Prestige Conference Speaker Interview: Peter Chester - Prestige Business Conference
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Prestige Conference Speaker Interview: Peter Chester

Prestige Conference Speaker Interview: Peter Chester

The entire Prestige Conference team is over the moon that our first 25 Super Early Bird tickets SOLD OUT in one day.

But, we’re even more excited to welcome Peter Chester to our incredible lineup of speakers coming from around the country to Minneapolis for this must-attend business conference, happening May 24-25, 2016.

Peter is a partner at Modern Tribe, the digital agency responsible for The Events Calendar and Image Widget WordPress plugins, as well as large scale WordPress builds including Harvard Law, Stanford Law, and Steelcase.com. Often leading large technical projects with budgets in excess of $500k, Peter is also a father, musician, artist, surfer and list maker with an obsession over google spreadsheet formulas (though not necessarily in that order).

As a Prestige Conference attendee, you’ll have an opportunity to meet Peter Chester and hear him speak about building a successful, distributed “lifestyle business” that supports the well being of its owners and the entire team. Until then, we hope you get to know Peter a bit better and read his speaker interview below:


Speaker Q&A

What is your story? How did you get to where you are today?

Not to get all Freudian on you but this goes back to my parents. My father is a quantum physicist and my mother was an extremely talented artist. I like to think that between the two of them and the Apple Mac that my dad had in the 80s, my faith as a technologist and designer was sealed. I remember spending hours and hours on Macromind Director making little animations in the early 90’s.

Skipping ahead a bit, a little over a decade ago, I had a full time job where, though I enjoyed my team, I was personally quite miserable. I was, in fact, so depressed commuting an hour each way to spend my time in a cubicle under florescent lights, that I would find myself smoking cigarettes during the week and when I would stop working and go home for the weekend, I wouldn’t even think to smoke a cigarette.

I met Shane (one of my business partners) around this time. He immediately struck me as one of the most remarkable people I have ever come across. Right from day one he would ask me extraordinarily personal and deep questions about my sense of purpose and direction. He was running a solo freelance web development business and started to call me routinely in the middle of a work day asking if I wanted to go surfing with him.

“Peter, quit your job. Come surf!”

It didn’t take long before I did quit my job. I also had no trouble also quitting smoking. I enthusiastically entered into my own freelance business for the 3rd time but this time something was different. I had a colleague with a higher sense of vision. We started collaborating and shortly thereafter went into business together.

The salient point was that from day one, our business has been extremely intentional, introspective, and has had the stated purpose of supporting us and our team financially, intellectually and spiritually. For me, and I hope for most or even all of the people on our team, this isn’t just about money, this is about a shared journey.

What is your role. What are you responsible for?

I started by wearing all the hats in my business. When Shane and I partnered, I wore many hats and Shane wore many but we were able to hand some off to each other. Every new person on our team is able to take one or more hats. At this point I’m wearing a somewhat random assortment of caps based on what roles have yet to be filled.

I am a strategist and account manager on a couple of projects. I am the director of recruiting. I am heavily involved in operations. Beyond that, I just do a ton of random things where I can be most valuable.

Personally though, I am currently most interested in developing a unified vision of embodying the idea of a Lifestyle business. I want people to not just feel like that’s a fuzzy idea but to really get what that means and live it.

You’re speaking on the concept of the Lifestyle Business. Why this is important to you?

The important distinction is that this isn’t just about the well being of the business owners, but of the entire team. The reason this is important to me is that about a year ago, my father shook the foundations of my sense of purpose. He argued that there is no such thing as free will. Or, that if there is free will, it is entirely an illusion and that ultimately we have no power.

Wow. That’s heavy. And controversial. I’m not going to get into trying to explain that here. But what I will point out is that if you accept that as a premise and try and look at the world, one of the many things you’ll notice is that any sense of greater purpose is also meaningless.

Another way of getting to that same conclusion is the idea that eventually everything that we do and indeed all of humanity will likely perish. It is extremely unlikely that we will perish in the next 5 minutes. It is extremely unlikely that we will still be around in 100 million years. And even if we were around, there would likely be no evidence of my life. Of my contribution. Again, my sense of greater purpose is meaningless.

What does one do with no purpose? After chewing on this for quite some time, I concluded that the greatest way to honor this gift of life is to enjoy it fully. My mantra became “Enjoy the ride.” Given this as a premise, perhaps you can see why maximizing the ideal of Lifestyle Business is so important to me. It literally is the most important part of our business to me.

What do you do when you’re not working?

Every weekend I open up my calendar and the surf report and I schedule surf sessions when the tide is low and the swell is high. That’s the priority. Meetings get booked around that. Then on weekends, when the surf is too crowded, I spend some time with my family and some time working.


Join Us At Prestige Conference

If you’d like to spend time with industry experts and learn first-hand from their experiences and stories, I hope you’ll consider joining us for Prestige Conference, May 24-25, 2016 at the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.

From valuable learning sessions delivered by industry leaders and a hands-on workshop, to abundant networking opportunities and special connection events, Prestige Conference an unsurpassed opportunity for personal and professional growth.

Among our lineup of hand-picked speakers, you will find agency owners, small business owners, enterprise level professionals, entrepreneurs, and freelancers, who work both with in-office and remote teams. And because all Prestige Conference speakers are compensated for their time, attendees benefit from invaluable content created specifically for them without pushy selling from the stage.

Our Super Early Bird tickets sold out in one day! So, mark your calendar!

Early Bird Tickets go on sale March 8, 2016 — and we hope you snag a ticket ASAP as Peter Chester is only one of many amazing and talented speakers we’re bringing in from across the country.

You’re not going to want to miss this — Trust me!

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