The Best Yet – Ignite Boulder 11
Having just gotten home from Ignite Boulder 11, I feel compelled to borrow a line from one of my daughter’s favorite books: “Wow! That is all I can say. Wow!'” (Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, if you must know). Shortly after IB 10, Andrew Hyde, the driving force behind the event’s huge growth, felt that Ignite Boulder had plateaued, despite the fact that it had become the largest Ignite in the world. After tonight, I feel confident that he has changed his mind. I sure have.
When Andrew wrote that post, I agreed – it felt like Ignite Boulder was leveling off. I wrote a lengthly comment, carefully outlining all of the things from prior Ignites that were now missing from the last two and suggesting ways to recreate them. I never did publish it. At the end of the day, I just couldn’t write anything that didn’t sound like a “I knew the band before they became popular” kind of a thing.
Tonight’s event wasn’t awesome because it was like the early Ignites (nor was it awesome because the presenters use the word “awesome” so many times), it had an awesomeness (it’s contagious) all its own.
First of all, there’s the change in venue. Chautauqua and what it offered was amazing. There was the pre-show barbecue next to the auditorium and the families picnicking out on the grass. My wife and I chose to sit on the porch of the Dining Hall, which is always a treat. Throw in a little sunshine, free beer, and the Flatirons as a backdrop, and you’ve already got yourself a winner. The auditorium itself was beautiful, an all-wood building with giant doors opened to a nice breeze. When it got darker, a bit of light peaked through the slats in the walls. I really look forward to TEDxBoulder, if for no other reason than to be in that building again.
The speakers…yes, the speakers – the best bunch from top to bottom that I’ve seen. Ef Rodriguez warmed things up with his usual charm, and Anna Sawyer immediately followed with the crowd pleasing How to Marry the Rich, a practical guide to marrying up. My personal favorite Spark of the night was Josh Fraser’s Snakes and Staircases, which taught me that vending machine deaths are a very real risk and that Scottish accents are very persuasive. The 14th and final slide deck of the evening, Justin Crowe‘s Modulate Your Life: High Fives & Livin’ On A Prayer, had 1,300+ of us high fiving and belting out the Bon Jovi chorus together to end things just so.
Andrew and I were wrong. Ignite Boulder just keeps getting better, and there’s plenty of room to grow from here.