Ignite Bend 7

We attended Ignite Bend 7 the other night (merely watching this time, rather than as a presenter) and it continues to amaze me how good and fun an event this is; I’d venture to say this was the best one yet.

(Though I might need to watch the previous ones again to be sure.)

Since presenting at Ignite is such a fast-paced, nerve-wracking, and often first-time experience for people, there’s usually at least one presenter who’s visibly nervous, or stumbles a bit over their slides or their timing, and this faltering can take some of the steam out of their presentation; at IB7, though, everyone was engaging and maintained a really good energy level (even Becky Zagursky who had trouble keeping up with her Aqueous Humor slides rolled with it and kept the crowd laughing).

All in all a great event, as always. If you’ve never been to an Ignite, you should make the time for one. (The next Ignite Bend is going to be February 23.)

My Ignite Bend presentation

Yes, it’s been weeks, but I’m finally talking about my Ignite Bend presentation—it helps that it’s finally on YouTube, since I’m going to embed it here.

I didn’t have to present until after intermission, and for the most part I was fine the first half, with occasional bouts of nerves. But standing to the side, lined up, waiting for my turn was nerve-wracking.

But once I hit the stage, two things surprised me: it really went very quickly—it was over almost before I knew it—and it was a lot of fun.

The only snafu I ran into was with my beer—as befitting Ignite Bend tradition, I had a bottle of Jubelale on stage with me; it was incorporated into my presentation and I was taking occasional sips. But! I failed to account for any spillage—which of course is exactly what happened. It’s really not obvious when you watch the YouTube video—if you didn’t know I spilled, you’d wonder why I talk about “cleaning the floor” and “afraid to take a sip.”

The spill happens right around the “bottling” slide, of course. The beer foamed up and spilled down the bottle as I drank, running down my hands and dripping on the stage floor. It threw me for a few seconds, but I was able to deal with it.

And the presentation turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself:

And, in case you’re interested in my actual slideshow, the Google Docs version is here.

Ignite Bend

So I went and did something today I’ve never really done before, and is already making me nervous: I submitted a proposal to do a presentation at the next Ignite Bend event.

First, though, some backstory. Ignite Bend is the local version of the “Ignite” series of events started by O’Reilly; it’s a fun, high-energy event where speakers get five minutes on stage with a PowerPoint (or compatible) slideshow to do a presentation on anything they want. Here’s the Ignite tagline:

If you had five minutes on stage what would you say? What if you only got 20 slides and they rotated automatically after 15 seconds? Launch a web site? Teach a hack? Talk about recent learnings, successes, failures? Around the world communities have been putting together Ignite events to show their answers.

So you get five minutes on stage, and a total of 20 slides in your slideshow—which will automatically rotate after 15 seconds, no matter what.

I’ve watched most of the previous Ignite Bend events online and attended the last one and it was incredibly fun and good-spirited; and in the back of my mind I thought it might be cool to do a presentation, too. After all, it’s only five minutes, right? And even though I’ve enjoyed all the other speakers I’ve seen, many were clearly as nervous as I imagine I would be and they still did great.

So today I did it: I submitted a proposal to do a presentation called “How to Brew Beer in 10 Easy Steps.” I don’t know yet for sure if I will be picked; mine is one of 20 submissions and only nine speakers will be selected (by vote). But I figure pick something I know, right?

But even so, this is way out of my usual comfort zone; in Real Life I am not a public speaker and am much more of an introvert than you might think. So I’m (at the moment, until the real nerves kick in) looking at this as an opportunity to try something new and hopefully grow from it. (Cue after-school special music.)

Ignite Bend is taking place next month, February 9th. I’ll post more about it as it unfolds.