Day 237: Ignite DC

A few weeks ago – on day two hundred thirty-seven of my living in DC, to be precise – I attended IgniteDC. The concept kind of blows my mind everytime I sit and think about it.

IgniteDC – all similar events around the country – feature 16 speakers who each have 5 minutes and 20 PowerPoint slides to present. This is where people to whom I’m describing the event get confused and ask: “What are the presentations about? Are they company / sales / product pitches?” And this is the part that gets everyone – There aren’t any guidelines or limitations to the subject matter.  

What I think is so incredible about IgniteDC is that:

1. There were no incentives for people to present, other than to have their voice heard. There were no incentives for people to attend, other than to hear what others had to share. And the whole thing was a success. It was a simple exchange of creative information and ideas and very cool thing to be a part of. (The event also took place in a not-yet-finished office building and the crowd was tech-y/artist-y which added to the vibe.)

2. The presentations themselves were extremely diverse. It was interesting to see what people wanted to share.

3. As a “business school graduate”, I am a master at PowerPoint slides. Almost every business class I took required at least two presentations to be given (one individual, one group). The PowerPoint slides I saw at IgniteDC certainly reflected the creativeness of the speakers and were used in ways I would have never imagined.

Where you at IgniteDC? If so, did you have any favorite presentations? What did you think of the event? If not, what do you think of the concept for this type of event? Would you attend a similar event in the future?

On a final note, I’d like to share my favorite three presentations with you (although all sixteen presenters did a great job):

Matt Billings (@easement) – Radiohead, Babies, and SMS Magic

The great use of PowerPoint slides I talked about? It was MASTERED during the presentation. I loved how the slides helped complement the story being told while being powerful and engaging.


Erin Rooney Doland (@Erdoland) – The Desk Whisperer

I really liked how this presentation provided information that I could make use of. Seriously. I know that sounds silly, but the points made during the presentation are things that I can do – little things, non-grandiose things (grandiose things are overwhelming for a perfectionist like me) – to, simply put, improve my professional life.


Sam Nitz (@DCBadger) – Everyone Needs to Come Out at Least Once

This presentation was hilarious. And provided great advice. 


  • Jennifer Berk

    Love the Desk Whisperer – going to go read her blog now. Thanks for writing this up! Hoping to go to the next Ignite… or talk. Hm….