Jolie and I went down to the Portland Art Museum for a meeting with the Events Planner last week.
We looked around at rooms that seated 350+ people. We talked about projectors and coat rooms and WiFi and catering—and everything else you could think of related to holding a major event.
“Look,” I said as we walked past a wide corridor. “That looks like a nice place for the bloggers’ lounge.” The corridor in question also contained a large statue of a naked man, but hey, it’s an art museum.
“We don’t allow red wine in this room,” the planner told me as we walked by another room with 500-year-old paintings. “But white wine? As much as you want!”
Normally I’d be taking notes on all these things—we looked at ten different rooms, all with different seating capacities and red wine vs. white wine specifications. But I didn’t take any notes at all, because I was simultaneously thrilled and terrified, caught up in the Big Idea of what this was all about.
“What do you think?” the cheery Events Planner asked as she walked us out.
I looked up at the impressive building, pictured above and over here. “I’ll take it,” I said. “Let’s do it.”
And thus began the planning…
The Unconventional Book Tour kicks off in just eight days, with my goal of meeting every person who reads AONC in the U.S. and Canada. But as much fun as it will be going from Kansas to Nebraska to meet with 63 small groups, I also thought:
What if we could also bring everyone together in one place? That would be even more epic than me going around from city to city.
So that’s what this is about, and I knew that the “one place” had to be Portland (PDX), World Domination HQ and my hometown of choice. We’ve been scouting event spaces for weeks, trying to find the best location to host an amazing group of people. A place like the Marriott isn’t the right fit, but the smaller hotels were, well, too small.
So I made a big financial commitment to rent the Portland Art Museum, and everything that goes with it—A/V, permits from the city, insurance to make sure no one breaks the naked man statue, and so on. As I suspected, renting out the Portland Art Museum for an entire weekend isn’t cheap. I’m taking a big risk in committing ten months in advance, but nothing worth doing is ever easy.
So, friends: here’s the proposal.
Next June, I propose we take over Portland, Oregon with our first annual World Domination Summit, and I’d love for you to be a part of it.
The summit will be a gathering of remarkable people from all over the world. Other authors, bloggers, and interesting people will be speaking from the main stage, a 376-seat theater where we’ll meet for about a third of the time.
The second part of our time will be in small groups, where we talk about travel hacking, microbusinesses, how to do what you love while changing the world, and all kinds of other important topics. (You’ll sign up for the groups you want, and there will also be a voting system to nominate your own group.)
The final third of the time will be all about community. We’re working with the Mayor’s Office to put together tours of Portland. You can visit the city’s famous food carts, check out the vegan tattoo parlor, head back to the theater for a special Charity: Water screening we’re putting together, or whatever you want.
And mostly, you can hang out with people who see the world in the same way. It will be insanely epic, and I’d love for you to be there.
So here’s the second part of the deal.
The summit will have a cost associated with it, but I’m spending my time thinking about how it can be amazing instead of how it can make money. (“Not many people can guarantee awesomeness, but we’re stepping up” as I say in the Unconventional Guides business.)
It will probably cost about $300 a person or so for the whole thing—much cheaper than SXSW, BlogWorld, or any other major conference that doesn’t have a ton of advertisers. We’re also working with hotels to offer a discounted group rate, talking to both hostels in town to completely book them out, and planning to coordinate some kind of couchsurfing option for people who prefer that.
I’m not 100% sure how everything will work yet, but I have a team of advisers here in Portland helping me to make this much more awesome than I could do on my own. And if you come, you’ll be a big part of making it even more awesome.
The goal is to publish the registration site in mid-September—live from the road as I’m touring America. But before then, I wanted you to be the first to know.
Will you save the date, and set aside June 3-5th 2011? I hope you can make it.