We want challenging talk ideas

Here at Ignite Seattle we’ve built a finely tuned machine. Each event delivers on great talks, fascinating stories and a fun and welcoming community atmosphere. But one problem with finely tuned machines is this: they become predictable.

Over the years we’ve had some folks bring us bold ideas that challenge us. They push the limits of the 5 minute format or what can be done with an audience of 800 people. We’re always looking for more talks like this. Do you have something in mind? We want to hear from you. Submissions for the next Ignite are open.

Challenge us with:

  • New ways to use the 5 minute / 20 slide format
  • Topics or perspectives we’ve never had on stage before
  • Interesting ways to use the stage or the audience
  • Something we’ve never even considered

To seed your thoughts, here are some challenging examples from Ignite Seattle history:

Tag-Team: How To Have An Argument

Live music performance: How to Solve a Song

Getting the crowd to dance on stage: Where the hell is Matt?

A Wedding In 5 minutes: Wedding Planning for Geeks

An improv talk within a talk: Improv, Public Speaking and You

Slides that only keep time: Attention and Sex

One armed Juggling: The Juggling Act of Life

Live Burlesque: To Be A Great Leader





Ignite Seattle #31: Videos & Recap

Thanks to all of you who joined us last night for another sold out show at Town Hall Seattle. For our 10th anniversary we couldn’t ask for a more supportive, energetic and playful crowd. Our sincerest hope is that you keep coming to our shows, and help spread the word about what we do – we want to keep this forum for the exchange of ideas going for a long time.


All of the videos from last night are now live (Thanks to Bootstrapper studios)! You can watch individual talks or the entire show in one video.  Please take a minute to share your favorites on all the interwebs.

  1.  Happiness through Calculus, Jordan Couch
  2. Guaranteed Successful Design, Noah Iliinsky
  3. Definitely Not Nordstrom: A Rally Call and Celebration of Awkwardness, Kristin Leong
  4. Not Everything Is A Collaboration, Eric Holdeman
  5. Appy Bride: How I Infuriated the Wedding Industry & Got My -Dream Wedding, Sarah Schacht
  6. Hello, My Friend. Madi Williamson
  7. Eat Your Ice Cream: How To Live Like You’re Dying, Robin Tarter
  8. Building Solid Teams with Silly Games, Shannon Mead
  9. After the Psych Ward, Jeffrey Hicks
  10. Our Brain’s Next Firmware Update, Laura Lantz
  11. Nope! Really! Africa is Not A Country. Kevin Obbayi
  12. The Irish Goodbye, Kelly Kanary
  13. So You Think You Can’t Dance, Sandi Olson
  14. Breaking Bread, Breaking Boundaries. Phillip Deng
  15. The Streets Where You Live, Amy Cash
  16. Great Things Never Came From Comfort Zones, Andrew McGee
  17. Ignite Seattle #31 – Entire show



Where to eat and drink before (and after) Ignite Seattle

Our current home for Ignite Seattle is the lovely Town Hall Seattle, located on first hill, just across from I-5. It’s a curious little neighborhood that many Seattleites don’t know very well (it has so many hospitals nearby, it’s often jokingly called “pill hill”).

To help you get the most out of your Ignite experience, here’s a short guide for where to eat and drink before (or after) Ignite. Of course at the event there are always two cash only bars open, selling drinks and light snacks, but they can get crowded at times (for Ignite 31 there will be a dedicated wine/bar line to speed things up).

  • Quarter Lounge – It’s a small, charming dive bar a few blocks away. Open late. This is the semi-official location of the Ignite Seattle after party.
  • The Hideout – just three blocks away from Town Hall, this speakeasy style art bar has fine cocktails, simple snacks, and fantastic art (including an art vending machine). Open late, but it’s a small place and can get crowded at peak hours.
  • Vito’s – A 60 year old Italian lounge/restaurant that will make you think of Frank Sinatra (and soon you’ll have a Martini in your hand). Yes the walls are carpeted and there is a cougar (literally) by the front door. The food is alright, but the vibe is memorable.
  • Primo pizza – directly across the street from Town Hall, this reliable, straightforward pasta and pizza place is the most convenient meal you’ll find. It does gets busy and service can be slow so get there early if it’s your plan.
  • Pho  Saigon – Decent pho and Vietnamese fare.  3 blocks away.
  • Thai Star – Same as above, but… Thai.
  • Sazerac – Just a 6 minute walk away at 4th avenue, near the library, this southern style restaurant and bar has a great happy hour 4-8pm. (Doors open at Ignite at 7pm, event starts at 8pm).
  • Han’s deli – If you hope to just grab a candy bar or a bag of chips, this is just a block away.

See you soon!

Speakers for 10th Anniversary Ignite Seattle (#31)

Our 31st Ignite event, and our OFFICIAL 10th ANNIVERSARY,  is Thursday, November 17th, 7pm/8pm at Town Hall Seattle. Tickets $5 at the door or in advance (we frequently sell out – buy tickets early. Or NOW. Really).

This will be a very special night (10 years is a long time – 496 Ignite talks, or 2400 minutes of people on stage speaking, to be exact). If you haven’t been to ignite in awhile, don’t miss this one.

