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Real Estate Barcamps. The Good, The Bad and the Invisible

The Proper Thank Yous, But…

I wrote my final wrap up post of REBarcamp Houston over at my blog yesterday. It’s full of the proper thanks yous, attaboys, and pats on the back.

Was it a success? Absolutely. Am I glad I jumped in with all I had to make it happen? Absolutely. Will I do it again? You bet. Did it achieve it’s best potential? No. Far, far from it.

Luminaries of Web 2.0, social media, and more flew in from around the country to give of themselves in a transparent, non promotional way and we couldn’t get more 70 real estate professionals to show up in a market with 10’s of thousands? Puhleeeeeeze. We had at a high point about 85 people in attendance. No matter how you spin it, that just plain sucks. Granted, we should have promoted it in a more traditional sense. I underestimated the number of agents who don’t bother to check e-mail, keep up with industry news outside of their trade publications or how many generally just live outside of any kind of digital sphere of influence other than their local association mls gateway.

It’s my mistake and I accept full responsibility. The depressing fact is, the people that need to participate in these type of events will most likely not see these words either.  Do me a favor, print it, copy it and stick it in the in-box of every agent in your brokerage. Pick up the phone and call them and ask them what they did today to further their professional growth that wasn’t required of them to maintain a license.

A Time & A Place

Conferences have their place and ROI for a specific purpose. Barcamps are not conferences. I’m not going to go into the explanation of a BarCamp in this post. If you have a genuine interest in the format you can take the time to find out everything you want to know at, REBarcamp.Com, RebarcampHouston.Com or just go to google and do a general search.  Better yet, call someone that attended either of the first two events and ask what they thought. I promise you that you will hear nothing but praise and a desire to experience it all over again.

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I love my friends in the RE.Net dearly and I would be lying if I said I didn’t crave all the attention and adulation of each and every one of them (especially from Jeff Turner :), however, it’s time for us to stop talking to each other. We’ve hit a critical mass of RE.Net digerati that are spending a great deal of time interacting with one another, but it’s not enough.  It’s time to use some dead trees, wear down a bunch of shoe leather, smile when we dial and generally get out in front of the folks that need to hear what’s been being preached to the choir.

That said, I will be joining a conference call with some brave souls that are about to undertake this endeavor in another REALLY big market. Like always, I will be telling it like it is and hoping to do my part to shape the experience of the first two events into something that EVERYONE is talking about afterward. After all, isn’t that the real goal?

Carpe Diem People!

Written By

I'm not an Agent, nor a genius. I do what I can on the Interwebs to share some wisdom and knowledge and stick my nose into a few conversations here and there. I write for my own blog at along with this one and Zillow's GeekEstate Blog. I also have a kick ass product for Agents and Brokers - Check it out:



  1. Mike Mueller

    October 30, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    Strong but very true words!

  2. Ricardo Bueno

    October 30, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    We need to get outside the “echo chamber!” I hear ya loud and clear Mike…and I’m with ya! And so is Jeff Turner!

    REBarcamp is coming to Los Angeles! We’re thinking February 2009…I’ll have more announcements coming up soon. If anyone is interested, get in touch with me.

  3. Michael Price

    October 30, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    Cant wait to pitch in all I can

  4. Kristin MOran

    October 30, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    I am guilty of being right around the corner from where this function was held & not attending. I didn’t know enough about it to know the value in going though. I will definitely be @ the next one.

  5. Todd

    October 30, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Is it listed on

    Is there a dedicated Twitter account for the event that has been consistantly Tweeting reminders? Am I following it?

    Is there a facebook event notice?

    What is the URL for the Yahoo and Gogole Calendar entry so I can “one click” set a reminder to text my mobile phone?

    Word of mouth = good. Using common available tools = Better.

