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Riding the REBarCamp Wave




If you have not attended a Real Estate Bar Camp and you are in the industry – I have one word for you:


The first one was in San Francisco right before Inman Connect in June of last year and the masterminds behind it were Andy Kaufman and Todd Carpenter (they are both kind of a big deal btw)….together with the help of a few key people like Brad Coy, Mike Price, and others who are welcome to smack me if I didn’t mention them.  They thought …. why not grab the original bar camp concept and apply it to the real estate industry?  If you have not noticed, our industry is talked about quite a bit in the blogosphere because we have immersed ourselves in new media and we are getting results.

Since REBarcamp San Francisco in 2008 these have taken off like wild fire!  From Denver, to Philly, Charlotte, Orange County, Boston, and many more …..Chicago going on right now. (check out a list at the rebarcamp site – each one has their own site)

What is an REBarCamp?

Straight from the ReBarCamp site –

RE Bar Camp is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from attendees.

and from the REBarCamp/Orange County (scheduled for June 25th, 2009)

The most interesting thing about a BarCamp is that it is user/attendant created: the program is developed by the attendees at the event, using big whiteboards upon which a schedule is hastily put together, that can be rewritten or overwritten by attendees to optimize the days’ events.  The goal of BarCamp is to reach out to new people who will increase the common intelligence about new technologies, and to create opportunities for cross-fertilization between people and new ideas.

Why so many, so quick?

Obviously, many of us are not lucky enough to be able to travel across the country to attend these one day “unconferences”, so involved locals have taken on the role to organize these in their home towns and throw their own flavor into the events.   I have had the pleasure of attending 3 of them (SF, NY and Philly) and couldn’t wait to get one started in Miami, not only to learn from my peers and network in my backyard, but also to be able to share Miami with the people I’ve learned to love in this business.

How are REBarcamps put together?

It takes one person to raise their hand and make the decision and then grab a group of volunteers and find sponsors.  It is a free event (although there has been discussion about paying to attend).  Sponsors make the event possible by covering expenses incurred.  For REBarCamp Miami for example (scheduled for September 14th, 2009) – it was David Gibbons from Zillow that asked me on Twitter “when are you doing REBarCamp Miami?”…..and the ball started rolling.  So many people are involved in the back end organizing venues, giveaways, websites, logos…..

Make sure you take a look at the BarCamp’s schedule for your area and make it a point to RSVP and attend!  The information offered is priceless and the fact that they are hands on workshops where you can participate and add your grain of salt is what makes REBarCamps so powerful.   I personally find these events to be invaluable and getting super excited about Miami in September **there were rumors of renaming it “MOJITO CAMP” or even better:

REBarcamp Miamism

but the rumors are not true….this is not about me people! it’s about coming together in a great place to learn from eachother, with or without mojitos! UGH! 🙂

Ines is all Miami, all the time. A Miami Beach Realtor® with Majestic properties, Ines authors,, and and is always on communication's leading edge. She goes out of her way to engage and be engaged, often using Mojitos to keep the mood light and give everything she does a Miami flavor. You can find her goofing off or instigating trouble at Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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  1. Matt Stigliano

    June 16, 2009 at 6:38 am

    Ines – Thanks for the bit of history. I new the concept was relatively new, but I didn’t know it was that new. I though it was at least older than my real estate license. I have thought about how San Antonio would react to one and have considered the possibility of throwing my hat into the ring to get one going. I’ve been asking questions to some people about them, so perhaps at some point, you’ll be talking #rebcsa – of course, you may have to change your drink to the margarita for a day.

  2. Benn Rosales

    June 16, 2009 at 10:38 am

    @rerockstar if you want to see history in the making, it started right here . From Andy launching it, the first wiki, raising the first money, to getting people there, to each and every volunteer that got involved- just follow the comments and the wiki.

    I just read through it and really was like yesterday- awesome times all the way down to our baseball cards by Grant, Gia, and Daniel Rothamel. Click the posts related links, it was pretty fun stuff.

  3. Matt Stigliano

    June 16, 2009 at 10:45 am

    Benn – I remember the baseball cards, but I missed the “it’s brand new” part of it all. I remember watching in amazement at the group that formed around it all and it actually was part of what introduced me to many people I know call friends – even though I wasn’t there. I have new found respect for rebc now and have just stepped closer to thinking I should get involved more.

  4. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    June 16, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Benn – I still have my baseball cards – Gia, Grant and Daniel rocked those hard! I’m so glad we were part of that first one and that’s when the wave began. I can also tell you that it’s amazing to see so many people we don’t know in these new rebarcamps popping up across the country.

