Tag Archives: REBC

Requiem for the RE.net: Inman San Francisco, 2012

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. Years hence, we will look back on the summer of 2012 as the time when we in the real estate industry turned a page. That page has been turning for a while, but Inman Connect San Francisco this year will be seen as when it finally happened.

This post is not, and it cannot be, a review of Inman. Because I didn’t attend any of the sessions, as I haven’t for years. It is, however, a review of the moods and trends and conversations and happenings and non-happenings. And it is a prediction — sure to be wrong, or your money back! — of where we go from here.

And it is a requiem for the RE.net, that inchoate, ill-defined group of people that has been so influential over the past few years. Requiescat in pace.

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Time to Reinvent REBarCamp

A familiar sight for REBC veterans

So here I am sitting in my hotel room on Monday afternoon. I came in early because I had wanted to attend REBarCamp NYC being put on by the awesome folks at Lucky Strikes Social Media Club. You will notice the word “had” in the preceding sentence, because I just decided I’m not going to go to REBarCamp. This is not a knock on Patrick Healy, Scott Forcino, or the rest of the amazing, wonderful folks at LSSMC; I was involved with planning the REBCNY last year, and I thought we all did a great job. I’m certain, positive, that the crew of 2011 will do an even better job, and it will be among the best REBarCamps ever.

No, I just decided that I’m not attending because… let us be frank: the REBarCamps have become a more-or-less standardized affair over the last three years that is much less about conversation amongst equals and much more about social media and technology training for newbie real estate agents. Since I’m not a real estate agent, and not a newbie, I find myself looking forward more to hallway conversations and #lobbycon chats than the sessions themselves.

No reason to take up a valuable spot then. But I know I’m not alone in feeling this way. Which is why I believe it may be time to reinvent the REBarCamp, and perhaps bring it back to the future.

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Come Forth, Ye Spirit of BarCamp! (Part 1)

I am the spirit of REBarCamps past...

Although I wanted to post this sooner, other commitments prevented getting to it before now.  And quite a few of these ideas have been hashed out, particularly in the TQ Radio Show yesterday, but there is something to putting ideas and questions into words.  So here we go.

But first, a disclaimer: Many of you know that I am involved with Lucky Strike Social Media Club, the organization that is putting together REBarCamp NY 2010.  All of the opinions expressed in this post are mine and mine alone, and I am not speaking for LSSMC or for any of the other organizers.

A little background before we dive into it.

For whatever reason, REBCNY 2010 has generated little eddys of controversy from the start.  First, it was over our decision to keep the working committee members to people who had attended a Lucky Strike meeting in person; this, I was told, violates the “spirit of REBarCamp”.  Second, it was over our decision to have a limited number of tracks (approximately 10 out of 80 we thought possible) pre-planned for the benefit of newcomers and more tech-oriented people who may be in attendance.  I was told that this pre-planning violates the “spirit of REBarCamp”.  Then the final straw, it appears, was our thought to offer to sponsors of REBCNY an attendee list.  This, we were told by various people, was completely against the “spirit of REBarCamp” and there was a lot of buzz on Twitter about how worried various people were, about how the new hashtag should be #notabarcamp, and so on.

In all cases, the organizers heard the feedback, considered our decision, and either stuck by our original stance (tracks) or changed our position (attendee list).  Much of the explanation is on the REBCNY site itself, and you’re welcome to head over there to check it out.

This post is not about any of those decisions, nor is it about the kerfuffles that arose in response to any of them.  Conversation, debate, discussion, even argument are all very healthy things, and I rather think the episodes showcased social media in action: listen, consider, and respond.  I’m personally grateful to everyone who raised the issue with me personally, and with the LSSMC organizing committee; it’s wonderful to be in the RE.net where people feel passionately enough on such topics.

At the same time, there’s a lot to discuss here at the level of principles and ideas.  So we dive into that.

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It Would Be Nice to Have a Central Clearinghouse for RE Bar Camps

[Because Teri Lussier hath commanded me to do this post, and her wish is my command.]

RE Bar Camps are one of the fastest growing events in the real estate industry.  What the hell is a RE Bar Camp?

Well, start here.  The first one was put together by Andy Kaufman, Brad Coy, Mike Price, and Todd Carpenter in July of 2008, prior to Inman San Francisco.

It is, basically, an “un-Conference”.  Any number of people get together with no preset agenda, no preset speakers, no preset topics.  Then, anyone can basically post a panel or a presentation or a discussion topic, and whoever wants to go participate just goes there and does just that.

It’s very fluid, very dynamic, and the format lends itself extremely well to a give-and-take, open-discussion that is so sorely missing in other event types.

I’ve now been to a couple of these RE Bar Camps (hereafter, “REBC”) and they’re really quite fun and educational.  It helps that all the REBC’s so far have been free to attend.

As a result, there are REBC’s popping up all over the country.  Next week, I’m going to Virginia for REBCVA.  I missed going to Seattle, but looking at Phoenix, Los Angeles, maybe Houston, and there are REBC’s coming up in Portland and Denver as well.  I suspect we’ll see more.  (Although I’m still waiting on REBC Virgin Islands and REBC Oahu.)

My employer, Onboard Informatics, has sponsored a few and will sponsor a few more this year as well.  We support the REBC movement itself, and frankly, the sponsorships aren’t very expensive.

They are, however, from an events standpoint a bit of a pain.  Because each REBC is organized by an ad-hoc committee of volunteers, each and every sponsorship is a separate thing we have to work out.

At the same time, it would be a bad thing to deprive each local organizing committee of their passion and their commitment.

So I’m thinking, what would be great is some sort of a single, national (global?) clearinghouse for things like sponsorships.  Such a clearinghouse makes it easier for national players to sponsor REBC’s — I could see someone like BHG willing to step up with a national sponsorship.  So could someone like, say, Trulia.

Such a clearinghouse could also help the local organizers get bulk discounts on things like tags, T-shirts, posters, and other supplies.

I don’t think it should become the organizer, or start putting rules and such into place (except the obvious unavoidable ones, like “don’t run off with the money”).  But it would be helpful for those of us interested in sponsoring REBC’s.

-rsh