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Why the same old real estate conference speakers?



Same old, same old

Have you been to a real estate conference in your city lately? Have you been to a real estate conference across the country lately? Have you done both and noticed that many of the speakers are the same between cities?

I may be jaded, but I can’t help but notice that there are only so many speakers being tapped for real estate conferences across the nation and have to wonder what conference organizers are thinking? Are they scared to add new speakers and talent or are they simply shilling by putting their sponsors up on stage?

Regardless of the reason, the content and speakers are getting stale at real estate conferences and I’d like to know if you have noticed it too. Tell us in the comments below what your thoughts and experiences are!

Watch Real Estate Expert Herman Chan put the REAL back in REALTY. In his show Habitat for Hermanity, Herman skewers the real estate business and pokes fun at his fellow agents, all the while empowering buyers & sellers with behind-the-scene tips & secrets of the industry! Get a glimpse beyond the glitz & glam of real estate. It's a hot mess! Featured on HGTV, House Hunters & other media outlets, Herman is the undisputed Real Estate Maven whose helpful & hilarious commentary you just can't live without! In fact, his real estate TV show has just been optioned in Hollywood!

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  1. Fred Romano

    June 15, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Never been to any RE conferences and have no plans to ever attend one!

  2. Herman Chan

    June 15, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    thanks for sharing fred! any specific reason for the conference adversion? we'd love to hear!

    • Fred Romano

      June 16, 2011 at 8:29 am

      Seems like it would be a waste of valuable time and money to me. I have no need for "gurus" telling me what to do.

  3. Sara Bonert

    June 15, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Hey Herman! I don't know if you remember meeting me, but we chatted at Inman Connect this year in NYC (about hosting our own HGTV shows, haha). Just wanted to say that I would come see your big personality on stage any day! I defintiely agree that there is a lot of repetition – some of it good though, but some maybe not so much. Best to you!

  4. herman chan

    June 15, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    sara! of course i remember u! i DO read your facebook posts. hope your move went well! as for landing our own shows, i'm crossig my fingers (& legs!). oh btw my new episode for HouseHunters will debut on hgtv 6/20 930pm pst. please tell ur peeps to tune in. take care love!

  5. Mike Mueller

    June 15, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Couldn't agree more!
    Couldn't agree more!

    Wait, did I say that already?

  6. Mike Bowler Sr.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Herman, you have a great point on the same message coming out at conferences. Most agents leave events completely overwhelmed with the fire-hosing they get with all the apps, tools, and sites they "Must Have" to succeed. I'm happy to see many educators are starting to understand that taking that relationship off line and developing better relationships is really they name of the game vs. every shinny object that comes along.

    I enjoy hearing about the success stories of one or two good programs vs. many. Ranted enough, hope we meet sometime soon at a bootcamp or maybe at Inman Connect SF if you plan to attend. Thanks for sharing.

    • Herman Chan

      June 16, 2011 at 6:23 pm

      yes, usually content overload is a problem at conferences, but so is the underwhelming delivery. hope to c u soon!

  7. Sara Bonert

    June 15, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    the dvr is set!

  8. could not agree more, and some of the ones that I have see have a stick so far up …well, nevermind that.

  9. Matt Thomson

    June 15, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    The only conference that I regularly attend is Keller Williams' Family Reunion. Other than the obvious same speakers (Gary Keller), seems like we get new info, new takes, and new personalities each year.
    I think a bigger issue may be who gets to be a real estate speaker. Seems to me many of the gurus, coaches, and speakers are often times big personalities who couldn't cut it in real estate.
    Some, like Ben Kinney, seem to be an exception and are actually producing, but many don't have impressive resumes in terms of production.

    • Herman Chan

      June 16, 2011 at 6:40 pm

      hi matt! were u at the anaheim family reunion this year?

      i hear ya about RE gurus who aren't even licensed, but on the flip side, a lot of big producers have the personality of a dialtone OR are so competitive that they'd prefer to share their tips….

      a happy medium would be nice!

      • Herman Chan

        June 16, 2011 at 6:44 pm

        i mean they'd prefer NOT to share their tips

  10. BawldGuy

    June 15, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    Matt — Bingo!!

  11. Joe Spake

    June 15, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    Totally agree! I think everyone in RE has been enamored with the "gurus" at some point, and has wanted to hang with the cool kids. Conferences staffed by career presenters, in real estate or other areas, just don't do it for me anymore.

