- What is RE BarCamp? The concept for RE BarCamp came from a technology BarCamp event held in San Francisco. Wikipedia defines a barcamp as: an international network of user generated conferences — open, participatory workshop-events, whose content is provided by participants.
RE BarCamp is a BarCamp for Real Estate (R.E. BarCamp). What that means- the event is not structured like a typical planned conference. Every session is not planned out in advance. Nobody is paid to deliver a session. Anybody can deliver a session and attendees are strongly encouraged to participate.
How does that happen? When you arrive at the event, you will have the opportunity to put your name in a slot to facilitate a session. The number of sessions delivered at any given time depends on the venue and number of attendees. After registration is over, a board will be put up (see picture below) that details each session and what room they are located in throughout the day. The length of the sessions varies at each RE BarCamp event.
If anyone can deliver a session, won’t some of the presentations be terrible? Possibly, but it it not typical. Some of the best and brightest minds attend these events. They lead sessions and they sit in on sessions. RE BarCamp sessions are group sessions. They are not meant to be presentations by a single individual. Because the audience participates, sessions that may start out a little rocky often adjust and get redirected by the participation and collaboration of the audience. Presentations promoting specific commercial products or companies are discouraged. If you feel like you’re being sold, or if a session is really bad and your participation can’t turn it around, practice the rule of two feet- get up and walk out.
That sounds like chaos. How is that productive? It can be a little chaotic, but some of the best ideas and invention are derived out of chaos. If you go in looking for a very structured day, you will be disappointed. What you get out of an RE BarCamp event is what you put into it.
What topics are covered in the sessions? This depends completely on who volunteers to lead a session. The sessions are frequently related to technology usage in real estate but cover any topic from mortgages, to photography to philanthropy. If you want to hear a specific session, facilitate it!
Who runs the RE BarCamp events? RE BarCamps are run completely by unpaid volunteers.
How much does it cost? RE BarCamps are typically free events because of generous donations from sponsors.
How do I maximize my RE BarCamp experience?
Pick sessions of interest to you.
Participate, ask questions.
If you hear someone speak about something interesting, find them later and connect in the hallway.
Spontaneous sessions happen- embrace them! I attended RE BarCamp OC. I was standing outside looking at the session board with some fellow attendees. None of the sessions on the board looked appealing to me at that point in time. A group of us were looking for a more advanced session. On the fly, we grabbed a group and did a spontaneous session on the beach. We literally sat on the sand and held a fantastic and memorable session.
What if I don’t want to lead a session? You don’t have to! Some people like to lead, other people like to listen, but don’t hesitate to ask questions.