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Working on Spatial Data quality and pragmatic enterprise solutions.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Awesome Ignite Sydney 4, and why is Spatial so un-cool?

Yesterday I was delighted, inspired and awed at Ignite Sydney 4 - Sydney's opening of Global Ignite Week.

For those of you who are not yet familiar with Ignite: it's like geek-speed-dating with PowerPoint.

I've been to a few Ignite events in Australia now (always perfectly organised by Stephen Lead and his team), and this one was the best ever.

Where usually there are one or two disappointing presentations, this time they all shined: they were quick, pointy and very entertaining. Highlights for me were Andrew Jessup's "What 180 nuns can teach us about evolution", where he presented scientific evidence that optimism makes you live longer (hear, hear!), and Ralph Kerle's new party trick "Haikugami", in which he literally crowdsourced a pile of Japanese Haiku poems in under 5 minutes using paper planes!

Ralph Kerle teaches Haikugami Photo: Jean-Jacques Halans   

What worries me though is that 'general-purpose' geeks (the types that presented yesterday) seem to deliver much cooler and more exciting presentations than all the spatial geeks I've watched at a total of four Ignite Spatial events to date. Even the spatial presentation yesterday, though slick, seemed to lack that little bit of extra 'punch' (sorry David).

Surely I am not alone in making this observation? I remember the audience at the first Ignite Spatial voting overwhelmingly for the only two presenters without a spatial background!

Whether it is due to our genes, our education or our customers: the spatial community is scoring very, very low on the cool scale. I am looking forward to more Ignites to start fixing that. 


  1. By the way: here are some of the crowdsourced Haikus: http://www.ignitesydney.com/2010/03/some-haikus-written-at-ignite-sydney-4/

  2. i think the coolness factor of spatial is hidden in the coolness factor of the application itself. sort of how the components of the computer are not really cool but the game is!

  3. Interesting point Darren. In response consider this: how big would the market for cool (PC) technology be without the really sexy (I'm talking games here)software?

    I think you've perfectly illustrated the underlying point: we're nerds who love tech for tech's sake. Sadly: nobody else really cares

  4. Videos of the presentations are now online: http://www.igniteshow.com/events/2009-2