So how do you explain those pictures?
My daughter Jana has been working with Ignite
Phoenix for a while and has
encouraged Mary and me to attend. Things matched up and we were able to attend
on June 11th. Ignite is a set of 18 presentations put on by people that are
something. Each presentation is 5 minutes long (no more, no less) and includes
20 slides that automatically advance every 15 seconds. Some of the presentations
are merely good, the rest are fantastic.
There is a break in the middle of the presentations and when the second half
starts up again, they do something called "Slideshow Karaoke." (No, it doesn't
involve singing.) For participants, they pick three names from members of the
audience. Each contestant then gets up on stage and makes a short presentation
punctuated by 6 slides that they have never seen.
So this is what happened.
Mary and I got into the auditorium area early in order to get good seats.
As we were waiting for things to begin, an IgnitePhx volunteer came around
asking for people that would like to be in the pool for Slideshow Karaoke.
Since my daughter was one of the volunteers, I figured I'd support the effort
and put my name in the hat. I calculated that the chance that I'd actually
be chosen was remote at best.
The announcement of the contestants came at the end of the first half, right
before the intermission. Much to my surprise, I was the first contestant chosen.
I was certain that this
The explanation of the rules was straightforward. We would get up on
stage in a predetermined order (I was second) and give our presentation.
Each of us would have six slides that would automatically advance every 15
We wouldn't see the slides until they were on the screen. Although we asked
about the content of the slides or at least some hint about the theme of
the slides, we were given no clues.
As we were leaving for intermission, someone came up and asked who was going
second. I acknowledged that I was. The reply was a smile and a snicker.
At that point I had about 20 minutes to figure out what I was going to do
with my 90 seconds on stage. (I did actually calculate that six slides times
15 seconds per slide is a total of 90 seconds.) I also took into account that
we had just experienced some really great presentations, and I didn't want
to embarrass either myself or my daughter. (Jana was going to have to work
with these people in the future.) I thought about different stories and approaches
and themes, and finally settled on talking about what I do.
As intermission finished, I gathered with the other contestants back stage
to go over the logistics - timing, getting on and off the stage and using the
microphone. Then it was time to go and the perpetrator of all this got up to
explain Slideshow Karaoke to the audience. He went over the rules and also
noted that he was the only one that had seen the slides that he had put together
(while he was drinking one evening.) At that point I felt my first and only
twinge of nervousness.
After that, things happened quickly. The first contestant was up and making
her way through the slides. I got ready to move on stage and the switch slide
came up giving me 15 seconds to get into position and start talking. I started
with the only thing that I had scripted, "I'm Scott Gustafson and I teach Economics."
At that point my first slide came up. It was a black and white picture
of two old men with long beards taken about a hundred years ago. I made some
about this being how my students see me when they come into class at 7 a.m.
and then just rolled on from there.
Ninety seconds later the switch slide came up, and I exited the stage.
After we were all done, we got back up on stage, and they had the audience
vote for the best presentation by cheering. Jana had sent out a tweet telling
everyone to cheer loudly for her Dad so I won.
Slideshow karaoke was a lot of fun. I got lucky and had great slides to talk
to. The first slide set it all up and then I was on a roll.
As I recall, the slides were the old men, a college student drinking a beer,
a pretty girl sleeping, the flames, the tattooed stomach and a crying kid.
I'm not real sure about that last one.
So that's where those pictures came from.
If you get the chance, go
ahead and put your name in the hat. Slideshow Karaoke is a lot of fun.
And yes, I really do teach economics at seven in the morning.