Friday, July 26, 2013

Portland OR Part 1 - Seeking My Dreams at the World Domination Summit

Early in July 2013, our family took a one week vacation to Portland Oregon. As soon as we arrived, we noticed the cool and dry weather, which felt chilly at first, but I grew to like it. I enjoyed the lack of humidity and no mosquitoes that we have to deal with on the east coast. The primary reason for our trip was for me to attend the World Domination Summit over the weekend. I know it sounds like a group of people brainstorming ways to take over the world or a secret meeting of corporate oil executives, but it is really not like that. It is simply a concept created by Chris Guillebeau, the creator of this event, to help all people create the life they want, to live their dreams, to unshackle us from corporate control, to be your own entrepreneur. Chris has written two books: The Art of Unconformity and The $100 Startup, and recently started this summit, so he clearly is on to something here.  I have read his two books and I have found them very helpful in motivating me to create a more successful business (yes, there is a lot to know about this subject) and to be proud to be different.

So, since WDS is mostly attended motivated, young people, there were cool parties with live music and dancing, interrupted by daytime lectures with firsthand accounts of unconventional thinking leading to business success from mostly tech geeks who found their salvation (and audience) in blogging. The clearly stated theme of the summit was “community, adventure, and service”; three admirable and not often placed together terms, making for a unique experience. And, amazingly WDS has no advertising and is sponsor free.  


However, there were more mainstream speakers like Tess Vigeland, a former NPR radio host of a financial show who I know and enjoyed listening to years ago on her former show. She abruptly quit her job without having an exit strategy, and she is still figuring that out and writing about creating your life out of nothing.


Nancy Duarte gave a refreshing speech where she analyzed great speeches in fascinating detail. Darren Rowse exemplified the life of a geek, but later became superman. He found happiness with his family and himself with his true calling in writing his blog and is living his dreams. He actually dressed up as superman on stage. Bob Moore, the creator of Bob’s Red Mill foods, taught us how important it is to give back and share with your employees. Donald Miller shared how success was ruining his life and how understanding who he truly is as a person and not living just for success made him happiest. 

I was struck by the creator of WDS, Chris Guillebeau, in how effective a communicator he is through his clear communication, organization, and many stories. Also, Chris is very modest, certainly not egocentric, and does not seem to be trying to make a lot of money through this summit. He just seems very independently minded which led him on his unusual path to becoming an entrepreneur and later a writer.

The most inspiring talk was by Jia Jiang, who stared down the lonely path of rejection and created a whole body of work by examining this oft ignored topic. He decided to try to get rejected 100 times and created videos chronicling his journey. Surprisingly, he received success more often than he anticipated, so he realized that failure is often just in our minds and does not really exist. For me, the talks were inspirational and led me to think that almost anyone can create their own career simply starting from acknowledging who they are as a person and building from there.   

Yes, the mostly young people attending WDS were there to create their own businesses, a great sign for the future. Gen Y is perhaps not merely complacent but wants to live their dreams and be financially independent. I heard a lot of interesting stories. In fact, that seems to be the takeaway, the power of storytelling in creating and selling your business. I don’t know if I learned a lot since this young way of independent thinking seems to be all the rage now and many people are saying similar concepts. I did think it was a bit difficult to meet anyone while attending since people seemed to stay in their groups and there just were not many opportunities to meet people. I was hoping there would be more interacting and networking. However, I would recommend this conference to anyone who wants to think outside the box, create the life of their dreams, and learn new ways of creating income.


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