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


Tonight is Ignite Portland 8.  It’s part of Global Ignite week which is very exciting for all sorts of people all over the place.  Really it is.  Do you like how I just cut to the chase there?  Yeah.  I really got right into it because I’ve already written a post about attending Ignite today.

Well it wasn’t so much about attending Ignite as it was a gentle little reminder for people who ARE attending Ignite to bring a donation of non-perishable food.  30 Hour Day will be there collection food for the Oregon Food Bank.  Rather than repeat myself further I’ll just ask you to go ahead and go read the post I already wrote.  It’s possible it was clever and thoughtful and I don’t think I have it in me to do that again today.

Can’t make it tonight?  Not in Portland?  Still want to see the show.  There will be a livestream embedded in the Ignite Portland site.  You can watch it there when the show starts at 7 PM.

Now I’m off to go lead the exciting life that is mine.  laundry folding, kitchen cleaning, kid picking up and maybe I’ll paint me nails.