A Sense of Action


Tristan Neth-Juergensen wrote Wichitalks about her experience and we’re incredibly humbled to share it.

From someone who is born and raised in Wichita, the platform Wichitalks offers is merely one that allows me to share how much how I love my hometown in front of a larger audience. Not only that, I get to hear from others who love Wichita as much as I do. I was born here. I left, I came back.

I love Wichita.

And I love that Wichitalks affords us the ability to listen to others who not only love the town, but have ideas on how to make it better. Do I hear the same thing from each speaker? A hard and fast no. I’ve learned and experienced so much from each speaker that has presented at Wichitalks. Is the message the same? Maybe. But is the perspective different? ABSOLUTELY. I would hear that same message over and over again from a myriad of different voices if it meant that I would get to experience the love, enthusiasm and passion that everyone has for this town. I am proud to say that I am Wichita born and raised, and I am proud that I was able to share that love for ICT during one of Wichitalks presentations.

I love Wichita.

Wichitalks has brought together the community in way that is not only productive but empowering. You know walking into the room that you are but a drop in an ocean of people that feel the same way you do about Wichita, and that feeling is indescribable. Wichitalks has created a sense of belonging and a sense of action in a town that for quite some time has been stagnant. You can feel the pulse of that action vibrating in the community - it has resonated within those that feel the pull of that Wichita has to offer.

I love Wichita. Wichitalks loves Wichita.

And now Wichita is loving Wichita.

Tristan Neth-Juergensen | 11 March 2018

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The Wichitalks Bolt


FAQ - What’s with the lightning bolt logo?

If you look at Wichita, the Wichitalks logo, and find yourself trying to decipher what it means… well, that’s what I’ll try to answer here.

The first Wichitalks event was thrown together in a frenzy of activity with a deadline of approximately 30 days. That meant that decisions about all sorts of things had to be made quickly under the motto - Done is Better Than Perfect - which creates large constraints placed on any decisions.

The design idea was simple: Create something so bad and clunky that it would enrage my design minded friends such that they couldn’t help but offer to redesign it. I promptly proceeded to powerpoint, picked a font, background color, and browsed the clip art section until I found something that just remotely made some sense. The lightning bolt was selected for the ‘lightning talk’ style of Wichitalks, which are a heavy shots of passion in rapid-fire succession. The result of which is the following image…

Old Wichitalks Logo

Much to my dismay, it wasn’t below the bar enough and the logo stuck with us through the first event. The incredible fortune and luck of the event led to its early success. We packed out the Labor Party on a cold Friday evening.

So, now we’ve got a real event that needs some nurturing. I turned to my friend and designer Barrett Morgan to have him generate a more professional logo. In no way was Wichitalks married to the lightning bolt, so we tried a variety of different logos and yet none of them stuck. The only one that remained captivating was the bolt; thus, the new bolt emerged.

Wichitalks Logo

I’m a fan of minimal design, and the bolt he showed me captured my attention. The different nodes and the way each line is connected to the other jumped out as if to say ‘Wichitalks connects people/ideas/activities/awareness’… you name it. It’s a decentralized network where everything is related to everything else in some fashion – much like a thriving culture, much like Wichita. It’s not a zero-sum game, the success of others leads to personal success. A rising tide floats all boats, as the adage goes.

Sure, I could’ve spent more time obsessing over the logo and what it means, but who has time for that? Besides, it’s not the logo that makes Wichitalks, it’s Wichitalks that makes the logo. Who cares what it means, what matters is how it makes you feel. If you come to a Wichitalks and the ideas you hear or the people you meet inspire you in some way, then that’s what will be remembered when you see the logo. There’s no hidden message, no conspiracy if you take the image and look at the negative reflected across 35 degrees off the vertical. Trust me, don’t go looking for it. Just come out and support sharing the ideas of your neighbors. We’re all just here to learn and have a good time.

