Overdue Ignite Waterloo Post

I had the opportunity to attend Ignite Waterloo, and I’ve already “discussed” my issue with the event’s twitter feed projection but I haven’t commented on the speakers! Here are some of the highlights for me.

Renjie Butalid‘s Welcome to UAE – It was very interesting for me to hear someone talk about the Middle East to help dispel its myth. But I thought the phrase “greening the desert” (referring to the UAE) was an oxymoron. To me, building a bunch of skyscrapers in the middle of the desert is not the same as “greening” it. Unless they are including tons of parks in their city planning, I don’t buy it.

Lisa Farlow‘s Staying Sincere Online – It’s great that she founded 20 Something Bloggers, and I’m glad she’s from this region, but I felt that she misused the Ignite platform. According to the Ignite website:

What is Ignite?

Fast-paced, fun, thought-provoking, social, local, global—Ignite is all of these and more. It’s a high-energy evening of 5-minute talks by people who have an idea—and the guts to get onstage and share it with their hometown crowd. Run by local volunteers who are connected through the global Ignite network, Ignite is a force for raising the collective IQ and building connections in each city. And, via streaming and archived videos of local talks, local Ignites share all that knowledge and passion with the world.

Now, she did share her passion, but all I could hear was her promoting her site. Perhaps it was a problem of framing; she could have framed her talk in such a way that promotes the bigger ideas behind her site such as self-expression and connections of like-minded individuals. But she came across as selling her network for the entire five minutes. I kept thinking, “Ok, in the next slide, she’s going to make her point about why this is a good thing,” but Lisa didn’t deliver. It was pretty much an adult version of a show and tell, where I left with a) knowing about the network and b) pissed off that all she did was promote it but gave me no “take home message” or thought provoking ideas. It would be great if she can also “[raise] the collective IQ.”

Alex Matan‘s How to Solve an Accordion in 45 Seconds – was brilliant. I’ve never had a desire to pick up an accordion until that day. The energy was good, and I was amazed at how much I learned about an accordion in 5 minutes (45 seconds?) Thanks, Alex!

Jeff Henry‘s How to Convince a Politician to Change His or Her Mind – Jeff was my Student Leadership Program facilitator, and I was surprised to see him here. However, I thought his timing was spot on, and he made a very interesting point. It makes people like me who doesn’t like politics to think about politics in a different light. I think he should do more of his talk to others to get more experts involved with politics!

Peter Huang‘s Geek Music – The best description of a House DJ ever, “musicians who look like they’re checking email all night” ROTFL! I already appreciate House music, but now I appreciate the artists even more!

Ramy Nassar‘s A Reverse History of Pranks – This talk made me quite nostalgic because I went to UBC. I dated/met/know a few engineers from UBC, but I didn’t know how infamous they were with their pranks! Another great speaker.

Erica Waugh
‘s In a Roundabout Way – I’ve already read about the benefits of roundabouts in Tom Vanderbilt’s book Traffic, which I highly recommend (to the more nerdy types like me who’ll read heavily researched book in an easy-to-read form.) It was cool to see someone so passionate about things commuters take for granted! (From Erica’s talk; Did you know that some roundabouts are designed to be driven over by large vehicles? Awesome!)

Brendan Lowther‘s Geocaching – Best Improvisation and Most Entertaining award goes to Brendan for sure. For some reason, almost none of his pictures showed up on the slides so he did the talk “blind.” But he had such a good humor about it that the audience laughed along with him, and we all ended up having a great time. I’ve done geocaching so this wasn’t new to me, so too bad he couldn’t connect with more people because of the technical difficulties. Nice work though!

Would I go to the next one? Of course! My new goal in life is to do an Ignite talk myself!

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