I went to the first [Ignite Waterloo](http://ignitewaterloo.ca) event last night. Ignite events have been around for a while, but this was the first time we had one in Waterloo. And it was amazing. The premise is you get smart, talented speakers and give them 5 minutes each. They have to prepare 20 slides and they automatically change after 15 seconds.
For the speaker, it’s both a great challenge and a lot of fun (or possibly terrifying, but they *seemed* to be having fun). For the audience, it’s illuminating and never dull. Speakers covered a whole range of diverse topics, from solving Rubic’s Cubes to dealing with economic development in Africa.
Oh, and there was a cupcake decorating contest, too.
What I found amazing is how many people I recognized there from all sorts of different things. Kwartzlab, of course, Communitech P2Ps, Devhouse Waterloo, BarCamp, DemoCamp, etc., the Royal Medieval Faire, work, online… Normally those lines don’t cross very much. It’s really gratifying to see some of these groups come together.
A whole bunch of other bloggers have already posted their rave reviews of the event. Here’s just a few:
* [Fellow Kwartzlabber, DW](http://kwartzlab.ca/blog/dw/2009-11-26/ignitewaterloo-was-fantastic) (You might recognize one of the photos).
* [The Ignite Waterloo blog](http://www.ignitewaterloo.ca/2009/11/that-certainly-worked-out-well/)
* [rQ](http://readqatalyst.blogspot.com/2009/11/ignite-waterloo.html) (with [a follow-up about cupcakes](http://readqatalyst.blogspot.com/2009/11/cupcake-camp-my-personal-favs.html))
* [b.p.’s awesome sketchy notes](http://picasaweb.google.com/bpfotos/IgniteWaterloo09#)
* [a bunch of photos](http://www.brightlightsphotography.ca/galleries/ignite/)
* And, of course, [the twitter stream](http://twitter.com/#search?q=%23ignitewaterloo).
I hear a rumour there will be another one in the spring. In the meantime, the amazingness of Ignite gives me great hope for [TEDxWaterloo](http://www.tedxwaterloo.com/) in February.