Burning Man Winners and Charity:Water Finalists (Please Vote!)

Goofing around at Burning Man ’08. Ah, the memories…

This is just a quick announcement post.

Below, please find the winners of Chip Conley’s Burning Man 2013 contest (See “28 Festivals and 8 Reasons They Can Change Your Life“), as well as the finalists for the Charity:Water roundtrip ticket anywhere in the world.

Please vote for your favorite Charity:Water finalist! The most votes wins — deadline is this Friday, Aug. 23 at 5pm PT.

First, Burning Man Tickets — Enter Chip

Wow, what an impressive and heartfelt collection of stories about how festivals have or could transform your lives! Thanks to the 250 people who shared with us. This was a difficult choice and, while only one person wins the two tickets to Burning Man 2013, I’ve selected one winner and three alternates depending upon whether the first place winner can use the tickets (since the event starts in a week and ends on the Monday of Labor Day). Congrats to these four! Tanis, DW, and Rebecca, we will immediately reach out to you if the person above you on the list can’t use the tickets.

For everyone else, take a look at Fest300 and imagine which festival might transform your life or give you a whole new perspective on how you could live your life. In this era of digital overload, festivals offer you the opportunity to connect more deeply with yourself and others.


Catherine Anne (aka Squirt Gun) — August 15th, 2013, 3:19 pm

I first attended Burning Man in 2006 and fell in love with the boy next door. Now we are married. I attend annually. As a sign language interpreter I noticed there were no services for Deaf Burners to fully connect with fellow Burners, so we created Playa Terps to provide interpreters. The two tickets will go to Deaf Burners who want to go this year. It’s not just about how Burning Man has changed my world, but how it is changing theirs too.


Tanis M — August 16th, 2013, 9:40 am

Burning Man! I’m yearning, man!?

The fires of my soul never cease learning, man!?

First solo trip, In Germany I landed?

A journey of self and soul, my mind expanded.?

Wolkenkratzer Festival,?

One of the best of all…?

All of us souls, humans the same?

Dancing underneath Heaven’s warm rain?

Tears shed, and difference reside?

Teaching Oneness, our truthful ties.?

But Burning Man! I’m yearning, man!?

My soul craves this grand epitome,?

To bring present every bit of me.?

My bags are packed, I’m ready to go?

To Burning man, where I’ll continue to grow!


dw — August 15th, 2013, 2:13 pm

In 2002 i lost my brother with whom i had first discovered festivals and travel for the sake of the soul. The loss was the result of an auto accident, and i was to blame. In the intervening decade i have attempted to restore a semblance of normalcy and happiness, with varying degrees of success and failure. My partner in life has helped me with this process, and once again we are traveling to festivals and finding the joy in life. Being immersed in burning man would help her and i on my journey towards forgiveness and light. thank you.


Rebecca Carter — August 15th, 2013, 11:06 am

My first burn was with this beautiful man, he warped my view of love and how I saw the world into something more giving and beautiful than I had ever imagined. Few years later we are pregnant and his father passes from aggressive cancer. We want to take his dad to the temple. It would be the best birthday gift I can think to give my husband. his birthday is Aug 26th. Help me give back to my giving husband and say Goodbye to his dad the only way a burner can. Its been too long. Thank you.

Second, Charity:Water Finalists — Time to Vote

You guys ROCK. I cannot begin to express how awesome you are. In just over a week, you raised more than $65,000 (including the promised $8,600 of my own money) to help solve the world’s clean water crisis.

As also promised, I’m giving away a free round-trip ticket anywhere in the world that Star Alliance flies, which is just about everywhere. There is no expiration date on the trip, and therefore no rush on deciding where or when to go. If the winner likes, I’ll fly them to San Francisco to have dinner with me, but other places might be far more interesting 🙂

To pick the grand-prize winner, I need your help. Please vote for your favorite below! Deadline is this Friday, Aug. 23 at 5pm PT. The person with the most votes wins. There were so many great submissions that I chose six finalists instead of five. Keep in mind my criteria, summarized here:

Spread the word by sending people to the fundraising blog post or the donation page. Leave a comment telling me what you did (Facebook, Twitter, blog post, e-mail blast, e-mail signature, encouraged employees/friends to do the same, company donation matching, etc.). Measurement of any type gets huge bonus points.


(If you can’t see the form below, please click here)

Fill out my online form.

