Last night was the second Ignite Raleigh held at the Lincoln Theatre in downtown Raleigh. Ignite is a unique event in that it is an idea exchange where presenters have 5 minutes and 20 slides to communicate their message. I thought last night was better than last year’s event in many ways and have compiled my top 10 list from the event.

10. New faces: I think it was great that all the presenters were new and there were no repeat presenters from the first Ignite. Fresh ideas, new perspectives and personalities really made the event fun. Also I met several new people last night and made some real life connections of people that I’ve had many virtual conversations. I also was able to meet family members and friends of friends, thanks for the introductions.

9. MC: Zach Ward (@zachward) did a great job last night. He came up with jokes on the fly and wearing the red tights and tutus and getting in the Phonebooth was hysterical. Zack was even better than last year and he did a great job last year too!

8. Social responsibility: Several presentations had a real message for all of us. From energy conservation to health and fitness to social responsibility on a global scale, several presenters opened people’s eyes and ears to how they have an impact.

7. Sponsors: Was glad to see (@bandwidth) and (@phonebooth) sponsoring the event. A local company like this being involved in the community really demonstrates a new commitment beyond the traditional approach. The other sponsors are also great to be a part of the event.

6. Education: I learned a lot last night. From George Smart’s (@georgesmartTMH) great presentation Mayberry Modernism – Why the Triangle is America’s Hotspot for Way Cool Houses to Jess Commins’ (@renewabelle), presentation on How to save $100+ with a DIY energy audit there was some great information and learning.

5. Fun: Anytime you get 700+ people together you have to make them laugh. I think the presenters did that very well and several even laughed at themselves when making jokes or waiting on slides.

4. Sex sells: I was very interested to see Charlotte Goodman-Smith & Christine Fawley (@LearnPleasure), 20 Little-Known Facts about Sex & Pleasure presentation and have to admit it was well done. Also Natasha Crawford (@natashacrawford), coming out and saying forget about your single friends.

3. Pride: I know several of the presenters well and was really proud of the job they did. It’s not easy getting up on a stage and presenting in front of a large audience. Much less if you have a time limit and have to be spot on. The two presenters I’ve known the longest did a great job: Chris Moody (@cnmoody), Everyone Needs a Dumb Guy and Janet Kennedy (@jkennedy93), 5 Bucks is Change you both were great.

2. Community: I’ve lived in Raleigh most of my life and have a huge amount of pride in this community. I have gotten grief over the years when travelling or working in other parts of the country when saying I’m from Raleigh, North Carolina. I do my best to educate others that hey we are not dumb hicks acting like southern stereotypes that have been perpetuated in the media for many years. Last night showed the spirit, talent and creativity of our community. Thanks to Jay Cuthrell (@qthrul), his Redneck Guide to Silicon Valley reminded us how to laugh at ourselves and shows how stereotypes can go both ways!

1. The ladies rocked it! From Lisa Creech Bledsoe (@glowbird) giving her 13 Reasons Women Should Take Up Boxing to Charlotte Moore (@cavaticat), Nerd Girls Unite! Fact: Women Don’t Have to Be Lame, the ladies really showed up and took the stage last night!

Thanks to Our Hashtag (@ourhashtag) for once again putting on the premier event and doing a great job organizing sponsors, volunteers, speakers and all the elements that go into the event. If you’ve ever done event planning, trust me it’s tough. As much as you prepare there are always unforeseen challenges leading up to and during the event. Congratulations to Wayne (@waynesutton), Jeff (@jeffreylcohen), and Ryan (@theRab) for all your hard work!

Also thanks to all the presenters for taking their time to prepare, practice and courage to get on stage and speak.

Click here for my Flickr gallery. Thanks to everyone who posed!

Brian McDonald

Brian McDonald started Square Jaw Media to document strategies and techniques he had used over his experience working in marketing and communications since 1990. During this time Brian wrote about many of the exciting Raleigh social media events where great knowledge was being shared and tries to share some of the tips and tricks. . Read Brian's full bio.