"Enlighten us, but make it quick:" an evening at Ignite, Paris

"Twitter Apéro," "OpenCoffee Club," "L"Entreprise 2.0." Events hooking up people with similar fields of interest are flourishing in Paris, especially ones aimed at geek-to-geek communication. Often solely advertised through the medium of social networks, free, and public, these initiatives seek to kickstart conversations and the sharing of knowledge and experience, outside of cyberspace.


Cédric Ringenbach: "L'art d'écrire sur fond noir"


Ignite has been running in Paris for three years. It used to be quarterly but has received sufficient interest to prompt organisers to put on monthly sessions. Ignite was launched in the United States by Tim O'Reilly, founder of O'Reilly Media. Inspired by a Japanese concept, it has since been exported to over 100 cities, from Leipzig to Bratislava. Anyone can volunteer to run one of the offshoots, and anyone can take part. Its slogan: "Enlighten us, but make it quick."


Damien Douani on how getting locked in a toilet taught him what social networks are for.


The idea, organiser Damien Douani tells me, is absolutely not to publicise a product. It's to share an experience. Every participant has five minutes to speak, using twenty slides. That's a dizzying 15 seconds per slide. At the event I went to (#12 at IESA Multimédia college near Opéra) the presentations fairly whizzed along. Some people had failed to grasp the importance of simplicity when using PowerPoint, others were spot on. Certain anecdotes were personal, some, pure geek. Douani explains that participants often present a problem and the audience is encouraged to respond.


Bastien Praz: "L'énergie pour nos amis politiciens"


Opening the floor to anyone means there's a lack of quality control. And some stories are definitely what we Brits would call "random." But Douani says he's rarely had a duff presentation. The idea is to offer a relaxed forum for geeky discussion - a "non-conference," he calls it - and that is what Ignite delivers. Networking opportunities follow in a local bar, though that's not really the objective. There's a whole other class of events specifically for forging business links, and yet more looking at good industry practice. His has only the following criterion to fill: what you're about to say must be interesting to the geeks present. (Subjective, to say the least!)


So who does Ignite help? Aside from entrepreneurs seeking inspiration and shy techsters seeking company, events like these are becoming essential tools for students pursuing IT-related studies. There were plenty of those in the audience at the IESA. Or just for executive-types seeking to brush up on their presentation skills.  Something the French are lacking in compared to their Anglo-Saxon counterparts, says one Ignite attendee.  While admitting the subjects discussed were not much to his taste, Raphäel Wach, developer of the "Monster Anatomy" medical application for iPhone and iPad, says he feels such sessions "can be excellent training for pitch and conference." Speakers have a low-pressure dry run at preparing a presentation, addressing an audience and telling a story. Even about their personal lives.  "After all," he adds, "if you're very open-minded and able to be interested in anything, why not."


The next Ignite Paris session takes place on November 9th, more details on their Facebook page, with a biggie in December set to coincide with France's major internet event of the year, Le Web.

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How could we imagine anything like social netwoking and any transaction outside cyberspace. When walls could have ears, everything happens within the cyberspace. However, it is a nice read. used auto parts

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