Ignite Atlanta 2 was held at the Georgia Aquarium Oceans Ballroom last night, and it turned out to be mildly entertaining. If you’re not familiar with Ignite, it is basically an event where presenters talk about stuff they are passionate about, and their 20 slides are automatically advanced every 20 seconds.

First, I’ll mention the negative stuff. The backnoise channel, in all its snarkiness, never fails to bring the cold hard truth, and that is that the event simply had too many sales pitches for people’s companies or products. Some of the comments left on the Meetup page sum it up the best, though.

Ignite Events are supposed to be passion- or knowledge-transfers, and while last night’s event definitely transfered some passion and knowledge, the company names could have been left out or minimized some. For example, the Happy Septic Tank guy could have easily spent time talking about septic tanks and why bacteria is necessary to make a septic tank function properly, but half of his slides were about how he marketed his product to Walmart, Lowes, and Home Depot. Several slides showed actual ads he used.

Many other presenters had a similar pitchy tone, but I won’t belabor the point. My advice to anyone presenting on a topic where they feel tempted to pitch their product would be this: talk about your industry and technology. Don’t even mention your product name, and ONLY put your twitter address, or maybe your website address, on the last slide of your presentation.

Despite the complaints above, there were some great presentations. My favorite was Creighton Holt’s talk on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, where we learned that fighter jets are “really cool”. He showed some great pictures of the cockpit and talked about the controls of the jet. Jiten Chhabra also had an informative and funny presentation on the problem of obesity. Among the other highlights of the night were Matt Smith talking about Hackintoshing (his slides are here), Karen MacKay talking about vertical gardening in urban areas, and Christine Penguino talking about exploiting the super powers of babies.

Overall it was a fun night, and it was about what I expected. The Georgia Aquarium ballroom was a great facility, but it was a little cramped with most of us having laptops out. Also, it can’t be repeated enough, that whenever you have a bunch of geeks at an event, the facility needs to plan for every single person having at least one device connected to the wifi. I will keep my eyes out for future Ignite ATL events, and I might even seek out some of the events in other cities in the future. Thanks to Patrick Nickles for putting on a fun event. If I find more links to any of the presentations mentioned above, I’ll update this post.