Category Archives: Speakers

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 (500 to 700 people)  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:

  • 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
  • I’m passionate about “things” but too lazy to think carefully about my message or what I want to say so I’ll submit things I haven’t really thought about or distilled down and make everyone sad

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.

Surviving as an Introvert in an Extroverted World – Jonathon Colman

What exactly *is* introversion? It’s commonly misunderstood as shyness or a misanthropic desire to be left alone. Many extroverts mistakenly assume that introverts hate them. And that’s simply not true (well, most of the time). And many introverts think that there’s something wrong with themselves, something broken that they can’t seem to fix. And that’s not true, either.

We can do better. In this talk from Ignite Seattle 19, Jonathon Colman dishes on what introversion is, what it isn’t, and specific tactics to hack ourselves and our interactions with others in order to survive in our extroverted world.

Jonathon Colman is a content strategist, SEO & Internet marketer, speaker, and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer living (and drinking coffee) in Seattle, Washington. For over 15 years he’s helped people and organizations build, find, and use the best stuff on the Web.

You can reach him at www.jonathoncolman.org.

Networking: The RPG – (or Everything I Need to Know About Networking I Learned From Playing D&D) – Adam Philipp

Are you a geek? An Introvert? Afraid of the crowds? Not sure what they will make of you? But you still want to connect with people? Then you want to play: NETWORKING, The Role Playing Game.

On your very first dungeon/networking event you can go out and:

  • slay kobolds (meet technical recruiters)
  • fend off orcs (accountants and lawyers)
  • drink healing/mana/attribute potions (wine/beer/whiskey)
  • collect loot (contact information!)
  • equip your character (get dressed up and ad props)
  • form parties (agree to meet up with someone again)
  • level up (move on to talking with speakers or higher level dungeons)
  • If you apply all the skills you honed with years of playing: D&D, GammaWorld, Top Secret, etc., you will find that networking is just another great RPG except the characters are really well developed and the GameMaster is not so scary. Let’s go out and play!

    Adam Philipp (@MyPatents) is tech-savvy patent attorney and the founder of ÆON Law (), a high tech IP law firm in Seattle. Adam has a penchant for connecting with the tech community and does not hide his love of meeting smart people. He can usually be picked out at events as the lawyer with the glowing name badge.

    Announcing the Ignite Seattle 20 Talks

    We’re excited to announce the lineup for Ignite Seattle 20 on May 16th. Join us at Town Hall, talks start promptly at 8pm. Get your tickets here.

    Madeline Puckette – 7 Things You Never Knew About the Most Expensive Wines of the World
    Wine is no longer just a drink, it has become a commodity like stock. Learn seven of the more interesting facts about the most expensive wines in the world and what ties them together. Never drink wine the same again.

    Diana Vergis Vinh – My Life of Poo
    Learning kale recipes that don’t make my family gag, thinking my goat was pregnant when she was just plain fat and being surrounded by endless piles of poo – who knew that backyard urban farming could be so darned engaging? Hear from a long time urban farmer the ups and the downs of this manic pursuit.

    Jeffrey Hicks – Welcome to the Psych Ward
    This is a talk about what it actually feels like to lose your mind. It is an insiders look into madness and recovery.

    Nathan Kaiser – From Bits to Booze and Not Quite Back Again
    What I learned going from bits to booze and what I hope to bring back with me.

    Nicole Steinbok – Everyday Pitches
    Learn how to get people to like and trust you, give you time, do boring shit, reply to an email, provide great feedback, buy into plans, hire you and much more!

    Sally James – Small words
    Why keeping it short, even using shorter words, may help people understand you.

    Theresa Harris – I want to teach your child to fail
    Kids become less creative as they grow and Theresa Harris, founder of Thrive Art School, says this is due to how they experience failure. She’s on a mission to teach kids to fail enthusiastically.

    Dave Zucker – Sir Mix-a-Bot, the Robot Bartender
    In October of 2002, I picked up a surplus PUMA robot arm from a local university. I was sad to discover it didn’t work, and have spent the past 10 years bringing it back to life and transforming it into a robot bartender, dubbed Sir Mix-a-Bot.

    Whitney Mongé – Busking in Pike Place Market
    My talk will be about the basic know how’s of street performing in Pike Place Market. It will also be a short but detailed outline of how to be successful at busking virtually anywhere.

    Jack Bennetto – The Moral Clarity of Killing Ivy
    In a world of ambiguity and complexity, we can find moral clarity in killing English ivy and other invasive plants. Jack Bennetto outlines his journey as an anti-invasivist and explains how you can achieve peace and happiness through wanton destruction leading to restoration and rebirth.

    Nancy White – S#*!, is it time to think about a legacy?
    What happens when you wake up and realize you are a certain age,a grandparent, your husband is retiring and people start calling you an “elder” in your field? When you can’t even DESCRIBE your field? Come peer with me over this deliciously scary edge of considering my future. Regardless of our ages, is it time to think about our legacies?

    Joe Ludwig – The second coming of Virtual Reality
    Back in the early nineties everybody thought that virtual reality would be the next big thing. Now, twenty years later, that might actually be true.

    Frank Rogan – How Are You Not Dead?
    Everyone has a superpower, and apparently mine is “not getting killed.” I’ve escaped embarrassing death and painful dismemberment several times. It all makes for a great story, and it’s your stories that make you human.

    Randy Stewart – How to Pitch Ignite Seattle
    After reading and voting on hundreds of Ignite proposals, I can tell you about the ins and outs of what will get you considered before anyone else. I reveal the inner most workings of the secret machinations of the Ignite selection committee.

    Carmen Hudson – I Stalk Strangers Online
    Software engineers and other highly sought-after talent: you can run, but you can’t hide. Employers will go to great lengths to find in-demand talent; that’s where I come in. Armed with a few search engine commands, tenacity and a telephone, I can find anyone. People like me — known as “sourcers” — use the internet to find contact information, hobbies and interests, and other personal data in order to silver tongue our way into the lives of top talent. I’ll show you how we do it.

    Gina Phillips – The Ultimate Mistake
    Gina has competed at the highest levels of ultimate frisbee, including US Nationals 7 times. In a talk that has turned into a very different talk than the one she set out to give, she shares a look at identity, shame, and self-worth.