The severely-hit-and-miss Ignite presentation soirée is coming back to Toronto, and this second outing is as badly run as the first.

People seem to be treating this presentation format as another kind of DemoCamp or some kind of hot new way to pitch to the many venture capitalists who attend free events here. The first Toronto Ignite sessions seemed like crashing bores. They haven’t shown up on the podcast feed yet; I’m trusting firsthand reports. (Though I see now there is a Vimeo feed – rather inconvenient when one wishes to watch on an iTouch.)

I do feel this is another example of Toronto’s arriving late to somebody else’s party. Why do we hold Ignite sessions here? To prove we’re as world-class as San Francisco, though without the filth, decay, and aggressive homeless men. But we’re putting a local stamp on things through the organization of the event, which seems so half-assed and clubby it could only happen here.

  • The signup form states “Awesomeness is the only metric by which your presentation will be evaluated.”
  • Your presentation has to already have been completed before you apply to speak.
  • You cannot apply without using the official Ignite template.
  • You need to ask for the template before you can even fill out the form.

So: I am expected to work on spec, create slides according to a format I don’t even know, and ask for that format at some point before I’m even allowed to apply to speak for five measly minutes at a free event. And even then I might get turned down because of awesomeness failure. (That isn’t why I would get turned down.)

This whole enterprise is set up for nerds, so you have to talk about something technological. (Ignore the [theo]bromides about how “hacking chocolate” is a perfect Ignite topic. It isn’t.) So here’s what I’ve been planning to talk about for the better part of a year: Why can’t computers read the Goof sign?

Elaborate L-shaped neon sign: Garden Gate GOOD FOOD OPEN KITCHEN

It has to do with sudoku, Mongolian, and what an ambulance looks like in your rear-view mirror.

I’ve been presenting for 20 years. I don’t know why we’re expected to put up with an application procedure rivalling that of a literary prize or a midlevel private school. It’s not just that I’m special; it’s that I have a proven track record and an idea nobody else has. Awesome enough, or do you want to run a few more sessions on social media?

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2009.10.16 09:42. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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