As you can see here, I started this blog last week because I was inspired by attending the World Domination Summit held in Portland two weekends ago. I plan to post a summary of what I learned there soon, but this has to come first. If you want to know what it was all about, Gretchen explains it to an outsider, Sarah has an epic set of notes of what happened and Chris himself (the host) has a round up of a lot of posts talking about it.
A major event at the Summit happened during Chris’ closing speech on Sunday. He discussed how WDS was a not for profit organisation, and despite being loss making last year, a profit and anonymous donation had left the organisation with a surplus of somewhere around $100,000. So far so good I thought – bigger and better next year – awesome.
But then I quickly put 2 and 2 together – 1000 people in the audience, Chris is the Author of The $100 Startup, $100,000…
So yes, it’s true, Everyone in the audience received a sealed envelope with $100 dollars in it. This is pretty unbelievable. In fact there are apparently a lot of people on the internet who don’t believe it. I can absolutely confirm that it’s true. The video of it happening is here, and the picture below is of my $100 bill and instructions.
So Chris and the WDS team had invested $100 in each and every one of us. Wow.
Lots of people talked about how amazing it was that someone believed in them enough to invest. I can see that, but for me the overriding emotion was of responsibility and commitment. I was now compelled to do something with this money. Something which had a story I could be proud to tell next year. Something amazing. I had to make it happen, because now it wasn’t just me – I had outside investors!
It definitely felt like an investment. As a business kind of guy, I also felt I needed to provide Chris some sort of return on that investment. I wasn’t sure if this would be financial, or impact based return, but I had to do more than just donate it to a cause. I had to make the money work harder and do more. Having seen the amazing work being done by the likes of Charity:Water over the weekend, this was going to be tricky. But I really wanted to have a story to tell.
As I continued to think about the hundred bucks, the responsibility factor became more and more apparent to me. I didn’t need someone to give me the money to start something. My Trip to Portland had cost several times that amount, it would be easy to invest $100 in whatever I chose. But the responsibility of managing someone else’s hundred bucks – that’s a different matter.
That changes the rules. That compels action.
So What am I going to do with it then?
I’m definitely going to start a business with it. But I’m also going to multiply it by 10, and invest that in others. I feel like I want to share the very real sense of obligation to do better I got from opening that envelope.
Specifically, I’m going to create The Hundred Dollar Club. I would like to recruit 10 people who would also appreciate the challenge, responsibility, commitment and impetus of having someone else’s money invested in their idea, and give them $100 of my own money. I’m then going to organise this group of people to help, support and drag each other kicking and screaming into action and really deliver amazing things over the next year. We’ll create a group of people who all want to start or improve some sort of business, probably with an on-line element.
I’ll work with the group through everything. We’ll start with generating the idea for a new company, product or offering. We’ll use a structured process to help anyone struggling for what they should do. We’ll move on to evaluating and testing the idea, proving the market or segment to create something that sticks. We’ll have help getting started and setting up websites, on-line stores or whatever is required. We’ll do this all the way through the next year with the goal of reporting back at WDS next year.
I haven’t worked out the details yet, but I envisage 1-1 sessions, group discussions, advice from mentors, a space to share ideas questions frustrations and the like but above all a dedicated community of people to help each other through this amazing challenge. I appreciate I am not Chris Guillebeau, and a hundred bucks from me means less than coming from him, however with 10 people to help you and hold you to account, I hope that can make up a little for the stature of the giver.
So – a few questions:
Who can apply?
Anyone at all. I’ll be forwarding this page to a couple of friends who I think could be interested and benefit, but otherwise – open invitation. I’ll pick the people or ideas that seem most interesting. People should Ideally to commit to taking part in the club to get the most from the experience. If you came to WDS and want to join forces that’s great – you can have another 100 bucks if it helps or you can just be part of a gang of like minded people.
Why am I qualified to run this group?
I’m probably not. But then I am because I’m taking action and getting it started. This will be about getting the most out of collective expertise, not about how much I know. In terms of what I do know though, I’ve launched two small web based business as hobbies, and my “day job” is consulting on e-commerce and multi channel strategy to big retailers in the UK, such as Marks & Spencer and B&Q. I’ve learned a hell of a lot about what works and what doesn’t from all this and I’m desperate to put it back into practice in my next venture.
What’s in it for me (Rob)?
Financially nothing, I don’t expect you to pay me back. However what I get out of it is an amazing community of people to share with, and a fantastic story for next year’s WDS. Worth $1000 of anyone’s money.
What’s in it for you?
As above, except you get that amazing community, which we’ve just established is easily worth more than $1000 for -$100. So what are you waiting for?
How do I apply?
Leave a comment below or drop me an email. Explain why you’d like to be part of it. Get it done by Midnight UK time on Wednesday 1st August – 2 weeks today. We’ll start the first session the following week.
Ok, that’s it. I’m done for this post. As Brené would want, I’ve made myself vulnerable and hopefully it will all work out. As Chris would say: Freely receive, freely give… I hope this fits with WDS’s core values of community adventure and service. It feels like it should.
Update: Whilst there has been lots of interest (way more than I expected), don’t let this stop you from getting in touch. I originally said I’d pick the most interesting stories or ideas, and I’ll stick by this, so applications stay open until next Wednesday as I originally said. I’ll also work out a way that anyone who’s interested can be involved in some way.