    At the Philly one, there were tons of local people making their first move to social media and they were so excited to have like-minded individuals willing to share and teach them. Tons to say about these efforts. So Matt, just do it! come to Miami first and I’ll tell you everything I’m doing (everyone else is also willing to share and give you their scoop).

  5. Susie Blackmon

    June 16, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Ooooh, I would love to be there! Feeling sorry for myself that I didn’t get Chicago, etc. 😉

  6. Brad Coy

    June 16, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Thanks for the mention, Ines (I’m kind of a lil’ deal btw 😉

    Waves would be a great analogy for what is happening with this movement. Some big some smaller, yet they keep coming in. I’m sincerely amazed at the momentum and enthusiasm for what we originally thought would be a “small, maybe one time event” with some friends we wanted to get to know better.

    RE barcamp has been a fascinating lesson in what motivated, progressive pros can do to better network themselves in a shared work environment.

  7. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    June 16, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Brad – I’m just glad it took some visionaries to run with the idea and you guys did an amazing job (thanks for all the feedback you keep giving me with rebarcamp miami as well) 🙂

  8. Greg Afarian

    June 16, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    I think 2 of the biggest frustrations on putting together the event was 1. having so many NO SHOWS and 2. finding the right venue to cover an unknown amount of people that will show up that day.

    After speaking to a bunch of people it occurred to me that maybe you can charge say $10 for people who register and if they don’t show up that money is gone, put aside for the event. If they do show up we could collect the money and put it to a designated charity for the event?

    This would also solve the problem of the venue and possibly promote a better turn out! I just feel that the norm 1/3 drop out rate is way too much! Putting that all aside I think there is a tremendous desire for Realtors to learn and it’s awesome seeing this all come together even if you get #stuckinafrieghtelevator before starting the day! LOL

  9. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    June 16, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    @ZipvoGreg I think it’s the same frustration for everyone that has organized these and charging a small fee that can then be donated to charity is a great idea. I know some disagree because of the original concept of “free bar camp” where people join in and contribute – but a lot have said they wouldn’t mind paying. I’ll let you know how Miami goes.

    BTW – with Jeff Turner’s REBarcamp Miamism logo creation, I created a CafePress Account and will donate all proceeds to

  10. Greg Afarian

    June 16, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Also, keeping with the theme of Bar Camp where people rather vendors making up the topics / sessions might be another issue? I know we as vendors are all guilty of it but, I feel the sessions could loose that feel of authenticity and we defiantly told people NO POWERPOINT presentations and NO self promoting.

  11. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    June 16, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    I attended barcamp Miami this year and it was very vendor oriented and felt a little uncomfortable – it was all formal presentations and very little interaction. I totally agree that sans Projection Screens keeps the theme more to the original concept and feel of barcamps.

  12. Judy Moriarty

    June 16, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    I’m a relative newbie to the rebc scene (and to social media) – my first one having been in NYC at Inman this year. Volunteering to help organize Philly was one of the best ways to get an insiders’ view of just how incredible these “ad-hoc unconferences” are. I learned so many great things from the best and the brightest, got to spend time talking to these same folks in an informal setting, became f2f friends with lots of my Twitter and FB pals and made some professional connections that I never would have made at a “traditional” real estate conference. Oh yeah and I had more fun than is legal in about forty states (j/k on the legal thing…).

    For anyone reading this and sitting on the fence about attending a real estate barcamp (ah-hem..Matt) just do it! Pick one, two or half a dozen to attend. It is well worth the investment (it’s free!) and there is no other environment like it in the real estate industry in which to learn about social media. And…if you are looking for the total experience, step up and volunteer to help organize – I promise you that it will be an experience like no other you have ever had.

    See you in Miami! 😀

  13. Matt Stigliano

    June 16, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    Ines – One of the great things I see in this is that no one cares that you did this or that…it’s about the doing, not about what you’ve done before. I bet a young agent could pack a house as much as a long in tooth agent could. It’s about what you can provide then and there to the people in attendance. I think that’s what fascinates me about the concept.

    And it’s a shared experience – even if you haven’t shared in it. The ideas I’ve received from those who have attended, from organizers, from the speakers themselves – all invaluable. Yet, I haven’t set foot in a single one. Much like you, Kim Wood offered to tell me a thing or two and Brad Nix offered to as well (with his experiences in RETechSouth).

    My only fear is to find out that no one cares in San Antonio. Although I can already tell you a handful of agents who would be there in a heartbeat (as well as some non-agents and of course a few out of towners, hint hint), I often wonder just how “forward thinking” we are as an agent population here. I think it would crush me more to know no one cared than to hold one that went horribly wrong or was just plain awful.

