Category Archives: Speakers

Tickets on Sale for Ignite Seattle #29

Our 29th Ignite event is Thursday, February 18th, 7pm/8pm at Town Hall Seattle. Tickets $5 at the door or in advance (we frequently sell out – buy tickets early. Or NOW. Really).

Doors open at 7pm, with a cash bar and a fun social interactive game-like-thing (you don’t have to play, and since there is a bar you can stand and drink and make fun of the people who do, but we suspect you’re more likely to play than you think).

Talks start at 8pm, with an nicely sized intermission for you to do various acts of biology and sociology, including getting more drinks.

For Ignite Seattle #29, we received more than 55 submissions. Since we are restricted by the laws of physics we can only have 16 speakers in one event (If you have supernatural powers please volunteer: we can use you).

Here is the delightful roster of magnificent speakers for the evening:

(Speaking order TBD. Stay for the whole night – you’ll get far more than your $5 worth):

  • Yes, I’m having an identity crisis – Sarah Novotny
  • Why I’m bringing Robots to Prison – Lindsey Wilson
  • How to Talk to Your Teenage Son about Sex – Hillel Cooperman*
  • The Data Is In: How To Improve Your Neighborhood – Shelly Farnham*
  • Choosing Our President: How To Caucus in Our State – Jon Culver
  • Molecular Machines and Designer Drugs – Franziska Seeger
  • De-Isolation: Overcoming Social Anxiety – Bill Bernat
  • How To Catch an Idea and Make It Yours – Mark Teppo
  • There’s So Much Bullshit Around Coffee – Jacob Fleisher
  • What My Dad’s Death Taught Me About Food, Funerals, and Horribly Timed Jokes – Dani Buckley
  • How the Super Loop Saved Me – Tamara Clammer
  • Make Law, Not Sugared Water – Dan Lear
  • How To Catch Mackerel In Norway – Judy Oldfield
  • 12 Things I learned about Teams By Coaching Little League – David Betz
  • By Their Surplus You Will Know Them – Peter Adelsheim
  • How I Went From Blogger To Pro Food Writer in 10 Short Years – Naomi Tomky

* = Ignite Seattle Alumni

Looks like a fantastic evening, yes? Get tickets here. 

Own Time or Die Trying – Ahsan Kabir

From Ahasan:

“So much to do, so little time. And really, we don’t use that time as well as we could. Ahsan discusses some of what he’s learned about planning his time in his quest to finish things.”

About Ahsan

Ahsan Kabir makes software, mostly. He obsesses about what makes for good experiences in software, ice and everything else. He posts occasionally at and you can find him on Twitter @aephemera.

Save the planet- eat a bug! – Virginia Emery

From Virginia:

“Why would you want to eat insects?

1) Curiosity- Insects are delicious!

2) Bulldozers move faster than biologists- and insects are a more environmentally friendly protein than other meats we eat!

3) Progress only happens when we challenge our preconceptions. Step out of your comfort zone- why not eat a bug?!”

About Virginia

Virginia Emery is an insect entrepreneur working to build the edible insect industry and change the way Americans think about protein.

Traveling Alone: And So Can You – Danna Klein

From Danna:

I learned to drive stick during a thunderstorm on a dirt road in rural Brazil. I discussed the future of the Castro regime while drinking rum on the back porch rocking chairs of the home of a Cuban couple who took me in like family for two weeks. I probably would not have had any of these experiences if I wasn’t traveling alone, allowing myself to be open to people and places in a way that brought companionship precludes.

About Danna
Danna Klein uses spreadsheets to keep track of almost everything. Her current obsessions are national parks, Michelin starred restaurants, Cascade hiking, and complaining about the people who moved to Seattle after her. She works at Mixpo, an ad tech startup, as a product marketer.

Operation Honest Day’s Work – Norman Bell

Earlier this year Norman decided to work on his work ethic and started an experiment he called Operation: Honest Day’s Work. Over the course of 80 days, Norman made some surprising discoveries that have helped him engage at work, and improve his work ethic, productivity and peace of mind. He’s excited to share his findings with you.

About Norman

Norman Bell is an award-winning public speaker, performer, presentation coach, and expert communicator who has used his communication skills to help Fortune 500 companies like Microsoft, Hewlett Packard and AT&T, as well as PBS travel show host Rick Steves. As an actor, he played opposite Academy Award-winner Christian Bale in “The Machinist” and wrote, co-produced and starred in the popular solo show, “SUBPRIME!” As a speaker coach, Norman has worked with social entrepreneurs competing in the Social Venture Partners Fast Pitch.

How Coming to the US Taught Me to Embrace Worry – Kevin Obbayi

From Kevin –

Growing up in a developing country, I tended to worry about my future. I had this idea in my head that if I joined college in the US, that not only will my dreams come true but life would be easy and worry free. Coming to the US taught me that regardless where you live in the world, stress and worry can be part of normal life and a great motivator to accomplish your dreams.

About Kevin

Kevin Obbayi in his own words:

I am a business analyst working for a Seattle based digital agency. I love working in web and mobile development industry. I enjoy good espresso and meaningful music. And when its not raining I longboard… oh, and I love to travel whenever I get the chance.

Lessons From Building the Universal Translator – Tanvi Surti

From Tanvi:

With the speech translation tech in Skype Translator, people can now have real-time automatically translated conversations in English, Spanish, Italian and Chinese.

But speech translation tech is far from a perfect science. This talk is about what we learn from watching first-time users experience Skype Translator for the first time, and what are the biggest (and rather unexpected) problems we face while bringing Star Trek’s Universal Translator to life.

About Tanvi
Tania Surti in her own words:

I am a Program Manager at Microsoft Research where I work on translation tech that lets people have automatically translated voice conversations over Skype.

I also like writing code, playing the piano, launching into feminist rants and taking long naps.