Your Speakers

Dearest reader,

Denver Startup Week has just begun. Insight Night is on Tuesday (and you should come). There is so much going on, your head is completely spinning. Or maybe you’re wrapped up in Football season. Whatever, you’re busy, we get it. So know that we wouldn’t’ve posted this if it wasn’t super important.

Announcing your Ignite Denver 18 Speakers!

  • Kindergarten is the New First Grade. Is That a Good Thing? (Heather Curnett)
  • How to Raise a Fucking Lady (Kat Atwell)
  • Why I love cities (Chris Jones)
  • Six Things I Learned While Riding My Bike (Paul Iwancio)
  • The JOY Thief! (Maureen McNamara)
  • Programming isn’t for everyone, but it might be for you. (Jeff Casimir)
  • Dookie Jokes and Being a Consumer in America (Kia M. Ruiz)
  • My Dick is Bigger in Japan: Understanding Women of the World (Reid Fenlaw)
  • How to make your community not suck! (Ian Harwick)

Here we have ten speakers (including Jared Ewy, who always warms up the crowd with an intro deck) ready to share their brilliance, wit, and pithy humor with you. Don’t read anything into the order, now. That won’t be finalized for weeks. This is just the order in which the submissions were received.

With the help of these excellent souls, we will be bringing you a night of inspiration, joy, and toilet humor (which, as we all know, is the very best kind).


You want tickets? We got tickets! Early-bird pricing is in full effect: They’re only five bucks!

Get your tickets here!


Some of the Funniest Ignite Denver Sparks

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As we barrel towards yet another Ignite Denver, we thought we’d prime you with some of the funnier Ignite Sparks.* This is by no means a definitive set of all the funny. It’s only a small selection of the informational wizardry delivered on the stage at the Oriental Theater. Which, btw, our next Ignite Denver is October 9th. Get tickets here and get them now for the early bird special. Now…enjoy killing a fall day by cuddling up with some comedy. If you’re at work, around children, or crammed next to a traveling youth group at a crowded airport, put on some headphones.**

Arif Gangji: Teach your kids how to manage money or they’ll move back home when they are 30

Marissa Berlin: The Art of the Heckle

Tim Davids: The Truth About Sleep Deprivation

Tim Nicklas: Pittsburghese – A Dialectical Primer

Kelly Tidd: Bitches Love Candles: And Other Courtship Fallacies

* Sparks are the 5-minute Ignite presentations. We’re always open to suggestions of Sparks that you think are funny.
**Ah, to hell with headphones. Today’s kids need to get enlightened somehow.

Ignite Denver 18: Submit Your Spark (and making your pitch pitchier)

No doubt you’re putting the final touches on your pitch for Ignite Denver 18.  It’s a worthy endeavor because the pitch has become everything. It was once something reserved for sweet-talking start-up suits and hopeful screenwriters. Pitches are–

Wait. What? What are we doing? As my friend, Kate, said, “I love Ignite, but it’s baffling.” And I see what she’s saying. At Ignite Denver we get so involved in our process that we forget to fully share it with anyone who has some other kind of life. So it goes like this:

  • Pitch an idea or “spark” that you can present in five minutes and submit it before the end of September 7th.
  • The public votes on which ideas are something they’d most want to see on stage.
  • If you’re voted in, you begin the most fulfilling effort of putting together 20 simple slides that will automatically advance every fifteen seconds while you share your story/idea/passion.
  • The Ignite people offer assistance and rehearsals that will make you feel better about your presentation and life in general. Often there is beer.
  • And then, on October 9th, you present (and there’s beer.)

But it all begins with a pitch, so let’s get back to that. Pitches have become the entire Internet.

Ignite Denver Pitches
A picture of the Internet.

Every headline is its own pitch person barking its way into your brain. You might be busy at work or late for a date, but you can’t help but find out why Kanye West is the most important philosopher of our time. You can have the same power with your Ignite Spark Pitch. Surf the ‘net for ideas and know that it needs to touch on something people care about. It can offer a benefit or stir a little fear, but it’s got to make people click. Here are some actual Ignite Denver examples that made it past the public voting and onto the stage:

Becky Hensley: How to Build a Community in the Basement of a Bar with Glitter
Jill Carty: Why Assholes Make the Best Entrepreneurs
Traci Brown: How to talk your way out of a traffic ticket

Each one of those taut teases boasts an intrigue factor that has you either wanting to learn something to better your life (no, thank you, officer,) or have you sit back and enjoy a heartwarming story from someone in the community (which will better your life.)

Hopefully this is a good start to get you ruminating the possibilities. Ignite Denver 18 pitches are due September 7, 2014. After that, open voting begins as the public decides who’ll they’ll see at a packed Oriental Theater on October 9th. So if there’s anything you take away from this prattle, it’s that…in pure pitch form:

Getting your Spark in before deadline makes you a better lover.

Of course you have to have content to back that up, and we think we do. Once people do a Spark at Ignite Denver, they stride off the stage with the kind of awe-inspiring confidence that has them wanting to embrace the world in a big, squishy hug. Everyone likes hugs. And we all know the world could use better lovers. First, though, submit that pitch.