#WDS: Portland, Oregon. How to meet amazing people, do awesome work, and get everything you want. (Day 1)

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When you tell people you’re going to a World Domination Summit, you get some pretty strange looks. I told my day job that I was going to a writing/blogging conference (although I guess the cat’s out of the bag now). I left Friday morning, early, to head to a 2-day conference in Portland with 500 of some of the most talented, interesting, creative people in the world.  People flew from New Zealand, Poland, Germany, Japan, and multiple other countries to participate in a mingling of minds that has left me without a voice and with so many ideas I’m almost not sure where to get started.

Here are the moments I’ve scribbled in my notebooks. This is only to get you started; I’m not sure if I can possibly capture the entirety of the conference. Notes from Day 1…

  • First, a word from our President. “Damn it Feels Good to Be A Gansta.” The genius behind the entire event – the modest, underwhelming, quick-to-deflect-attention powerhouse that is Chris Guillebeau – could have topped the event with some quick freestyle moves and I wouldn’t have been surprised. (Oh wait, he did: check out the Bollywood Video, here). An incredible amount of congratulations to Chris (and his wife, Jolie) for coordinating such an amazing group of people, pulling off the event without a hitch, and stopping to smile and greet every single person in attendance. If I were him, I’d be completely wiped out and ready to go into hermit mode by now, and yet he continued to rally, stay out late, and say hello to everyone. His ability to lead quietly – and bring together such spirited, energetic people and create teams that flow – shows the sheer genius of his leadership ability.
  • The Team. Chris pulled together a team of outstanding, energetic people who hustled for an entire year to put together what was arguably one of the best-executed events I’ve ever attended. Leadership isn’t about doing everything yourself, it’s about creating teams that matter, and systems that work. From the graphic design by Reese (I’m in love with the notebooks and the t-shirts), to the energy of Sean Ogle, Adam Baker, Tyler Tervooren, Robert Bruce, Jolie Guillebeau, Tsilli Pines, J.D. Roth, Logan Smith, Tammy Strobel, Nicky Hajal, all of the media/photography people, all of the WDS volunteers, and everyone else who worked, volunteered, and shared — the team behind WDS was a team I’d want in any business, project, or strategy. Stunning.
  • The feeling you get when you enter the room. It felt like walking into a room with 500 of your new best friends. The energy – captured on the left, by the media team at the conference (photos here) – was nearly indescribable.
  • The freedom from things. In perhaps a stroke of brilliance, Chris’ location, the Portland Art Museum, had terrible wifi service. I found that it didn’t matter – and in fact I preferred it. The last thing I wanted to do was be on my phone or computer in the middle of the conference – I was there. We were present. To be in such joy to listen, captivated, to the thoughts and ideas (and bollywood dances and pushups and movements) of so many incredible people — I forgot what it meant to spend time with a computer for two days. Instead, I was. We were. It was the world, and all of the people you used to know only via the screen were IRL, 3-dimensional, and far more brilliant than tinny LED lights on a computer could ever project. It reminds me without a doubt that all of our social networks exist to bring people together in real space in real time: the beauty of social networks is not in replacing real life, but in augmenting and allowing it.
  • The People. It’s not about who’s internet famous or not – although there were some pretty famous people there, speaking, lending their thoughts, sharing their ideas.  The conference was about bringing together a few hundred people for an -in person summit, “because there’s something special about being in the same place together.” (From the conference schedule).  It’s about all of the people and the brilliant, creative minds in the room. From the twitter stream, #WDS was described as a giant melting pot of great minds; like walking into a room with a guaranteed badge of friendship; like a high that you never want to let go of.

So what was it? #WDS was, in short, another way to answer the questions posed to all of us as we live our lives around the world:

What do you have to offer the world that no one else can?
How do we live a remarkable life in a conventional world?

In addition to the keynote speakers, the breakout sessions, and exploring downtown Portland, each night had a plethora of events to choose from – including skydiving and karaoke on Day 1! The offerings included bike tours of Portland, beer tours and cocktail tours, walking along the river, going to the Farmer’s Market, checking out the food carts, unofficial events and meetups, a final after party on Sunday night, and mountain climbing on Monday. In each event, presentation, meet up, and movement, we all asked ourselves these questions about the Great Work we aim to do, how to be Unconventional, and what and why Non-Conformity is such a gift to the universe.

It was certainly not to be missed. See you all next year, #WDS 2012.

(To learn more about the summit, check out the World Domination Summit Website. Or take a peek at Chris’ website, The Art of NonConformity. To get everything you want, as the title suggests, just follow this blog or sign up for updates….okay, fine, you’ll have to do some of the work yourself. But it’s a start.)

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23 Responses to #WDS: Portland, Oregon. How to meet amazing people, do awesome work, and get everything you want. (Day 1)

  1. What a fun wrapup – so glad you were here, Sarah! And I’m glad you found your notebook.

    • Sarah says:

      HAH! – Yes, the notebook story was impressive. They mapped the notebook to me via the logo on my shirt (great shirt!) and the logo on the book. I did get a raised eyebrow from the flight attendant when she read “World Domination” on the cover. The swag bag was pretty great. I loved all of it – and so glad you have all the photos showing the prep work. Your team … like I said, your team just did a phenomenal job.

      You should go by “Not A Bollywood Star” from now on. You have other, better talents.