  14. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    June 17, 2009 at 12:24 am

    Matt – the conference is made up of the actual information being shared, the venue, tshirt and other stuff is so secondary, so I totally agree with you that no one cares if you did this or that. In addition, I do think that the smaller groups have the potential of getting more out of the experience. No one said you have to pack a house with 200 people – I think a small group of 50 would be extremely intense and super powerful.

  15. Jason Sandquist

    June 17, 2009 at 2:12 am

    I haven’t made it to one yet, but it is definitely on the schedule for this year. Wouldn’t mind visiting (catching a wave) in Miami or San Diego.

    The collaboration to getting the event kicked off from the get go, to the actual event… has always been fun watching it develop on Twitter and the live stream. I’m sure nothing beats actually being there.

  16. Matt Stigliano

    June 17, 2009 at 3:11 am

    Jason – I agree with you on that. Watching it form is amazing and I wind up feeling like I’m a part of it as I follow the updates. Sure it doesn’t compare, but it still is fun for those of us that can’t go.

  17. Todd Carpenter

    June 17, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    Benn said, “if you want to see history in the making, it started right here”

    The day Andy wrote that post, I was on the phone to him wanting to get involved. Jason Berman and I were already planning REBlogWorld and trying to figure out how to organize some sort of meetup (much like the original Blog Fiesta I did in Denver) the day before Inman SF. I saw that post and thought, “YES!!!”.

    But credit where credit is due. The momentum behind bringing the face to face started in the spring of 2007, well before REBarCamp. It goes to Joe & Rudy as much as anyone. More than anyone in my mind.

    The blog tour made me organize the Blog Fiesta event in Denver.

    It’s where Jason and I met and decided this industry needed more “Blog Fiestas”.

    It’s where REBlogWorld was born.

    It’s what made me change course, and book a last minute trip to Inman Connect SF in 2007.

    The tour had the same effect on dozens of influential re.peeps across the country.

    It lead me to meet people like Teresa Boardman, Jeff Turner, Jim Duncan, Dustin Luther, Nicole Nicolay, Jeff Corbett, Pat Kitano, Dan Green, and David Gibbons face to face for the first time.

    Thank you Joe and Rudy. In many ways, you two changed my life.

  18. Benn Rosales

    June 17, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Hi Todd,

    I hope that you took my comment to be nothing more than nostalgic, it really was an awesome time for us personally. I still get a kick out of the wiki.

  19. Todd Carpenter

    June 17, 2009 at 4:06 pm


    Oh. Absolutely. I just think Joe and Rudy deserve more credit for this movement than they usually get.

  20. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    June 17, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    I didn’t know that at all – glad you mentioned it – Joe and Rudy are DA’BOMB!!! and one of my faves for sure!

  21. Todd Carpenter

    June 17, 2009 at 4:36 pm


    Yah, I know. It’s like finding out Nancy Sinatra’s dad was in music too.

    I knew RE BarCamp Denver was going to be huge (arguably the most attended event so far) because of the success of Blog Fiesta a year and a half before. We had 40 bloggers meeting face to face in Denver all the way back in the summer of 2007. For at least a month (until Bloggers Connect in SF) I think it was the largest number of peeps ever assembled in one place.

    The whole event started when I heard about the Blog USA Tour was stopping in Denver. I emailed Joe and Rudy to tell them I wanted to come to whatever they had planned. Joe told me to plan something myself. :p

  22. jf.sellsius.theclozing

    June 17, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    @Todd Carpenter

    On behalf of Rudy and myself, thank you for the kind words.

    Let me add that your Blog Fiesta in Denver was the BEST gathering we had during the Blog Tour (RealLiving in Columbus was also great, thanks to Maureen McCabe). It showed that you have a real talent for organizing folks and events. And we thank you for that. Folks should also realize you did the Fiesta out of your own pocket. (Another measure of a class act)

    What we learned from the Tour was that personal interaction was a necessary component of networking and friendship. Although the social media net travels far and wide, face to face meetings forge deeper and enrich the relationships we incubate online. The folks we met during the tour, and esp. those who supported it, will always have our gratitude and be a part of that wonderful memory.

