Ignite Lincoln Night in Review

By: Mr. Wilson on January 27, 2012
Ignite Lincoln 3 was held last night at Bourbon Theatre in Downtown Lincoln. Folks who weren't there keep asking me how it was. It was a whole lot of fun. I say that despite being in a nervousness-induced coma for half the night. I was presenter #14 out of 16 so my tension had plenty of time to build. Still, I managed to pay attention to almost all of the speakers. (Sorry Hope and Collin, I pretty much missed yours!) Here's a quick overview of the speakers:
  • Steve Ramos: "Pinball: A Game Of Skill" (Website | Twitter)-- Steve did a great job starting things off. Going first is rough, but a relatively unusual topic like pinball was a nice way to break the ice on evening.
  • Shane and Sunny Dwyer: "Great Pictures With Any Camera" (Website) -- They kept it simple and relatively informal with some nice tips for basic photo composition.
  • Jane Garrity: "The Startup Visa: Helping The World's Entrepreneurs Create American Jobs" -- Jane made an excellent, simple case for the importance of tearing down Visa hurdles as a way to boost the American economy.
  • Calvin Pappas: "Silicon Valley To The Silicon Prairie" (Website | Twitter) -- Calvin argued that Nebraska has plenty of resources to compete with Silicon Valley, and that we ought to do it our own way rather than stealing directly from their playbook.
  • Julie Beno: "The Secret Life Of Librarians" -- Julie was a hoot and she achieved her goal of demonstrating that librarians are about much more than just putting books on shelves.
  • Steve Maly: "Get Real" (Website | Twitter) -- Steve reminded us to be the real us, not a fake us. The crowd loved it.
  • Jordan Pascale: "The Evolution Of Reporting" (Twitter) -- Jordan is watching you. No, really. He and other Journal Star writers are keeping in touch with goings-on around Lincoln via Twitter, Facebook, and so forth. Got tips for how they can use social media better? Let 'em know.
  • Shauna Groenewold: "And They Lived Happily Ever After" (Facebook | Twitter) -- Shauna told a nifty story about how social media (and Ross Nelson and Jon Miller) helped save a wedding.
  • Tanner O'Dell: "Attraction of Awkwardness" (Website | Twitter) -- One of two high schoolers, Tanner made the case that we should all embrace our awkwardness.
  • Shane Farritor: "Becoming More Creative" (Website | Facebook) -- Shane talked about creativity and the importance of taking small risks.
  • Brenda Ealey: "Intellectual Freedom" -- Brenda's presentation focused on the importance of keeping information free, and she used Walter the Farting Dog as one of her case studies.
  • Hope Edwards: "Serve To Lead" -- Hope, the second of the two high schoolers, was behind last fall's LPS Student Serve day. She talked about the day and about how if a couple high schoolers can kickstart an event involving 9,000 students doing good, then anybody can make a difference.
  • Collin Caneva: "Turning A Headwind Into A Tailwind" (Website | Facebook) -- Collin's talk focused on using headwind (adversity) to your advantage and turning it into a boosting tailwind.
  • Brent C. Wilson: "A Foster Family's Tale" (Website | Twitter) -- That's me! I talked about our family's two years as foster parents, culminating in the December 22nd adoption of Joey and Keishor.
  • John Coffey: "Nebraska Sucks!" -- John stole the show with his excellent tale of how Nebraska sucks ... people back after they've tried (and tried and tried) to leave.
  • The Colonel Mustard: "Modern Representations of Expressionism: In Freedom of Thought and State of Being" (Website) -- The folks behind "X Files: The Musical" and "Jurassic Park: The Musical" ended the show with a song and dance number.
Overall the mood of the evening was energetic and vibrant. Then I went and made folks cry. (Dammit, Wilson!) I'm a terrible crowd estimator but the theater was packed. I'll guess there were ... I don't know, 300-350 attendees? There were more people than there were seats. The emcee for the night was Ross Brockley. Ross was ... well, not for everybody. Nathan Johnson summed it up pretty well: "Ross Brockley hit on all the important issues: politics, creeping on high school girls, and racism." Any comedian is going to have some misses. That's expected. But Ross at times forgot who was the focus of the night. For example, rather than building on the crescendo after John Coffey's presentation and allowing The Colonel Mustard to finish the night with a bang, he completely deflated the energy in the room. It was tacky and uncomfortable. But don't let that give you the wrong impression. Before last night I was cautiously optimistic about Ignite Lincoln. Now, I'm 100% sold on it. It was fantastic. Thank you to the event organizers, all of whom are volunteers. Thank you to the presenters, each of whom did an excellent job. And thank you to sponsors Firespring and Turbine Flats for the financial support to make it happen.


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