If you love someone (or something), set it free. Or so said it’s been said. Possibly.
The website, venue, production values, attendee numbers (and pretty much any other qualitative or quantative measure you choose to use) are much higher and better than they were a few years ago, and that’s testament to the hard work and vision of the “new” team of Ed Barnett, Steve Dimmick, and the great crew they’ve built around them.
Claire Scantlebury and I started Ignite Cardiff back in 2009 (I think?) and at the time it was the very first Ignite event in the UK. We started in a bar on Mill Lane and our first event attracted a decent crowd of creatives, digital types, and entrepreneurs (Ignite was our vehicle for bringing these groups together to network more). Over the next 9 events we had talks on everything from the philosophy of wine, to a Zombie defense plan for Cardiff (we all should congregate in the castle, of course!).
But as we grew the event, and experimented with different venues, we realised that it was taking more and more of our time. And as a 2-man team that was busy taking on new projects such as TEDxCardiff we realised we weren’t paying it as much attention as we should have done. Most people only have space in their lives for one big volunteer project, and it was clear that we had to make a decision.
It was a painful one to make, as we loved the event, and were regularly told that everyone that attended loved it, too. We even had tales of business relationships, and romantic relationships, that were formed at Ignite events. But we knew in Ed and Steve, who we’d been spending increasing time with, we had a pairing that could be trusted to take it forward. And so it’s been proved. Their passion, commitment, vision and talent has made it much more than we could possibly have done with it at that point in our lives. Ignite was so important to both of us, and led to so many great things, but it needed new “bosses”.
We could have kept doing it, and inevitably lost energy and time, resulting in it becoming less than it deserved to be. It would have dwindled in importance to us, and we may even have come to resent the amount of time we spent on it for dimishing returns. But by handing over the reins we allowed fresh eyes to take it forward to become a much bigger and better thing and become an ever more important part of Cardiff’s creative and entrepreneurial landscape.
It’s always painful letting someone run what you perceive as your baby. But if you love something, and you’re not able to give it your all, maybe it’s time to take the tough decision of letting someone else take it to new heights.