Top Ignite Seattle Talks of 2018

2018 was a fantastic year for Ignite Seattle! Thanks to our 37 speakers who took to our stage and shared their story with us. And thank you to the folks who submitted a talk that was not accepted this year. We read and consider every submission and even if you’re not chosen you do influence how we think about each event. So please do keep submitting – and we’ll keep our minds open.

The Top Talks have been selected by the Ignite Seattle organizers. Ignite Seattle is not a competition, there are no formal judging criteria, but we wanted to honor some of our favorites this year and we thoughtfully put this together for the first time.

So without further ado here are the Top Ignite Seattle Talks of 2018, in no particular order:

  • How to Mouse with Your Toes – Elizabeth Nelson. We all know sitting at desks all day staring at screens isn’t great for our bodies, and we were delighted by this entertaining and unusual concept for a better way to interact with your computer.
  • How to Not be the Least Secure Gazelle – Zachary Cohn. Everyone worries about their security online, but there’s so much confusion over what to do about it. Ignite Seattle alumni and organizer Zachary Cohn brings us to the animal kingdom for a killer (literally) metaphor to use for understanding security and what specific actions you should take.
  • So, You’re Black in Tech – Rovina Broomfield. Diversity in the working world, specifically in the tech sector, still has so many challenges, and Rovina eloquently takes them all on, including a glorious riff on the abuse of the term ‘unicorn’.
  • Pooing in Public – Jason Preston. The design of everyday things matters, and perhaps there is no better example of this than the locking mechanisms of public bathrooms. Ignite Seattle alumni Preston deftly examines the user experience problems found in bar and restaurant restrooms, with advice for owners and customers on how to avoid getting yourself into embarrassing kinds of trouble.
  • Getting Naked for Feminism – Katrina Hamilton. How brave are you about taking risks? What ideas do you believe in enough to act on them in public? Katrina explains, with a flair for the serious and the comical, takes her feminist ideals out into the world through the costumes she makes that challenge our culture’s fundamental assumptions about power, control, and gender roles.
  • Mystery Ignite (improvised Ignite talk on Bitcoin) – Kinzie Shaw. All of our speakers are brave, but we love when someone pushes the limits. Kinzie agreed to take our stage to present to an Ignite slide deck she had never seen before (on the topic of bitcoin). It’s hysterical, it’s amazing and it puts into relief any fears of public speaking you might have, as what she did is so much braver and harder than what most of us do.
  • The Seattle Superman – Jonathan Belle. Photographer and artist Jonathan Belle shares his unusual and surprisingly moving story of why he regularly wears a Superman costume. We can all learn something from his honest intensity and the challenge he’s taken on to define how he treats others in the world.

Did we miss the one you loved the most this year? Leave a comment and give that talk the love it deserves.

And if you can’t remember them all, or the name of your favorite, these links will help you:

Ignite #35 Talks
Ignite #36 Talks
Ignite #37 Talks

Ignite Seattle 2018 Holiday Buyer’s Guide

Struggling to find a gift for the Ignite Seattle fan (or soon to be fan)?  Maybe you’d like to support the speakers you’ve seen this year?  You’re in luck!  Many of this year’s speakers have the perfect gift to put a little bit of Ignite cheer under the tree and remind you of the amazing talks we had in 2018.

ROPOS and the Underwater Volcano

Want to get your kids (or nieces and nephews) excited about undersea exploration?  Check out Dana Manalang’s talk, Oceans and Robots and Volcanoes, Oh My! and consider picking up her book, ROPOS And The Underwater Volcano. –$14

Discovering Seattle Parks: A Local’s Guide

Know someone who is new to Seattle or looking to spend a little more time exploring our amazing parks?  Linnea Westerlind wrote the book on it!  Discovering Seattle Parks: A Local’s Guide has details on 100 parks, is organized by neighborhood with illustrated maps and full color photos. –$15

Walking to the End of the World

We traveled afar with Beth Jusino’s talk to Northern Spain where she spent 79 days walking over 1000 miles on her pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago. If you know someone who wants to get away from it all while breaking in those new hiking boots, Beth’s memoir of her journey Walking to the End of the World: A Thousand Miles on the Camino De Santiago. –$14

For many of us, the holidays means giving tech support to those who need it the most: our families.  Zac Cohn’s talk showed us how not to be the least secure gazelle by using the same password over and over again.  The (somewhat ironically named) password manager 1Password is what he (and I) recommend for creating and managing passwords.  They have apps for Windows, MacOS, Android and iOS to keep your passwords secure and in sync.  1Password is $36 a year for individuals and $60 for families of 5 or fewer.

Donate to SISCA

Earlier this year, Maryam Hosseini showed us how one guy can make you less racist She’s an active member of SISCA , a group that works here in Seattle to “reverse hostility between the United States and Iranian governments by developing people-to-people relationships.”  You can support SISCA by becoming a member for only $5 a year.

Submit your talk idea, today.

Ignite Seattle #38 (Feb 28th) planning is underway and it is shaping up to be another epic evening of eclectic, energizing talks. You can submit your talk idea, today.

