Friday, February 12, 2010

It's a Free Market For Spreading Ideas

There are four major idea-sharing events taking place between March 3, 2010 and March 23, 2010 in the Raleigh-Durham (Triangle) area. They're all free. They're all aimed at engaging the local community thought leaders with the rest of the community through presentations. They're all one-night events coordinated by a local (unpaid) team.

But they each have their own origin and consequently a different path for achieving essentially the same goal: sharing great ideas. You may not be familiar with any of these events (in which case you need to start finding a local event in your own community right now) or you may already know about all three (and heck, there's probably even more events I don't know about yet). Either way, each event has a unique brand, so it's inevitable that they're likely more popular in certain circles than others.

My point in creating this terribly geeky venn diagram (well, honestly I just wanted a reason to make another venn diagram) is to bring all the options to the table, point out their quirks, have other people expand on their unique value (fill in the missing pieces of the venn diagram in the comments people!), and help people discover their niche - where they fit - in the idea sharing event market.

Because if anything, this proves that there's really a free market out there for idea sharing events. There's probably even more popping up out there every day. We're in the information age, and it shows. People want to get together, connect, and share ideas and there's definitely not a monopoly on that.

But this also shouldn't be a competition. The leaders for all events should be supporting each other this month, throughout the year, and for years to come. Don't forget that we're all working towards the same goal.

Have you been to any of these events? What did you like or dislike about each one? If you've helped to organize an event, how have you worked together with other similar events? Do you think it's better to have multiple (smaller) events for the same purpose to should they all combine into one really GREAT BIG event?

To learn more about these events and/or to find an event near you:

And to register for the events in Raleigh this March:


  1. This is a fantastic post about all of these idea-sharing events, Carlee! I am impressed with your objectivity since you are involved with PechaKucha Night - it is wonderful that you are leading by example and promoting all of these events equally instead of just PKN.

  2. This is a great overview to the many "hot beds" of idea happenings in the Triangle area. And you ask some great questions. Seems to me that several groups may be a better forum as they each bring out a slightly different take on the concept of idea sharing. This way folks will find the group that best fits their particular interest and learning style. I think it might be a good exercise to try a joint event combining some of the local events, just to see how it all plays out. Personally I plan to attend as many events as I can to gain maximum exposure to the ideas flowing through the minds of the Triangle community.

  3. Great post, I've worked with my partners to plan Ignite Raleigh and totally agree: "we should be supporting each other this month".

    Yes I have worked with others and I think there's a need to have multiple smaller events, maybe a little more spread out but this works in March because it helps market each event.

    Thanks for the post.

  4. I've been anxious to see how different a Pecha Kucha night is from an Ignite night. I think this blog post sums it up nicely. Essentially Ignite trimmed the time down to make for an even more frantic rapid-fire presentation format. They both are about geeks sharing big and small ideas over beer with friends. And the locally organized community setting is a big attraction. I think there is so many great chances for people to get plugged in and participate in the Triangle. There is no shortage of fantastic people. I really hope we can do Ignite more often with help from our incredible team of volunteers. There are some cities that are doing them on a monthly basis and with consistent awesomeness. I also hope to attend TEDx and see that format first hand.

  5. This sums up my feeling EXACTLY.

    So many smart people in the area and so many motivated to get the entire area more exposure. I love seeing the voting changes over at Ignite. Pretty amazing that people are getting their fan base to vote for them to get them into the top 10.

  6. Nice Venn diagram.

    I'm one of the organizers for the TEDxTriangleNC event.

    Here is how TEDx is going to work, so it's clear how TEDx differs from the other events.

    TEDx is going to be a day long event, beginning in the morning and ending in the early evening. Coffee in the morning and lunch are being provided. That makes it a little different from Ignite Raleigh (the other event I know the most about). Also, the TEDx presentaitons will vary in length, with 5 minute presentations and 18 minute presentations. There will be breaks between groups of presentations to discuss what has been presensted. Along with live speakers, there will also be videos of previous TED presentations.