Sébastien ‘Go France’ Night

To me, education means helping someone to share their unique gift and be the best person they can be.

Half of my family are teachers (both my mom and dad are from families of eight, so that’s a whole lot of teachers), and so is my fiancee.?I teach communication skills and own or have owned 4 other businesses that are all education-related.?So learning and teaching is my life’s work and passion. That’s also what education means to me.

I scheduled to post this comment exactly within the deadline and I’m posting this right after crunching the numbers after the 1000th donation. If I messed up my time zone difference calculations, please still pick me.

This campaign for Charity:Water was very important to me because I’m just coming back from a 6-month trip around the world.? I’ve seen poor communities struggling in Brazil, South Africa and India and I can’t imagine how hard it must be to walk miles for clean water instead of just opening a faucet and having all the time in the world to run a business and create value like we do.

So I participated in your campaign because I wanted to send you a “Thank You” that would be meaningful.? Five years ago I read 4HWW and I dreamed of traveling the world with a beautiful woman on my arm… and this year I was able to do it while still growing my business (half a million euros in sales last year, and even more profit this year although I was working only 1 day a week)

So Here’s what I did to send you this “Thank You!”/”Pick Me” message

I have a whole lot of Facebook fans but after 5 years of raising money for charities with my business, I know that posting to FB doesn’t work. ?Nor do most of the other “weak-link” strategies (sending the link to friends so they check it out, twittering, etc)

All the 4- and 5-figure short campaigns I’ve succeeded with, used strong-link strategies and a template.

What I call a strong link is actually sending a one-to-one (or one-to-few) communication to someone who is on target with the message, and the 4 most important elements of the template I use are :?- What is in it for the person?- What is in it for the beneficiary of the charity work?- What is in it for me.?- Call to action (with just one actual action to commit to)

I’m always transparent regarding what’s in it for me.?In this case, I candidly talked about my trip, and explained that I wanted to send Tim a “Thank you” note that would get noticed.

So I made a list of close customers and contacts, and wrote a personalized email to each of them.?(I had it sent, did not email each of them myself, because I’m email-free).

I wanted to be able to track numbers (a second nature for me) so I told people to add “Go France” before their name.?So if you wondered how all these crazy French people got there… now you know.

Something very interesting about my clients and contacts is that almost every single person that I knew would be interested in such a cause is an entrepreneur, investor or business owner. So I insisted on the “creating entrepreneurial callings in kids and women that would otherwise spend their life walking for water” angle.

Since I was bringing French people in, I asked them to donate EUR 36 EUROS (hence the USD $48 donations).?I did not link to the main Charity:Water page (one of my rules for charity campaigns : eliminate the clutter) ; I told everything in my very long email and gave them straight “payment page” links to donating $48.?(I split tested “$48, $480, or $1?, and “$48,$100, or $1?, and “$48, or $pick your own amount”. Guess which won?)

The results :

91 donors (9% of the entire campaign outside of Tim’s own donation) ?$5000, 36 in donations (11% of the entire campaign outside Tim’s own donation)

82% of the donations came from my closest customers – a group of 1,200 people

?18% came from my Mastermind group (friends that I meet several times a year to have fun and discuss business, lifestyle, and lots of other things) – a group of ~90 people.

And, what I’m most happy about: ?I donated my whole week of work (8 hours so far) for this but… I did all this while spending a week at an artist’s retreat in the North of France, and I drew my very first two portraits this week! ?So whoever you end up picking, nothing can bring me down from the happy feeling of this amazing week.

If you want more numbers, I can certainly get them.

Thank you!


Kris Byberg

I believe education is the ability to derive knowledge from our experiences. All too often do we confine education to the label of simply having gone to school. Yet learning is obviously not limited to the four walls of a classroom or lecture hall. By simply limiting education to an institutionalized environment, we are ignoring the vast wealth of knowledge that we derive from our everyday experiences out in the real world. Those striving to continuously educate themselves have turned the world into our classroom. A college degree is not what defines one’s education, it is simply a building block.

Regarding the charity: water campaign, after reading your post, I experienced several mind explosions of ideas after realizing the amount of potential resources I have access to. I currently work for a business development company that has a client called Nokero. Nokero’s mission is to eliminate kerosene fueled light in developing countries with solar light bulbs. Approximately 1.3 billion people still do not have reliable access to electricity. With that, millions are using kerosene as their fuel for light, and Nokero intends to replace kerosene with their innovative solar light bulbs. You can learn more about Nokero at their website, http://www.nokero.com.

