[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.