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Opinion Editorials

First Ever Real Estate Bar Camp = Awesome



Image Courtesy of Brad Coy
image courtesy of Brad Coy

Although Andy did his best attempt to sabotage my attendance to REBarCamp, I made it. It was an incredible event, but for those of you who couldn’t make it (or were attending one of the other excellent break-out sessions), here’s what I got out of it.


I know this is all what you really care about. The laminates are awesome, great design, great idea and a great icebreaker. So happy I scored a killer t-shirt too because I think I may have packed a little too light. I scored a killer pen/flashlight/level courtesy of RMC Vanguard. Yahoo! provided some tasty mints. Okay, fine, you don’t care about the schwag…

Social Networking Session

The first break out session I attended was covering Social Networking. Big surprise that Teresa Boardman and Jeff Turner had lots to say 🙂 I know the people I was sitting with were all very interested in learning more about how exactly Teresa and Jeff use Flickr as a social network. I’m on there, but not very active, but after learning a few of the tips and tricks, I’ll definitely be spending some time. These were the recommendations I took away:

  • Create an uber-group for your listing photos with sub-groups for each individual listing
  • Take TONS of local area photos since that’s what the general public is going to be most interested in
  • Tag, tag, tag! People will find your photos via search and good tags are the best way to find them

A couple of stories I heard were of people taking pictures at conferences and their Flickr photo sets showing up higher in Google than the conference web site. Perhaps we can do that with REBarCamp…

General Discussion

Next I met with Reggie, NikNik and Chad from MyTechOpinion. They did a very brief product pitch for, which is a new real estate product and service directory. Think DMOZ, but covering all the various products and services for the real estate industry. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to help out in building the directory. Then we had a great general discussion about the evolution of marketing in the real estate industry.

Blog Networks

In this session, we discussed group blogs and networked blog sites. I see brokerage networked blog sites as a great recruiting tool because many new agents I encounter would love to get into blogging, but desire a bit of help getting started, so having a company provided solution could be great.

Guerrilla Marketing

Mark Eckenrode hosted a great Guerrilla Marketing session covering a ton of free/inexpensive marketing tactics that can complement any current marketing you may be doing. We discussed setting goals and making your path to accomplish that goal as easy as possible. It was definitely a bit of information overload, so I’m hoping Mark will give even more details on his site.

My Conclusion

REBarCamp was incredible. It was a great way to spend some time getting to know a ton of people and have great, more intimate conversations about all things real estate technology and marketing. It even looks like REBarCamp Texas will be happening October 22nd! I look forward to hearing about more of these and working on getting one close to home once life settles down.

Thanks to everyone who made the event what it was.

Nick runs a new media marketing consulting company helping real estate professionals learn how to implement new media tools into their marketing arsenal. He frequently gives presentations on generational marketing, green marketing and advanced online promotion. Nick is active on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

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  1. Rich Jacobson

    July 29, 2008 at 8:51 am

    Nick, I totally agree. The atmosphere and enthusiasm at RE Barcamp was electrifying. It’s hard to adequately describe the environment. It felt like we were all part of some underground resistance movement, and we were meeting to plot our strategies for battle. There was a pronounced hunger and thirst for knowledge, as well as generous sharing of experiences/information. The sessions were informal and free flowing. We are planning to have a couple of events here in our area soon!

  2. teresa boardman

    July 29, 2008 at 9:56 am

    I totally agree as well. I liked the kind of informal setting and the way we could just share ideas. It is rare that I get an opportunity to be with my web 2.0 peers so that I can learn from them.

  3. Brad Coy

    July 29, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Nice picture 🙂

    Thanks for the follow up Nick. I did not get nearly enough of what happened throughout the day and have been dependent on posts like this to occupy my curiosity. I love what Rich says above about an “underground resistance movement”. I have a feeling that this movement of Bar Camp is going to be bigger than anyone could have imagined. This could be the start of something very innovative and cool for the Real Estate industry.

