Friday, March 20, 2009

700 Boise creatives ignited by 15 presenters with only 20 slides and 5 minutes of stage time each

The great industrialist and tire magnate Harvey Firestone once said: "Capital isn't that important in business. Experience isn't that important. You can get both of these things. What is important is ideas."”

Following Harvey's advice, more than 700 geeks, techies, artists, philosophers, bankers, lawyers, writers, marketers and other characters converged on the Egyptian Theater last night for the first Ignite Boise event-- a 3-hour series of presentations meant to excite, intrigue, educate and entertain.

Armed only with 20 slides and 5 minutes of stage time, 15 presenters held forth in double-time on topics that included the business lessons of Star Wars,”the importance of public art, e-mailing effectively, commercializing your ideas, the wonders inside useless things--and how our lives are affected by ever expanding communications technology.

Zach Hagadone of Idaho Business Review ( reports that the mood at the Egyptian was a mixture of a comedy club, a pep rally and a variety show, as total strangers mingled in the aisles, sipped beer and wine in the lobby, chatted in their seats, and laughed and clapped along with presenters.

Inspired by similar events in places like Seattle, Portland and Boulder, Ignite Boise was free and open to all and put on by a group of volunteers. Sponsors were as diverse as the subjects discussed and included: Boise Valley Commercial R.E., the Boise Weekly, BrightPath, the city of Boise, Hawley Troxell, Idaho TechConnect, iQuestions, rizen creative, T.V. Consultants’ Network, Tablerock Printing, TechBoise, The Invent Blog, and Valitics.

Far from the typical business or networking presentation, audience members were told not to turn off their iPhones, cell phones or laptops -- and they were encouraged to text, tweet or blog the event as it happened.

"Do that," said Jeff Reynolds of Rizen Creative as he warmed up the crowd. "Whatever the kids are doing today, do it. It's working.”

Sure enough, Twitter was alive with a play-by-play of the event, and on this Friday morning more than a few blogs are carrying a re-cap of the night:

There's even a flicker page with photos from the event:

The common theme: Bringing together a couple hundred fast talking, big thinking members of the creative class”is sure to result in at least one or two next-big-things.”

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