Ignite events have taken off around the globe (now in more than 50 cities) and follow a fun format, where each speaker gets exactly 5 minutes for their 20 slides, so each slide displays for only 15 seconds.

I was part of the team that organised the second Ignite Wellington (New Zealand) event on Tuesday night, and the guy up the front introducing the speakers.

I’m a senior developer at Xero and enjoy getting involved with events like Ignite and giving something back to the local community. Wellington has a very active tech community, but Ignite is about more than just technology, it’s about all the things that are great about Wellington.

I was truly inspired by some of the topics presented:

David ten Have – Nothing to fear but fear itself

Dave has turned his attentions to the manufacturing and distribution of products, and is the founder of Ponoko – an innovative marketplace and distributed manufacturing service that lets people all over the world create and sell products without needing a factory.

Dave’s talk was brutally honest. He told us about the reality of starting a company from someone who’s there right now in the midst of it, rather than the success story of someone who has long since made it and has joined the start-up “speakers circuit”.

He talked about facing your fears, taking those brief moments of rest when you can, and aiming for greater heights. Inspiring!

Courtney Johnston – Ernest Rutherford

Courtney has an obsession with Ernest Rutherford, the star of New Zealand’s $100 bank note. Her story of about Rutherford’s life showed us what he achieved, and shared some insights into his career and relationships with other researchers – including her story of tracking down a picture of a wall carving. It was great to hear the history of one of NZ’s icons.

Emma McCleary – Wallpaper

I’d never thought of it before: wallpaper sees everything that goes on in your house, and the layers of old wallpaper tell a story about the lives of the people that lived there before you.

Emma’s talk made me think of the history of my family, the people that lived in our house before us, and the stories they could tell.

Nathalie Whitaker – Another List

Nathalie makes lists. She shared with us her list of things she needs help to achieve in the next three years. I was impressed by her vision about how she can enhance the lives of some people if others join in her endeavours.

Her list of cool ideas is up at http://mosquitodiaries.com/. I can’t wait for the adult musical chairs, or the rest home flash mobs!

There were 10 other great talks on topics as diverse as couch surfing, IP law, graffiti knitting and the lies we tell our kids. The videos will be online at here over the next week or so.

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