  6. Benn Rosales

    October 30, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    Mike, I honestly feel that real estate barcamp was an honest victim of a a cluster f*ck of economical events. As Kristin said, she just didn’t know enough to know the value- I think that says a lot. We can write all the blogs, twit all of the great articles we wish but 1) it has to reach to audience, and 2) it has to sell those that are 1.0 trained – push rather than pull 3) once there experience an excercise in utter 2.0

    What we’re facing with real estate barcamp isn’t far off the mark with what is happening with consumers, there are simply a lot of bloggers blogging into space, and feel they’re failing, when the reality is, the consumer market is really just now beginning to see a blog as something mainstream.

    There is an impatience in the sphere to get returns, especially in a down market, and you see more and more blogs go untouched everyday and abandoned with this impatience, exchanging a meaningful blog for a twitter replacement, when twitter should be used to draw folks back to the meaningful blog.

    I understand your feelings, but I do still believe that the 2.0 concepts we believe in are still ahead of the market, and in the case of the barcamp market this post just proves it.

    Do we give up? Hell no. We continue to train, teach and coach, and train consumers while we’re at it.

    A friend (late 50s) called me yesterday and asked what an RSS feed was- she’s pretty net savvy, but after explaining it to her, she let me know shes adding RSSs all over the place.

    I can go on about this all day, and I say to Kristin, bring a friend! 😉

  7. Heather Elias

    October 30, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    Does it count that I was watching on ResPres’ Qik stream? 😉

    I can tell you that even as a “not complete newbie” blogger I was intimidated by the BarCamp concept at Inman SF…and was somewhat hesitant that the content would be over my head. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was right where I needed to be. I imagine there are other fledgling bloggers out there who would benefit greatly from the experience if they’d get themselves in the front door…I’d love to hear some fresh voices, too!

  8. Matt Stigliano

    October 30, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Benn – Thanks for the uplifting comment. Somedays everyone feels beaten down, but reading things like your comment makes it easier to continue plugging away.

  9. Michael Price

    October 30, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Yes to most everything on that list and more. Social networking tools do not work for people who do not participate in the conversations. That was my point. You can’t make a case that it wasn’t promoted properly on line, but you can make the case for it being the wrong way to get the word out to those that need it most. Both traditional and social media needs to be applied to this stuff full force.

  10. Michael Price

    October 30, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    I think we’re in total agreement and nothing I said was defeatist in any way. I just realized that the approach to getting people involved was lacking some very critical components and I put too much emphasis on word of mouth and 2.0 concepts and not enough on .5 and 1.0 –

    Nobody said anything about giving up. You of all people should know that this fat boy NEVER gives up on anything 🙂


  11. Michael Price

    October 30, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    Good points indeed and that lends itself well to the conversation that has started here. Bridging the gap between perception and reality is important.

  12. Michael Price

    October 30, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Thanks, you will be first on the list to volunteer next time! 🙂

  13. Brad Coy

    October 30, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    ’70 real estate professionals to show up in a market with 10’s of thousands?’

    I agree with your point Mike, but I would argue with what you would consider a success. If you asked anyone in this type of space what kind of participation they had at their first ever conference, unconference, or whatever, I’m sure the numbers would be somewhere under 50. But with having the idea of REBarCamp going to local markets, then local markets need to be the where time and attention is spent as for as publicizing the event. San Francisco, was a bit different in the way that the attraction, of course would be those attending Inman, which could be considered already, ahead of the curve.

    It seems to me you had a great opening for a local BarCamp with some and now some locals to grow with. Build on that and go very, very, local next time with the outreach. Create a groundswell that cannot be ignored and I think you’d be surprised at the attendance of your next effort.

  14. Michael Price

    October 30, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Good points, your input is important and I hope you’ll be in on the call monday. Ribeezie will benefit a great deal from it.


  15. Thomas Johnson

    October 30, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    Mike: Thank you for all your hard work.

    I was pleased that this dinosaur made it to RE BarCamp Houston. Maybe I won’t end up as oil.

  16. Michael Price

    October 30, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    Ha Ha, Thomas you crack me up. Meeting you made the whole thing worthwhile. Keep on innovating man, Maybe you’ll get a big award too!

  17. Irina Netchaev

    October 30, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    REBarCamp is a new concept for many. Sounds like you are being too hard on yourself.

