I live and breathe them. I may not be at conferences, talks, and sessions all day every day but events, their organizers, and their details fill my days and often invade my nights.
Events are my work and I love them. But oddly, it’s not often I get to lead an event in my own back yard — especially one that has such a special place in my heart.
So when planning started for the inaugural Portland Startup Week, I was absolutely thrilled at the idea of bringing back some of the classics to celebrate the history of and progress within the suddenly vibrant Portland startup scene.
While many of the events focused on what we’re doing in startups, in technology, or in business in general, there was always one unique event that — in my mind— focused more on people. On their passions. On what makes us each unique.
That event? Undoubtedly, Ignite. It’s an amazing, fast paced, and inspirational format.
And uncomfortable, did I mention uncomfortable? Like slow dancing at your first middle school dance uncomfortable.
Not so much for the audience, but for the speaker who is exposing a part of their soul as they give you a glimpse at who they are and what really drives them.
Nothing brings people closer than being awkward — unexpectedly awkward — together. Maybe that’s why middle school dances are so important?
But I digress…
I think this is why Ignite has lived on in Portland (and throughout the world) in so many iterations.
I’ve spoken at Ignite. (NOTE: Bonus points for those of you who notice the foreshadowing. HINT: WordPress shoutout!) I’ve embarrassed a reporter by talking abut my cleavage at Ignite. I’ve talked about Ignite on podcasts and on my blog. I’ve even hosted a food drive at Ignite.
But none of that — even talking about how to bluff your way through shit — made me think I was ready to be anything more than a participant.
So I was more than a little proud when given the opportunity to pull one together with some of the most inspiring (and quirkiest) Portland personalities I know.
Who? Well jeez. Hold your horses. I’ll tell you who. We’ve got speakers. They’re like speakers and stuff.
- James Keller, former hooker
- Nigel Kersten, more than just a Puppeteer
- Kirsten Golden, who knows a thing or two about PIE among other things
- Dylan Boyd, venturing into new territory
- Nancy King, in her treehouse
- Stephen Green, not a boring banker
- Scott Kveton, still can’t touch his shoulders
- Mike Pacchione, ultra meta: speaker speakers speaking to speakers
- Jenny Moede, knows what lurks in the shadows
- Ed Barnham, Um… yeah
- Tyler Sticka, more than cartoonish
With all this in mind I hope you’ll join me at the Empirical Theater at OMSI Thursday February 5th for a very special Ignite Bridgetown – part of this first Portland Startup Week. Have a beer. Listen to the stories. Connect. See you there?
Photos courtesy of Aaron Hockley, did I mention he’s my co-organizer?
* edited 2/2/15 to reflect change in speakers