Ignite San Diego #6 Talk Teasers

We are exactly ONE WEEK from Ignite San Diego #6! Can you feel the excitement in the air? We sure can.

To help you get ready for the event and learn a little more about our speakers, we’ve asked them to provide teasers for their talks, allowing you to “peek behind the curtain” a little before next week. Enjoy!!

Everything I Need to Know About Life I Learned in a Dive Bar – Ellen Goodwin

Dive Bars, you either love them or hate them, but no matter what, they are microcosms of the world at large and as such they can teach us much about ourselves. So many people say “it’s a small world” but I believe it’s really just a big bar and we haven’t gone from one end of the bar to the other. And it’s that journey from end to end that teaches us so much about our lives and how we interact and live with other.

Oh, Chute! – Jan Lenhert

You know you want to do it. Yes, that quantum leap! Close your eyes if you must and just do the jump. I guarantee you will be rewarded with the most intense experience of your life.

Challenging Myths, Misconceptions, and Stereotypes About Polyamory – Selena Isela

Polyamory questions our defaults and challenges our definitions of intimate relationships. Starting with a crash course in polyamory, followed by direct challenges to the top myth, misconception, and stereotype about polyamory, I hope to provide clarification and increase awareness.

The Walking Dead—Homeless in San Diego – Lee Silber

Surprise! You can learn a lot of valuable lessons from the homeless in San Diego. I left the comfort of my beach house to live ON the beach with only a few dollars in my pocket. The idea was to learn what life on the streets to write the main character for my new novel. However, the experience changed me in profound ways I never expected.

EchoThief – Chris Warren

Every physical space responds distinctly to sounds created within. EchoThief is a virtualized collection of these unique sonic signatures: Alaskan glacial caves, subway tunnels, and abandoned artillery batteries. Let’s take a moment and listen to the spaces around us.

What I Learned About Love After Putting My Mom on Match – Sarah Elizabeth Richards

When my Mom called me sobbing to say she was divorcing my stepdad, she said she was through with love. “Who will want me at age 61?” she asked. So I secretly created a Match profile to prove her wrong. What followed was a feeding frenzy of suitors that made me rethink my beliefs that love is hard to find after a certain age. I’ll draw upon what I learned writing an advice column for eHarmony for the past three years and jumping into the San Diego dating pool after spending 15 years in Manhattan.

Some Assembly Required – Jillian Bukoski

I am a 22 year old with a “crippling disability.” Luckily I have had the opportunity to reinvent being disabled for the last two years. From climbing mountains to falling down rock faces I have taught disabled people to live with no excuses.

Don’t Believe You’d Pay a Woman Less? Here’s What You’re Missing – Kristen  Knepper

A male friend told me that he didn’t believe women made $.77 on the dollar. When I asked why, he told me he’d never pay a woman less and failed to believe anyone else would either. Not intentionally. But math doesn’t lie. So what is he (and maybe you) not considering?

Diversity and the Rez – Paula Curtiss

In their college applications,three best friends from North County are required to submit photos depicting their community’s diversity. As they scramble up mountains and down canyons, they encounter scenes from their community’s history as well as from their three families; one white, one Latino, one Native American. Small town North County meets Bill & Ted and they all apply to college.

What I Learned From Bike Pedals, Flat Tires and My Dog Ferris – Adrian Ortiz

In 2014 I earned my Master’s Degree, quit my corporate job, sold my beach condo, separated from my wife and cycled from Ocean Beach California to Key West Florida, with my dog. After five months and 4,500 miles of varying weather, mechanical breakdowns, colorful humans and a mushroom trip in Mexico, I discovered important life lessons that can be summed up using pedals, park benches and my dog Ferris. This is a story about saying yes to life and all of its rolling hills.

Emergency Beard Syndrome – What Happens When the World Can’t Process Your Beard? – Daniel Axelrod

How does the world react when a man has a beard down to his chest? Find out how men & women treat a man differently for each inch his beard grows… and what that means for identity and masculinity overall.

#FacebookOffish – Mia Mian

Ever tried learning something new in business? Chances are you heard the phrase “Oh that? Well, it’s like dating.” If everything in life is like dating, what does that mean as millennial’s change the norms, values, and expectations of dating as an institution?

How 175 Grams of Plastic Changed My Life – Kyle Olson

It’s rare to run into someone that isn’t familiar with a frisbee. It’s even more rare to run into someone who IS familiar with the sport of Ultimate Frisbee. Ultimate has been recognized by the International Olympic Committee and is one of the fastest growing sports around the world, yet remains obscure. Millions of people play Ultimate in youth leagues, high school and college teams, clubs and even professional leagues. In fact, San Diego’s pro team the Growlers just began their second season!