Considering the similar social values shared between Nokero and charity: water, I decided to essentially pitch Nokero on a side campaign in support of the charity: water organization. For exactly one week, from July 21st until August 7th, Nokero has agreed to donate 10% of their total sales driven from this campaign to charity: water!

Once Nokero management had approved my proposal, I sent out an email blast (view screenshot here: http://bit.ly/1ehq7GZ) to their database of 5,785 emails. So far, of the 5,000, approximately 991 of them have viewed the email. Of those who viewed the email, 59 have gone to your campaign page through the link you provided. Although, unfortunately, I cannot track the amount donated by the directed visitors.. As Nokero just launched their 10% donation campaign, it is too early to measure any adequate sales figures.

To help fuel Nokero’s campaign, I have been blasting a similar email to all our relevant databases of a combined 135,777 emails, directing them to your campaign page. Of those 135,777, around 4,468 people have opened the email. But, unfortunately, only 47 have followed the link to your campaign page as this point in time.

In addition to the Nokero campaign, I personally donated $36 to your campaign before reaching out to my ~850 friends on Facebook.

The Straight Facts Up Now:

Over 144,367 individuals have been exposed to your campaign.

Approximately 110 have followed the link to your charity: water campaign page.

I’m anxious to see the final results of the Nokero campaign, which will end on August 7th. Despite your deadline being today for posts that quality for?Oh and, Tim, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Thank you so much for an opportunity like this to directly make an impact on countless of lives. I wish you and charity: water the outmost success!

Kris Byberg – Denver, Colorado

Ashley Webb

To me, education means improving my thinking sufficient to break bread with you Tim in San Francisco and improving my thinking sufficient to make a significant contribution to the world.

To quote Russel M Nelson, the surgeon that invented the machine to bypass the heart and lungs for open heart surgery:

“Being educated is the difference between wishing you could do some good and being able to do some good.”

Thanks Tim for introducing charity:water and for writing the 4 hour series. I’ve met my best friends through the course of life you put me on in the 4 hour workweek and continuously the most inspiring people I meet and connect with are fans of yours.


As I jumped into this I ran across a quote by Scott Harrison about the actions to TRULY SOLVE the water crisis. He said:

“We can imagine solving these problems by the inevitable math of these networks of people…”

The inevitable math of the networks of people. I realized the most powerful approach would be the ones that tapped into exponential growth and intentionally influenced culture to cause repeated action and viral growth. I focused every strategy on applying the inevitable math of the networks of people for exponential growth!

(I also bitly linked everything for the huge bonus points you mentioned)

To start with, rather than make a donation and ask for individual donations, I split my test group donations into multiple donations.

I saw that charity:water has had great success with direct media so I tapped into that by combining direct media power and broadcast power. I wanted Facebook for social multiplication but also needed the power of direct and specific communication so I determined how to combine the two synergistically.

I went to Facebook and selected friends with upcoming birthdays because the birthday strategy is BRILLIANT and I wanted to piggy back on all the work done around it.

I sent direct messages to friends with birthdays and posted on their walls a video and a link. I gave them my heartfelt appreciation for who they are (I have AWESOME friends) because of their inspiration I made a donation in their honor to provide a well in Ethiopia. Because of them a village would have crystal clear drinking water for generations to come. I told them to follow the link for a special message to them which took them to the message and the donate page.

I wanted to see if my friends would regive. Sure enough, The first one came back encouraging others to give and that she had given $36. BOOM!

1. MULTIPLYING the original donation and tapping the “inevitable math”?2. Landed a targeted high potential NEW BIRTHDAY DONOR on the donate page who was enjoying a powerful emotional experience and is now invested into a charity:water well in their name. HIGH candidate for creating their own campaign, THE ULTIMATE DUPLICATION, to actually multiply what you Tim have done, donating a birthday over individual donation. This is a dramatic multiplying of the small donation given in their honor.?3. Charity water now has expanded their email list?4. The fb experience is no longer a broadcast. It plants charity:water right in the middle of a dramatic, touching emotional exchange of respect and generosity between two friends that the audience knows personally. HUGE social proof and cultural reinforcement.

First round total SUCCESS! Not only multiplying and leveraging what would have been a straight donation but massive social proof and establishing a new cultural behavior to give to charity:water in another persons name. I wanted to reinforce that even more.

