Startups

These Ignite Wilmington presentations lit up the stage

Our five faves from the realms of tech and innovation.

Ignite Wilmington emcee Mark Mobley. (Photo by Tony Abraham)

The Queen was briefly ablaze last Wednesday night as Ignite Wilmington took over World Cafe Live.
If you’re not familiar with Ignite presentations, here’s how it works: participants have five minutes to present their big ideas — but with only 15 seconds of time granted for each slide.
The room was packed as eight presenters sat at their tables in the audience, waiting for presenter Mark Mobley to call them up to the stage. Here were a few of our favorites from presenters representing the tech and innovation arenas.

1. Michael Kalmbach

The Creative Vision Factory founder spoke to the audience at The Queen about how artists in his space are creating “Murder Town USA” earrings from bullet casings in response to Newsweek’s infamous story about Wilmington crime.
“Every artist who comes through our doors has a chance to create a microeconomy around them,” Kalmbach said. Proceeds from the earrings go towards the artists, materials and micro-grants awarded to social entrepreneurs combating violence.

2. Jake Ruddy

Ruddy, a local IT strategist, chose to speak about the power of networking. He told the audience if they put $5 aside every day, they could save $2,000 (it’s actually $1,825), which could be spent on attending networking events.
“If you want to tell me networking doesn’t work, I’ve generated over $500,000 in business in the last two years. So I would have to disagree with you,” said Ruddy. “Put away the excuses, make a commitment and take some risk.”

3. Steve Cleff

The Archer Group’s UX director gave a colorful presentation on the major role a few spontaneous choices played in shaping who he is today. While Cleff was still in art school trying to “fulfill a lifelong dream” of becoming an artist, he met a girl and fell in love — except, she was moving to Hawaii in two months.
Cleff — truly a man of action — proposed a few weeks later. That was 20 years ago, and the two are still married. Then the internet came along.
“There was this weird buzz about this thing called the internet,” he said. “I felt like if I didn’t learn about it I’d get left behind.” Cleff found himself an internship with a web design agency one night at a bar after bumming a light from the agency’s founder.
Through a series of pivitol life choices, Cleff eventually found a way to blend his love of art with his passion for tech. “While failure passes, regret lasts,” he said.

4. Dan Young

Young, a consultant and marketing professor at the University of Delaware, gave his presentation on edutainment and marketing — specifically, how he helped one student named Jenn utilize marketing tactics to find the perfect date.
Edutainment, he said, is a remarkable strategy for grasping and maintaining millennials’ attention. “Millennials suffer from the three-screen problem,” he said, referring to how many millennials will simultaneously watch television while using their laptops and phones.
And as for Jenn? “She got her guy,” Young said. “Marketing works.”

5. Joe del Tufo

The photographer and cofounder of Mobius New Media spoke about appreciating the small wonders the world has to offer by freeing himself from the shackles of human torpor.
“We live in a time where amazing and beautiful quickly becomes invisible,” said del Tufo, referring to how the monotony of life can sometimes blind us to its sheer beauty. The solution: learn to be curious again, about everything.
“Right now in Wilmington, curiosity is shaping progress,” he said. “Curiosity drives vision.”

Companies: Mobius / Archer Group / University of Delaware
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