Ignite Boulder on igniting Boulder

Boulder’s geeked-out everyday Jo speaker series holds 36th event Thursday

By Paul Hagey Sep 19 2018

Ignite Boulder — the Boulder-based speaker event where average Joe’s speak about a topic they’re passionate about for five minutes with slides in front of a large live audience — celebrates its 10th anniversary at 1,450-seat Chautauqua Auditorium tomorrow evening.

Ignite Boulder speakers must move at a quick clip — their twenty slides automatically advance every 15 seconds. That keeps things moving at a brisk pace.

The nonprofit group hosts the speaker series roughly once a quarter. Thursday at Chautauqua will be the group’s 36th event.

Founded in 2008 by Boulder Renaissance man Andrew Hyde — employee No. 1 at supernova Boulder tech accelerator Techstars, founder of Startup Week, Startup Weekend and TEDxBoulder, and owner of Boulder’s throwback, bookstore coffeeshop Trident — Ignite Boulder brings Boulderites together to hear 12 to 16 members of the community present.

Twelve speakers are slated for Thursday night, including some stars of past events such as Ash Beckham, whose talk on ending the pejorative use of the word gay at Ignite Boulder 20 in 2013, helped catapult a speaking career.

All Ignite Boulder speakers go through a four-week speaker bootcamp one evening a week at Dojo Four leading up to an event. Week 1 involves helping speakers hone their topic; Week 2 they refine; Week 3 they make sure everything fits, including the slides; Week 4 they’re ready. Anyone can submit to become a speaker.

“It’s a lot of fun downloaded into 90 minutes,” says Mathew Sisson, owner of Boulder’s Stellar Factory, which runs the high-design escape room Enigma Escape Rooms and designs interactive card games such as Ravine, and a volunteer with Ignite Boulder. He helps speakers prepare, puts together some of the interlude videos and makes sure the afterparty — yes there’s an afterparty — is set. The first round of beer at the afterparty is usually on Ignite.

All Ignite Boulder collaborators are volunteers and the organization donates all of its profits to charities.

BLDRfly is proud to partner with Ignite Boulder on interesting, dynamic local stories. Stay tuned for Ignite Boulder stories in BLDRfly over the next several weeks.

Paul Hagey

Paul Hagey is BLDRfly’s founder and editor. When not wrangling video, audio and words in the name of story, he’s riding his mountain bike, trail running and hanging with his awesome wife Jen and their young daughter. paul@bldrfly.com