let’s light it up…

3030870582_9f8d023c76_zFor something that is a tremendous part of my life, I don’t talk a lot about my relationship to events. But rest assured, they are there. Sometimes like the telltale heart. Beating.

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.

4414489127_1e6aa8b3e2_zI’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.

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?

And while I’m mentioning things? Huge thanks to Blaze Streaming Media who will be there to record every moment and OMSI for providing a great place for us to play!

* edited 2/2/15 to reflect change in speakers

where the cool kids are

I wouldn’t call myself a cool kid…

really I wouldn’t and if you’d ever seen pictures of me in my early teens you would understand why…

I seem cool from time to time now but if you understood my roots…

It’s just that…

Oh to hell with it… This is what I looked like at 13


Note the deep tan on my arms that did not make it to my face. Revel in my huge glasses. Mock the hair that took an hour (or more) to curl and style… though that’s my natural hair color… Check out the incredibly posed elbow on the piano. Make sure to remember that Cami does not play the piano… oh yes… I was a big ol dork!

But I’ve moved on… I’m past that… because Wednesday (that’s today for those of you who read promptly) I’ll at the very least be where the cool kids are. It’s a big event day here in Portland and I’ll be on top of things.

First by heading over to cube space for the Silicon Florist Lunch 2.0 and Birthday Extravaganza where Rick Turoczy is going to be hosting a ton of people for the ever popular lunch sensation. What will we do? What will we talk about? Who will be there? Who knows, but it’s sure to be a lovely time.

Then after a little time to rest and regroup I’ll head over to Urban Grind NE for Back Fence PDX, an amazing evening of story telling hosted by Melissa Lion & Frayn Masters (The Back Fence Babes).

Then… well then the very best thing of all… then I will head to the most exclusive party in all of Portland, a sleepover at my house. I only invited one person, the coolest guy I know. Boy I’m sure hoping Dr. Normal can make it.

Have a great Wednesday everybody, I think I will!

xoxo – CamiKaos