    While we’re on the subject of gratitude, I thank Ines, Maureen McCabe, Maureen Francis, “Black Tie” Todd, Ardell & Kim, Kevin Tomlinson (for the RV strip party (wink), Diane Cohn & Guy Johnson (for nikki beach & more), Phil Hoover (and his washing machine), Greg Tracy, Jonathan Miller (for his driveway), Teresa Boardman (for the weenies), David Gibbons & Zillow (for the ping pong table), Brian Brady, Roberta Murphy, Joel Burslem (for the brewskis), Glen Kelman, Peter Santiago (for his coolness), Sharon Simms (for the beds) Tony Longo (for the goodie bag- luv ya man), Nick Sudano, Erik “The White African” Hersman, Gerald Posner (my former law partner, now bestselling author) and his wife Tricia (hugs & kisses), Jon Washburn, Matt Heaton, Brad Inman and all our sponsors. Heck, I know I left some folks out (esp, the folks we celebrated with from in Miami).

    I’ve asked Rudy, who has all the photos and tapes (over 50 hrs), to help me publish them to share them with everyone. What do you say Rudy?

  23. Brad Coy

    June 17, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    @Ines . My pleasure 🙂

    btw – “….this is not about me people! it’s about coming together in a great place to learn from each other..” I love this! and…

    “with Jeff Turner’s REBarcamp Miamism logo creation, I created a CafePress Account and will donate all proceeds to” That’s Awesome!

    Good on ya!

  24. Missy Caulk

    June 18, 2009 at 2:37 am

    I was fortunate to get to meet Joe and Rudy on the Blog Tour. It was great, then attend the first ReBar camp in San Francisco, just got back from Chicago last night.

    I also attend a Bar Camp in Ann Arbor in December. It was wild, all these 20 something CEO’s running around inventing and writing php code for MRI machines. It was intimidating at first but by the end had connected with great local techies.

    Now there are 2 groups in A2 that meet for weekly lunches and the relationships grow. That is what ReBar is IMO the IRL folks that you meet.

    That being said the strength in any movement is also the seed of its weakness. For new people attending these it is important to reach out to them and be inclusive.

    Maureen and I are in the talking stages about planning one in Ann Arbor next year.

  25. ines

    June 18, 2009 at 4:17 am

    Joe – one of my first Miamism Fridays was captured while walking with you and Rudy to the beach during your blog tour – we were talking about miamisms and while you both pointed and said “THAT’s a miamism!” I was taking the photo – I smile every time I think of that

    With that said, totally agree with Missy regarding it being about those F2F connections that transcend anything you can do on line (Missy, I went to a barcamp here in Miami and felt the exact same thing you described and have made great friends from that as well)

    I’ve been hearing a lot about these being “clicky” and although it makes me sad, I can see that some of us have gotten really close in the years we have been sharing – I personally go out of my way to embrace new comers….so if anyone ever feels I’m being “clicky”, you have my permission to pull me by the hair 🙂

  26. jf.sellsius.theclozing

    June 18, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    @Ines. Ha! That is a classic Miamism! I’ll never forget our day on the beach.

    @Missy. Sorry I missed you in my BT thank you list. We had a great day.

    I also missed thanking Laurie Manny, Mary & John McKnight, Damon Pace, Jay Thompson, Caleb Mardini, Pat Kitano and a host of others. (Dang! it’s not easy getting old.)

    Maybe we’ll see each other again in the documentary. Rudy, get that film digitized before it evaporates. Heck, send me the photos and I’ll do the book.

  27. Missy Caulk

    June 18, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    Joe, wasn’t thinking about me, just the fact I got to experience a great day with RLF

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Killing the Killer – Giving the Death Penalty the Needle



His object all sublime
He will achieve in time —
To let the punishment fit the crime —
The punishment fit the crime;
And make each prisoner pent
Unwillingly represent
A source of innocent merriment!
Of innocent merriment!

— from The Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan

A Good Week For The Death Penalty

lethal injectionThis week the Commonwealth of Virginia put the DC Sniper, John Allen Muhammed, to death by lethal injection. His accomplice and fellow trigger guy, Lee Boyd Malvo,  gets to live out his days in prison.  He was too young to get the needle. Not quite 18. But for a few months, he would have been killed, too.

In Ohio, the State is playing around with the idea of switching from the the three drug “cocktail” to a single drug protocol that can be used by stabbing the needle into a muscle if a good vein can’t be found.  It seems like the Ohio executioners couldn’t find a good vein after 18 attempts on Romell Broom and the Governor had to call off the execution.

It seems that both Ohio and Texas are trying their damnedest to catch up to Texas as the States who kill the most criminals.  It’s an uphill battle.  Texas kills a lot of criminals. And pretty damn fast, too.

