Santa Fe New Mexican | April 26, 2010

Santa Fe Complex hosts geek fun night

Ignite NM offers host of titillating topics at high-speed

Staci Matlock | April 26, 2010

Are jocks smarter than geeks? Why does Viagras shape matter? And can Gimmick Rallies make you a better person?

Inquiring minds can find out the answer to each of these titillating questions in only five minutes. Thats all the time presenters at the sixth Ignite NM have to explain their topics and show 20 slides. The fun begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Santa Fe Complex.

Presenters can talk on any subject that interests them. Each slide is shown for only 15 seconds and automatically advances.

Its kind of a geek version of speed dating, perfect for fast learners and those with really short attention spans. The Ignite motto is enlighten us, but make it quick.

Mick Thompson, who brought Ignite events to Albuquerque and Santa Fe, said they were started as geek fun nights.

Ignite events take place now all over the world in all sorts of venues, like pubs and theaters, on all kinds of subjects. The first one was launched in 2006 by techie Brady Forrest of OReilly Media in Seattle and Bre Pettis, formerly of Etsy.com. Forrest chairs the Web 2.0 Expos and also earned the No. 1 sexy male geek of 2010 by online sex columnist Violet Blue.

Thompson, a Web developer for Collecta, attended his first Ignite in Boulder, Colo. I liked how it engaged the community, said Thompson, 23. It brought together people who might not usually interact and it explored new ideas.

People recommend topics for an Ignite event and others vote for the best ones. Ignite NM is limited to a dozen topics for each event.

The Ignite NM events start with a reverse Ignite. Thompson asks for a volunteer in the audience to give a five-minute presentation on 20 slides theyve never seen. People have to improvise, Thompson said, with a hint of glee in his voice.

One time the slides included text in Korean.

Among Wednesday evenings fast talkers will be Stephen Bohannon, 31, wholl talk about game theory and its use for building social, math and technical skills. Bohannon will explore bridging gender and generational gaps through gaming. I want to get people not to be scared to be a geek, said Bohannon, a graphic designer with Xylem Creatives.

Thompson and Bohannon said a good Ignite presentation is humorous, light and fast-paced. They think it might be helpful for government officials to watch. If youre only given five minutes to present, you distill your topic into what is most essential, Thompson said. You give a really coherent, focused presentation.

Among other topics for Wednesdays Ignite are Mark Lautman, How your local economy really works; Trace Rabern on Schoolhouse Rock; Todd E. Lovato on Translating song into meaningful dialogue; and Scott White discussing Forget the haters, heres how we can do community broadband.

Sponsor of this Ignite NM is Northern New Mexico Connect, an economic development group funded annually by Los Alamos National Laboratory.

For more information, visit the Santa Fe Complex website at sfcomplex.org.

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Source: Santa Fe New Mexican