Ignite Stamford has people talking, thinking and sharing ideas
Photograph by Christopher Scalzi
What to learn something new? Have five minutes?
That’s exactly the motivation behind Ignite Stamford, the local chapter of the talk series that has branched out to over one hundred cities across the world. The idea is that presenters have five minutes each to talk about their passions, using slides that advance every fifteen seconds. Each speaker needs to be fast and fun, meaning the audience enjoys focused and passionate speeches.
The behind-the-scenes volunteers—Meg Dalton, Kristen Domonell, Brien Buckman, and RJ Mercede—hope to spark a sense of community. The inaugural event, held at the Stamford Innovation Center, did just that. The evening began with an informal meet-and-great where nearly one hundred guests sipped drinks and snacked on food donated by Mackenzie’s Bar and Grill. Then, the audience settled in for the twelve speakers.
Many embraced humor in their presentations. Sarah Goshman who spoke about what she learned during her creative sabbatical away from the 9 to 5 rat race, poked fun at how time-obsessed society is. “You’re all sitting at an event whose sole purpose is to get speakers to enlighten you in five minutes or less,” she joked. The slides behind her displayed a five-minute countdown in red numbers, like a dreaded bedside alarm clock.
Carissa Ganelli talked of the similarities between serial killers and tech founders. Both are guilty of the God complex, which she said, while standing in front of a headshot of Steve Jobs, is “an unshakable belief characterized by consistently inflated feelings of personal ability.”
Food bloggers Dan and Kristien Del Ferraro doled out useful advice on how to pen an online restaurant review. “Focus on three things: food, service and ambience,” Kristien Del Ferraro said. She added later (my favorite piece of advice of the evening), “a well-placed F-bomb is awesome, and it works very, very well.”
Other talks spanned a wide-range of topics. From the personal (Lucas Codognolla’s “Do I Look Undocumented to You?” centered on his citizenship) to Jeremy Kranowitz’s macro-view on the environment, with his presentation, “How Much Corn Should We Put In Our Fuel Tanks?” The event, which sold out in less than forty-eight hours, was like an appetizer of topics. The audience sampled different topics, and left the event hungry for more info.
The next Ignite Stamford will be on May 9 at 7 p.m. For more information (or, if you want to dazzle Stamford with your own five minute presentation) head to ignitestamford.com