A gift but with a message

What would you do with a $100 gift?

Last weekend I attended the World Domination Summit (WDS) in Portland, Oregon.  The theme of WDS is how to live a remarkable life in a conventional world.

WDS is now in its second year and was conceived/organized/produced/directed by Chris Guillebeau, a well-known entrepreneur, traveler and author.

At the end of conference Chris made a surprise announcement.  Because of profits earned by WDS plus a large anonymous donation, Chris told the theater full of people he would be giving each of us an envelope with $100 inside.

It didn’t take long for even me to review my 3rd grade arithmetic and do some quick math.  The theater held about 1,000 people and if each person received $100?

Well . . . let’s see . . . that works out to be . . . lots of envelopes.


Lots of envelopes

As we walked out of the theater, each person received an envelope.  Inside was a $100 bill and note which said:

“Thanks for making #WDS2012 a fantastic experience.  We’d love to see how you can put these funds to good use.  Start a project, surprise someone, or do something entirely different – it’s up to you.” 

My first reaction was one of surprise.  I’ve never seen anyone just give away $100,000 to a 1,000 different people. No strings attached.  No receipts.  No checking-names-off-a-list.  Just a nice person handing an envelope to everyone as they left the theater.

Then I felt gratitude.  Who wouldn’t appreciate a $100 gift?

But what stayed with me more than anything? A feeling of responsibility.  I was given a gift of cash but also I felt like I was given a responsibility.  The responsibility to multiply the value of the gift.  To do something important with the $100.


Two tickets

On Sunday, we were told we could buy a ticket to come back to WDS next year.  The conference sells out well in advance and we had until Monday night to buy a ticket before they went on sale to anyone else.  Actually, we were told we could buy two tickets.

Two tickets? For some reason that stayed in the back of my mind and I thought,

“If I had an extra ticket, I could give it away.  And if I give the ticket to someone, that person might feel the same responsibility I did with the $100 gift.”

They might feel more of a responsibility to do something with what they would learn at the conference.  More of a responsibility to soak up as much as possible from each session.  From each speaker.  From each person they met and each new idea they learned.

More of a responsibility than if they just bought a ticket when they went on sale.  I wondered if giving away a ticket could result in more value than if that same ticket would just be sold later on the WDS website? So on the way home yesterday, I bought an extra ticket for WDS 2013.

How will I use the $100 gift?  And what will I do with the extra ticket to WDS for 2013?  I’m not sure yet but I’ll do my best to multiply both the value of the $100 and the extra ticket.


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  1. $100 and 4 lessons | More Than Adventure - September 20, 2012

    […] had a chance to think more about the $100 gift all the attendees received from Chris Guillebeau.  As explained here, along with the cash, I took away a feeling of responsibility.  A responsibility to multiply the […]

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