Here are the kinds of posts shared:

My dear friend Ashley Webb made a birthday donation in my honor to bring clean drinking water to Ethiopia. This inspired me to make my own donation. What an awesome project.

I gave in honor of Richie Norton, Author of The Power of Starting Something Stupid (Fantastic book, endorsed by Seth Godin, Steve Forbes, Jack Canfield…)

This is what he said on his Facebook wall:

“Wow! Wow! wow! That is the most thoughtful gift ever! You really are an inspiration! Thanks so much for thinking of me and for changing the world for good. I deeply appreciate it!!!”

A huge endorsement of charity:water right there to his entire tribe!

That worked AWESOME!

I wanted to take it a step further. I did the same thing again but this time I “seeded” the gifts. I made a $10 donation, followed all the same steps as before but also paypalled my friend $10 to give to their fb friends birthday so they could have the same wonderful experience of honoring a friend that would appreciate it.

Now it is guaranteed to move forward one more person but when they get to the give page, the question is no longer “will you give” its “will you give more?” the giving is already seeded. Now its just a matter of bumping the number up.

I also passed the idea on to charity:water, they said it was fantastic

If I win, in the next phase I would like to releverage and gamify the trip to anywhere in the world. I think you will like it

Thanks again Tim, you and people that follow you are the people that have encouraged and inspired me when I’ve struggled to keep going and to hold on to the vision to be free to live our dreams in life and enjoy this incredible world while doing as much good as possible in our time in it. Thanks for leading the way and giving us tools to free up the bandwidth to join you.

In Hopes Of Breaking Bread With You In San Francisco,

Ashley Webb


To me, education means to be given an equal chance, to make a difference, a positive impact and live a life fulfilled. It’s about putting our trust and hopes in our next generation to be better than us and do more.

I’ve been having a great month with a new paleo app I recently released and I thought it would be a great opportunity to give something back. Therefore, I ran a promotion in my eShop and I’m giving away the days profits to the campaign.

I share my results here: http://bit.ly/1chm3dj – the promotion was to over 9,000 eShop subscribers, over 7,300 Facebook and 13,000 twitter.

Sean McLaughlin

To me, education means growth. For the teacher and student alike, an exchange of knowledge enriches both, matures both, and benefits both. Regardless of topic, the net yield is always positive. Whether you teach love or hate, whether you learn fear or joy, growth will always be had via the exchange mechanism of education.

WHAT I DID:?- MONDAY (July 29) – Found out about this challenge.?- MONDAY – I bought the domain www.(censored per blog posting rules).org?- MONDAY – I built a website for it?- TUESDAY – Created the content,?- TUESDAY – TRIED to purchase $1000 in Google AdWords advertising (denied)?- WEDNESDAY – Hired a banner plane to fly around the Portland Metro area for 2 hours with “(my website name).org” streaming behind it. Flights occurred 4:30pm to 5:30pm Thursday and 8:30am to 9:30am Friday.?- THURSDAY – Trouble shot a server crash (due to the high volume of new traffic)?- THURSDAY / FRIDAY – Giddily monitored Google Analytics as PageViews SKYROCKETED! In a span of 2 hours I received 616 Pageviews. I have additional analytics to share if desired.

This entire process has been 1 big experiment. I’ve never created a usable website before. I’ve never purchased ad space of any kind, and I’ve never used any analytics software. After YEARS of sideline education, I decided to jump in with both feet to get the education that only first hand experience can deliver. And I’m so happy I did. After the thrilling roller coaster ride of emotions, and the successful leveraging of eustress, I feel ready and confident to ride the ride again. If nothing else, this has been the education of a lifetime and the exact catalyst I needed.

As a side note, this is a subject matter that is near and dear to my heart. As an Iraq vet with the Marine Corps and a backyard farm / sustainable living enthusiast, I am INTIMATELY familiar with the impact easy access to pure water makes. I’ve lived it.

Thank you Mr. Ferriss for the opportunity to be involved and for the example you gift us.

With deepest sincerity and warmest thanks,


Elaine Wilkes

What education means to me is resourcefulness. I connect the dots with all my learning experiences.

My PhD doesn’t mean Phfinally Done because the resourcefulness, memories, friendships, discipline, and love of learning that I gained from my education continue on.

I used Four Hour Work Week as my step-by-step guide to get donations—totaling well over $1000.00!

