Written by Jenna Pugrant, 1871 intern
On Monday, 1871 played host to Ignite Chicago, the highly anticipated monthly series of TED-style talks aimed to set fire to a simple idea. These presentations, which can be on any topic about which the speaker is passionate, are each five minutes long and are presented over the course of 20 slides that automatically progress every fifteen seconds. For this iteration of Ignite Chicago, over 200 guests filed into 1871’s auditorium space to hear the 12 speakers give their two-cents on ideas they hoped to ignite in the crowd.
After some networking over pizza and beer provided by Tenth and Blake Beer Company, the night of far-ranging presentations began. Jill Howe kicked off the night with a talk titled “Ten Days in Zen Prison,” about the value of slowing down your mind to get ahead. The night ended with author Elliot Greenberger on his upcoming book titled The Patron Economy and his quest to get companies to refer to their customers and users as “patrons.”
Some highlights in between Jill and Elliot included:
- Wedding photographer Eric O’Connor on reasons why running a marathon is the same as running a business: 80% of people fail at first, both in marathon running and in young startups. In a marathon and in starting a business, you’ll see people passing you – running faster, getting more funding, etc – but you must learn to focus on your own goals in the face of it all.
- Magister Freud, a self-introduced “Mad Scientist of Fortune,” spoke on the value of using “random reality” to guide your decisions. For example, when choosing which restaurant to eat at, pick three of your favorite restaurants and three completely new ones and assign each a value between one and six. Roll a dice and whatever side it lands on, go to that restaurant.
- Assistant Professor of Educational Foundations at Illinois State University Nicholas Hartlep gave a riveting talk titled “Demystifying the Myth of the Asian Model Minority,” in which he used a bit humor and an enthusiastic presentation style to expose the issue of stereotypes that affect Asian minorities in the audience.
From the aforementioned sampling of speakers, you can see the topics presented at Ignite, while certainly applicable, are not just for entrepreneurs – they’re relevant for anyone. Ignite Chicago is a perfect example of how 1871’s space is connecting and spurring innovative ideas both inside and outside of the Chicagoland entrepreneurial community.
Interested in attending the next Ignite Chicago or even being one of the speakers that ignites an idea? Check out www.ignitechi.com.
Sponsors for Ignite Chicago include: