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Oct. 14, 2009 8:30 am

Ignite Philly 4 hosts Free Library and Mayoral cabinet officials as VGI impresses

‘Let’s continue these great conversations,’ he said in so many words. Before an intermission of Ignite Philly 4 that could have been easily overlooked, Make:Philly‘s Harris Romanoff made a modest call to presenters that the Ignite series has sorely lacked: an opportunity to keep the conversations and inspiration flowing and perhaps create truly definable, actionable […]

Videogame Growth Initiative's Mike Worth gives an energetic presentation at Ignite Philly 4 | Credit: Sean Blanda

‘Let’s continue these great conversations,’ he said in so many words.

Before an intermission of Ignite Philly 4 that could have been easily overlooked, Make:Philly‘s Harris Romanoff made a modest call to presenters that the Ignite series has sorely lacked: an opportunity to keep the conversations and inspiration flowing and perhaps create truly definable, actionable steps.

“Make is extending an invitation to speakers past and present to speak and to answer more questions,” Romanoff said to a crowd of more than 250 gathered in the upstairs of Johnny Brenda’s bar in Fishtown.

Though it was apparent that no one was yet booked for Make’s monthly DIY tech/hack meetings, it was a notable recommendation for Ignite, having now surpassed four sold out events since 2007.

Seats have gone so fast in the past that this time around, organizers put a premium on guaranteed access – a $5 donation to the Food Trust. An oversized check made out to the local nutrition nonprofit for $750 was presented during the festivities.

After a half dozen presenters gave five minute presentations on topics ranging from quantum physics to design, food canning to mentorship, members of Philly’s chiptunes scene played songs using vintage gaming equipment during an intermission.

But the momentum – along with the attendance – dipped noticeably in the second half of the show. Whether that was the result of the easy flow of Brenda’s beer taps or the fault of a bloated nearly-two-hour event bill is for attendees to decide.

Still, the event wasn’t without its shining moments. Our favorites are below.

Best of Show
Mike Worth of Videogame Growth Initiative wants to create the “Liberty Bell of Death” a visible and economy-boosting gaming industry in Philadelphia, as we covered in August. “Hollywood comes to the city, rapes, pillages and leaves after three months,” the energetic and passionate game designer said. Worth was adamant about staying in Philadelphia over moving to cities where game design is perhaps more established.

“We’re a bunch of stubborn 35-year-old men who have three-year-old daughters who do not want to pack up and move to San Francisco,” he said to shouts of support and a round of applause.

Worth was quick and effective, citing global gaming statistics, like the fact that World of Warcraft’s quarterly revenue of $1 billion is only a fraction of the $41 billion industry, comparing them with Philly numbers; Like how 80 game developers graduate from Penn and Drexel each year, taking with them more than $5.6 million in taxable revenue, he said.

Watch Worth’s invigorating lecture below.

Best Idea
Twitter frequenter and gay rights activist Chris Bartlett shared his new Gay History Wiki, what he calls the “social network for the dead.” On it he shares stories of those 4,600 who have passed away from HIV/AIDS in Philadelphia. He envisions a time when Facebook could include a “Dead people you may know” feature and everyone’s story lives on.

Funniest Presentation
Shmitten Kitten‘s sarcastic Anna Goldfarb got laughs with her sketches of suitors, her 0-47 track record with the “human male” and the site’s Mix Tape Speed Dating events with a photoshopped image of two unlikely reptiles smittenly face-to-face inside a heart. “If a T-Rex and a Shark can find love in this city, anyone can,” she ended.

Fast Talker
Free Library President Siobhan Reardon hit the stage to loud applause before firing off more than a dozen bullet points illustrating a “different library,” one that embraces Twitter, offers the power and reach of the Internet and is hopeful for a new facility. It was a refreshing change of pace from the oft-cited library activism that arose from Philly’s summer budget crisis, what she called an “awkward visibility,” but it left us wondering about the stories behind the scenes of the library system, some of which have been stalled for years.

