There are some fairly predictable hot tickets in town. Ignite Minneapolis is one of them. So hot that it came down to the wire to score my ticket. It happened via Twitter. Three hours prior to the event, six DM’s with @micahvono (an attendee with an extra ticket), one PayPal exchange of $10 and one email with a pdf’d scannable code later and I was golden. Thanks, Micah!
#IgniteMpls has been a happening for six years. I remember the events at the onset — $5 entry, a few kegs of beer that ran dry within the first 30 minutes and presenters who talked over their alotted time. Ignite has evolved since then. Their venues have grown to support their following (an audience of 600+), while they’ve kept the ticket price affordable at $10. The sponsors (now an impressive 11) continue to support Ignite. And anyone who knows the secret sauce to a great event (craft beer and food trucks) could suss out Ignite from miles away.
If you missed that Ignite was making it’s first of two appearances in Minneapolis in 2015 (next up is IgniteMpls9 in October 2015), you’d have no doubt noticed the long lines leading up to The Riverview Theater for last night’s event. One was for entrance and the other was for Stanley’s, event food truck of the eve and event sponsor. Upon entering was yet another line. This one was for Surly.
I attended solo and quickly sought out one of the 18 presenters I knew, Jenny Floria. Our daughters went to daycare together and we’ve kept in touch ever since, sharing stories over our commonality as bloggers (note to self to see Ignite speaker @JenJamar‘s talk, Why Your Blog Sucks). I ran into Cecily Sommers, author of Think Like A Futurist, met a photographer and blogger Tracy Blowers @usoulphoto, dished about My Little Pony hair (JenJamar’s fabulous ‘do!) and met two male 30-something Ignite virgins by my personal phone charging station in the lobby. So to your question, yes, it was an eclectic mix.
The event, promoted as 5:00-10:30, started around 7:06 and wrapped up with the last presenter around 10:06. When you do the math on the three hour presentation (18 speakers + 5 minutes each = 90 minutes), it doesn’t add up until you take in account intermissions, sponsor vids (plug here for my alma mater UST’s giveaway #FindYourAnswer), emcee Todd O’Dowd’s colorful intro/outros and beerruns. My new friends John and Wells and I, were up and down in our seats, allowing first-time, enthusiastic Igniters Tammy and Greg their Surly refills throughout the eve.
A Rockin’ Recap
On to the good stuff. Thanks to the Strib’s Julio Ojeda-Zapata, you can see one excellent recap here. He captures the presenters up-close (I was like 10 rows from the back) and covers the highlights in tweetable fashion. If you’re still wondering how this 5 minute, 20 slide with :15 sec auto advance format works and what the heck do people talk about in that short of time that’s meaningful…. well you must make a date to find out in October (or cheat here and view all Ignite speaker archives). It’s quite random, very specific, somewhat in-depth, highly quirky, humorously mundane and sometimes morbid. That is the beauty of it.
Within each presenter, we only scratched the surface of learning, but that’s okay. We all took away new insights and mantras from clearing out clutter (say no to fear and guilt and yes to joy) to treating people (yes, even your waitress and black men who may look angry) with empathy and consideration. In addition to Jenny Floria‘s path to in-line greatness, I walked away with a solid to-do inspired by Jen Jamar (of My Little Pony hair fame) and Erica Hanna‘s Cutting Remarks: 5 Minutes to Hot Hair, which Julio summarized simply as, “f@#$ all that hair-pro advice and just be you.” So my to-do? Go for blue hair.