  4. Robert Luna

    July 29, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Bar Camp was awesome the structure, the vibe, the people this was a major Home Run thanks to all the people who put it together and supported it I can hardly wait for the next one.

  5. Derek Overbey

    July 29, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    Nice recap Nick. Having attended SocialMediaCamp a week earlier (Andy was there too) I can honestly say this was by far the more useful and informative Camp in my opinion. Plus for myself, being new to this social media group, this event opened the door to the tens if not hundreds of new relationships I have now.

    I also had the opportunity to use Qik during RE Bar Camp which was great for people who could not be there live. I know Poppy Dinsey of Zoomf was in London watching the sessions that I was streaming. You can check out the video at

    I hope there are many more in the future and I will try with all my might to be in Houston in Oct.

  6. Vicki Moore

    July 29, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    Hey – I’m still bragging about that pen/flashlight/screw driver thingy.

    I think I learned as much at BarCamp as I did at Bloggers’ Connect – and it was free. I’m checking off my list of things to do – every day a little at a time.

  7. Kim Wood

    July 29, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    While I didn’t get any Schwag….and arrived very late… I did find out that it would have been worth it to have been there earlier!!!

    That was the first place my meet ups began…and although I know Flickr and Teresa Boardman, it was fun to sit in on her session.

    No comment about Beer for Bloggers that night ??? ::grin::

  8. Matt Kelly

    July 30, 2008 at 6:46 am

    Thanks for the mention of the pen/flashlight/level. I was suprised at how fast they disappeared and really glad I didn’t have to haul a bunch of them back to Houston!

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Opinion Editorials

Online dating is evolving and maybe networking will too

(OPINION EDITORIALS) How has the online dating industry been disrupted during the pandemic? And can we apply a few pointers from this evolved model to networking?



Woman networking through Zoom video call with two other women.

We are often reminded that hindsight is 20/20 – a proverb that means “it is easy to understand something after it has already happened”, and how ironic that is since we are in the year 2020 and not sure we can fully comprehend all we are learning and what hindsight this will bring.

Reflecting back to six months ago, there were many of us that didn’t have much of a clue about what the rest of 2020 would look like and how we would have to adjust to a more virtual world. We’ve updated our ways of working, connecting with colleagues, socializing with friends, networking with those in our industry, or looking for a new job.

Microsoft suggested that we have seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in about five months. For example: MS Teams, Zoom, and Google Meet have become the new way to host networking sessions, work meetings, and “chats” with colleagues; Tele-med appointments became the norm for routine or non-911 emergency doctor appointments; curbside pickup at grocery stores and food to-go orders via online ordering became the new normal (they existed before but saw tremendous growth in number of users).

We also had to learn how to create engaging and interactive ways to connect solely through a screen. We are already Zoom fatigued and wondering how online meetings have zapped our energy so differently than in person. It turns out, looking at ourselves and trying to talk to a group is a lot for our brains to process.

The Atlantic shares a great article about why the Zoom social life might feel so draining, saying that “Attempting to translate your old social habits to Zoom or FaceTime is like going vegetarian and proceeding to glumly eat a diet of just tofurkey”. No offense to vegetarians, of course.

You could argue though, that we’ve all been interacting via screens for years with the dominance of social media channels – whether it was posting our thoughts in 140 characters on Twitter, or sharing photos and videos of our artisanal sandwiches/cute kid/pet pictures on Facebook. But this seems different. Times are different and we will not be going back soon.

In this interim, many people are trying to make the best of the situation and are figuring out ways to connect. We will always need human connection (and without the germs, even better).

What about our single friends? If they don’t have anyone in the house to already drive them crazy, then where can they go to meet new people and/or possibly love interests?

While many experts are trying to predict the outcomes of this global shift, it may be hard to know what will change permanently. We know many industries are experiencing major disruptions – online dating apps being one of them.

According to Digital Trends, Tinder still ranks as one of the top dating apps. However, now that people are sheltering in place and/or social distancing, there’s a new app taking over as a way to “meet” someone a little faster, while also allowing you to stay behind the screen, sans mask.