    It’s all a learning experience. We share, we learn, we improve and implement.

    Can’t wait for LA’s Real Estate Bar Camp. Let’s share the love!

  18. Ken Brand

    October 30, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    Yeah, it’s like pushing silly string.

    Here’s my deal, I manage an office of 80+ Realtor Icons (actually, I think they manage me). Leading up to the BarCamp, I promoted to my team it in multiple emails, personally invited dozens, had verbal, “yes’, I want to learn mores”, talked it up in our every-other week Team Meetings. On the day of the event, only 4 of my team members were there. Holy Crap, WTF, I didn’t know if I should cry or bitch slap something.

    The things is, it’s true, these tools, techniques and technologies are still way ahead of the average agents “important-radar”. On one hand, that’s good news for those who can outshine their competitors, on the other, it’s frustrating as hell when you want to share the love, help people grow and thrive in the new world.

    What to do? Keep on keep’n on. I predict a tipping point within 18 months or so. It’s interesting to watch the blooming of the new BH&G. Their approach should pressure positive things as they become more successful and threaten their competitors. Also, as more of the leaders (brokers/sales manager) and known/recognized Top Producers begin to embrace the wave or show up on the 2.0 grid, aspiring agents will take notice, and slowly shamble forward.

    Well, enough rambling, I feel this pain every day. Like the rest of you here, we press on with a smile.

    Amen to and blessing to all the evangelists.

  19. Michael Price

    October 30, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    Everyone should listen to what Ken Brand has to say. I know he personally invited a large group of agents that don’t even work in the huge office he represents. Ken is one of the most respected leaders in Houston real estate and I have known him for 13 years or longer.

    Ken, I admire your tenacity and cherish our friendship. You’re one of the guys that has kept me keepin on all these years.
    Thanks again for your support.

  20. Dru Bloomfield

    October 31, 2008 at 7:10 am


    I agree with Brad Coy, that your turnout for this first event was very good. Being a standalone event requires that the unknown value of a new concept be “pitched” in a way that incents and excites. Locale is also important, as in destination, or what other business / fun can be accomplished in tandem.

    In our 2.0 world, demands on our time have increased, so it the challenge becomes one of determining best results for the effort / time / cost. We are all still finding our way.

    (i.e. If I had a clone, I would have been there!)

    From what I’ve read, I think you hosted an outstanding first event for your area. Celebrate it.

  21. Hilary Marsh

    October 31, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Hi Mike,

    REBarCamps are great for creating energy and forming a community of folks who share knowledge and resources. Maybe the next step is to take that community and point it outward to a bigger group, consciously using traditional as well as social media tools to reach people in any way they choose to be reached. To draw more people to REBarCamps, and to help bring more people along the path of adoption, we’ll need to widen the “sweep” of the messages.

    I would be very interested in working with you on setting up something like this.

  22. Mike Price

    October 31, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    I am in complete agreement. The “sweep” as you call it should be widened. Widened to include a whole host of mediums and methods that have yet to be implemented in the overall strategy.

    I will encourage the folks planning the LA event to include you in the conversations.

    Thanks for being a big supporter and participant. You, Rudy and Fran are to be commended.

  23. Brad Coy

    October 31, 2008 at 11:59 pm

    >Good points, your input is important and I hope you’ll be in on the call monday. Ribeezie will benefit a great deal from it.

    I can make myself available if you’d like. Just give me the heads up and let me know when. Ricardo knows I’m happy to help. 🙂

  24. Jill Wente

    November 1, 2008 at 7:12 am

    Mike, I really did not understand what rebar camp was supposed to be about. Why?? Because we are used to going to conferences where the agenda is set in advance. As potential attendees we can review the topics and decide if the conference would be worth our time to attend.

    I am glad that I did not let that stop me from attending. I made the decision to attend based upon the corporate sponsors and published attendess. I decided that hey with these big social media names attending I need to be there.

    REBAR Camp should have been better attended. The road blocks were advertising in social media only venues and the newness of the concept.

    By the way, it was a pleasure meeting you Mike.

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