Explore San Diego with Childlike Wonder – Andy Bayon

Remember what it felt like as a kid spending time outside climbing trees, finding a trail that led you on an adventure, capturing frogs and collecting shells? I will talk about how to reconnect with our sense of childlike excitement and wonder, and why America’s Finest City is the perfect place to be inspired by nature. Through the lens of your five-year-old self, discover all there is to see and do in San Diego’s three climate zones. Get ready to add some hidden gems to your adventure list!

Locally Grown Politics – Michael Higham

We empower politicians by using our right to vote, but at the national level we are by and large skeptical and wary of those seeking office. However, right here in our streets of San Diego we can see and feel the changes our local and state officials make. When go out to vote, we cannot overlook the candidates and issues down the ballot that determine how our city thrives.

Gratitude Gorilla vs Guerrilla Gratitude? – Matthew Baker

WTF? Gratitude gorilla is easy. It’s the 800 pound gorilla in the room. If he’s your friend, (house, car, health, relationship, etc.). Really easy to be grateful. If shit goes sideways (hot water heater blows out, you get stranded on the freeway) a little harder right? Guerrilla gratitude. Small things. The things we take for granted. The air in our tires, the electricity that comes out of the plugs in our walls, and more.

Monsters In My Closet: A Life Bringing Horror to San Diego – Miguel Rodriguez

I spend my life, money, and energy exploring and presenting horror cinema to the public. Why is this so important to me? The reasons may surprise you.

I Want to Change Your Problems into Pinatas – Krista Wright

As a sensitive young artist and human being I understand how hard life can be sometimes. There is one thing that gets me by though, and it is the idea that these huge monstrosities that life throws at me are just piñatas. That’s right piñatas!

As of this moment we are down to less than 40 tickets remaining.  Tickets are only $15 (that’s less than $1/talk) and can be purchased at Eventbrite here. Then RSVP on Facebook, so you can invite friends and get all our important updates.

And Your Ignite San Diego #5 Presenters Are…

We had 80 submissions for Ignite San Diego #5, up from 50 submissions for Ignite San Diego #4. That’s more than a 50% increase,  which just goes to show how much San Diego loves Ignite! Awww…we love you guys too.  To everyone who took the time to submit, we thank you sincerely! To those who were not selected, please consider re-submitting next time.

The competition was fierce, and needless to say, our distinguished selection committee members had their work cut out for them!  But after some serious study, debate and even a little bloodshed (seriously, someone cut his foot on a chair), they finally arrived at a consensus. So without further delay, we present to you the Ignite San Diego #5 speaker lineup for October 22, 2015 (note: in no particular order and this is not the order of the event):

Earwigs in Love Madeline McCurry-Schmidt

Feel Your City Breathe – Data Hidden Behind a Single City Block Maksim Pecherskiy

Would You Like Morphine With That? Russell Haight

I Smoke Pot. And Oh, So Should You. Nick Musica

What California Can Learn from Water-Stressed Communities in Sub-Saharan Africa Daniel Goldberg

How Improvisation Can Help You Take Over the World Amy Lisewski

Mind Your Metaphors Rose Hendricks

Post Traumatic Stress – It’s an Injury Not a Disorder Kathy Allan

Cryptocurrency Crash Course: How Bitcoin Works Chris Groshong

Nourishment in the Most Unlikely Places Sommer Cartier

Being Connie Chung Edna Nerona

A Gender Called Glitterbutch Liat Wexler

Stand up or Shut up? Navigating Microaggressions in the World of White Men Meghan Seawell

A Lonely Melon Sandeep Ponnuru

What If Gang Prevention Programs Made Things Worse? (And What Should Be Done Instead) Christopher Yanov

In Theory, You’re Paying Attention Erik Peterson

A Bipartisan Inspiration Yasha Kharrati

I Have 100,000 Bees on My Roof. You Should, Too. Erin Holko

Excited and intrigued? Us too! So now what?

1.Help us spread the word! Ignite San Diego is a relatively new event, so share the good news and help the Ignite community grow.

2. Mark your calendar for Saturday, September 26th at 9am when you can buy your tickets here. We sold out the last event very quickly, so chop chop with the ticket buying! Event is October 22.

3. Want to get involved and show more support? Sponsorship starts at $100 and we could always use more smiling volunteers.