  12. Tina Merritt

    June 16, 2011 at 7:29 am

    Hence why I am not going to Inman SF this year. Seems the sponsors have taken control over selection of speakers.

    • Herman Chan

      June 16, 2011 at 6:47 pm

      hey tina, u ain't the 1st one to say it's been hijacked by sponsors…it's lost its edge, which i suppose happens when you have increasing corporate oversight.sigh

  13. Dan O'Halloran

    June 16, 2011 at 9:24 am

    I 100% agree. Matt also brings up a great point about the lack of speakers who are actually producing. To me, I feel that the RE Barcamps offer some of the best "free" value out there. Nothing better than learning from your peers and their real experiences. We've got one coming up this week in Boston.

    • Herman Chan

      June 16, 2011 at 6:49 pm

      i feel really bad b/c andy kaufman, who started RE Barcmaps, is in my own office, and i've never been to one. i will have to change that soon! thx for reminding me

  14. Jason fox

    June 16, 2011 at 11:55 am

    I have an opinion on this matter that is best not shared. However I will say that just 2 days ago I was sitting with my friend and he showed me the new email for a fairly popular conference, my reply, him again?

    • Herman Chan

      June 16, 2011 at 5:47 pm

      lol. i won't probe. don't ask don't tell , right?

  15. Sean Carpenter

    June 16, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Herman – I agree with you that many of the names remain the same. I think part of that is the event organizers know what they're going to get with a speaker who has been around before. Many of the attendees will have seen them before and enjoyed them the first time, had great plans to incorporate some of their ideas but then, after leaving the event, allowed "life to get in the way" and never implemented anything. This second opportunity to hear the person might be the spark they need.

    I am always excited to hear new speakers and as a trainer/educator myself, always appreciate the opportunity to deliver a new message from a new voice to the audience.

    I guess as long as The Eagles and Crosby, Stills and Nash keep selling out arenas on the "Final Farewell Tour," the promoters will continue to bring them in. Much like the new and talented acts, vehicles like REBAR camps, video and local Tweet ups is how their "word of mouth" will grow.

    • Herman Chan

      June 16, 2011 at 6:51 pm

      yeah, when they are smaller or in their nascence, things like RE Bar camp , tweet ups aren't conferences per se. and that is when it's cool, authentic and in the moment. once something gets co-opted and dubbed a conference, typically it's the beginning of the end.

  16. Marc Davison

    June 21, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    You're so much fun to watch and there's a real point to what you're saying. Funny thing, I wrote on a very similar theme over the weekend. So when it publishes this week, consider it an addendum to your post.


    • herman chan

      June 21, 2011 at 5:39 pm

      awesome! plz post link here, cant w8 2 read it. …and thank u for the compliment about me 🙂

  17. St. Lucia Vacation Rentals

    August 5, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Even if real estate conference organizers are recycling the same old presenters, the real estate industry is nevertheless moving on with fresh new ideas. More and more, real estate market conditions are forcing realtors to develop new business strategies. Savvy realtors are taking advantage of real estate technologies to sift through the noise, find and follow realtors who are thinking and moving out of the box.

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Opinion Editorials

Relax and refresh with our office life movie list

(EDITORIAL) Whether you are considering a new career path or not we have a movie list to pique your interest, and just maybe motivate as much as they entertain.



Movie projector

It’s a new year! Woot! Maybe you’re feeling in a work funk and are rethinking your goals and future trajectory. Whether you need something to push you in a new direction, motivate you, make you think about where your career is going, or just to entertain, here are 10 movies about work, work ethic and how we can change our career path by just changing our mind.

Top 10 Movies About Work

1. Glengarry Glen Ross: This take on David Mamet’s play is at the top of the list. If you haven’t seen it, where have you been? If you have, it’s a good one to revisit. This ones got it all raw reality, ego, desperation and some surprising plot twists all with an outstanding cast. If you are in sales, don’t miss this. And, Millennials, take note. You will one day be in the same place as those old fogies – aka Boomers. Oh, and, remember, “Coffee is for closers.”

2. His Gal Friday: An oldie and a goodie with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell as an editor and reporter who worked together, married and then divorced. This slapstick movie is great for a peek inside media, especially journalism, because it shows the lengths that reporters and editors will go to in order to get the scoop. The movie has great dialog and is timeless. It also shows how fast things can move, which is still relevant today especially with social media and the life of a news story moves even faster.

3. Up In The Air: A hatchet man learns his job is being tweaked. He will no longer need to fly, and now the tables are turned and he is unhappy with his fate. This movie can be a challenge to watch if you recently lost a job. But, one lesson learned is that work isn’t everything, so live your life.

