Steamboat business group schedules speakers for event |

Steamboat business group schedules speakers for event

Mike Lawrence

— The growing Ignite Steamboat group is presenting its most acclaimed guests yet at a free event next week.

Jay O'Hare, of Altera Performance Group, is one of several founders of Ignite Steamboat, a local networking group for entrepreneurs, business strategists and tech professionals. His excitement was audible when talking about the lineup for the group's next meeting. Scheduled speakers, to address the group via video on Skype, include TechStars and Foundry Group co-founder Brad Feld; business strategy and social technology expert Charlene Li; and Chase Jarvis, a photographer, artist and entrepreneur who once lived in Steamboat Springs. Ignite Steamboat meets at 6 p.m. Thursday at Steamboat Smokehouse.

O'Hare said the order of speakers is not yet finalized, but the first speaker is scheduled to begin at about 7 p.m.

"I think it's some really influential people and folks that have kind of charted their own path and started some really interesting things," O'Hare said about the lineup. "It's more about how business is changing and how people are able to leverage new communication channels and look at their industry in a very different way."

Those interested in attending might need to act quickly. O'Hare said space is limited to 60 people. The group's website,, already had numerous RSVPs a week before the event.

Since starting monthly meetings in summer 2009, Ignite Steamboat has grown to 140 members who share ideas about technology, entrepreneurship and more in a social setting.

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The three speakers scheduled for Thursday are part of Ignite's "Spark Talk" program, which began in November and features discussions with leaders of business or technology industries from across the United States.

Ignite Steamboat meetings also usually feature presentations from local professionals, but O'Hare said that won't happen Thursday to allow time for the scheduled speakers.

TechStars, which Boulder-based Feld co-founded, is widely recognized as one of the best tech incubators and seed investors for entrepreneurs in the nation. This week, TechStars announced $8 million in new funding that will secure its operational costs and early-stage business investments for the next four years.

Feld has been involved in numerous software application, venture capital and technology companies during the past 20 years. He's the co-author of "Do More Faster," a book about real-life lessons and strategies for tech startups.

Li founded Alimeter Group, which, according to its website, "is a research-based advisory firm that helps companies and industries leverage disruption to their advantage." She's also the author of "Open Leadership" and a co-author of "Groundswell." Both books address how social technologies are changing the business world.

Jarvis is an acclaimed photographer who has done commercial work for brands including Apple, Nike and Red Bull, in addition to a more recent focus on personal, creative work. O'Hare said Jarvis lived in Steamboat in the '90s and got his start in photography shooting pictures of friends at Steamboat Ski Area.

O'Hare said the lineup is a coup for the nearly 2-year-old Ignite Steamboat. He credited Ignite Steamboat's several local founders and contributors who help move the group forward.

"I've been able to rally a lot of people to come talk to us, but it's really a team effort," O'Hare said. "We're all doing this for free."

To reach Mike Lawrence, call 970-871-4233 or email

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