although Ignite has geek origins, there are no restrictions on your choice of topic. Although many of our talks have practical/geek themes, if we’re convinced you’re telling a great story, any topic goes. Over the years we’ve had one armed jugglers, street musicians and some dramatic personal stories that would be appropriate for The Moth or This American Life (if they were on speed).

We expect three things from you regarding topics:

  1. You’re passionate about it
  2. You’re knowledgeable (enough that you know more than most of the audience)
  3. You’ll share that passion and knowledge in ways the audience can connect with

Don’t pitch your business

Talks pitching your product, startup or consulting business will be automatically rejected. Don’t even try. We’ve made this mistake in the past and everyone in the audience knows in 10 seconds what you’re doing and they will hate you for it, and us for letting you on stage.

We do want you to promote yourself, but solely as someone who has given a great Ignite talk. It’s ok to tell your story provided it’s not centered on selling something. We have had speakers talk about something they invented or how they started a company (Rich Johnston from Vertical World) or a non-profit organization, but the focus was on the lessons and stories, rather than promoting anything. Think of your talk as a self-contained creation, and not a tool for some other purpose.

A good example of balancing self-promotion with giving an excellent talk is I Stalk Strangers Online (great title) by Carmen Hudson. Her talk was about her job as a tech headhunter and she successfully focused on sharing secrets and insider knowledge – it never felt like she was pitching her services, since she wasn’t. But here I am talking about her and her excellent talk (see how this works?)

How to submit your talk

Submissions open a month before the Ignite event. The form to fill out is always found here.

If you have questions, leave a comment.