Panorama of one of the REBC discussion sessions
[tweetmeme source=”ChazGunningham” only_single=false]Last year I attended Perth’s first ever ‘RE BarCamp‘, which is a novel way for real estate people to learn more about their craft from from others working in their industry.

It is novel in many ways:

– it works best if attendees actively share their experiences and are willing to (potentially) give away their secrets and best tips
Topics for discussion– there are no paid speakers or presenters, the discussion can flow back and forth according to who is there
– there are three or four discussions going on at any one time and participants are actively encouraged to move between them if they want to, or even hold their own discussions on their own in some corner of the room
– the topics for the day are decided on by the participants as they turn up in the morning – people are asked to write down what they would be willing to share and/or what they would like to learn more about
– sponsors are asked to help pay for the event, pay for the venue, drinks, lunch, lanyards, etc by paying the various providers directly
– sponsors are important and are given appropriate thanks on the day, but they do not get speaking rights
– the “two foot rule” holds, that is, if anyone gets on their high horse and starts dominating, or even selling their wares, participants are encouraged to get on their two feet and walk away
– the event is usually free for participants, or offered at a very low nominal cost
– the event is organised beforehand by unpaid volunteers

In this way, the RE BarCamp (“real estate BarCamp”) is unlike any conference you may have attended before. In every way the expertise is “in the room”, and so the more you put into it on the day, the more you (and everyone) will get out of it. It’s been described as an “unconference”.

The idea came from the tech industry, where programmers get together in bars to share code and work together on solving common problems. Five years ago, some real estate agents in San Francisco brought the concept over to their industry to hold the first REBarCamp. I was fortunate to attend their fourth one in that fair city in mid 2011, where the exchange of information among participants was electric. There are now REBarCamps held regularly all over the States and, indeed, the world. The first one in Australia was held in Sydney in the middle of last year, with Perth being the second one in the country. There has since been one held in Brisbane.

So it’s on again in Perth, this year on October 19th at the Balmoral Hotel in East Vic Park. I applaud Peter Fletcher and all the volunteers who are pitching together to get this going again. I urge all open-minded real estate professionals to book for the event; to go along with an open mind, contribute generously in the spirit of “the more I give, the more I will get back” or “what goes around comes around”.

About the author

Charlie has spent more than 20 years in Perth’s tech and startup sector, firstly as a founder himself, through to exit, and more recently as a writer, advisor and investor. Originally from the UK, Charlie worked in Singapore before arriving in Perth in 1997 to do an MBA at UWA. Graduating as top student in 1999 he set up online real estate business, running it for 10 years before selling to REIWA, whereupon Charlie ran In 2013, he moved to Business News to lead their digital transformation as CEO, and then worked for the federal government’s Accelerating Commercialisation program, funding pre-revenue startups and innovative businesses. He now works in an advisory capacity for multiple tech and other businesses, is managing editor of Startup News and co-host of the Startup West podcast. He also writes a column for Business News on startups. Charlie sits on the advisory boards of WA Leaders, TEDxPerth, WAITTA, the Perth Symphony Orchestra, and the full board of Rise Network.

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