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Gandhi, Satori, and Free Fall (my Ignite Boulder 5 speaking experience)

19 August 2009 3 Comments

igniteboulder5There are 3 posts that I should write to do Ignite Boulder 5 justice: from a speaker’s perspective, from a viewer’s perspective, and from an organizer’s perspective.  However, this is not going to happen.  I leave for Spain tomorrow, and so I write the words that flow on the page.



I read over something I wrote after Ignite Boulder 4 three months ago and this caught my eye:


“I want to leave Ignite Boulder Five with my mind flying high, soaring on the intensity and passion of what I’ve just experienced.  You all have the power elevate my awareness, and you do it on a regular basis in everyday conversations.  Use your five minutes to floor me with something that is both entertaining and relevant.  Blow my mind!  Don’t make it ooze out and leave it for me to collect off the floor with you trash.”


One of the comments left on that post got down into the very depths of my mind and attached itself to one of my core values:


“Have you ever presented? Could you blow someone’s mind? 400+ minds are a lot to engage.”(from @Jennyjenjen)


No I hadn’t presented, and I didn’t know if I could engage an Ignite audience.  So who was I to criticize ignite boulder 4?? 



There is a story told about Mahatma Gandhi:

“A lady brought her son and said he ate too much sugar. She wanted Gandhi to tell him to stop. Gandhi said to bring the child back the next week. The next week she brought the child and Gandhi said “Stop eating sugar child”. And the child did. A month later the lady came back and said “My child has done what you asked, but why could you not have spoken to him the first time I came.” “Lady”, said Gandhi, “a week earlier I was still eating sugar.”


With that comment, and the principles by which I live my life I had to speak at Ignite Boulder, although the when, and what of the presentation were up to me.


Surviving Free Fall from 30,000ft without a Parachute: A DIY for the Unfortunate Airline Passenger


Video here:

The day was CRAZY.  I had a drowning call at Barker in the afternoon that jammed me full of adrenaline and thoughts of life.  I showed up at Boulder Theater in this way, a whirlwind of energy, carrying projectors up and down stairs, rearranging tables, chairs, chatting with friends, and making new ones.  I had decided to let the adrenaline from the call be a part of me for the night, while saving the processing of death for another day. 


I had some props planned, flight goggles, an airplane blanket, cool goofy stuff to add to the presentation.  But when I stepped onto the stage, looked out to see a packed house, the energy of the situation blew me into a heightened level. 


Satori: attention rests in the present moment, when the body is alert, sensitive, relaxed, and the emotions are open and free.”


 It became what it was meant to be.




I find it easier in a way presenting to 741 people than teaching a class of 30.  Walls go up, and the presentation just flows, where teaching a class requires constant checking in with each student to make sure they are paying attention, keeping up, and fully engaged. 


Following Ef Rodriguez’ opener was great in some ways and scary in others.  His presentation ROCKED! And got the crowd really riled up, and ready to participate. 


There was not much I could do to engage the audience in quite the same way.  But I knew I had a good presentation, well crafted and prepared, so I let it become its own experience impacting the audience in a different way.  That is one of the beautiful things about Ignite: everyone brings there own passions, and shares them in totally unique ways.


The reactions were immediate, positive, and energetic, and now after Ignite Boulder 5, I know that I can in fact engage a room full of minds with a passionate, humorous, and valuable presentation.

Larkin Carey at Ignite Boulder 5 

Front page press in both the Daily Camera and Colorado Daily:


My Thoughts before the event.

Photos are from Andrew’sFlickr photostream and the last one is from Jen Yu.


Here are a ton of blog posts I’ve ran across over the last month and a half about Ignite Boulder 5:

George G. Smith Jr. on Ignite Boulder 5  @georgegsmithjr

Kath (Organizer!) on Ignite Boulder 5 @Kath1213

Andrew (King Organizer!) thoughts @AndrewHyde

Glenn on Ignite Boulder 5

Tara Anderson and Elaine Ellis (Presenters!) blog and presentation video @tarable and @elaineellis

Aimee blog post @greeblemonkey

Jonny Biscuit nice blog post on Ignite Boulder 5 and fantastic video interview with Andrew

Julie Penner (Presenter!) gave a fantastic presentation at Ignite Boulder 5.  Her thoughts and a video of her presentation. @pennerj

 Jen Yu blog post @userealbutter

Ef Rodriguez (Presenter! Organizer!) blog post and presentation video @pugofwar

Jennifer Wilhelm came down from Ft Collins and here’s her blog post

Brett Greene post @brettgreene

Terry Cabeen (Presenter!) blog and presentation video @tcabeen

And of course Kath’s recap from the planning committee (here is that committee) @Kath1213 @gratzo @LarkinBC @AndrewHyde @rande @rhymswithmilk @pugofwar @feverishaaron


The rest of the videos can be seen on the web (youtube) under Ignite Boulder 5 @igniteboulder (and here are all the speakers) @redheadwriting @quasijames @rickbackas @greggtobo @pugofwar @tcabeen @pennerj @tarable @elaineellis @LarkinBC @gratzo @brandonsings @Andrewhyde @Bwyman @evanblake @hoozatap @gravitational


Photo sets here:





And the bands @fellowcitizens @theautumnfilm


Ignite Boulder 6 will be Sep 16th!  Get your tickets TOMORROW! at Igniteboulder.com If you do, there will be an extra special party with music and free beer thrown in for the heck of it.  Get your Ninja on!  Want to speak?  Know someone who has something to share?  It’s also time to get topics submitted and start the voting! 



  • Todd Bradley said:

    Very nice presentation!

  • Kath said:

    So interesting how it’s all come full circle.

    From your first IgniteBoulder (#4) to commenting on it, to speaking at (and planning for) # 5 and now the planning is underway for #6.

    And now you DO know how to engage a roomful of close to 800 people…engage them very well & very humorously.

    So glad you spoke up after #4- look how it’s helped to change so many things for the better.

  • Larkin said:

    @Todd thanks! I was pretty nurvous! but sure was fun.

    @kath I know you’re reluctant, but I’d still love to hear you speak!

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