4. Office Space: A funny take on work and life and the balance between the two. Regardless of where you are employed, there are rules, regulations and office BS that can be on the one hand completely pathetic and on the other so laughable. It’s always better to laugh, rather than cry. Oh, and do not touch the red stapler.

5. Working Girl: Maybe you missed this one because it dates back to the days when shoulder pads ruled the workplace and women still wore nylons. Melanie Griffith portrays a secretary (remember this is before that changed to assistant) who is great at what she does. She’s got goals and dreams to take her career to the next level. But, she’s not taken seriously at the investment firm where she works. Sigourney Weaver is the boss and she will do whatever she needs to stay on top. Griffith has a twist-of-fate meeting with Harrison Ford, another executive and she takes a chance on herself and her future. This movie has big hair, humor and a love story to boot.

6. Good Will Hunting: Ok. This one isn’t necessarily about work. But, I picked it because it’s an example of what can happen when you let your past hold you back and you don’t pursue your dreams. We have Matt Damon (Will) a janitor at a prestigious university and his friend Ben Affleck, a brick layer. Damon portrays a guy with a rough past who is going through the motions until he has to work with a psychologist played by Robin Williams. He’s forced to consider his past and his future. He has a gift but what will he do? His friend, Affleck, wants him to pursue bigger things, but can Damon let go of his past and embrace his gift?

7. The Devil Wears Prada: Ah, the evil queen and the naïve princess. That may seem like a different story, but it is a similar plot line with a triumphant finish. Anne Hathaway portrays Andrea who is fresh out of school and lands a job at a prestigious fashion magazine. The fact that she had never read the magazine and got the job is beyond surprising, but regardless she lands the job and works for Miranda, played by Meryl Streep. Streep’s character is a Diva and a demanding and horrible boss. She challenges Andrea on multiple levels. Will Andrea become a workaholic like her boss? As they say, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

8. 9-to-5: Way before the Me Too movement there was Fonda, Parton and Tomlin as three office employees who are sick and tired of their chauvinistic boss, played by Dabney Coleman. The women begin to plot for revenge and take their boss hostage in his home. In the meantime, they begin making changes at the office.

9. The Pursuit of Happyness: If you think your life is rough, maybe reconsider for a moment. This is a story about a man who was determined. He was pushing forward and as much as he was pushing, it seemed that he couldn’t get ahead. But he was resolved in the belief that he could and would make his life better for himself and his son. There is a great quote that says: “The harder I work, the luckier I am.” This movie shows that out.

10. Rocky: This movie made Sylvester Stallone. He wrote it and that my friends is a great story of tenacity too, because before Rocky Stallone was basically a nobody. Rocky is a nobody boxer who gets the chance to take on the reigning champion, Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers). He busts his ass and does whatever it takes to get the job done. This is a story of endurance, dedication and taking a chance on yourself.

This list is not comprehensive, but we hope you find inspiration, motivation and some laughs too. And, remember, work is not who you are, it’s what you do. Now, go get some popcorn and candy and take a break.

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Opinion Editorials

It’s Me, myself, and I; not work, job, and side hustle

(EDITORIAL) Who else is tired of the Hustle? Why is it there anyway? How can I stay out of it? These question are important when thinking of your next opportunity.



no side hustle for me

Live your life in a constant state of fear and exhaustion because you’ll either be doing so in an apartment, or under a bridge.

Sounds…bleak, no? Well, it’s still the best business advice I’ve ever gotten.

Okay, fine, I didn’t hear this pearl of wisdom in those exact words.

What my father actually said was ‘Make sure you have a side hustle or two, because it’ll broaden your experiences, and because you never know.’

The reality of seeing that through just so happens to mean what I got into in the opening.

Texas is an at-will state. Just as you don’t need a reason, or notice to quit, neither do employers need to give you reason or notice to fire you. Want a personal example? Here’s mine:

Just as I’d settled into starting day 4 of a house cleaning gig, corporate, so to speak, called me in to fire me. I wondered if I’d accidentally offended someone, missed a light fixture, or blacked out, unhinged my jaw and swallowed a client’s cat, so I asked what it was I could have done so badly in only three shifts.

As it happened, they just “didn’t think I was a good fit”, and “could tell how it was going to turn out”, which could have meant anything from ‘You vacuumed too loudly and someone complained’ to ‘The chicken entrails we cast told us you were going to start a fire somewhere and we wanted to nip it in the bud’.

