My Favorite Moments of World Domination

Bill KuperCool, Food for thought, Life

How do we live?a remarkable life in a conventional world?

That’s what the World Domination Summit is all about (it’s not a convention for Dr. Evil wannabes). ?I recently returned from Portland, OR, where the fourth annual WDS was held, and?what an inspiring event?it was. The gathering of 3000 attendees describes its mission as Community, Adventure, and Service. ?This description is a little vague for sure, so in an attempt to describe the event to others, I’ve tried finding the right items to fill in the “A meets B meets C,” criteria, but it’s difficult.

It’s definitely part TED, with some very inspirational talks. It’s got a dash of SxSW, in that it tends to highlight some very cool people doing cutting-edge things. ?And perhaps there is a bit of Burning Man— ?not that there is a bunch of nakedness in the desert, but rather there is a group of very like-minded individuals that all seem to have a great lust for life,?and a strong sense of “greater good.”

Earlier this year, my fianc?e Stacy and I attended another event put on by the same organizer, Chris Guillebeau, called Pioneer Nation. ?We were duly impressed, so we?wanted to see what all the fuss was about with WDS (which is about 6-7 times larger than PN).

Overall, Chris and his crew put on a great show.?Not only was it well-organized, but I was thoroughly impressed with the staging, lighting, and general?media presentation ? not easy considering my 30+ years working in media.

The gorgeous WDS stage (courtesy Chris Guillebeau)

The gorgeous WDS stage (courtesy Chris Guillebeau)


The event kicked off for me with a morning workout and healthy lunch with Steve Kamb’s Nerd Fitness Academy. ?That’s me in the middle learning how to use a playground as a workout facility.

Nerd Fitness Academy (courtesy Chris Guillebeau)

Nerd Fitness Academy
(courtesy Chris Guillebeau)


Stacy and I have a lot of wanderlust, so we went to the Travel Hacking Academy, where we learned tons of tricks for gaming the mileage points system.

Instructor?Stephanie Zito?has traveled all over the world with little money, mostly in first class, due to her incredible travel hacking skills.

Travel Family Feud (courtesy Chris Guillebeau)

Stacy & Me taking part in Travel Family Feud
(courtesy Chris Guillebeau)


On Friday morning, we became World Record Holders. ?How cool is that? ?That’s right, we participated in an event called The Great Namaste, where we set the new record for the world’s longest “yoga chain.” ?It was sort of like doing The Wave at a Seahawks game, except instead of waving our?arms and yelling, we?would strike a series of simple yoga poses.

There was a great energy and vibe to the whole event, which really was about showing that anything is possible when working together.

Over 800 yoga mats and participants (courtesy Chris Guillebeau)

Over 800 yoga mats and participants
(courtesy Chris Guillebeau)

The energy was palpable (courtesy Chris Guillebeau)

The energy was palpable
(courtesy Chris Guillebeau)

The Future

At the registration event there was a “time capsule” where we were able to record a greeting to our future selves, describing where we are/what we are doing in 2020. ?The WDS crew plans to roll out the footage that year. ?Will our dreams be reality by then?

The WDS Time Capsule Tent (courtesy Chris Guillebeau)

The WDS Time Capsule Tent
(courtesy Chris Guillebeau)

The Venue

On Saturday morning, the main event began, held in the lovely Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

The Schnitz (courtesy Chris Guillebeau)

The Schnitz
(courtesy Chris Guillebeau)

Taking Action

Kicking things off was one of my favorite speakers of the weekend, A.J. Jacobs, who reminded us to not be afraid to just get started, and take “Imperfect Action.” ? He told us ?It?s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking, than to think your way into a new way of acting.?

Oh, he’s also working on a new project — the Global?Family Reunion— and he’s figured out that all the people on the planet are separated at most by 55 degrees. ?So that means we’re all cousins!

Cousin A.J. (courtesy Chris Guillebeau)

Cousin A.J.
(courtesy Chris Guillebeau)

Question Yourself

Best-selling author Michael Hyatt shared stories about his success and failures in life, that center on three questions:

  • How do I want to be remembered ?
  • What is important to me?
  • What single brave decision do I need to make today?
Michael Hyatt (courtesy Chris Guillebeau)

Author Michael Hyatt (courtesy Chris Guillebeau)


The incomparable Unipiper made an appearance on stage (as well as elsewhere throughout the event).

He’s a bagpiper dressed as Darth Vader, playing the Star Wars theme song, on a unicycle. Seriously. Only in Portland, right?

The One and Only UniPiper (courtesy Chris Guillebeau)


Getting Crafty

The most woo-woo moment of the weekend was probably when we came across the crafting tables setup in a nearby park. It actually turned out to be a really cool time with some great conversation.

I made a handsome business card holder from an atlas page using origami techniques, and Stacy made a lovely emergency rope bracelet. Jealous much?

My crafty business card holder

My crafty business card holder

Stacy's emergency bracelet

Stacy’s emergency bracelet



Improv artist Gary Hirsch encouraged us to be brave, and gave out 3000 Bravebots ?to be our own personal talismans. Each one is unique, designed himself over the course of the last year. Amazing. ?My Bravebot will go on many travels with me I’m sure.

My little Bravebot

Was it worth it?

My friend Kris and me with our closing party hero capes

My friend Kris and me with our closing party hero capes

There were still so many other great moments, I just can’t cover them all here. I think it’s pretty safe to say that WDS ?hit the mark with me on its?three main tenets though:

  • Community ? I connected with a lot of??interesting and inspiring people
  • Adventure ? it moved me to continue taking risks and doing new things
  • Service ? in the end, it all comes down to making the world a better place

As one of the speakers said, WDS finds you — not the other way around, and you either get it or you don’t (no assholes allowed). ?We’ve already signed up again for 2015. I would encourage anyone who connects with this message to do the same, ?and come along on the journey of a remarkable life.