Once again, thanks to each and every one of you who submitted and who helped select the talks. It’s people like you who make the Ignite community so amazing. Looking forward to a fantastic event!

Jill Badonsky: What I Learned from Ignite San Diego

Jill Badonsky is founder of Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching Certification Training, artist, poet, and author of three inspiring and witty books on creativity. She delivered Ain’t No Ballerinas in Hip-Hop at Ignite San Diego #4. Submit your talk at www.ignitesandiego.org/speak.

Last February, I had the good fortune of being chosen as a presenter at Ignite San Diego. It’s one of the highlights of my 2015. Here are some things I learned:

Read guidelines thoroughly before applying.

I had no idea what I was getting into. My toastmasters club sent around a link to something called Ignite San Diego. I loved the name, it involved speaking and slides both of which I am fond, so I applied and got accepted. THEN I found out it was twenty slides that changed every 15 seconds whether I was ready or not. I felt a little anxious.

But I did it anyway.

You can rise to the unexpected challenges.

Maybe I felt a little anxious but the challenge to make this happen mobilized my inner resources. Bring it on! I surpassed the worry that I could find images to illustrate my message, to find ones that I was able to use without impinging on copyright laws, to get it done when I was inflicted with the three week cough that was going around, to NOT cough during my presentation when I had had a coughing attack the day before in a class I was teaching. When faced with multiple challenges and surpassing those challenges, I believe we strengthen a muscle that not only applies to the task at hand but gives us confidence, motivation, and courage to do other things that expand our experience of life.

Not a bad fringe benefit to go away with.

Don’t fall prey to destructive comparison

Then there was the worry that my presentation would not measure up to everyone else’s presentation.

As a creativity coach, I know that comparison is common but it can be toxic. It can derail us and haunt us. Our inner critic can have a field day with “They’re better than you, you’re going to look bad!” To choose to see those who do the same things we are doing without judging ourselves or criticizing them as a defense to feel better, is to access a greater part of ourselves, again developing a skill we can use in many areas of our lives.

It took some mental gymnastics but I felt honored to be in this group of fellow courage-troopers. They were brilliant, ignited my inspiration and made me laugh.

An awesome audience is exhilarating.

The people who showed up to watch our presentations were supportive, enthusiastic, and their energy inspired my highest performance.

I’m so grateful I participated in Ignite San Diego. I’m so grateful I got to see what others presented. It was fun to work with the organizers and the participants.  The confidence and sense of accomplishment I feel are gifts that continue to serve me.

Connect with Jill at www.themuseisin.com or www.kaizenmuse.com.



Ignite San Diego #5 Submission Deadline Extended

Maybe it was the nice long weekend, the perfect weather or the delicious cocktails. Whatever it was, the organizing committee has decided to give you a little more time on your submission for Ignite San Diego #5.

So now you have until Friday September 11 at midnight, but not a minute longer! The selection committee will be gathering this weekend to make the decisions, so you’ll know by early next week what talks were selected.

So once again, make sure to go over to our submissions page and tell us about your idea, story, hobby and/or passion.

Happy submitting!

Thank you to Ignite San Diego #4 Sponsors!

Have you hugged an Ignite San Diego sponsor today? Ignite San Diego is run entirely by volunteers, so it really is thanks to our sponsors that we have the funds to make it happen. We want to express a very sincere THANK YOU to each and every sponsor. We couldn’t have done it without you! Go explore our sponsors’ websites and show them some love!

Blaze Sponsors


Flame Sponsors


Spark Sponsors


Ember Sponsors




Interested in sponsoring Ignite San Diego #5? Hop on over to our Sponsorship page to read all about the perks of being an Ignite San Diego Sponsor!

From Zero to Ignite by Bob Cunningham – Part 1: Submitting Your Idea

Bob Cunningham delivered “Starting Triathlon at Every Age” at Ignite San Diego #4. Check out his talk here. Here are Bob’s steps to submitting your idea, developing your talk and giving your presentation in 3 parts. 

If you are wondering if you should become an Ignite San Diego speaker, please say “Yes!” first, then worry about the rest after your topic is accepted.  Here are the steps I took on my path to the Ignite San Diego stage.

Bob Cunningham Ignite San Diego

1. Procrastinate.

Ignore years of Ignite San Diego emails requesting participants (since 2009 for me).  Wait for a year where there is an extension of the submission window, then wait for the email announcing the immanent closure of the extended window.  Here’s the final email I received for Ignite San Diego #4:

You've got until midnight tonight to submit that talk. C'mon...you know you want to!

