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Posts Tagged ‘Portland’

World Domination Summit

On Aloha Friday, June 3rd, I boarded a plane bound for Portland, Oregon.  I was heading to the World Domination Summit.

The name sounds crazy, right?  I thought so, too!

Back in September, my friend/business partner/visionary mentor, Mariko Gordon, said we needed to attend the Summit.  My first thought:  Nope.  It sounds weird.  But I know not to listen to my head and make a final judgement.  I sat with it for a while.  I listened to my naʻau/gut.  And I couldn’t think of a reason we should NOT attend.  So, in true Crooner-style, I decided to “Show Up and Say YES!” And the plans were underway.

The summit was the brainchild of Chris Guillebeau.  Even though I hadn’t met Chris in person before the Summit, I’ve considered him a mentor.  Mariko and I used his exercise, HOW TO CONDUCT YOUR OWN ANNUAL REVIEW, to create/conceptualize The Accidental Hawaiian Crooner. (We are TRUE non-conformists and did it completely backwards–instead of a review, we did a forecast!)

The idea behind the summit was a gathering of creative, free-thinking folks who would listen to speakers and engage in conversations and help each other to continue the journey of “leading a remarkable life in a conventional world.”

What did that mean? I wasn’t really sure, either.  But it sounded cool.  I was in.

At the last minute, Mariko had to give up her spot and sent fellow non-tradional thinker, Tania Luna, in her place.  We arrived late on Friday evening–missing the pre-summit cocktail party.  At the baggage claim in the airport, I spotted the World Domination Summit logo on a table and met a woman with a big smile and a firm handshake. She told us where we needed to go the following morning and even offered us a cookie!  On Molokai, I’ve been trained to look for hō’ailona–signs.  I took this a sign of things to come:  This was going to be fun!

The next morning, Tania and I arrived at the venue (Not some boring convention center–It was at the Portland Art Museum.  How cool is THAT?!) and we received our name badges, a schedule of the planned speakers/sessions and a gift bag.  Another great sign!  (I’m a sucker for gift bags!)

But as we entered into the Fields Ballroom, I could feel my doubts start to resurface.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from the speakers.  In my mind, I “wrote their story.”  I figured they would be the people who go into a more conventional workplace and help the folks to think “outside the box.” They would probably be accustomed to speaking to folks who needed inspiration to take the leap and move toward a more fulfilling life.  And if that was the case, I didn’t want to be there.  They would be preaching to the choir.  What can you say to 500+ folks in the audience who are all on the “different path?”

Boy, was I ever wrong! Yes, they shared stories from their own experience.  But it was like talking with friends.  Fellow journeyman.

Ok, I’m pretty sure I was the only “Pittsburgh-born, classically trained singer who found himself knee-deep in Molokai mud” in the audience.  I may even have been the only one there who was set on his path by his kumu. (Maybe not, though… You never can tell!)  But we were all working on doing something we believed in.  Something we were willing to take great risks for.  And the folks that I spoke with were all looking to help make the world a better place with their work.  An amazing group of people, indeed.

The first session was lead by Pamela Slim.  She rocked my universe with her talk.  Even though I’m sure everyone in the room probably felt the same way, I know she was talking just to me!  Ha!

And she was just one of the many fantastic speakers I had the pleasure to listen to/interact with over the 2 day Summit.  Other speakers that rocked my world were: Leo Babauta, Jodi Ettenberg, Jonathan Fields, Danielle LaPorte, Mondo Beyondo (Jen Lemen & Andrea Scher)Michael SilverMichael Bungay Stanier, John T. Unger & Karen Walrond.  They came from varied backgrounds and each brought something different to the table. But every single one of ‘em had something valuable to share.  Every single one of ‘em are movers and shakers.  Game changers.  I love that!  (Please click on their names–the links will take you to their sites.  You’ll be amazed by them, too!)

A session that TOTALLY rocked my world was with Mondo Beyondo.  I can’t say enough good things about these wonderful women.  And they totally deserve their own post on the blog–which will be coming soon.  I promise.  They were so awesome.  They got a standing ovation after their session. ‘Nuff said.

And meeting up with the other attendees was FANTASTIC, too!  Some folks I recognized from the internet–like Pace & Kyeli from Connection Revolution.  And the ever-wise and always inspiring, Jen Louden. (These are some of my internet crushes–folks that inspire me.  Folks that I continue to learn from on a regular basis.)  And then there were new friends to be made.  Every conversation I had was valuable.  It was kind of surreal to be able to walk around a talk with like-minded folks.  It took some of the “I’m different than the rest of the world”-sting away.  We’re all different.  And we’re all involved in projects to make the world even better.

I need to give a quick shout out to the city of Portland, itself!  I totally loved it.  A wonderful, friendly–and ECO-friendly–vibe surrounded us everywhere we went.  Yes, I know folks talk about all of the rain in Portland.  But while we were there, we were blessed with sunny skies and gentle breezes.  (Another sign/hō’ailona!)   A giant MAHALO to whoever ordered that rare weather!  What a treat!


Did I love being at the World Domination Summit? Absolutely.

Did I learn a lot about dominating the world?  Well, I learned a lot from the creative folks I had the opportunity to talk with.  Not so much about world domination.  More like “global improvement thru doing cool things.”

Right on!

Click HERE to find out more about the World Domination Summit to be held in 2012.  And then start planning your trip.  (Yup.  It’s that good.)

While you’re waiting for next year’s Summit, be sure to check out Chris Guillebeau’s super-inspriring book, The Art of Non-Conformity.  I keep a copy within arm’s reach at my desk.  It’ll help get you going!


Strummin’ in the City (#21)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Kamaka standard (soprano) 'ukulele in front of one of the world famous Portland Food Carts. (Portland, OR 6.4.11)

A lot of folks find it hard to believe that I carry my ‘ukulele with me all the time.

But you never know when you might feel like strumming!

And as Pops is always quick to advise: E ho’omākaukau. Be prepared.

Ah… the life of an urban strummer!

(Do you like the ʻukulele in the photo? Check out for some of the best ʻukuleles on the planet!)

**Crooner Note:  I really DO carry my ‘ukulele with me–even to lunch at the World Domination Summit in Portland, OR!  And hooray for Hawaiian food carts!




Have ʻUkulele--Will Travel

Aloha, gang!

This past weekend, I was in Portland, OR attending the very first World Domination Summit. Basically–a gathering of 500+ creative, free-thinking people from around the globe who came together to share ideas and learn from each other.  It was unbelievably cool!

My travel buddy for the trip, Tania Luna (Surprise Industries) and I thought we’d be the “ultimate, hardcore New Yorkers” and skip the closing party to catch a red eye flight back to NYC so that we’d be ready to rock and roll–business as usual–today.  In theory, it was a great idea.

In actuality, I’m paying for it today.  A weekend of stimulating ideas added to a lack of sleep has left me buzzing and exhausted.


I promise to share some stories from the Summit with you all!  I just need to drink more coffee to get through the day (I’m strumming/singing for a hula class in NYC tonight from 7p-10p) and then get some quality rest.  Tomorrow, I’ll be ready to rock and roll!

Lesson in all of this:  Next time, stay for the party and fly home well rested.  ʻNuff said.

BTW:  I CARRIED MY ‘UKULELE WITH ME THROUGHOUT THE SUMMIT. (And I even had a chance to meet up with a fellow strummer and share some tunes during a break!)  That story and more to follow soon…

Happy Monday, gang.

Aloha nō,