Stay cool,

Kevin Falting | 03 February 2018

Stay included by signing up for our newsletter or following us on the web. The greatest compliment you can give us is by letting your friends and family know about us as well as sharing these ideas and inspiring each other to keep giving back to our community.

City Full of Dreamers


Jennifer White of ICT SOS wrote this in a letter to me when I asked her about her Wichitalks experience and I’m incredibly humbled by it.

I wasn’t able to attend the first Wichitalks. To be honest, I didn’t really “get” what it was until after that first event as I started seeing people post about it online. There was an instant buzz about the event and I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of. In my role with ICT SOS, I have spoken publicly many times but I’m not a polished speaker by any means. The structured format intrigued me and I saw it as a way to polish my speaking skills a little by forcing myself out of my comfort zone. I found videos of past presenters and watched them multiple times to get a feel for the format. (Sorry for stalking you, Kenton & Aaron) It scared me. Like, really freaked me out. But I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring. When I got the acceptance email my first thought was, “Yay!” My next was, “Oh, crap. What did I just do to myself?”

I also knew that I couldn’t just pitch my organization which is what I had mostly been asked to do in the past. I would tell my story of how I got involved, how ICT SOS got its start and what opportunities we had for people to join in our work through support or volunteering. I had that down. The format and “No Pitches, Just Passion” rule was going to force me to do something different. And while that scared me, it was the reason I wanted to do it.

I have never practiced so hard for a speech. Like, ever. I worked on my slides, printed them out, rearranged them, set timers, practiced, rearranged and did it all over again until I felt I had something worth sharing. My final Wichitalk product is something I’m very proud of. Was it perfect? No. But I got the chance to share something that really meant a lot to me with a crowd that was so welcoming and receptive. As a speaker, it doesn’t get much better than that.

After the event, I was approached by several people who said they were moved by what I had shared. I was hugged, congratulated, invited to collaborate on projects, and offered help in my mission. Some of those people were friends or acquaintances. Some of them were strangers who are now friends. I met people who are passionate about our city. Some are passionate about business, or information, or pride in our community or technology. But, every one of them freely shared that passion with the crowd and we got a glimpse into what is driving our city forward in 5 minute chunks.

Since the event I spoke at, I have also volunteered at an event and that was also a great experience. (And required much less prep work and stress on my part!)

Our city is so full of dreamers. But if we don’t know about those dreams, we can’t help each other get there. I think what Wichitalks does best is provide a platform for people to share their dreams. Whether it’s a little free library in every neighborhood, a new way of thinking about community, a brilliant business idea or race cars and explosions… when we know what others are dreaming about, we can help each other make those dreams reality. (Maybe with the exception of blowing things up, Sean Amore!) As dreamers, when we put those dreams out there for others to hear, it’s scary and hard and did I say scary? But, when you look out into that crowd and realize that for 5 minutes that whole room is dreaming with you, it is magic. And when a few of those people connect with you to move that dream beyond a 20 slide presentation into actual implementation, it changes our city.

So, in conclusion: Wichitalks is scary, magical and changing our city 5 minutes and 20 slides at a time.

Jennifer White | 04 June 2017

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Sustaining Wichitalks


2016 was a great year for Wichitalks. Every event pulled in more and more new people as our popularity grew. With over 100 people at our first event, our audience had doubled in size by the most recent one. We couldn’t be more humbled by the welcoming and passionate Wichitans who chose to spend their evening at Wichitalks.

Providing a rich Wichitalks experience does not come without a cost. To have what we need to create the Wichitalks experience, we have relied heavily on donated items and services, and sometimes were forced to cancel something we were fighting to have.

Wichitalks was technically hibernating this winter; yet, in truth we were strategizing a game plan to keep Wichitalks sustained. Wichitalks is not a non-profit organization, but we run it that way nonetheless. A prime example being our organizers being classified as volunteers. Still we are determined to ensure you that our most important assets are being served in the best way that we can. With all of this in mind, we set about determining standards for all of the following: a budget for the event’s vibe and audience experience, costs for necessary services such as photographers, videographers, and catering. We then took those standards and created a strategic plan to execute them.

