Think about all the bar debates during which you and your friends solved the world’s problems over a few drinks.Well, finally, someone is mining the bar for those golden nuggets of fermented wisdom.
Ignite Pensacola — part of a global brainstorming network — debuts Feb. 8 at Seville Quarter. The event features up to 18 speakers, each of whom gets five minutes.
The speakers can talk about anything they want, though local organizers hope they use their time to talk about ways to make Northwest Florida stronger.
“The idea is to get local people with great ideas a way to connect with an audience,” said Michael Frank, 27, organizer of Ignite Pensacola and an engineer with AppRiver in Pensacola. “Maybe they wouldn’t normally have a platform for their ideas. With this, they do.”
Yes, Ignite events move quickly — and they’re not all talk. Speakers, who must sign up to participate by the end of the month, are given 20 slides to fill with pictures, graphics or other visual information to bolster their presentations. The slides advance every 15 seconds. Presentations are filmed and then may be viewed on local and international Ignite web sites.
Ignite Pensacola takes place during Global Ignite Week, where similar events will be hosted in more than 40 cities on six continents.
Ignite began in 2006 in Seattle and is billed as a “geek event” for those interested in the exchange of technology and ideas.
Frank found out about subsequent Ignite events and watched some on his computer. This will be his first live Ignite event as well.
“When you see all the other cities doing an event, the closest one is Atlanta,” Frank said. “So this is awesome, to actually have the chance to go to one.”
A student from the University of West Florida has signed up to give a lecture on civil war in Sri Lanka.
Local fisherman Michael Williamson, 49, will speak on converting the Pensacola Bay bridge to a fishing bridge when a new bridge is built. The Department of Transportation has proposed that a new bridge be built with construction beginning in 2017.
Last week, Williamson, who hosts a fishing show on BLAB-TV, was walking the bridge taking pictures for his Ignite presentation.
“Have you ever walked that bridge with traffic going by?” he asked. “It’s scary.”
Williamson believes Ignite Pensacola is a perfect format to exchange ideas.
“There are so many people who want to do a lot of different things for Pensacola,” he said. “So there is no telling who will be in the audience.”
Not all the ideas that will be discussed are Pensacola-centric.
Robert Hoffman, 60, a senior research scientist at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, will offer a presentation on “using technologies to capture and preserve the knowledge of experts before they retire.”
“This event is completely new to me,” said Hoffman, who signed up because he said he enjoys giving public lectures. “But I think it will be interesting because of the varied subject matter.”
WHAT WOULD THEY SAY?
Ignite Pensacola lets Pensacolians have five minutes to talk about how to make their community better, among other topics.
Jack Williams, Seville Quarter general manager and chairman of the Pensacola Area of Chamber of Commerce’s Centennial of Naval Aviation committee:
“My priorities would be downtown: How we can build on the progress we’ve had to get more activity and businesses downtown. I’m really excited about the Community Maritime Park and think that downtown has the ability to really be something great.”