Ignite Events Build Regional Buzz

This was originally written as a guest post on Gus Sentementes’ BaltTech blog for the Baltimore Sun.

If you had 5 minutes on stage and 20 slides that rotate automatically every 15 seconds, what would you say? That’s the question that 48 presenters will answer at three upcoming Ignite events in Annapolis, D.C., and Baltimore.

Ignite was started in Seattle in 2006 by Brady Forrest and Bre Pettis, and is overseen by the technology book publisher O’Reilly. Since the founding of the program, hundreds of five minute talks have been given across the world.

The first Ignite event in the area, Ignite Baltimore, was organized in October 2008 by local entrepreneurs Mike Subelsky and Patti Chan and was an immediate success. Held at the Windup Space on North Avenue, the event has attracted standing room only crowds, and the upcoming Ignite Baltimore #4 has been moved to The Walters Art Museum in order to accommodate more people. Ignite Baltimore #4 will take place on Oct. 22. Ignite Baltimore was recently named “Best Geek’s Night Out” by Baltimore Magazine.

This week, the first Ignite Annapolis will be held at Loews Annapolis Hotel in their Powerhouse building. Ignite Annapolis is organized by Kris Valerio (Executive Director of Chesapeake Regional Tech Council, and local actress and theater director) and Jennifer Troy (local entrepreneur) and will take place on Thursday, Oct. 1. The event is sold out, but you may be able to get in if you show up early.

And next week, Ignite DC returns with its second event organized by Jared Goralnick (local entrepreneur and organizer) and Steve Lickteig (radio producer). That event will be held at Town Danceboutique, 2009 8th St NW and should feature several hundred people.

While a handful of well-connected area geeks will likely attend all three events, they are inherently local events designed to connect communities together, and really aren’t all that geeky. Topics span everything from art, history, science, philosophy, and of course, some tech and social media. But Ignite is designed to emphasize that tech has become inherently cross-discipline and is no longer the domain of just infotech nerds. So don’t be surprised when topics roam far and wide.

You can get a taste of Ignite by visiting http://ignite.oreilly.com/show/ and viewing some of the videos available there.

Upcoming Area Ignite Events

• October 1, 6:00pm – Ignite Annapolis, http://igniteannapolis.com

• October 8, 6:00pm – Ignite DC, http://ignite-dc.com

• October 22, 6:00pm – Ignite Baltimore, http://ignitebaltimore.com

Note that all three events are already sold out or close to sold out, so if you have not already registered, space will be very limited. However, you may be able to get in if you show up by 5:00. See the RSVP and waitlist policies for each individual event. And if you can’t make these events, get ready for the next round of Ignites, which will be happening early next year. Ignite Baltimore #5 is planned for the first week of March 2010.