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Commercial Real Estate Barcamp? Seriously?

crebcWell this all started about a year ago with a tweet from Matt Dollinger and a trip to Chicago to Sparkt.   That’s the back of my head on the left …really.  You see I was exploring and listening to (or reading) conversations on Twitter.  I caught drift of this barcamp type of thing.  One quick DM (direct message on Twitter) to Matt to ask if there were any Real Estate Social Media type of events he may be familiar with.   He shot back the Sparkt link.   I thought well this is interesting.

Sweet Home Chicago

So I signed up to attend.   Arriving at the event I was greeted at the registration table by a smiling pleasant man named Tim Mc Donald in what can only be described as a teal colored electric silk shirt.  The event was held in a bar next to the EL.   A real estate educational type event in a bar?  My thoughts were, well this is DIFFERENT.   The event content in retrospect was pretty cutting edge for me at the time.   Matt with his Social Media Branding presentation, Eric Bryn with all that Eric stuff, Wellcomemat, with video and Social Media privacy are just a few examples.  I met Kit Muller the organizer of the event and to this day I still don’t know what he does for a job.   He also started a group called Chicago ReVerb.   I took a look at my notes from the event and they are still very relevant today.  I can’t remember who mentioned the possible Rebarcamp event coming to Chicago, but it sounded interesting so I signed up for it also.  Via Twitter, I got invited to meet with some peeps from Indianapolis who were also planning to attend the Chicago event.


After the event Rock Plank (ask us if he and I were once Chippendale Dancers) the mortgage broker type MBA boy that he is and Allie Hostetter, the title company  marketing web queen said “ Hey let’s do one in Indianapolis”.  Like a fool I said “Sure” (at the time they did not realize my obvious lack of conference planning skillz).  Hence, with the incredible help of  the Indiana Association of Realtors, BarCampIndiana was born. Thankfully they recruited Greg Cooper to join the team.  That way he could pull my dead weight along.  While in the planning stages a call or two was made to Todd Carpenter for a little guidance.


Now this is where the story get’s very fuzzy.  There is only one reason for that and his name is Notorious R.O.B. Somehow, this fall I ended up in a bar in Chicago called Rockit with Todd, Kit, Eric Bryn and couple of other very nice people and, of course, Rob Hahn.  Between the social, political, economical, military, solve all the world’s problems, Rob needs a personal chauffer (with whitepaper to back up his argument) dude let’s order something, who’s (pool) shot is it conversation, Todd and I  were having a quick talk about  barcamps when Rob suggested that maybe a Commercial Rebarcamp might be a great idea.  Being the shy, shrinking Commercial Real Estate Broker that I am said “Hey, great idea, I would love to help.”  For those of you who know Rob [Instigator] is usually the first word that may come to mind when his name is mentioned.  For those who have not yet had the privilege, you can make up your own mind, but trust me.  What struck me though were the conversations that he and I had about Commercial Real Estate.  He knows Commercial Real Estate.  He’s got the cred.  Reference Coldwell Banker Commercial.  Todd, on the other hand, being the rational one mentioned that NAR and a couple of specific people that may be of some help.

Now What?

Leaving the young kids to drink their $10 fruity beers, I made note of the people Todd mentioned at NAR and went back to my palatial estate (check my face book) to think a little more about what a Commercial Real Estate barcamp might be like.  Having attended rebarcamp events with mostly all residential peeps, I wondered how  this un-conference like event might sit with my “Big Boy” commercial people?  Over the years I have had the unfortunate privilege of attending many of the half fall asleep, half Tony Robbins, what are your take a ways, fill out our feed back form, and of course, the books for sale outside are discounted that extra special 10% just for today’s attendees, real live events.  My first ideas were to make sure that any resemblances to the above mentioned events never happen.

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With the experience of barcampindiana and blatantly stealing the outline from Rock, I felt pretty confident that a un-conference commercial real estate event needed to happen.  Rob Hahn and I exchanged a few general e-mails about possible locations, content, format (how many times can he mention Yale?) and so on.  I took a little more time to read up and research and see how something like this can really be done.  The next logical step was to look at the resources that Todd mentioned.