(Page 11—”Have fun and let the rest follow.”) I got excited that I could help people get clean drinking water. Wow. Just writing that I get goose bumps. So, with fun as the leader I began…

While everyone is Facebooking, tweeting, notifying their school bulletin boards, all of which I did, I read, (Page 11) “What if I did the opposite.”

What weren’t people doing?

I got an email from Pete Williams of PreneurMarketing.com about a webinar. (Page 321—automate.) I hit reply using my automated email. Pete responded and donated $360.00!

(Page 189—Google ad words) I contacted my virtual assistant about creating a Google ads campaign. He said he didn’t have enough time. I tried to explain Parkinson’s Law (page 77), but he wasn’t budging. I suck at Google ad words (page 208-know your weaknesses), so it’s a no-go with ad words. Movin’ on.

(Page 129—Delegate.) I hired an elancer from India. I instructed him (page 152—give precise directions) to find contacts of the people who interviewed Tim from YouTube videos. I figured friends would be happy to give.

(Page 179-microtest first.) I tested the idea. App mogul, Chad Muretta’s peeps responded right back with, “Thanks for reaching out! Chad just gave.”

Silicon Valley investor, David Sze, also replied with, “Sure. Will do now.”

So I hired the elancer to find more contacts. Friends were happy to give.

Then I get an email from a bigwig who saw my Twitter. He was my third “seemingly impossible person” to contact. I was investigating his contact info, and then—he emailed me! GET OUT! Is that a coincidence or what! Dodododododo. (That’s the Twilight Zone theme.)

He wrote, “Just responding to your tweet regarding Tim’s birthday wishes. Feel free to reach out directly.” (Will hear tomorrow.)

Now I feel such deep gratitude for those people who donated, and joy for the people who will receive clean water.

Happy Birthday Tim!


Here’s another chance to vote for your favorite finalist!

Fill out my online form.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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15 Replies to “Burning Man Winners and Charity:Water Finalists (Please Vote!)”

  1. Truly amazing entries. I was really impressed by Sebastien not only in terms of the effort he put into the process, but also the way he desribed every single step. Creating “strong” links seems like a pretty good idea btw.

    Also, I love this part! “…and wrote a personalized email to each of them.?(I had it sent, did not email each of them myself, because I’m email-free).” – haha it is so 4HWW like;))

    On the other hand, Ashley’s Birthday approach is genius;)

    It’s gonna be tough.

  2. My jaw hit the floor to see my story in the top 4. I’m humbled to be up there with these other amazing souls. Thank you so much for the chance to win. I send my love to those going to the burn. 🙂

  3. Hello Tim,

    I am amazed by your work, your books and results in business, writing and fitness. But I guess you get that a lot, so I’ll just go on to my question.

    I was born with bilateral hip displasia and have had many surgeries so far (20+). Now I have 1 hip resurfaced (artificial joint) and the other one is waiting for the like surgery. My range of motion is very limited and movements painful. So, as you can imagine, I’m having trouble doing most of the exercises you recommend. Can you tell me which exercises (at a minimum) can I do to stay fit and strong?

    Thanks and go on with changing lives,


    Macedonia, Europe

  4. Off topic: Tim! Do you watch Orange is the New Black? They mention the 4HB in episode 5. Just thought you’d like to know… 🙂

  5. Chip, I don’t know how you did it! I was looking at all the entries and I must say, the entourage here on this blog, these people are amazing! Everyone had such a great story to tell and I think some people made a few revelations about their current predicament and will force upon it, a change. Swiftly.

    I’m not even the slightest bit bummed that I didn’t win. I actually feel more connected to everyone, than I did before and just as motivated to get to a big festival (if you’re going to think, might as well think big) and just…be.

    To all of those participating in the clean:water, flat hand to fist. And bow.

    You’re world changers. It’s nice to know theirs more than one way. 😉

  6. The methods that these folks used to promote the Charity: Water Project are excellent case studies in marketing and sales.

    I recently started my own blog on the Canadian university system and I can definitely see myself using some of these tactics to promote various causes over the next year or so.

    One thing this post made me realize is that I totally forgot about bit.ly! I’ve been posting direct links on Facebook and Twitter so far – at least I have Google Analytics which gives me some tracking.

    Overall, great job to all the finalists! They are definitely inspirations in their own right.

  7. Wow!!! Just seeing my name on here is amazing!!! So many bright souls that deserve to go and I enjoyed reading each comment. I do hope that whoever does go has an unreal time and shares their experience 🙂