  2. Rebecca says:

    This looks like it was so fun! This is a weird comment, but looking at the photo, where are the black and brown arms? It’s like a sea of white. I’m sure there was diversity there, but these are the strange things I think about.

    • Sarah says:

      Oooh, interesting comment. Perhaps I chose a photo that’s not accurately depicting the event…. and to be fair, it’s somewhat over-exposed, making all colors of tan and brown look bright white. To see all of the attendees and their backgrounds, check out the list of all the people attending and where they came from: http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/world-domination-photo-tour/. Also take a look at some of Chris’ photos, here: http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/world-domination-photo-tour/. Perhaps that will help show more of the diversity and range.

      I would be interested in mapping who came, where they came from, what their backgrounds are. Chris may already be doing this with his graphic designer – if not, Chris, email me. :) I know we have the data. Thanks for the honest comment, Rebecca! Most people wouldn’t have the guts to point out the things that we all see…

  3. Janet says:

    So not sure if you’d know by being there but would WDS 2012 be in Portland again or what? I’m REALLY definitely wanting to go for next year since I missed this one. Just reading your blog has me pumped and feeling like I was there! Would have been amazing to hang out with so many likeminded people.. Was following on twitter and saw your notebook picture too.. Nice! Love the take home questions too! I’m going to have to write about that!

    • Sarah says:

      Hey Janet! Thanks for commenting and following – so nice to have you here and meet you via twitter! I believe (but don’t know for certain) that it will be in Portland again, although we’ll find out more later this fall. You definitely need to go. The conference is amazing. Feed off of the energy and check the hashtag #wds on twitter because everyone is still buzzing from the conference. :-D It was so much fun!!

  4. Love this wrap up – man how do you do such a great job of writing out what I’m thinking. I’m putting your write up in my write up – it’s the only way. It was an incredible gift to meet you girl and can’t wait for more shenanigans and world domination efforts together

    • Sarah says:

      Hey lovely! First, SO NICE TO MEET YOU! I am going to gush on a public forum (here) about your lovely, wonderful, amazing website and stuff and spirit and EVERYTHING. Okay, now to reply to your comment: Thanks so much! Writing is one of my favorite things to do. :) I LOVE stories. From Danielle’s talk, I realized I need to stop designing so much and start making more space for writing in my life (right now I design 8+ hours a day and then come home to try to teach myself more web design stuff …. I need to put that down and let myself write more and give the reigns of design to other people instead). I can’t wait for more shenanigans, for more IRL meet-ups, and for combining our energies to do amazing things. Talk to you soon!

    • Sarah says:

      You are marvelous. :) It was SUCH a pleasure to meet you and I could feel how instantly our brains clicked. Many thanks to Maren for giving us the heads-up to look for each other. I can’t wait to talk to you more and take a look through everything on your blog – your work is phenomenal!

  5. […] Peck with the most comprehensive WDS notes/overviews: Day 1 (pre/overview) here and Day 2 […]

  6. […] #WDS: Portland, Oregon. How to meet amazing people, do awesome work, and get everything you want. (D… […]

  7. […] stories and video clips over the next few weeks. In the meantime, you can read attendee wrap-ups here, here, here, here, and here (this is a small selection that can lead to many others if you’re […]

  8. Brandon says:

    Sarah, I loved this recap, and really enjoyed hanging out with you at WDS! I can’t remember ever experiencing anything quite like it before. The energy and enthusiasm of the people was (and continues to be) comforting and uplifting. I feel so honored to have been a part of it.

    So glad we met! See you on the journey soon. :)

  9. […] wrap up posts: From Chris Guillebeau himself!  Sarah’s super complete Day One, Day Two, and Day Three Recaps.   An adorable video and crapload of links to cool people from my […]

  10. […] art of non conformity (and the book review from earlier, as well as the recap’s one, two, and three from the #WDS conference earlier this year in Portland, […]

  11. […] didn’t even have this blog, in fact–it only went live in June, days before I went to my first conference. (I wrote another blog, that I used posts from to build this one). A year ago, I wasn’t […]

  12. […] notes and try to capture, catalog, and sift through the information at hand. Between Big Omaha and WDS (World Domination, for those unfamiliar), I think I’ve found my favorite two conferences to […]

  13. […] New Orleans, Omaha, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Paris, Munich, Freising, Taipei, Seoul, Amsterdam, Portland, and many other cities I’d never been to–but I went ahead and went […]

  14. […] souls than the years spent in various jobs. The recap of the event took four separate posts (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and Photos) – and Chris joked that I should become the “scribe” of future […]

  15. […] notes and try to capture, catalog, and sift through the information at hand. Between Big Omaha and WDS (World Domination, for those unfamiliar), I think I’ve found my favorite two conferences to […]

  16. […] WDS Day 1: How to meet amazing people, do awesome work, and get everything you want. […]

  17. […] As I do from the wonderful energy ball and strategically architectural mind of Sarah Peck. During Pam Slim’s excellent Content Planning workshop we drew out pretty diagrams and visual charts to explaining our perfect customer avatars. She has touched on the people behind the WDS and the general intent of this summit in How to meet amazing people, do awesome work and get anything you want. […]

  18. […] met Natalie at the inaugural World Domination in 2011, where we shared laughs and teamed together in Pam Slim’s content-building workshop. I wowed […]