On December 7, 2006 the very first Ignite Seattle was held at the Capitol Hill Art Center (CHAC) in Seattle. I wasn’t one of the organizers, but I was there for that magical night 15 years ago. There were over 350 folks packed into a tiny space meant for about half that many. It was crowded, it was hot, and it was chaotic but it was obvious to me that I was experiencing something special.
The conceit was simple – give a 5 minute talk with 20 slides, but the slides would auto-advance every 15 seconds and while a lot has changed in 15 years we remain true to our format.
The talk topics of the first Ignite Seattle were pretty tech industry focused, but it was clear that everyone who spoke that night was passionate about their subject matter (another requirement for a great Ignite talk). We experienced many delightful talks including:
- Bre Pettis showing off some Make Project Disasters
- Arlo Speedwagon discussing Mortality and User Experience
- Jordan Schwartz teaching us how to make our own SMS service
- Shelly Farnum showing off Dorkbot Seattle
- Beth Kolko talking about how Info Tech in the Developing World
- and roughly 20 more talks that night (including our very own Scott Berkun talking about innovation) and a popsicle stick bridge building contest.
I left that night intellectually overstimulated and exhausted (in the best possible way), but I also left wanting to be a part of the event in some capacity. I started working on Ignite just prior to the 4th event the very next year.
All photos from this event appear courtesy of Laughing Squid and you can see more on his Flickr feed here.
Submit Your Talk
It’s been a fun ride working on Ignite and Ignite has survived and flourished while living through an economic downturn, moving to 4 different venues (5 if you count the beautifully remodeled Town Hall) and now a global pandemic. And that’s why we need YOU to submit a talk to our next (in person, at Town Hall) event planned for February 17th, 2022. We’re thrilled to be in a place where so many are vaccinated, boosted and craving some social interaction and entertainment.
If you’ve ever thought about standing on the Ignite Seattle stage, now is the time to submit your talk and help bring us back to Town Hall, Seattle and the world!
While a lot has changed since way back then, the magic of Ignite Seattle hasn’t faded for me and I know a lot of you feel the same. I’m overjoyed to be planning our next event and I can’t wait to see all of you there.