World Domination Summit 2013
WDS2013: When people would ask me what WDS was about, I really couldn’t tell them. I didn’t exactly know why I was going. I saw this video from WDS2012. I read the $100 Startup. I love entrepreneurship, adventure, travel, community—all the buzzwords I read on the site. But I still didn’t really know what to expect.
What I saw and experienced there touched me deeply. I’ve never attended a conference with such contagious positivity and generosity of spirit. Attendees were from all different kinds of backgrounds, ages and professions. Some right in the thick of pursuing their dreams. Others looking for a change. Looking for inspiration. All looking for community. I think they found it. I know I did.
What was most surprising to me was the mix of serious and silly. They kicked off the conference by collaborating with the Human Access Project to attempt to set a world record for the longest floating human chain (It was successful). A good symbol, I think for WDS—perhaps it doesn’t really matter what you do. Just do something that has meaning to you and to others.
What is and What could be
I hadn’t heard of Nancy Duarte prior to WDS. She was the first speaker of the conference and her presentation had the most impact on me. It was about communication and story. She has uncovered a commonality in some of the world’s most revered speeches/presentations: What is and what could be. Ranging from Martin Luther King to Steve Jobs, she visually demonstrated the rhythm of each of their most revered speeches and how they would alternate between the present world(what is) and where they believe we can go(what could be). Powerful stuff.
“Become obsessed with becoming useful”
Darren Rowse told his personal story about his journey of young entrepreneur dreamer to adult entrepreneur dreamer and how he found a way to make his dream a reality through blogging. For those of us who are content creators, it was a very insightful and encouraging story. His path took years of work. There wasn’t any monumental dramatic turning point where he went from hobbyist to full time blogger. It just took time, effort and an emphasis on treating his blogging like a business even when it really wasn’t one. (No, he didn’t wear the suit the whole time, but damn if it wasn’t funny)
“We are not our failures. We are not our successes.”
Donald Miller’s presentation was a fitting finale to the weekend. He took us on a journey about personal identity and purpose. Both of which can get muddled when we listen to external voices to define our choices in life or our perceptions about ourselves. He talked about something I have been researching and thinking about a lot these last few years—finding and re-becoming our true self. The one we clothe in our personality, our achievements and our failures.
These were just three of a whole weekend of amazing presentations and personal stories. Beyond the presenters, it was the attendees that really made WDS2013 what it was. The attendee stories were as impressive as the speakers. The energy and openness of everyone I met was wonderful.
I’ve tried to pin down exactly why that was so. I’ve been to conferences about technology, creativity and community before. Why was this one different? I think it’s simple. Faith. If it’s possible to boil WDS down to one word, it is faith.
Faith in ourselves—That we can and should live a life of meaning and take the risks necessary to walk that path.
Faith in each other—That we can connect with others on their own journey and share and encourage each other along the way.
Faith in the world—That it’s open and receptive to our dreams and not quite as scary as we think it is.
So keep the faith, my new friends. I can’t wait to see you all next year.
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Photography by the talented folks at Armosa Studios / More event photos can be seen here / Feel free to follow me on Twitter