Slide is a video dating app that changes your first-date frustrations into real connections and instant chemistry. Explore video profiles, go on first dates via Video Calls at your fingertips, and find that chemistry before dating IRL.”

So, while Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge play quarantine catch-up, Slide is stealing their market share.

How? With video.

Slide recognized the massive success of short-form video platforms like TikTok, and have translated it to dating. They focus on features like:

  • “Vibe Check”, which gives you the option to video chat immediately after matching with someone to see if there’s chemistry. This will save you from long or misinterpreted text conversations and money you may have spent on that first date.
  • A video-first approach that lets you see the real people behind the profiles so you can pass if they aren’t really who they say they are.
  • AI-assisted creation of “future bae” profiles that help suggest your best matches and spare you extra swipes. If Netflix can find similar suggestions…

As of August 2020, the Department of Labor and Statistics estimates about 13.6 million people are currently unemployed and searching for a new j-o-b. Is it possible that some of these newer ways of connecting online could be included in how we network for a new job/career opportunity?

For example, instead of sending a connection or networking request on LinkedIn, what if we could send a quick video about our story, or what we’d love to learn from that person, or how we’d like to connect?

Would that create a faster, better, possibly more genuine connection?

This would seem worth exploring as many job connections are created by in-person networking or reaching real people vs. solely online applications, behind a screen. Some other formats that have seen increased use are Marco Polo for video chats (you don’t have to both be available at the same time) and FaceTime group calls.

It might be worth exploring how short-form video platforms could assist job seekers in networking, outreach, and connecting with others. These are just some ideas as we continue to watch this digital transformation unfold.

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Opinion Editorials

Minimalism doesn’t have to happen overnight

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) Minimalism doesn’t have to mean throwing out everything this instant – you can get similar benefits from starting on smaller spaces.



Minimal desk with laptop, cup, books, and plant.

Minimalism. This trend has reared its head in many forms, from Instagram-worthy shots of near empty homes to Marie Kondo making a splash on Netflix with Tidying Up with Marie Kondo in 2019. If you’re anything like me, the concept of minimalism is tempting, but the execution seems out of reach. Paring down a closet to fit into a single basket or getting rid of beloved objects can sometimes seem too difficult, and I get it! Luckily, minimalism doesn’t have to be quite so extreme.

#1. Digitally

Not ready to purge your home yet? That’s fine! Start on your digital devices. Chances are, there are plenty of easy ways to clean up the storage space on your computer or phone. When it comes to low stakes minimalism, try clearing out your email inbox or deleting apps you no longer use. It’ll increase your storage space and make upkeep much more manageable on a daily basis.

It’s also worth taking a look through your photos. With our phones so readily available, plenty of us have pictures that we don’t really need. Clearing out the excess and subpar pictures will also have the added bonus of making your good pictures easily accessible!

Now, if this task seems more daunting, consider starting by simply deleting duplicate photos. You know the ones, where someone snaps a dozen pics of the same group pose? Pick your favorite (whittle it down if you have to) and delete the rest! It’s an easy way to get started with minimizing your digital photo collection.

#2. Slowly

Minimalism doesn’t have to happen all at once. If you’re hesitant about taking the plunge, try dipping your toe in the water first. There’s no shame in taking your time with this process. For instance, rather than immediately emptying your wardrobe, start small by just removing articles of clothing that are not wearable anymore. Things that are damaged, for instance, or just don’t fit.

Another way to start slow is to set a number. Take a look at your bookshelf and resolve to get rid of just two books. This way, you can hold yourself accountable for minimizing while not pushing too far. Besides, chances are, you do have two books on your shelf that are just collecting dust.

Finally, it’s also possible to take things slow by doing them over time. Observe your closet over the course of six months, for instance, to see if there are articles of clothing that remain unworn. Keep an eye on your kitchen supplies to get a feel for what you’re using and what you’re not. Sure, that egg separator you got for your wedding looks useful, but if you haven’t picked it up, it probably has to go.