What would have happened to me if I didn’t have contract work on my side to keep my lights on while I got back to the search for 40 hours? It starts with an E, and ends with a viction.

Or, to be realistic, it’d start with asking my folks to move back in, selling all my stuff, and desperately searching for someone to take over my lease so I wouldn’t take a huge credit score hit.

But not everyone has that kind of fallback. And even though I fully expect my mother to outlive me, everyone reading this, and also the sun, I won’t always have it either.

My point is: you never really get to rest. You have to constantly chase clients as a freelancer in case someone changes their minds, gets acquired by another company, dies, etc. You have to keep your resume updated and your job searches fresh in a 9-5 in case they lowball you on a raise, let your manager grope you without consequence, or decide that new employment laws threaten their yacht-panthers’ manicure schedule and show your entire division the door.

I don’t subscribe to the ‘Hustle Culture’ that paints this as a good thing either. It’s not. It’s maddening to keep up with, and that’s very much by design. Scared, tired people need more convenience, need to buy more stuff, need to work harder to afford that stuff, and it’s a hard cycle to break out of and STAY out of. Remember, nobody writes books about the businesses that fail.

But with this fear comes a certain kind of clarity. If nothing is promised to ME, I don’t have to promise anything either!

I don’t HAVE to work late into the night to prove my loyalty. I don’t need to see other, better offers as a threat to a meaningful relationship. I don’t have to put my education on hold until I reach ‘a good time’ to ask for a different schedule around acquiring a valuable new skill.

If, for all you know, your boss is having you train your replacement any time someone’s “brought on board”; then, for all they know, your in-person-interview elsewhere really IS a dental checkup!

At first I felt super slimy about thinking this way. Whatever happened to perseverance? Integrity? Honesty? Teamwork?

And then I realized the people at the top sleep like rich toddlers after making decisions for the betterment of the company that might happen to screw over an individual, and I embraced my inner hagfish.

If your net worth is a rousing round of canned laughter like mine, you have very little choice but to weave and maintain your own safety nets. That’s what Dad wanted me to understand—not to put all my eggs in one basket. He didn’t want me to be afraid, per se, just aware. I added the fear myself because…well pick any news story.

It’s tiring, it’s difficult, it’s morally light gray sometimes, and I shudder to think how I would handle this if I had kids.

But considering how many times an extra check, or a good gig reference has saved my bacon, job monogamy is out…even if playing the field does mean I need extra naps.

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Opinion Editorials

You f**ked up and got fired – now what do you do?

(EDITORIAL) Ever get fired, or have an office fail? We will examine how to handle problems and life crises in the workspace with seriousness and humor.



fired pug thinks about life

One day recently, I was feeling lost and was about to use Google because I needed answers! I wanted to magically stop the world because it was spinning too fast.

Some questions have a lot of different answers. Some answers aren’t so clear and some questions are hard to ask when you are feeling like a major f@ck up. That was how I was feeling.

In this ongoing column, I will attempt to share some real-life situations, options, answers, and when needed, consult with experts to provide responses to those questions you may be too afraid to ask. Or, to consider questions you may have not even realized you needed to ask.

To kick off our column, the first I F@cked Up situation we will consider is getting let go or laid off. While they are not the same situation, they do have some similarities.

Why, Mary Ann, what do you know about either of these situations? Well, I’ve been laid off twice, both from major news enterprises. And, I’ve been released of my duties. Neither situation feels very good, but believe me when I say, it’s not the end of the world. These situations bring with them a lot of baggage to unpack, so we will break it down. Today we deal with what to do first.

I Just Got Fired/Laid Off

So, you get called to the office. You are met either with your boss and HR or a person your company hired to separate you from them. (Like in Up in the Air) If you are being let go, you may have seen it coming – if you were paying attention. If you were laid off, depending on if other folks were let go recently, it may come as a surprise and a very harsh blow.

How you feel

Regardless of how it happened, you probably feel like crap. It’s a fact. Whether you are happy to be set free from the most toxic of toxic of work environments, or you’ve been laid off and provided with a decent severance package, you will still probably have a bit of worry, fear and feeling of “what the hell is wrong with me” self-doubt going on. And, then there’s the big question. What’s next?

This is all pretty standard. Unless you are a narcissist and then, that is a whole different column.

When you are laid off or fired, most decent employers will try do it in the middle of the week – so you can call later with questions. If you were like me – you were a deer in the headlights. I remembered very little of the actual conversation. You will have questions you didn’t think to ask at such a moment. You will want answers. If you are released on a Friday. Your employer is really shitty because now you have the entire weekend to ruminate over the questions.