Tough Crowd
We’re trying not to fault City of Philadelphia Chief Cultural Officer Gary Steuer for mentioning that he was a Mets fan, before he moved to Philly, of course. But the crowd didn’t hide their emotion, booing the mayoral cabinet member — and his early mention of the 67th ward — as Ignite Philly crew members fumbled to load his slideshow. But Steuer backs a public art policy that he hopes could rival Chicago’s Millennium Park, or something like it, he says. One might suspect the idea that a member of the mayor’s cabinet presented at Ignite was lost on most of the audience altogether.

Honorable Mention
Architect Greg La Vardera slammed the suburban McMansion and offered hope to potential builders with accessible and modern new home designs.

Others:
Audra Wolfe, Carrie Collins of Fabric Hors, Sarah Feidt of TerraMar, Nathan Solomon & Branimir Vasilic with their DIY money presentation, Amanda Dillon stepped in for Drew Olanoff of Blame Drew’s Cancer, Jason Marziani, Brian D. McTear of Weathervane Music, Jonny Goldstein, Shannon Pelcher of Music & Mentorship, and Justin Witman & Fraser Marshall, Masters of Industrial Design Students, UArts. More information is available at the Ignite Philly site.

Our slideshow from the evening is below.
[flickrslideshow acct_name="technicallyPHL" id="72157622581563532" height="279"]

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Brian James Kirk

Brian James Kirk is a cofounder of Technical.ly, the local technology news network. Previously, Kirk was Web Editor of PlanPhilly, an independent online news resource covering planning and development issues in Philadelphia, and a freelance writer and designer. He resides in South Philadelphia.

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Comments

  1. Sam Diener / October 14, 2009

    Mike Worth was Phenomenal!

  2. jonny goldstein / October 14, 2009

    As at the other Ignite Philly I attended, I learned a huge amount in a brief time. It’s kind of like speed reading what’s going on, or what potentially could go on in Philly.

    Big ups to the organizers.

  3. Eric / October 15, 2009

    *Swoon* Mike is so dreamy.

  4. Technically Philly » TNT: Chris Bartlett of the Gay History Wiki project | Covering the Community of People Who Use Technology in Philadelphia. / October 26, 2009

    [...] proclamation was met with laughs from an engaged audience of 200 or more during his presentation at Ignite Philly 4 earlier this month, video of which can be seen below. But that five-minute presentation was a bridge from 20 years in [...]

  5. Technically Philly » Biggest tech community stories we covered in 2009 | Covering the Community of People Who Use Technology in Philadelphia. / January 1, 2010

    [...] IgnitePhilly 4 hosts Free Library and Mayoral Cabinet officials as VGI impresses Ignite Philly wasn’t shy about hosting events in 2009. They hosted their fourth sold-out event in October, inviting prominent and interesting members of Philly’s tech and related communities to speak. We couldn’t help but wonder what was the next step for the presentation series. [...]

  6. Technically Philly stories that were picked up by others « Christopher Wink / March 31, 2010

    [...] first covered his presentation at Ignite Philly, and then I followed up with a TP profile, which offered enough substance to be capped by a [...]

  7. Technically Philly » Event Highlights: October 25 – 31, 2010 | Covering the Community of People Who Use Technology in Philadelphia. / October 25, 2010

    [...] minutes to enlighten a packed house at Johnny Brenda’s in Fishtown. Check our reviews of past Ignites and be sure to head out to number six. We hear the speakers are awesome. Nudge. Nudge. Fishtown. [...]

  8. Ignite Philly 7: less tech, more cash — Technically Philly / February 11, 2011

    [...] Ignite Philly 4 [...]

  9. Play Eternal becomes Philly’s first high-budget video game studio — Technically Philly / February 22, 2011

    [...] If you remember, Worth was among the leaders of VGI Philly, the effort to create favorable tax laws to incentivize video game companies. Worth presented his idea at Ignite Philly 4. [...]

  10. Ignite Philly 8: women take the stage, money goes to Hybrid X — Technically Philly / September 23, 2011

    [...] Ignite Philly 4 [...]

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