Living a Remarkable Life in a Conventional World

Have you ever had an experience that you just don’t want to end?  I have.  I have just returned from

Photo WDS by Chris Guillebeau

The World Domination Summit in Portland, OR and I want the experience to linger on – I don’t want the thoughts and feelings inside to end.

It has been hard and amusing when I try to explain to someone what this conference was all about with a name like The World Domination Summit.  It sparked impromptu conversations with people I met in elevators, in restaurants, or on the street, when they spotted my tag.  I told them that it is a gathering of people – 1000 people – who wanted to live a remarkable life in the conventional world we live in. Unlike other conferences, where attendees come from similar professions – this conference was attended by people of all ages, from college kids to 70 year olds and from all walks off life.  But, everyone had one thing in common – they wanted to live a rewarding life – a life of hope, happiness and possibility.

When I signed up last January, I knew it was bound to be an interesting weekend. I had no idea who the speakers were going to be, but the first WDS that Chris Guillebeau and his team organized last year, was quickly sold out and I didn’t want miss out on this year’s event.  When the tickets were put on sale for this year’s conference – they sold out in 10 minutes.  1000 tickets were sold – 5000 people were waitlisted.  I was one of the fortunate ones.

I should point out another unique thing about this conference – it is entirely done with volunteers.  Even the amazing speakers volunteer  – speakers like Brene Brown, Scott Harrison, Scott Belsky, and Chris Brogan.  There were informative and quirky workshops like “ The Right-Brain Business Plan: Turn Passion into Profit” to “Mondo Beyondo Meetup: What are your Superpowers” and there were plenty of other meetups around town, one could find out about on the twitter page.

I met the most interesting people, from all over the world and it was easy to pick up on other people’s enthusiasm and energy. 1000 people who thought a little bit different from the status quo. – people who looked at the whole notion of “business” differently.  They understood the importance of both serendipity and strategy, the power of mentoring and leading by service and soul.

After the final keynote speaker, Chris Guillebeau announced that he had a surprise.  He stood on the stage with an empty chair beside him and talked about the conference itself.  How it had doubled in size from the first year to the next and how he capped it at 1000 people, even though he had another 5000 people on the waiting list.  He talked about the fact that the conference had no sponsors and that nothing was promoted – there was a table where one could buy some of the speakers’ books but they were never promoted. Chris said he decided not to have sponsors because he didn’t want to devote time to sponsor announcements. And then he said that an anonymous donor came forward and made a sizable donation.  Chris and his team talked a lot about what they would do with this money and they decided to give it back to all of the attendees.  And then he told us that when we left the theater we would be handed an envelope with a note and a $100 bill!  Chris and his team of volunteers would be handing out $100,000.

As I left the theater I received an envelope with a crisp new $100 in it wrapped around a note that said:

The $100 Investment

Thanks for making the #WDS2012 a fantastic experience.  We’d love to see how you can put these funds to good use.  Start a project, surprise someone, or do something entirely different – it’s up to you.

The World Domination Summit

Incidentally, when we first checked in for the summit, we were handed our credentials, a t-shirt, and a backpack.  Inside the backpack was a stainless steel water bottle and Chris’s new book “The $100 Startup“.

I don’t think there will be one person who received that envelope that day who won’t think twice about spending that $100.  And think about the power in that – think about the possible outcomes.  That’s a refreshing way to look at “business”.  If that type of philosophy has a chance of dominating the world – I’m all for it.

“Unused creativity is not benign. It turns into grief judgment and shame.”Brene Brown – speaker at WDS 2012


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