That is all. We look forward to your submission.

<Submission URL>

The Ignite San Diego Team

P.S. We neither encourage nor discourage the use of adult beverages to help you gain the courage to submit. But it is Friday and it's almost happy hour, so there's that.

That’s when I made my decision to submit, when I knew they were really desperate, and will be more likely to accept an idea from someone as inexperienced and clueless as myself.

But I didn’t write the email yet!  I had to decide what to put in it.  With only a handful of hours to get it done!

2. Count My Blessings.

I have a list of all the things, both good and bad, that I believe made me who I am.  My greatest lessons, most important influences, joys and sorrows.  People, events, places, things.  Mine aren’t all externally visible: I include the things I most like about myself, and the changes I’ve made in myself.

I took the list and crossed off the things nobody else should know about, or won’t care about.  From what was left I chose the most important thing to me at the moment, and made that my topic.

This is a very direct way to find a topic.  There are many other ways to find topics, but this one also gives the selection a real context among all the other things that come to mind when you think about yourself.

I often revisit my list of blessings, which made that list a natural place for me to start.  What’s amazing to me is how few of my own efforts are on the list: The vast majority are things that happened to me, things that folks gave me.  I didn’t choose my influences, nor many of the directions I took.  They were gifts.  My primary contribution is that I let them in, listened, learned, and grew.

This is a great way to keep one’s ego in check: I’m not a “self-made man”.

And, maybe, your truest blessings are the things that are most important to share with others.

It was immediately clear to me that the greatest blessing I wanted to share concerned triathlon and the triathlon community.

3. Make a bullet list.

Write down a bunch of key things about your topic, in whatever order they pop into your head.  What is it?  How did it come into your life?  What did it bring?  Did it arrive all at once, or a bit at a time?  How did it change you?  How do you use it today?

This was easy.  Triathlon is a sport that is simple to describe.  The triathlon community is like the best congregation ever, but without the religion.

4. Define the goal.

When you tell someone else about your topic, what do you hope they’ll learn or do?  How would you like them to be affected or changed?  Who should care about it, and why?

Can you boil it down into a few words?  If so, then that’s a great title for your talk.  The title must not just name your topic, but should also define the relationship of your topic to the listener.  The title is also the “elevator pitch” for your talk, the one line that justifies its existence.

A good title also serves as a tool to help you maintain your focus through the rest of this process.

My initial topic was “Starting Triathlon at 52″.  But I felt it needed to be a bit more general: “Starting Triathlon Later In Life”.  Yuck.  I needed something simpler but even more inclusive.  I finally settled on “Starting Triathlon at Every Age”.  Not terribly catchy, but it does include the population of the entire planet as its target audience. Can’t get more inclusive than that!

5. Write the submission email.

Take the title, add a paragraph or two to summarize what it means, then send it in!

Sent mine in at 11 PM.  I suppose I could have procrastinated for another hour.

6. Wait.

Wait until the presenter list is announced.

If your name is not on the list, mark the date on your calendar when the Ignite tickets go on sale.  Buy a ticket so you can show up to see why 18 other submissions were selected before yours.  Then start composing your hit list.  Er, I mean start thinking about how to improve your submission for next year.

If your name is on the list, Congrats!  Now the real work begins. Find out more in Part 2: Developing Your Talk.

Hear ye, Hear ye! Ignite San Diego #4 Speaker Lineup Announced

First off, we want to send a huge THANK YOU to all FIFTY of the brave, inspiring people who submitted talks for Ignite San Diego #4. You overwhelmed us with your desire, creativity and passion, and you made the selection process for our judges extremely hard.

Without further ado, here are your presenters for Ignite San Diego #4 (in no particular order):

There Ain’t No Ballerinas in Hip Hop: Jill Badonsky
I’m too short to date….statistically speaking: Single Steve
Lean In Mr. Mom: Kevin Ball
Pop-ups! (Unfolding the Secrets of Paper Engineering): Jason Alderman
The Food Waste Fiasco- You Have to See it to Believe it: Rob Greenfield
The 90 Day Itch: Matt Baker
How Responsible Travel Can Save the World: Andrew Motiwalla
Everything I learned about leading a team I learned in theatre: Chelsea Kaufman
Robotics: Turning Tomorrow’s Vision into Today’s Reality: Patryk Laurent
I’m the Angel of Death. Now give me your kids: Jessica Vogelsang
Dyslexia & Design Thinking: Replacing the Scarlet Letter with a Badge of Honor: MK Cook
How You Can Help Scientists Save Our Planet: Mary Canady
Fighting Fear with Fear: Ray Cantu
Starting Triathlon at Every Age: Bob Cunningham
Break the Alphabet and Be Happy: Sharon Yencharis
Do Not Follow Your Passion: Kim Eisenberg
Oops, my self-esteem isn’t mine?!?!?: John Robinson


Tickets are $10 and will go on sale this Saturday January 31 at 10am HERE.

