Experiences that Transform
Every once in a great while, you encounter/experience something that revolutionizes/challenges your thinking, and transforms/changes the way in which you approach business/marketing. The REBarCamp is one such experience.
The recent REBarCamp in Houston Texas was the second such event I’ve attended in the past year. I had also participated in the REBarCamp San Francisco, just prior to the Inman Connect.
For those of you who are not yet familiar with these events, REBarCamp is derivative of BarCamp, an international network of user-generated conferences characterized by spontaneous, open, participatory workshops. It was first started by O’Reilly Media in 2005, the same folks who coined the term ‘Web 2.0.‘
The Curse of the Costly Conference
Over the course of my professional career, I’ve attended more conferences, workshops, expos, trade shows, and conventions than…(select one of the following):
1) McCain has friends 2) Obama has questionable friends
As such, I consider myself somewhat of an expert on what constitutes a successful event.
In today’s challenging market, real estate professionals around the country are hard-pressed to justify and cover the expenses of attending industry-related conferences.
For the upcoming NAR Conference in Orlando, the full 4-day event costs $430. Add to that your air fare, hotel accommodations, and meals, and you’re easily up over $2000. At the Inman Connect in New York this coming January, conference registration is almost twice the cost of NAR Orlando.
100% Absolutely FREE
REBarCamp, on the other hand, is FREE to those who attend. The costs for the event are shared evenly by sponsors who contribute a flat fee of $250 each. The monies provided through sponsorship help to underwrite the expenses of renting the meeting space, providing a nice lunch, and giving each attendee an REBarCamp T-shirt. REBarCamp events can be organized and held locally, eliminating costly travel and hotel expenses.
Enter at Your Own Risk
However, by its very premise, there is an inherent risk with the REBarCamp experience. Rather than having a predictable slate of scheduled speakers/presenters (hence the corresponding cost of the event), and their associated topics, the agenda for the REBarCamp isn’t necessarily known until the morning of the event. As people show up, those who want to present/teach a session can reserve a spot for the preferred time slot and classroom location up on the ad hoc schedule board, and promote their particular session/topic. So obviously, the nature and extent of your event topics/content will vary, depending on who shows up.
Lessons from the Trenches
Despite this risk, the compensating positive is that REBarCamp provides an open environment…
“where those who are passionate about what they know, can share their knowledge freely with those who are hungry to learn!”
The people who volunteer to teach or present the sessions at REBarCamp are typically those who not only know their subject matter intimately, but have practically implemented/applied it in the course of their everyday business. They’ve lived out what they know in the trenches and allow us to benefit from their experiences.
How many industry-related conferences or CE classes have you attended where you came away with very little, if any, practical or helpful information that directly impacted your business? Unfortunately, all too many times, either the information is not relevant to the issues we face, or the speakers seem out of touch with our reality.
Vendors in White Hats
We’re extremely fortunate in our industry to have so many valued supplier/vendor companies who actively invest and participate in events such as REBarCamp. These are companies that have a vision beyond simply selling/marketing their products and services. They possess genuine concern and passion for the real estate industry, and seek to provide value for those of us who derive our living from it. My personal thanks to our friends at Trulia, Zillow, Altos Research, MLBroadcast.com, and Real Estate Shows for your ongoing support!
Trailblazers in the Web 2.0 Frontier
Additional thanks and gratitude should be extended towards those from among our ranks who have effectively laid the groundwork for future events to take place. People like Todd Carpenter, Andy Kaufman, Brad Coy, and Mike Price, to name a few.
It All Begins with You!
Imagine the positive impact we could make in our industry if each of us helped to organize an REBarCamp event in our own local market? For more informaton on how to begin the process, access the REBarCamp Wiki, or contact Mike Price at MLBroadcast.com for further details.
October 26, 2008 at 4:08 pm
I had a good time! Can’t wait until the next – I will know more of what to expect.
October 26, 2008 at 7:33 pm
Good to see you Rich!
October 27, 2008 at 6:42 am
I think the time is ripe for a D.C. area REBarCamp — maybe next May before or after the NAR Midyear Convention? Anyone?
October 29, 2008 at 1:14 am
Rich: Good talking to you! Will definitely be in touch… You know what I’m talking about…
April 7, 2009 at 8:10 pm
So how do I find out when the event will be held in 2009?
April 8, 2009 at 4:44 pm
Susan: Go to http://www.REBarCamp.com and click on the ‘Events’ tab. Then scroll down to the location you’re interested in…