A couple of quick hi how ya doing e-mails, a phone call or two and WOW.  This event needs NAR.  Alright quit the bitching and whining.  How can a un-conference have NAR involved?  The resources available to NAR for this were undeniable.  Let me explain.  NAR has access to all of the segmented groups (reference my BIG BOY post), that make up commercial real estate. Some of the organizations that may have interest even have headquarters in the same building.  All I have asked NAR to do is help get the word out to possible attendees.

PIZZA and much more

I set up a little meeting with NAR to get a little face time and see what the next steps should be.  I thought take a half day, meet some nice people, use the meeting as an excuse to go to Giordano’s…or Heaven as I call it, and have a nice day.  Well, have you ever walked out of a meeting and said “OMG, this could be Big?”  One hour and a half in a room with Jean Maday and Emily Line, not only was NAR participation going to be helpful, but I think very crucial.  Everything that a CreBarCamp should be they had a complimentary fit for.  Oh, sure, more specific details will filter out soon.  My goal here is to be smart enough to stay out of these very smart people’s way and let this thing work.

All For Free Baby

Remember this is all voluntary and all free.  Several people have already taken an interest, like Joe Stampone and offered to help.  Several people have suggested other locations already such as, DC, Houston, and New York.  The first one is definitely in Chicago.  NAR has offered great support, but realistically it’s not their ball.  Bring on the naysayers, pain in the asses, and stuffed suits.  Have an issue or point of view you want to discuss?  Show up. Get involved.  Find people in Commercial Real Estate who kick some ass and learn from them.  Do you need to pay to get some value?  Sponsor to cover the costs.  Hell, I’ll take a donation for gas money.  Commercial Real Estate BarCamp.  It’s coming soon.  It’s FREE and it’s ON!

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Written By

Broker/Owner in Lafayette, IN, whose passion is Commercial Real Estate with focus on Technology, Social Media, and Networking.



  1. Bill Lublin

    December 16, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Great post Dukes Andfor the record I wouldn’t ever yell at Matt; -)

  2. Steven Ladin

    December 16, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    Bring it to The Twin Cities. Here Most CRE Brokers idea of networking consists of conversing in the country club locker room showers.

    • Duke Long

      December 17, 2009 at 9:48 am

      And your point is? You and I both Know that there are plenty of others who are not slapping towels at each other and actually doing great business. Let’ get started !

  3. Benjamin Bach

    December 17, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Sounds powerful. Let me know when & I’ll do my best to come down from Canada for it

    Lets organize a Canadian one too 🙂

    • Duke Long

      December 17, 2009 at 9:45 am

      LOVE Canada ,
      Start thinking of a time a place,etc. I can halp.

      • Duke Long

        December 17, 2009 at 9:45 am

        How about HELP!!!

  4. Todd Carpenter

    December 17, 2009 at 10:47 am

    So happy to see this is going to happen. Right on Duke! NAR hosted RE BarCamp Chicago and I think you’ll find that the vast majority of attendees viewed our involvement in a positive manner.

    • Duke Long

      December 17, 2009 at 10:56 am

      Chere,Jean and Emily are fantastic. As I stated the resources and willingness of NAR to help promote or get the word out are invaluable.I need like 1% of their time.Myself and other peeps will do the rest. Thanks for the help Todd.

  5. LadinVentures

    December 17, 2009 at 10:52 am

    Towel Snap! Snap!…I’d be willing to co-sponsor somthing…

    • Duke Long

      December 18, 2009 at 5:41 am

      That’s how it starts.Let’s connect and see what the possibilities may be.

  6. Keith

    December 17, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Wow sounds like a great event, er ah, un-event. Bring it to Philly!

  7. Duke Long

    December 18, 2009 at 5:27 am

    Philly is a must,what a great town.Oh just thought of something…I could see my little nephew,he lives in the Philly burbs,It’s official Philly is on the list!

  8. Square Feet

    December 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    good on ya …. might not be able to make Chicago but contact me if i can help with promotion or anything else….

    • Duke Long

      December 18, 2009 at 5:54 pm

      Much appreciated…lots of possibilities and locations..could be interesting 2010

  9. JD

    January 24, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Great article! This concept is similar to an event I’ve heard about in the tech startup industry. Glad to see the commercial real estate industry adopting some of these ideas….


  10. Duke Long

    January 24, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Thanks for the comments. Any details about tech start up events..send me the links…possible clients !

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