We’ve begun secret meetings at World Domination HQ (also known as my house).
Field trips have been made to various potential locations (the best field trips always end with Happy Hour).
Quote requests have gone out for skywriters and a mechanical bull (long story).
We’re still in early days, but the time has come: our team has slowly been gathering to plan a small event for next summer.
In approximately 280 days—but who’s counting—we’ll kick off the third-annual World Domination Summit. With more than 8,000 people on the waiting list and a tremendous amount of buzz still going around about WDS 2012, a lot of people are asking … just what is WDS?
I’m glad you asked.
WDS: Community, Adventure, Service
In short, WDS is a gathering of creative people from all walks of life. Last year, people of all ages came together from more than 20 countries. For one big summer weekend in Portland, we focus on the values of community, adventure, and service.
The central question we look at, in many different ways, is:
“How do we live a remarkable life in a conventional world?”
We do this through main-stage presentations from great speakers (this year: Brene Brown, Scott Harrison, Chris Brogan, and many others), through a series of workshops and informal gatherings, an “Unconventional Race” through the city, and lots of parties and fun.
2011 was our first WDS, and we brought together 500 people to the Portland Art Museum. A few months ago, we took things up a level for WDS 2012 by welcoming 1,000 people to the Newmark Theater, the Crystal Ballroom, and pretty much all over town.
Each time, we had a number of surprises, including a Bollywood dance party, scavenger hunts, giveaways, and off-site celebrations.
Of course, everyone has been asking… how will you top the first two years?
Needless to say, we have a plan, and ticket sales for next year’s extravaganza will begin next week to a limited group of people.
From the very beginning the team and I have tried to be intentional with our WDS plans. We don’t want to franchise our model, and we don’t want to offer the experience in other cities—it’s something that needs to happen in Portland.
We don’t wish to grow for the sake of growth itself, and this year we turned down more than 4,000 people who wanted to buy tickets. Looking ahead to next year, more than 80% of tickets for the existing venue sold out a year in advance to our 2012 attendees, and there are now more than 8,000 people on next year’s wait-list.
Community and a sense of intimacy are very important, but we also don’t want to become an insider’s club. While it seems that demand will always outstrip supply, we do want to be able to offer the WDS experience to as many people as possible.
With that in mind, we’ll be moving to the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall for next year’s circus. We’ll also be taking over several other theaters, ballrooms, and nearby spaces to accommodate dozens of workshops and smaller meetups.
More than 100 people will be involved in producing next year’s adventure. We’re booking out entire hotels and restaurants, creating “Hotspots” where attendees can gather all over the city. Building on the theme of community, adventure, and service, we’ll provide more opportunities for attendees to venture out in small groups.
Even as it grows, WDS will remain an “introvert friendly” place, where you can meet up with old friends and get to know new people in a comfortable environment.
The Opening Party will be at the most incredible location we’ve found in three years of planning WDS. (I’d love to tell you where it is, but the team would kill me—so it will remain a secret until next summer.)
We’re even planning on setting a Guinness World Record… but more on that later.
Info on Tickets
I don’t write much about WDS on the blog simply because demand greatly exceeds the supply of tickets. No matter how much more space we reserve around town, there are still 5-10 people who want to come for every available ticket.
Next week we’ll offer an initial round of 1,000 tickets to those who are on the waiting list. We expect these to go very quickly. After the dust settles, we’ll have one other round in January 2013, possibly at a higher price.
Tickets will go live next Wednesday morning around 8am PST (sorry, there is no single time zone that best accommodates a worldwide audience).
We operate WDS as a not-for-profit, with all proceeds going back into the experience or to charity. We also don’t accept sponsors, ensuring that the whole weekend is non-commercial and proudly independent.
We’re extremely excited about forging ahead with world domination. Next year will be better than ever!
Question: Will we see you next year in Portland?
Whether you’re returning from one of the previous years or are new to the party, I hope you’ll be able to say yes.
Image: Armosa Studios