Posts Tagged ‘conferences’


Friday, May 7th, 2010

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to give a talk at Atlanta’s second Ignite, held at the Georgia Aquarium’s Oceans Ballroom. I also attended the inaugural event back in August, and as someone with a relatively short attention span, really took a liking to the rapid-fire format of the presentations.

What is Ignite?

IgniteATL 2009. (Flickr: timdorr)

Presenters talk about a topic using 20 slides and 5 minutes. The concept originated in 2006 in Seattle, and has since taken off in cities across the globe. It’s a great way to get an overview of something without sitting through hours of material, and if you get bored, five minutes still goes by quickly. The format’s a refreshing change from the typical setup of most conferences.

Thoughts on Speaking

My talk was about Hackintoshing, the process of running and installing Mac OS X on a standard PC (slides available here). I’ve been interested in the topic for years, and thought Ignite was the perfect opportunity to share my knowledge and experience. I was also inspired by Chris Morrell‘s talk about overclocking last year – a technical topic paired with a passionate presentation seemed to be the right mix.

What surprised me was the humor with which the content was received. Apart from a semi-planned joke about Hackintoshing being “insanely great”, everything I said was in all seriousness. But the audience started laughing (hopefully not at me), so I ran with it.

Venue and Logistics

Oceans Ballroom (Credit: Wolfgang Puck)

For publicity purposes, the Georgia Aquarium was a great option. A cash bar and spread of various fruits and cheeses was nice, as well as the ability to carry them into the presentation area. However, I still don’t hold anything against last year’s choice of GTRI (Georgia Tech Research Institute) due to individual power and Ethernet ports.

IgniteATL also teamed up with Rank ‘em, a startup I’m working with, to provide a site for attendees to rank presenters by dragging and dropping. The rankings were then averaged to provide a list, top-to-bottom, which represented the crowd’s opinion. At the end of the night, I was fortunate enough to end up being ranked as the top speaker out of the 18. Post hoc ergo propter hoc.


From the perspective of a speaker, I had a great time. The experience of sharing my passions in front of a large group of people was really invigorating, something that I hope was conveyed by the talk. I’d love to put something together for future Ignites, in Atlanta or elsewhere.

Have you ever been to or spoken at an Ignite event? What did you think?