Monday, 21 July 2014

Ready to Dominate the World?

I have to confess that I was a little apprehensive when I booked the flights to Portland (OR) a few months ago. The more I read about the upcoming World Domination Summit, the more I realised that this was not a business event (well - not JUST a business event) and more of an event where an epiphany might happen.  In fact it was too tempting to default to subverting the event fort being just that little bit hippy-trippy. Organic Tofu? Comes in Bland and Extra-Bland…Only in Portlandia.  As a belligerent old duffer, was this a good fit for me at this time of rebirth in my own business plans?

You’re darn tootin!  (Our Dallas team would be proud of my Texas vernacular)

3000 Entrepreneurs - creative ones - descending on the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall for a long weekend of inspirational sessions and interactive meet-ups, made the room crackle with excited energy as we waited for everything to begin. Even before this omen we’d all been sharing stories and smiling knowingly at each other like only WE knew the secrets to the future and were about to get validated on them.  Of course, we were just as ignorant as the next guy, but we FELT privileged.

Over the next three blog posts I will talk about the three values of the event. 

  1. Community
  2. Adventure
  3. Action

For more comprehensive notes on the vent, there are even now (just 5 days later) literally dozens of blogs ready to read as reviews and feelings about the event.   Take a look at Scott Berkun’s excellent notes (he spoke at the event on the last day) for a comprehensive and intelligent appraisal of the event and the speakers.

Part 1.     Community
This, for me, was the most powerful component of the event. This feeling that you were a part of a movement. A cause. The New World.  Based on giving / sharing / paying it forward. Doing that little thing you didn’t have to do. What’s that? - you don’t have time - well that’s about productivity - and there’s an app for that.  Or at least an attendee meet-up or academy session. 

The sense of community here was palpable. From getting your latte paid for by another person in line  with a green badge on cos you had no change on you, to joining in a 400-strong Bollywood dance lesson at the gig on Sunday night.  Walking around Portland’s beautiful downtown area, there was a sea of smiles and a wave of acknowledgement that you were part of a shared experience.  Apart from the main Concert Hall sessions, there were 30-40 more events put on by attendees, registered on the event site and approved by the organisers (usually within an hour or two).  Plus the “academy” sessions - practical advice and training on things like blogging or productivity.  All in all, the event had a feeling of being a festival, not a conference.

It was summer camp for business owners.  The friends I made last weekend will be with me for a long time. And the fact that I was able to contribute with my own meet up made me feel a part of an elite tribe of pioneers.  But there is a cost to all this comradeship. I also made a promise to do a big brave thing. I promised to attend next year and bring copies of my new book for everyone who was at my meet-up. This was my pledge, and I daren’t let them, or myself, down.

This is where inspiration people go to get inspired.  

Next episode? Adventure.

(Note to self - these people were the most consistently attractive and healthy looking crowd I'd ever seen. I need to lose weight and tone up so that I don't look like a Morlock amongst the Eloi)

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