The Death Penalty Doesn’t Work and Doesn’t Even Feel Good

I’ve heard of two reasons why the death penalty exists at all:

  1. Retribution – this is the “eye for an eye” argument
  2. Deterrence – if murderers know they will die it will make them less prone to murder

Sure, it feels good to call for the head of high profile killers.  Most certainly, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, will be facing the death penalty. The 9/11 terrorists that are about to go on trial in New York are facing the death penalty.  For these folks we, as a society, want justice to be swift and severe.  Well, we’ll get severe. Swift is another story.  The court martial of Maj. Hasan and the trials of the 9/11 terrorists will go on forever providing vicarious thrills for thousands of cable TV viewers and fodder for the “fair and balanced” network screamers.

In the end, though, it’s always a little bit anti-climatic.  Once the criminal has been put down we quickly forget what it was all about and move on to the next high profile atrocity. More to the point, it doesn’t “undo” the crime.  Killing the killer doesn’t bring the dead back to life.  It rarely heals the broken lives of those the murders affected.

Deterrence is a joke.  You can watch the news any night of the week to listen about drive-by shootings, gang-related murders, drug deals gone wrong or wronged boyfriends going nuts and killing their lovers and, sometimes, the whole family. The death penalty does not deter nut cases, whack jobs or people who just plain crack up in the moment and happen to have a gun handy.  It doesn’t deter teens and young adults starving for attention, love and validation from doing what it takes to get attention either from the gang or from the media.

In short, the death penalty doesn’t work and it should be abolished.  I won’t be holding my breath.

On The Other Hand…

… it’s perfectly OK to remove any semblance of reproductive choice from women who have no access to affordable health care.  It seems that the “‘Just Say No’ to Everything” party is pulling out the old chestnut — abortion — to kill health care reform.  They couldn’t kill it with all the scare tactics about the ‘Public Option”. God forbid, one dollar of government money be used to assist poor or even moderate income women with access to the full menu of health care options.

Of course, it’s a nice trick to kill health care reform.  Women of means can always find a doctor who can help terminate a pregnancy and pay for it. It’s the poor and lower middle class who will bring children into their world of financial hardship with limited or zero access to good health care even for the child, lack of educational opportunities and general hardship. No matter whether the pregnancy was bought on by rape, incest or just plain sweet talk from an older man promising love and security but leaving as soon as the fun’s over.

Of course, poor women don’t have high-powered lobbyists on Capitol Hill.  Poor women don’t have lots of money to line the campaign coffers of candidates.

Big Pharma wins.  Big insurance companies win. Politicians win. People most in need of access to affordable health care….sorry.

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I was sitting in a RE/MAX Company meeting eight years ago today. One of the agents cell phone was getting blown up with calls from his son in D.C.  Jim got up and left the meeting. When he walked back in, he set his radio in the middle of the conference room table.

Nothing was said.

Everyone got up and left.

My daughter pulled into the parking lot as I was pulling out. I rolled down my window and said, “Go home.”

“Mom, what is wrong?”

“Just go home”…I could not speak.

We made it home in time to see the second twin tower attacked and come down.  Like most of us across the United States we were in shock and numb. My younger children were in school.  I wanted them home.  No one knew what would come next.

It took a terrible event to show again the greatness of the American heart. Let us never forget that same courage, generosity, and kinship still pulses through us.

Today as we reflect on our memories of that day, where we were, and what occurred on 9-11, let us stop and remember and pray for all the families that lost loved ones that day.

Let us reflect on the unity we felt as a Nation as together we set aside our political differences and really were One Nation Under God.

Photo Credit

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Conference Coverage

Inman’s Got Enough Money. Let’s Give Some To MFFO



It doesn’t get any better than this – you can actually get Inman Connect Tickets and help a charity at the same time!  I was the lucky winner of Inman Real Estate Connect Registration Passes and with the creative help of some friends (thanks @tcar and @andykaufman) decided to auction them for charity.

Inman Connect San Francisco
I’m sure @jbern had no clue what was going to happen when he started the competition: What’s Your Tweet Worth? ….between Jay Thomson’s raffle and this auction, there are some creative minds at work to help our colleagues as well as great charities.

So here’s what I would love for you to do –

1.  go place a bid

2   spread the word  **tweet it! facebook it! email it! **

3. check on the bid

4.  spread the word again **tweet it! facebook it! email it! **

The highest bidder will win full registration to Inman Connect San Francisco (both Inman Connect and Blogger’s Connect passes) and proceeds will go to Mothers Fighting For Others (that’s a $939 value).  What are you waiting for??? Go Bid!  We will be announcing the winner before the weekend.

**thanks for the tix Inman!!  Let’s see how much money we can raise**

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