  • Tickets: We’ve already sold 20% of the available tickets. Get your tickets now.
  • Volunteers: 10 new volunteers are helping us make this show better. More on this later.
  • Donations: We have received our first community donation! Yes: you can donate to Ignite Seattle. More on this later too or if you can’t wait, email us. Thank you so much for your donation Jeremy Kayes. It will help run Ignite Seattle and it was a huge inspiration to us that you believe in Ignite Seattle so much. Jeremy is an Ignite Seattle Alum and a super fan. Check out his fabulous talks here and here.
  • Talk submissions: We have a few great ones already, but we would love more.  Specifically, we want to hear YOUR talk idea. Tell us a story, teach us a skill, or try a serious crazy talk idea (inspiration).

You can submit right now <<<
Or you can procrastinate to the due date, Jan 17th. Tell us you are interested.
Or you can ask for advice on your submission send us a message on Facebook.

We can not wait to read your talk ideas. Thank you!

Have fun at TWIF’s Innovators Auction

One of our favorite partners is The World Is Fun, a local non-profit that connects people with great Seattle community events and organizations. They’re having their annual fundraising auction this week and it’s going to be a great evening. You should be there. All proceeds go to support the great work they do.

General admission is $35 (cocktails and appetizers) and they’re auctioning off all kinds of great prizes, like Ken Jennings (of Jeopardy fame) joining your trivia team, get your own flavor of ice-cream on the menu at Full Tilt, behind the scenes tours of the Woodland Park Zoo, DJ for a day on 92.5, and many more.

  • Event Begins 7:30pm
  • Cocktails & Silent Auction: 7:30pm
  • Live Auction: 9:00pm
  • Get tickets here

Seven Fun Ignite Ideas Which Need Your Help

Ignite Seattle is led by a fun, energetic, and all volunteer team. We’re just former attendees who raised their hands and said “I want to help.”

Today, we’d like to ask for your help, too. We’re hosting a potential volunteer info session on November 13 at 6:30pm (there’s free food)!

Not sure what volunteering for Ignite looks like? Below are just a few fun ideas to make Ignite better, which all need help from someone like you.


  1. Ignite Encore
    Arrange for conferences/events to host small Ignite sessions, with a handful of alumni giving encores of their talks. We’ve done this once or twice in the past, but what if it were a regular thing?

  2. Bring alumni speakers back together
    Over 500 people have spoken at Ignite Seattle. Where are they now? Whether it means hosting parties and happy hours, or working with them to run a pre-show activity, we’d love to keep in closer contact.

  3. Partner with the community
    Ignite is a place for Seattle to share and discuss diverse ideas, but that doesn’t have to end at the talks and the pre-show activity. Whether it’s sponsors, other organizations with a similar mission, or just community fixtures the audience should know about, there are so many opportunities to grow Ignite beyond the walls of our theater.

  4. Be Ignite’s social butterfly
    Sure, we have Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but when it comes to our audience, most interaction happens at the show. How can we engage with our audience online? What should we post? Should we run contests? Oh, did we mention there is a budget to experiment with?

  5. Become our CEO… Chief Emailing Officer
    We have a growing list of Ignite Seattle fans, but we mostly email them about submissions and ticket sales. What else might our community care about? The latest crazy project from a speaker they heard from? Tips on telling their story? Something else? You also get to press a red button that instantly emails 2000 (and growing) fans of Ignite Seattle. Woah!

  6. Rethink the event, and bring crazy ideas to life
    Did you know Ignite Seattle never did a survey until 2018!? When we did, we learned the audience wanted a shorter show that started earlier. (It only took us 12 years to find out…)What if you were in charge of the 3 Rs: help us research, recommend, and realize crazy new ideas? Research could include surveys, observations, and plain old talking to people. Yes that is still a thing.
  7. Make fun videos
    If you have ever dreamed about being in the movie business this idea is for you. We are looking for new ways to explain Ignite to excite new speakers, new attendees and new volunteers. You would film behind the scenes at our events and create promo videos to share on the web.


These ideas (or your own ideas for Ignite) won’t happen without you. Are you ready to help? Sign up for our volunteer info session below or visit our volunteer page if you can’t make it.

Ignite Seattle Volunteer Info Session

November 13, 6:30pm

Downtown Seattle WeWork, 1411 4th Avenue

How To Be Less Racist & Support a Good Cause

One of our highlights from Ignite #36 earlier this year was Maryam Hosseini’s inspiring talk about her Iranian heritage.

She’s also an active member of SISCA, a group that works here in Seattle to “reverse hostility between the United States and Iranian governments by developing people-to-people relationships.”

Next month, In partnership with famed local chef Tom Douglas, they’re doing a dinner fundraiser on Thursday, November 1st at the Palace Ballroom, with the proceeds going to SISCAs programs and local events.

If you haven’t seen it, watch this wonderful talk. And then see about having a tasty dinner that supports a good cause.

 

Translating Earth’s History: Microscopic Shells Tells Us About Our Past & Future – Elisa Bonnin – Ignite Seattle 37

Some people need crystal balls to see into the past or predict the future – but not Elisa Bonnin. She just needs seashells. Well, seashells and an almost-PhD.

Elisa expertly explains to an audience of non-PhDs how she uses microscopic seashells from animals called Foraminifera to uncover the history of ocean acidification, temperature change, sea level rise, and ice ages for the last million years.

It doesn’t matter how long it’s been since your last chemistry class – if you want to learn about some science, Elisa is ready to teach you.