#3. Somewhat

Sometimes, minimalism is pitched as all or nothing (pun intended), but it doesn’t have to be that way. Just because I want to purge my closet doesn’t mean I’m beholden to purging my kitchen too. And that’s okay!

Instead of getting overwhelmed by everything that needs to be reduced, just pick one aspect of your life to declutter. Clear out your wardrobe and hang onto your books. Cut down on decorations but keep your clothes. Maybe even minimize a few aspects of your life while holding onto one or two.

Or, don’t go too extreme in any direction and work to cut down on the stuff in your life in general. Minimizing doesn’t have to mean getting rid of everything – it can mean simply stepping back. For instance, you can minimize just by avoiding buying more things. Or maybe you set a maximum number of clothes you want, which means purchasing a new shirt might mean getting rid of an old one.

The point is, there are plenty of ways to start on the minimalist lifestyle without pushing yourself too far outside your comfort zone. So, what are you waiting for? Try decluttering your life soon!

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Opinion Editorials

Your goals are more complicated than generalized platitudes, and that’s okay

(OPINION / EDITORIALS) When the tough times get going, “one size fits all” advice just won’t cut it. Your goals are more specific than the cookie cutter platitudes.



Split paths in the forest like goals - general advice just doesn't fit.

‘Saw.’ – “Vulgar, uneducated wisdom based in superstition”, according to the good volunteer compilers at Wikipedia. See also: ‘aphorism’, ‘platitude’, and ‘entrepreneurial advice’. I’m not saying there’s no good advice for anyone anymore, that’s plain not true. SMART Goals are still relevant, there’s a plethora of cheaper, freeer, more easily accessible tutorials online, and consensus in April-ville is that Made to Stick is STILL a very helpful book.

But when I hear the same ‘pat on the head’ kind of counsel that I got as a kid presented by a serious institution and/or someone intending on being taken seriously by someone who isn’t their grade school-aged nephew, I roll my eyes. A lot.

“Each failure is an opportunity!” “Never give up!” “It’s not how many times you fall!”, yeah, okay, that’s all lovely. And it IS all very true. My issue is… These sunshiney saws? They’re not very specific. And just like a newspaper horoscope, they’re not meant to be (not that I’ll stop reading them).

Example: You’ve been jiggling the rabbit ears of your SEO for months, to no avail. No one’s visiting your site, there’ve been no calls, and the angel investor cash is starting to dip closer to falling from heaven with each passing day.

Does ‘don’t give up’ mean that you use your last bit of cash to take on an expert?

Or does ‘don’t give up’ mean that you go back to R&D and find out that no one actually WANTED your corncob scented perfume to begin with; algorithm tweaking and Demeter Fragrances be damned?

This is the thing about both your goals you make and the guidance you take—they have to be specific. I’m not saying your parents can put a sock in it or anything. I’m thrilled that I’m part of a family that’ll tell me to keep on keeping on. But as far as serious, practical input goes… One size fits all just leaves too much room for interpretation.

When you’re stuck, behind, or otherwise at odds with your growth, are you asking the right questions? Are you sure of what the problem actually is? Do you know whether it’s time to give up a failure of a business and ‘keep pushing’ in the sense of starting another one, or whether you’ve got a good thing on hand that needs you to ‘never say die’ in the sense of giving it more tweaking and time?

No one should have stagnant goals. A pool of gross sitting water is only attractive to mosquitoes and mold. ‘I wanna be rich’ as your business’s raison d’être is a setup for a story about the horrors of literal-minded genies, not an intention you can actually move upon. But that doesn’t mean you need to go hard the other way and get lost in a nebulous fog of easily-published aphorisms.

To be fair, it’s not as if saying ‘Ask the right questions’ is exponentially more helpful than your average feel-good refreshment article, since… This editorial column doesn’t know you or what pies you have your fingers in. But if I can at least steer you away from always running towards the overly general and into an attempt at narrowing down what your real problems are, I’ll consider this a job well done.

Save saws for building community tables.

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