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Ignite Detroit: Capturing Passion While Transcending Labels

We at Detroit Unspun are still recovering from the amazing, energy-filled event that was Ignite Detroit, also the event with which we chose to kickoff this blog.  We posted detailed recaps during the first, second, and third intermissions, but in all of the excitement didn’t have a chance to blog about the results!

The audience chose not one, but three top winners, and they were David Murray, with his hilarious speech about the rise of the cats in “The Official End of the World Survival Guide – 2012 Edition”; Benjamin Bator, who spoke about how his hit website came to be in “The Texts From Last Night Story: From Hungover to All Over”; and Charlie Wollberg, whose presentation “Bite Off Less Than You Can Spew”, about how we digest too many sound bites and not enough real content was both appropriate and ironic for an event whose tagline was “Enlighten us, but make it quick.”

Though WXYZ recapped the event as one where “people in social media can break through the electronic barriers of the internet,” there is a much bigger story here, and that is, as Ignite Emcee Brandon Chesnutt explained, “[an] awesome community event that appeals to not just the social media group or the tech group but … to a larger base where anybody that was passionate about anything could come and have a really good time.”

Nowhere else could you have walked into a room and heard such a variety of people speaking on such a variety of topics, the thread that tied them together not being social media, but simply passion. Passion for ham radio. Passion for charity. Passion for eighties hair bands. Passion for motivating others. Passion for finding the silver lining after getting laid off.

Ignite is often labeled an event for “geeks” and “geek culture” but the real stories are not in the labels of “geek” or “social media,” but in the people and the passions behind their presentations. For example:

Meet Austin Szelkowski, aspiring motivational speaker from Fowlerville, MI — an energetic, articulate young man with an admirable outlook on the world and two weekly video shows, Strength and Hope TV and Begin Innovation TV.

Meet Melissa Hui, a Wayne State University biology student and health entrepreneur who shared with the crowd her passion for genetics and how they can alter our very DNA and even cure diseases.

Meet Karen Evans, a trademark attorney by day who shared her passion for educating children, especially from impoverished families, on how to cook nutritious meals.

Meet Deb Schanilec, who got laid off in 2009 and shared with the audience how she fought to find the silver lining of the situation — and won.

These are only a few of the real people behind the real stories and real passions displayed at Ignite Detroit #1. Don’t be fooled — events like these aren’t just for the “social media crowd,” they’re for everybody.

Detroit Unspun has interviews up with some of the presenters on our YouTube channel – we couldn’t get them all, unfortunately — it was a busy night!  Also, be sure to check out our Flickr stream for photos from the event.

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One comment on “Ignite Detroit: Capturing Passion While Transcending Labels

  1. Thanks for sharing so much of the event with us! I was there and you're right, I brought friends that aren't at all in the geek, tech or social media pool and they absolutely loved it and plan to attend the next one. It was a great evening of info, entertainment and seeing passionate people talk about things they love.

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