    Registation, which will be opening soon, will also be smaller than Ignite Raleigh. We're planning on allowing about 150 registrations. Registration is free, like Ignite Raleigh.

    However, if you can't make it, don't dispare, as we plan to record all the talks to post online after the event and we also plan to webcast the entire event live.

    Hope that fills in some of the quesitons about TEDx. Other information can also be found at

    The diagram is informative. Although I would correct that your diagram seems to suggest that TEDx will have 4 speakers. That's not actually the case, as there are much more than 4 currently scheduled to speak. Just want to make that clear.

    Thanks for posting this. I learned a lot.

    - Mark Mzyk

  7. Mark, good info I had no idea the Tedx was an all day affair. It's great that it will be recorded and posted online too.

    Carlee, I think an updated Venn Diagram would be wonderful since it has already communicated so much in helping us (the organizers) understand the what and how happening in this community. For PechaKucha I would add Fast pace, 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide. We don't have a keynote - 12 presenters per event. We have 4 events per year. Free to attend.

  8. To all: Thanks for all of your feedback!

    @Wayne: Glad you're on board! And you're right, if we weren't all overlapping this month then maybe we never would have made an effort to cross-promote or work together. I think it's important to have events throughout the year though, so hopefully we can all plan accordingly.

    @Ryan (theRab): Thanks for the link to that post, it pretty much summed it up, you're right. I think besides the definitive time difference and speed of presentations, Ignite & PechaKucha differ in more qualitative ways: their history and atmosphere varies slightly. You'll have to attend and see for yourself!

    @Dan: Hehe I hope you're not offended I stuck FizzledDurham outside the venn diagram (I assumed this was the first of its kind, am I right)? I'm sure that's why you created FizzledDurham in the first place, too-- to get anyone with an idea a chance to present it.
    Your point about voting for Ignite presenters is another huge difference between the other events as well. PechaKucha & TEDx presenters are chosen by the organizers rather than the audience and/or fan base of the presenters.

    @Mark: Thanks for stopping by to give us all the missing details about TEDx. As we haven't had one here before it's all new territory. I think I got the "4" presenters number from the main TEDx site. Are there four 18-minute presentations with additional 5-minute ones? I had no idea it was a whole day-long event either, wow! Good luck with the event--hopefully I'll see you there!

  9. I'll certainly be there Carlee. I hope you to see you there.

    For some background on TEDx: TED of course sanctions the events, but beyond that wide latitude is given to the organizers. There is no set number of speakers for the day. TED's requirement is that there be at least 25% videos of previous TED talks. There are other small details, but that is the main one.

    We've gone for a day event that is going to have 12 to 14 speakers (live speakers, not counting video). All the final details are falling into place right now. The number of 18 vs. 5 minute presentations isn't set.

    It is interesting all these events have ended up in March. I certainly know we didn't plan it that way, but it should give everyone lots to think and talk about.

    Let me know if there's anything else I can answer.

    - Mark

  10. No offense at all. I was actually shocked to be included in the diagram at all. Thanks for thinking there was humor in my misfit toys "joke".

    Not to hijack, but Mark: (Hope all is well with you.) Can you elaborate as to who is involved with the TEDx locally? The site is lacking in any of that info.

  11. I'm doing well Dan, thanks for asking.

    What would you like to know? Obviously I've done a poor job of communicating and I need to answer questions to make things more clear. I'll also look at getting the website updated with more information.

    As for involvment, the core group of ogranizers is just several random people, of whom I'm one, who came together to organize it. I honestly don't even know everyone's last name (is that bad?).

    Beyond that, a priliminary list of speakers is up on the website (Click Details - I should probably rename it speakers). More speakers are to be announced shortly.

    We also have a number of sponsors as well, who can be seen by clicking sponsors on the website.

    Beyond that, TEDx isn't being driven by any organization locally. It really is just a collection of us who wanted to see it happen. We have tried to keep everything about it local though, beyond the affiliaction with the international TED group.

    What have I missed?

    - Mark