The stunningly soulful Jolie Guillebeau, Chris' seriously beautiful wife.
Steady-as-a-rock J.D. Roth, Chris' right hand man for the conference. I don't think anything could ruffle this man's feathers.
So now that I'm back in Houston, I've rested, gotten Alex off to her first day of camp and yes, had a chocolate cake ball from my new favourite coffeehouse, I've had a bit of time to reflect on my experience in Oregon and the vaguely-threatening-sounding World Domination Summit. Unfortunately, I only was able to attend one day of the summit, since I needed to get back to relieve Marcus from 24/7 caretaking duty; but still, one day was long enough for me to form a pretty decent opinion of the conference as a whole, I think.
Since I've been online, I've had the opportunity to attend literally dozens of conferences, and I find that each conference, even if the material is similar to the other ones, has a very distinctive vibe. Obviously, each conference tends to feel differently for each person, so I don't mean to imply that my impression is the One True Impression; still, there is no denying that each conference has its own feel for me. For example, BlogHer feels a bit like the (rather rowdy) class reunion of a very large, women-only university. Mom 2.0 Summit feels like the quieter class reunion of a smaller, liberal arts college. Blogalicious, the class reunion of graduates from a women's college who all became C-level executives. ALT Summit feels like what I imagine a survey course at an exclusive design school must feel like. SXSW is just an out-of-control, insane hipster party. EVO is good, wholesome, clean fun. Note, by the way, that none of these impressions should be interpreted as a negative in any form -- each conference has "scratched an itch that needed scratching," to put it somewhat crudely, and I've thoroughly enjoyed my time at all of them.
And the World Domination Summit?
Well, the truth is, I arrived not really knowing what to expect. My talk wasn't scheduled until 5 pm on Saturday evening, so I spent most of the day attending the sessions and meeting people during the breaks, trying to get to know a few of them, and forming a general opinion. And the overwhelming impression I got from every person I met, without exception, was:
These people are kind.
The stated mission of the summit was to get people who are committed to making a difference in their worlds together, to exchange ideas. As a result, both the speakers and the attendees that I met were not only creative and smart, coming from all walks of life, all age groups, all races, all backgrounds, but they were also generous with their thoughts. They were interested in each other. And they really, sincerely wanted each other to succeed. So by the time I took the stage at 5 pm in front of the audience of 500 people, people who had been encouraging each other and been encouraged by each other all day long ... well. The energy in the room was incredible. I had the very best time. And it was entirely due to the kindness of Chris Guillebeau, the organizers, the staff, and every other person in that room.
The faces you see above are people who made it their jobs to make sure that everyone had a good time (and boy, how they did); however, there were so many more. While I couldn't photograph everybody, obviously, I took several portraits of the people I met during that day, and I'll do my best to share their faces and online homes with you over the next few days. In the meantime, if you're the kind of person who loves to think creative thoughts and be around people who love the same, keep watching the World Domination Summit site for information about next year's conference. I promise you it will be worth your while.
Song: DJ Prashant's Holi mix. DJ Prashant performed for the entire audience on Saturday, and had everyone out of their seats bustin' a move. You really haven't lived until you've seen an entire roomful of conference-goers make like they were Bollywood extras.