Near the end of June, 2012 Mike was on a flight between Minneapolis, MN and Spokane, WA returning home from a business trip. Sitting next to him on the flight was an older gentleman, also returning from a business trip. He was outgoing and social and they quickly struck up a conversation. Over the course of the next two hours Mike was enlightened to the gentleman's view of the world. He was pro Bush, anti Obama; pro-corporate farming, anti-organic; pro war in Iraq, Afganistan, and thought that preemptive strikes were an acceptable way to do things on the global stage. As they talked further Mike also learned that Bhutan, by gauging the success of their nation on Gross Domestic Happiness instead of Gross Domestic Product, was really a parasite on the rest of the world, the USA was the stabilizing force in the world, the environmental movement is bogus propaganda with no scientific basis, and that unchecked growth of either the human population or in the economic sectors, is not a problem for the world. At one point the man summed up his philosophy on consumer growth and industry by stating “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.” They ended their conversation by agreeing to disagree but Mike spent his 3 ½ hour drive home to BC shaking his head. Everything he thought was wrong with the world seemed to be epitomized in this one man. Was this the predominant way of thinking? He felt beat up and more than a little disenchanted with the world.
A week later Mike was again on the road, this time with Andrea Winckers, on their way to attend the World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon. The premise of this gathering of 1000 people, from 20 different countries, was to examine the question “How do you live an exceptional life in a conventional world?” This exceptional weekend was the antidote to Mike's musings of the previous week. There were many inspiring speakers, ideas and a fantastic network of likeminded individuals who were looking at how to do things differently in the world. At the end of weekend, conference organizer, Chris Guillebeau, surprised the 1000 attendees by gifting each $100 to “start a project, surprise someone, or do something entirely different”. He called it The $100 Investment. Andrea and Mike walked out inspired and somewhat concerned – what could they do with this seed money? They felt a responsibility that whatever it they decided to do it needed to be worthwhile. A new pair of shoes would not do. Then Andrea came up with the idea – Let’s turn the $100 in $100,000 and give it to charity. And Mike thought “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”
The big question was “How are we going to do it?..........” And the journey towards the creation of Yodel began.