The event WILL sell out quickly, so please plan to get your tickets early. We’re so excited to celebrate all the wonderful diversity that is San Diego with you on Feb 26th.

Know someone who won’t shut up? Tell them about Ignite San Diego!

Do you know someone who won’t shut up about something? You know those people: a friend, relative or co-worker who has a lot of passion for something. It could be a hobby, an idea, a way to fix something that’s broken, or hey, maybe even a fetish for crazy lamps.

Ignite San Diego is the perfect forum for your passionate (and, ok, possibly annoying) friend to share his or her passion with a whole new group of listeners. Plus, with a five-minute time limit, they’ll be able to inspire us, but they’ll have to make it quick!

With three days remaining until the final Ignite San Diego speaker submission deadline, there’s still plenty of time to submit a talk, or encourage your passionate friends to do so.

Organizer Picks: Angela’s Favorite Ignite Talks

Ignite Phoenix #8 audience. Can you find me?

Ignite Phoenix #8 audience. Can you find me? :)

My love affair with Ignite events, which is actually more like an unhealthy obsession, began back on October 15, 2010. (See…I know the exact date!) A friend invited me to attend Ignite Phoenix #8. “It’s right up your alley,” he said, and although I had no idea what Ignite was, I trusted him and went along.

Ignite = My New, Yummy Drug!

From that night forward, I was HOOKED! I loved the fast-paced format, the sense of community, the variety of talks, the humor, the tears, and most of all, the feelings of inspiration and excitement to learn more. I applied to talk at Ignite Phoenix #9 (rejected = sad) and again at Ignite Phoenix #10 (accepted = yay!).

Speaking at Ignite Phoenix #10

Speaking at Ignite Phoenix #10

Participating as a speaker was so rewarding and only deepened my appreciation for this amazing event. (Side note: If you’re on the fence about whether or not you should submit to speak, all I can say is DO IT! It will be one of the coolest experiences of your life…promise!)

Making Moves

Fast forward to August 2013 when I moved to San Diego. One of my first initiatives was to find out if and when Ignite San Diego was happening so I could volunteer or at least attend. I soon found myself in the middle of helping to organize the event, and the rest is history!

My Favorite Talks

Choosing my favorite talks was SO hard because I love so many of them, but I’ve chosen a few that really stood out for me. Enjoy!!

Chicken Personality Disorder – This guy seriously LOVES his pet chickens. Hilarious, yet heart-warming.

OMG! Fighting Back Against Hyperbole – This is like so totally awesome…I just can’t even!

Just Because I’m Too Old to Join the Circus Doesn’t Mean I Can’t Pretend – Also funny yet inspirational (and includes a costume!)

Social Media Stole My Kidney – Yes, you read that right. Social media networking lead to saving one mom’s life. Grab the tissues.

My 33-Year Love Affair with Barbara Streisand – Since I was partially raised by my grandmother who also had a Barbra (NOT Barbara) obsession, this one especially hit home for me. I must have watched Funny Girl at least 100 times growing up.

Why I Love My 3D Printer (and you will too!) – Prepare to be blown away. This kid (I think he was 9 or 10 at the time) KILLED IT! Just goes to show Ignite is for everyone.

I’m so grateful to be part of this event in San Diego and look forward to working with you and meeting you all! Please help us spread the word!

Photos by the amazing Joe Abbruscato, https://www.flickr.com/photos/mranathema/

Website? We don’t need no stinking website! Ok, maybe we do.

We just wanted ya’ll to know…we have a new WEBSITE! Come on in and take a look around.

ignite san diego website

Things you can do on the website:

  • Submit a talk
  • Get information on sponsoring and volunteering
  • Sign up to be alerted when tickets go on sale
  • Buy tickets once they go on sale
  • Connect with us on social media
  • Read blog posts (like this one)
  • Look at pretty pictures
  • Scroll up and down pages
  • Click on links
  • Click on things that are not links (this doesn’t do much except for help you refine your clicking skills)

If you know anyone who would appreciate being made aware of the existence of our new site, by all means, AWARE-IZE THEM. Until next time, happy scrolling and clicking!