The Newmark Theater was packed for the closing session of the second annual World Domination Summit early July in Portland, Oregon. As I glanced around me it was clear every one of the exactly one thousand seats was filled. After final speaker J.D. Roth presented, Chris Guillebeau took the stage to deliver the official send-off.
I tuned-out for a bit as he recapped the brief history of the World Domination Summit (WDS), newly minted but a year prior, and much unlike its name having more to do with conscious evolution, world peace, individual courage and “love domination” than what most people tend to associate with the words “world domination”. Guillebeau, a writer, blogger, entrepreneur and traveler extraordinaire, had created the event to unite nonconformists like him passionate about living a remarkable life in a conventional world.
He wildly succeeded, doubling the event in size from 500 to 1,000 people between its inaugural run in 2011 and its second time out in 2012. While he continued recapping the opportunities that had arisen and the many additional decisions that needed to be made in planning the second WDS, at which I sat, he began to tell the story of an anonymous donor. Despite being approached by numerous corporations, organizations and individuals alike, Chris and his team had made a firm decision that WDS would be entirely sponsor-free: no big brands, no speaker pitches, no logo fests; you get the idea. Despite knowing that, an individual wishing to remain anonymous had approached Chris and insisted on giving him $100,000 to use toward WDS 2012 in the way Chris deemed best with no expectations in return.
By then I was fully tuned back in, paying sharp attention to Chris’ story and beginning to notice murmurs throughout the audience, like the woman next to me gasping, then choking up in tears, muttering “Oh my god” under her breath in [click to continue…]