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Ignite Seattle! III April 6, 2007

Posted by Sacha in News, Science, Technology.
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Last night I went to my first meeting of Ignite Seattle, which was the third meeting ever of this “night for geeks, techies, and makers.”  Much thanks to Nancy for inviting me, because I had a great time.  The highlight of the night was a group airplane making contest, which I thought was a very cleaver ice breaker as well.  Much better than the usual geek meetings where before the talks start you have to roam around the room making small talk with strangers.  Other things I liked:

The format of the talks was cool.  Five minutes from each person (enforced), so the pace was quick.  I had assumed when I saw the list of speakers that we’d have to choose and go off in groups, but was pleasantly surprised that I’d get to hear from each speaker.

The venue was very old-school Seattle/Cap Hill, which, for a native, is nice to see.  CHAC has a bar, music, lights, stage – the whole shebang.  I mistakenly brought my laptop, assuming there’d be power and wireless and opportunity to use it (it was as geek meet-up after all).  But no, it was much more casual, people interactive and we spent a good deal of the night moving around, so it was really just a hassle to keep an eye on.

What I found interesting was the balance between education and marketing.  Since most of the speakers are from some company, many of which are the owners, sometimes I wondered if their intent was more to educate the audience or compel them to use their products.  Other bloggers I know are happy to sit there and be advertised to, because they enjoy keeping up on the latest gadgets, but I’m more interested in learning the technology and techniques behind the scenes.

I’m trying to choose a favorite speaker…  Although I don’t have much interest in beekeeping, Jordan Schwartz gave a great talk on beekeeping and the hive mind.  He is such an energetic speaker, I think I’d go hear any talk he gives.  I wonder how much public speaking experience he has.  As a side note, I would have liked to hear more about his theories on colony collapse disorder, as I’ve heard a lot about it on NPR lately.  The most interesting talk content wise for me was Alex Hopmann’s talk on maximizing performance in aircraft engines.  I always enjoy learning more about how engines work and I had no idea how much you could vary the fuel economy by controlling the gas/air mixture while having minimal effect on speed. 

All in all, fabulous time was had by me.  Looking forward to Ignite IV!