Ignite Seattle Was an Amazing Success!

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Dan McComb of Biznik presenting at Ignite; Photo by Bre Pettis

Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you for coming!
Ignite Seattle ended just a couple of hours ago. It was an amazing experience. Over 200 people saw 13 popsicle-bridges being made and 25 speakers each give 5 minute talks. The speakers had 20 slides with 15 seconds a slide. See Laughing Squid and the Ignite Flickr Pool for photos. The speakers and crowd were great. We will be posting their slides and videos in the next week. Most of the talks were tech-oriented. Here were some of the new sites that appeared tonight (some of them were publicly revealed for the first time tonight):

300002.gifThe Darfur Wall – Jonah Burke left Microsoft to found the The Darfur Wall with his father and brother a couple of weeks ago. If you’re not aware Darfur is in a crisis. The Burkes have created a novel website for collecting money. There are 400,000 subdued numbers on the site; each time a dollar is donated a new number is lit. All of the monies go to Doctors Without Borders, Save the Children and others. In just 21days, they have raised $5052 from 445 donors. Buying a number is fast and easy; consider it. (Blog)

Biznik – Biznik is a social-network that is devoted to radical self-promotion and helping its members start businesses. They are event-focused. The membership is centered around Seattle right now, but that will change in 2007 with an upcoming release. (Blog)

Reality All Starz – Where people do crazy things with their lives… and earn points. This is another Seattle-based social-network that hasn’t broken its geographic bounds. On the site you can issue challenges such as: Arm Wrestle Someone, Ask out a girl, or Go to Burning Man. People can then upload text, video, or photographic evidence of their having completed the challenge and the community decides how many points they should get for it. You can invite people to the site by issuing them a challenge (I still have to upload a video of my first sky-dive if I am going to earn 50 points this month). For a fun exercise check out the existing All Starz and issue them a challenge. It’s interesting to note that both Biznik and Reality All Starz are built using Ruby on Rails. (Blog)

Ontela – Dan Shapiro, the founder, spent the majority of his talk discussing the process of getting a startup going (the big take-away: it has to be a full time commitment, don’t expect your after-work project to morph into a company on it’s own). Luckily, I’ve seen this product before. They have built an incredibly simple way to pull photos from almost any phone and send them where you (the consumer) would like without having to lift a finger. This could be your home computer, Flickr, or any number of services that accept photos (MTurk for text analysis anyone?). When it is released, this software will finally make the camera on your phone useful.

We look forward to seeing you all at the next Ignite in February. Thanks to Ontela, Amazon Web Services, Seattlest and Lockergnome for sponsoring!

3, 2, 1, Ignition!

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Seattle geeks packed the house to build bridges out of popsicle sticks and hot glue at Seattle’s geek event, ignite. 13 teams basked in the glory of success or had their dreams crushed into tiny shards of wood as they stepped on their bridges and found out if their bridge would hold their weight. While the winners won the latest magazine, an amazing amount of applause was given to teams whose bridges were crushed. Hurray for destruction!

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Props go out to the team that used 998 of the 1000 popsicle sticks allotted and managed to hold 5 people on their bridge. They brought an iron that they plugged in and turned upside down to heat up a makeshift aluminum foil pot of hot glue. Props also go out to the family that made the artistic bridge that managed to hold the 4 year old member of the team!

After the last bridge had survived crushed into the ground, Ask Later began. Moderated by Brady Forrest of O’Reilly Radar, the audience was enthralled as the superstars of local start-upscreative innovators, scientists, hackers, puzzle-makers, and regular folks doing cool things managed to dump their brains into five minute power-point presentations.

Thanks to all the Make: and Craft: peeps who came out to have a great time, I look forward to seeing you all again at the next ignite in February. [My photoset] [Scott Beale’s Photoset]

Speaker Schedule for Ask Later

The Ask Later talks are going to begin after the Bridge Building Contest. Here is the schedule for the speakers. I expect each round to last about an hour (including a break).

First Round:
Brady Forrest (O’Reilly Radar) – Introduction & Welcome
Shelly Farnham (Farnham Research)- Dorkbot Seattle
Jeff Barr (Amazon Web Services) – Uses of Amazon Web Services
Beth Goza (Microsoft) – Second Life
Buster Mcleod (Robot Coop)- McLeod’s
Ario Speedwagon (Real Arcade) – Mortality and User Experience
Dan Shapiro (Ontela) – Founding and Fundraising
Brian Aker (MySQL) – Asterisk @ Home – Adventures in VOIP

Second Round:
Bre Pettis (Make:)- Make: Project Disasters
Bruce Leban – Puzzles
Scott Berkun (Independent) – Innovation
Jordan Shwartz (Microsoft; Creator of Pixie Hunt and SLAM) – Make Your Own SMS Service
Kathleen Dollard (GenDotNet) – Of Progress, Canaries and Workflow
Peter Brown (Independent) – Secret Project
Rob Flickenger (Hacker Friendly)- Lightning fast publishing
Stuart Maxwell – 19 Pings: Stuff That’s On My Radar

Third Round:
Beth Kolko (UW) – Info Tech in the Developing World
Chris Johnson (Phrase Train) – Phrase Train
Danyel Fisher (MSR)
Dan McComb (Biznik) – Biznik: Radical Self-Promotion
3ric Johanson (Shmoo)
Rob Dolin (KCD) – King County Democrats use of Social Networking Software
Jesse RobbinsBRC Credit Union
Jonah Burke – The Darfur Wall
Scott “The Closer” Ruthfield (Amazon) – Replacing Something That Sucks (Corporate Style)

This post will be revised as we get more speakers or some drop out. Speakers, don’t forget to send me your presentations! For now I am not going to sign up anymore talks – there will be other Ignites in the future. 🙂

Bridge Building Rules

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I’ve got 20,000 popsicle sticks and I’ve done some tests.

First, here are the rules:

1. Your bridge must span 15 inches. That means it needs to be a bit longer than 15 inches.  The popsicle sticks are 4 inches long so you’ll need a bridge that is 4 popsicle sticks or more long.  You will use hot glue and get 1000 popsicle sticks.  There will be lots of teams and so it wouldn’t hurt to bring your own glue guns and glue.
2. You will have 30 minutes to complete your bridge.  In reality, some teams will have more time as we test the first bridgets

3. When you are done, you will put your bridge between to bricks spaced 15 inches apart and then you will put a scale on top of your bridge and then you will start to stand on it, calling out the amount of pounds that it can hold.  If someone on your team can stand on your bridge, each person on your team will get an issue of craft or make.  If there are more winners than magazines, I’ll collect emails from your team and send out digital editions.

4. You need not be a structural engineer to play, this is for anyone who likes to make things.
5. There may be more rules if they make sense at the time.

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Here’s what I learned from messing around with popsicle sticks for 1/2 hour with my brother:

You are going to be on a team and someone on your team needs to come with a plan.  I finished 1/3 of a bridge in 30 minutes.  My brother made 1/5 of a bridge in 30 minutes.  His is the shorter one with an awesome overlapping design.  How many people should you have on your team? I suggest at least three.  Be friendly to people who come alone and join your team, they may be the missing link that give you an edge.

Above all the goal is to have fun, I’ll see you there at 6:30!

Enlighten us, but make it quick!