Don’t ruminate over the questions.

Feeling like crap and being pissed are normal. So, feel all the feels.


Gather your things. Hold your head high. Tell your colleagues deuces. Leave the office.

If you imbibe alcohol, stop at the store, get your favorite food and whatever beverage you like the most. Go home. Get plastered or near shit-faced – if you don’t drink, then buy a carton of ice cream or a sheet cake. I don’t encourage over consumption of alcohol OR food, but at this moment, you probably feel lower than low. Give yourself permission for this moment to let loose, honor, and celebrate it. As much as it may feel like the world is blowing up, right now you get the opportunity to say “What the hell, what do I have to lose?”

The point is: Get it out of your system, and quickly. If you get released from your position take a few days before you begin to do anything work search related. Your ego is probably hurting. People get fired for a wide variety of reasons, many of which have nothing to do with their ability to do the work. And, if you get laid off, usually it’s about money, bankruptcy and situations far beyond your control. Still, it hurts your pride and can do a number on your self-confidence and self-esteem.


If you’re pissed off after being let go, especially if you were fired and if your workplace sucked you may want to scream it from the rafters and announce it all over social media. DON’T.

Don’t go on Facebook and blast: I got fired!
Don’t go on LinkedIn and say: Company XYZ are a bunch of douches.
Don’t change your LinkedIn to say you are no longer at Company X.
Don’t immediately hit Glassdoor with a crap review.
Don’t immediately email/text/PM connections saying you were fired/laid off.
Don’t immediately start looking for jobs.


You are raw. You are pissed. You may or may not be super worried and concerned about your next paycheck. You may be really upset. You don’t want to come off as someone who is desperate, even if you really are. We will come back to this in another column.

What’s next

You’ve overeaten and gotten shit faced. You may have cried or broken stuff. Good! ARGH!

Feels so much better.

You should take a few days to rest, recharge and focus on self-care.

But, one thing you do not want to put on hold is filing for unemployment.

File for Unemployment the day after you get let go.

Now is the time when you need to be focused and aware. When you file, don’t lie about anything, be honest and fill out the forms.

You say you don’t want to take money from the state. Well, that’s great, champ, but it’s a good fall back option.

Also, please note, if you get fired for doing something very wrong on the job, it’s likely you will not be eligible for unemployment, so don’t be surprised if you called your boss a mofo and you don’t get unemployment.

You want to file as soon as possible because it takes weeks (from 4 to 6 but typically a little less) for the state to start paying. And, if you haven’t been saving and are living paycheck to paycheck – you know income creep – you will probably need what little unemployment provides, a lot less than your standard salary.

Unemployment filed, consider if you have any mileage you need to be reimbursed for and get that done. If you have a severance package, get those checks in the bank ASAP. If your employer let you go as part of a layoff, they may be having financial issues. So cash the check(s) fast.


You’ve had time for a pity party. You’ve filed for unemployment. Now, it’s time to do some reflection.

You say, ‘self-reflection, that a lot of BS and I don’t have time for that I need money now.’

Yeah, you probably really need some self-reflection if you don’t see the value in it.

Now is the perfect opportunity to consider some deep questions like:

What went wrong at your last job? If you were released, let go, fired, why did that happen? Whether your boss was a total asshole or not, you probably had some part in the final outcome. Own it. Now’s the time to think about what went sideways. Was it a clash of cultures? Was it a personality clash? Were your skills not what you presented on your resume? What was your work ethic?

Even if you weren’t fired you should reflect.

Think about what was going on. What did you like, hate, learn? This is an opportunity to take the experience you had and use it to discover what you want next, which should be a job where you feel celebrated and not tolerated.

Find some surveys online where you can do self-reflection about your skills and abilities. Talk to your closest friends and ask them for feedback on what they like most about you. They care about you and can offer some real feedback to help you to regain your self-esteem.

If you haven’t done this before, take some time to do an inventory of what you like, hate, what you must have in your next position and what are deal breakers.

If you were working in a really awful workplace, you really may need time to decompress. Take the time to get outside, go for walks, do what you love. Now’s the time to sleep in and regroup. But, don’t wallow and start doing whatever you need to feel motivated for your next opportunity.

As my mom (and religious texts) always said: “This too shall pass.” So be ready.

Coming next week: You ate, drank, and reflected, so what the heck do you do now?

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