To ensure Wichitalk’s sustainability, the following three revenue streams are necessary:

  • Tickets - There will be a reduced-price pre-sale and a regular sale for the tickets. The pre-sale opens when an event is announced, and the regular pricing opens when speakers are announced.

  • Donations/Sponsorships - We welcome these opportunities and will be working with each individually.

  • Patreon - Anyone who may be a part of the community and wants to support Wichitalks can choose a monthly donation tier where, while you are supporting the event, you will also have the opportunity to receive special offers and extras from Wichitalks. Check out Patreon here!

Wichitalks is a labor of love for all of its organizers. We hope that you enjoy seeing individuals from our vibrant Wichita community sharing their passion, and will support these necessary changes to ensure we continue to provide you the Wichitalks experience that you’ve come to expect.

Thank you,

Kevin Falting | 23 April 2017

Stay included by signing up for our newsletter or following us on the web. The greatest compliment you can give us is by letting your friends and family know about us as well as sharing these ideas and inspiring each other to keep giving back to our community.

Wichitalks Ethos


Ethos — the characteristic spirit of a culture, era, or community as manifested in its beliefs and aspirations.

I am often asked what Wichitalks is and my typical response is something along the lines of: a mini TED-like talk from passionate Wichitans where each talk is 20 slides, 15-second auto-advance, no pitches …” and the description usually died off from there on out. What this describes could be any event and doesn’t demonstrate the full spirit of why we’re doing this.

Wichitans are some of the most creative, hard-working, and inspiring people I’ve ever met. I believe in Wichita, its diversity, and most importantly its audacious opportunity. Recall the eye-opening numbers measuring Wichita’s status, and contrast that with how you feel, what is happening, and where you viscerally go when thinking about our beautiful city. To me, there is a disconnect, and that gap is a sign we’re not giving up without a fight. Wichitalks exists to harness this ethos and spread awareness of our rallying optimism.

Many of the communities in Wichita don’t communicate with one another. Their efforts are applied toward many different visions of the future. These visions, as diverse as every one of these leaders, represent Wichita’s future. Wichitalks gathers them together for an evening at a space that encourages open-minded and collaborative conversation. Yet, this isn’t always in the form you’d imagine.

It’s the passion Thomas Stanley has for running, Kim Burton has for neighborhood literacy, Lamont Anderson has for inspiring action, Alex Pemberton has for the spaces we inhabit, Kelsey Ryan has for data driven reporting, Seth Etter has for open data, and Claudia Amaro has for immigrant families. The number of visionaries and the opportunity for everyone in the city to contribute in their own unique way grows every single day.

We’re not going to get anywhere by shouting that we’re the best, the loudest. That part is obvious. While we are home to some of the greats, Wichitalks presenters lean passion-forward in the most humble manner. By sharing and teaching without any expectation of return, a meaningful connection with the community forms. You leave feeling inspired, armed with new philosophies and viewpoints, yet not tired from sales pitches. In essence, these talks or ideas taken as a whole end up being greater than their individual sum - a real investment in the people we do business with every day. The very individuals who shop alongside us at Dillons, run down Douglas, or are the parents of our children’s peers.

Wichitalks envisions a Wichita of opportunity for everyone, a Wichita not afraid of taking on controversial topics, and a Wichita with that HQ swagger by offering a space for these ideas to radiate and grow.

Thank you,

Kevin Falting | 06 April 2017

Stay included by signing up for our newsletter or following us on the web. The greatest compliment you can give us is by letting your friends and family know about us as well as sharing these ideas and inspiring each other to keep giving back to our community.

Wichitalks 2018

Thank you for supporting Wichitalks at Roxy's this past March; we had a blast. Stay in touch for the announcement of the next event. In the meantime, check out our Alumni and sign up for the announcement-letter at the bottom of the page!

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