World Domination Summit 2012: The First Event I’ve Cried At (Twice)

I needed a day to collect these thoughts into something not just comprehensive, but comprehensible. This event has a way of making you want to explain all of its marvel, but also has such a profound effect that it makes it tough to put all of it into words – at least words that are put together in a way that makes sense to anyone who hasn’t been to it before. I’ve been extraordinarily lucky/smart to have been at both last year’s first World Domination Summit as well as the one that just happened.

And I’ll be back for 2013.

A lot of personal thoughts have already come from the likes of Chris Brogan (who I managed to inadvertently stalk throughout my conference schedule the past couple of months – and I’m glad I did!) and CC Chapman, (who I finally got to meet in person after a couple of missed connections before – and a photo he took for his inspired the one you see above), and there have been others who have done so (and will do so) between now and next week (possibly beyond). And while thoughts are going to be echoed similarly throughout all of these other posts from all over the Internet, the importance of hearing it from as many of us as possible can’t be overlooked. In fact, I’ve already told my story of WDS to several people, including the passenger sitting next to me on my flight from Seattle to Vancouver (someone whose job it is to read and hear about all of the bad things that go on in our world) and this person was simply blown away by my story and was grateful in me telling it, And I didn’t just talk about the huge gesture – and power behind the gesture – that Chris Guillebeau and his team unleashed at the end of the day at the Newmark Theatre, I talked about the people, the passions and the practical information that was shared abundantly throughout the weekend in Portland.

Let me touch on that huge gesture first, because it was huge on so many levels.

The Second Time I Cried This Weekend

Sunday was wrapping up and attendees had just watched some amazing personal stories from several WDSers – including a fabulous one about conquering “boob cancer” done through song by Michelle Ward – and J.D. Roth had delivered the tremendous anchor keynote. Chris Guillebeau took the stage and started to talk about where WDS had been, was, and where it was going. His team had made some tough choices regarding all of this (deciding against sponsorships, etc.) and had received a donation from an anonymous 2011 WDSer, one that brought the total profits from the event to what amounted to about $100 per attendee – of which there were 1000.

And then he told us all he was investing that $100 in the 1000 of us that were there.

We each received a $100 bill (mine is being used as a bookmark for a very important book I’m reading, as seen above) inside an envelope with the following message in it:

Thanks for making #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 entriely different – it’s up to you.

As Chris was telling us that the team would be handing us these envelopes as we left the theatre, I welled up.1 There was just such a huge amount of power behind the gesture – accompanied by the power of the event as a whole – that emotion just took over. I don’t entirely know what I’m going to do with the $100 yet (other than symbolically use it as a bookmark), but plans are afoot.

I’ll let you know what I do with the money when the time comes.

The First Time I Cried This Weekend

I went to the world-premiere screening of “I’m Fine, Thanks”, which is best described by/through the filmmakers themselves. So I’ll let them do so here through the video below:

As I watched the stories of those who had made changes in their lives – much like I have with mine – I started to cry. There was a sense of pride and accomplishment that was coming at me in two waves – internally from my own experience and externally through the ones being shown on screen. And while it’s not a perfect film, it’s the stories that made it work for me so well that I was able to overlook any flaws that were there.

The fact I cried during the film, even though I was already surrounded by people who ’d made similar moves in their lives (many of whom were also in the film), means that “I’m Fine, Thanks” has a raw power to it that can’t be understated.

The WDS Difference

I didn’t want it to end.2

I was tired – drained mentally, physically and emotionaly – but I still didn’t want it to stop. But while the event did have to stop, it’s impact will be lasting. I know this because I was there last year – and the sheer magnitude of the event from 2011 carried over well into this year’s edition. The World Domination Summit has a domino effect on so many levels that it is unlike any other event I’ve been to. Even though it had doubled in size, it still didn’t lose itself in those numbers. Sure, I didn’t get to see everyone from the year before, but that’s part of the beauty of events – sometimes you don’t…and you get to meet new people instead.

I’m not going to detail every session and thing I went to – it’s just not possible. But I will say that the craftsmanship of how the event is assembled is amazing. From the quality of the takeaways (including what was in our swag bags) to the flow of the sessions, the WDS team of ambassadors nailed it. Chris Brogan’s talk was the perfect break to start off Sunday in that he warmed us up through entertaining us with information and informing us through entertainment. It gave us a great springboard for the second day.

(Why do I mention Chris’s talk specifically? Because in the picture above you’ll see what my next tattoo is going to be – a hybrid of the WDS logo and Green Lantern emblem. There’s a ton of personal meaning behind it, and Chris did talk about superheroes during his talk – something I’m want to do from time to time.)

The Power of WDS

The people met. The lessons learned. The conversations that happened – with others and within myself. This event made all that possible now – and makes even more things possible in the future. That’s the power of the World Domination Summit – the best event that I’ve ever been to…again.

1 I actually welled up again writing this part of the piece.
2 At the after-party, I spoke with CC Chapman about how it’s rare that you don’t want an event to end, but that is the case with WDS. He totally agreed. And he’s been to a lot of conferences.