With March 4th’s Ignite Tulsa 2 behind us, I’m more than pleased to present you with the story of this successful local summit.
Just in case you weren’t able to make this year’s event, I’ll give you a brief rundown: In 2006, O’Reilly Media staffers, Brady Forrest and Bre Pettis, hosted the first event in Seattle, to encourage communication among local thinkers in cities across the globe. Allowing five minute presentations — complimented by twenty slides that automatically advanced every fifteen seconds — the idea was to inspire presenters to use their time creatively, in a way that would still clearly transmit their idea.
As it turns out, Tulsa was quite receptive to the format.
After the final presentation of last September’s inaugural Ignite Tulsa, the crowd was hungry for more. Less than a month later, it was announced that the second event would be held only six months later at the Blue Dome Diner (311 East 2nd Street).
With the event starting at 7 pm, I planned to make a night of it. For starters, Ignite events are actually free; at the value of the information endowed upon the attendees, $20 would have been more than agreeable. But wait — it gets better; When I arrived, I was greeted with two tickets for free beer.
After grabbing a few of COOP Ale Work’s fine Zeppelin brews, we grabbed a table, since the place was filling up quickly.
When the crowd finally settled into their seats and all the networking took a backseat to the commotion on stage, the ceremonies commenced with a mechanical engineering contest — the participating teams would be building a tower made of index cards and staples which would need to hold a five pound weight for five seconds. The winners of the contest, including a “Most Creative” category, won great prizes from the likes of Dwelling Spaces (119 South Detroit Ave.) and local man-blog, The Art Of Manliness.
Once the winners claimed their prizes, it was announced that the talks, as they’re referred to in the Ignite circle, would begin.
I was taking notes on the presentations; at one point I looked at the paper I was writing on and the diversity of the presentations was remarkable. In just two hours, a person could sip a few free brews and witness presentations on Native American language preservation, feminism, blondes, the death of the metrosexual, and the art of getting media attention. Trust me, the blistering rate of the presentations made for an extremely entertaining event.
William Buthod’s “Why Your Hoopty is Way Better Than A Flying Car” talk gave listeners an interesting perspective on modern society’s fixation on developing a flying car — even going as far to draw a conclusion between the whole obsession and The Jetsons.
Matt Norris’s “Fab Lab – Make anything” presentation highlighted the imminent coming of MIT’s DIY brainchild — you guessed it: the Fab Lab. Planned for installation in the middle of the Whittier District, Fab Lab will make woodworking and metalworking tools accessible to anyone who desires to use them. They even plan to encourage entrepreneurs and artists to come in and use their tools. This kind of thinking in Tulsa is undeniably good.
At the end of the night, my mind was exhausted from the firing of long-unused synapses, but the wealth of new and interesting information made the night feel like Christmas morning. But alas, my interest was piqued by the announcement of an afterparty at McNellie’s Public House (409 East 1st St.) — especially when they proclaimed that COOP Ale Works would, once again, make free beer available. You guessed it; I was there.
After slugging down a few and playing (see: losing) a couple of games of shuffleboard, it was time to retreat to the house.
That reminds me: The worst thing about Ignite Tulsa is the insomnia that sets in after the end of the event. Try sleeping when your mind is bouncing between gamers who won’t inherit Earth, and a very excited person ranting about “crappy American music.”
Ignite events are sponsored by O’Reilly Media and Make Magazine and organized by local volunteers. Check out ignitetulsa.org for more information on this fall’s Ignite Tulsa 3. Also, all of Ignite Tulsa 1 & 2′s talks will be completely available for viewing on YouTube by next week.
Photography by Kenneth M. Ruggiano.