Doors open at 7pm, with a cash bar and a fun (optional) social interactive game (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 halfway through for you to do various acts of biology and sociology, including getting more drinks.

We received more than 80 talk submissions – more than ever before. Many were excellent. But since we are restricted by the laws of physics we had to pick just 16 speakers for this event.

Here is the glorious list of amazing speakers:

  • Happiness through Calculus, Jordan Couch
  • Building Solid Teams with Silly Games, Shannon Mead
  • Nope! Really! Africa is Not A Country. Kevin Obbayi (alumni)
  • Hello, My Friend. Madi Williamson
  • After the Psych Ward, Jeffrey Hicks (alumni)
  • The Streets Where You Live, Amy Cash
  • So You Think You Can’t Dance, Sandi Olson
  • Great Things Never Came From Comfort Zones, Andrew McGee
  • Breaking Bread, Breaking Boundaries. Phillip Deng
  • The Irish Goodbye, Kelly Kanary
  • Our Brain’s Next Firmware Update, Laura Lantz
  • Not Everything Is A Collaboration, Eric Holdeman (alumni)
  • Eat Your Ice Cream: How To Live Like You’re Dying, Robin Tarter
  • Appy Bride: How I Infuriated the Wedding Industry & Got My Dream Wedding, Sarah Schacht (alumni)
  • Guaranteed Successful Design, Noah Iliinsky (alumni)
  • Definitely Not Nordstrom, Kristin Leong (alumni)
  • (Speaking order TBD so don’t presume this is it)

Looks like a great night, yes? Get your tickets here. 

Pitch us for Ignite Seattle #31 (10 year anniversary)

For many years we’ve been thrilling some of Seattle’s best crowds with great stories, lessons and entertainments told in a fun and inventive way. The next Ignite event is a special one: we are celebrating 10 years of these amazing events. If you have an idea for a talk now is the time to pitch it to us.

Deadline is Oct 7th, 2016.

Ignite Seattle 31 will be held Thursday, Nov 17th, at the beautiful Town Hall Seattle. But without your submissions, we’d just be waiting around, drinking sad drinks, wishing something interesting would happen. Don’t let us down!

Instead share with us and our audience a great story, interesting lesson or fascinating insight into life you think we should hear (like the ones you can watch from our last Ignite event to help you get ideas).

To help you invest your time wisely, read our honest insider guide to getting your talk accepted. We get many for Ignite and want you to learn from what we know.



Videos and Photos from Ignite Seattle 30

Ignite Seattle 30 was an amazing event and if you weren’t there, we’ve got you covered: all the amazing talks are now on youtube. If you were there like me, and it all just crashed over you like ocean waves, you might have forgotten some of the great stories we shared. Here’s your chance to go re-live the event.

Thanks once again to Bootstrapper Studios  and Punch Drunk for their excellent video work at the event. You can see the full playlist of all 16 talks here.

Here are a handful of photos taken at Ignite, but you can view all the photos from Ignite Seattle 30 in our Flickr Pool here. Thanks to Morgen Schuler Photography for taking photos with me once again.

Fes Naqvi

Amanda Saab - Ignite Seattle 30

Remington Purnell

Katie Chase - Ignite Seattle 30

Tammarrian Rogers

Eight Great Reasons To Come To Ignite Seattle #30

This Thursday (5/26) at 8:00pm is Ignite Seattle #30 – we’re thrilled to bring you another edition of the largest open submission public speaking event in the Northwest. We’ve sold out many shows in a row, as we consistently deliver a fun, challenging, fast paced evening of ideas, opinions and stories for your pleasure.

If you’ve never come before, or have missed a few, this is a great one to come check out.

Here are eight amazing reasons to come to Ignite 30:

  1. We are in Town Hall Seattle’s Great Hall, one of Seattle’s oldest and best venues for live events (and they have a cash bar that opens at 7pm)
  2. Erica McGillvray will teach you how to write a novel in a month.
  3. If you’re cranky and old (like me), you’ll get your biases confirmed (but also tested) in a talk about why the world hates millennials.
  4. If you are hip and young, you’ll laugh at learning about what if life were like stock photography, and how to live in the gig economy.
  5. Hang out with 800+ of Seattle’s coolest, most friendly audience members during our world famous intermission (we intermiss better than anyone anywhere). But the event usually sells out, so buy tickets in advance.
  6. If you like fruit and vegetables, and who doesn’t, you have bees to thank. Nicollette Neumann will tell you about fantastic bees and where to find them.
  7. Seattle has a homeless problem, yes? Learn about a new approach that might lead us to a cure.
  8. Islamophobia is sadly on the rise in America – Amanda Saab with share what it’s like to be your Muslim neighbor.
  9. It’s our 30th Ignite event, a number cleanly divisible by 6, 3, or 5! Go Math! We’re so excited we forgot how to count as this is reason #9 (which does NOT divide evenly into 30).
  10. We promise an evening free from the words: caucus, poll, superdelegate or Trump.

You will hate yourself if you don’t come. I mean, it’s Thursday night – shouldn’t you start your weekend of awesome a day early? We think you deserve it.

Go here to buy tickets ($5).  Doors open at 7:00pm (as does the cash bar). Talks start at 8:00pm, with an  intermission. Full list of speakers and topics.

Enlighten us, but make it quick!