Rebarcamp Phoenix #rebcphx After The Event

#rebcphx  I can never remember this hashtag

#rebcphx I can never remember this hashtag

I’ve heard the term REBARCAMP ever since the Inman conference the summer of 08 in San Fransisco.   The term has popped up all across the country and they are growing in number every month.       As a Dial-up Geek I was curios about what they were like and upon asking several people I know who have attended them I was still left wondering what they were like.   I got no real answers, some said “I don’t know if you would like it”   “An un-conference” “It is kind of sitting around talking about stuff you are interested in or want to learn more about”   Hum.

In a nutshell here is what a REBARCAMP really is:

  • “It is show and tell for Big Kids”
  • “It is a class reunion without the class”
  • “It is one of the best reasons to party in the world of real estate” (I didn’t know this one at all, but probably should have)
  • “It is the free exchange of ideas and information which you would pay hundreds of dollars for at any other conference”

When the Phoenix one was announced I signed up immediately and wondered how to get involved.   Tucson being a ways down the road (And considered a wasteland by those who live in Phoenix I was delegated the task of getting people from Tucson to come.   But I still had no idea what I was supposed to be getting them to come to.   “It’s a rebar camp, you know a barcamp for real estate”   Oh, Yeah, now I get it.   NOT.   Rebar is what my son uses to make metal sculptures from.   It is what I see the highway crews putting in the road to make them stronger so they can bear heavy loads without breaking up.

Little did I know that is exactly what a REBARCAMP does for those attending.   A REBarCamp helps provide the raw materials of creativity the brain needs to sculpt new ideas into ways of doing things including new way of thinking about the Real Estate business.   REBarCamp strengthens your social connections and provides the positive attitude we all need to bear the heavy load of doing business in real estate today.

Yes, I know I still haven’t told you anything about what a REBARCAMP really is like, or all about.   I hope I’m not breaking some unwritten code about REBARCAMPS by spilling the beans but here goes my best guess of what it is about and most important “HOW YOU PREPARE TO ATTEND A REBARCAMP”.

ReBarCamp Phoenix

Since this was my first I don’t have anything to compare it to.   But I would say if all rebarcamps are run like the one in Phoenix they are a huge benefit to those attending the event.   I think one thing that amazed me were the number of people that flew or drove thousands of miles to come to a one day adhoc event.   I met people from all over the country.   Some I have known online for years and finally had the opportunity to meet in person.   It was a very well organized event for a non-event.

Just the facts Dave, just the facts

When you get there it is like a typical conference, sign in, get your badge, lanyard, name tag, T-shirt.   (Bring your own Coffee)   There were a couple of white boards with a grid lay   out by rooms and times.   Then people started walking up to the whiteboards and filling in discussion groups they would lead in various rooms.   (Some of these were set from the website for the event where people could sign in and say they would lead a discussion and indicate if they needed a projector or not.)

Once the event had a short introduction we were all off to pick which discussion we wanted to attend.   There were also lots of places with seating where adhoc groups could form away from the adhoc groups in the meeting rooms.   One on one or two or three discussions broke out all over the place.   I’m sure it was one of those positive energy field events that Sedona, AZ is supposed to be famous for. I didn’t see anyone floating in mid air but I did hear of a couple of people almost there at one of the parties.

Lunch, don’t be slow, don’t stay late and ask questions just before lunch.   I had the last burger and scrapped a little bit of potato salad from among the green lettuce leaves lining the bowl.   When it is time for lunch, go, leave the discussion of you need to.   You can always start it back up over lunch.

Getting the Most out of a REBARCAMP

  1. Get there early (See Below Advise for attending)
  2. Come with an open mind
  3. Leave the suit at home (Be comfortable to open the mind)
  4. Bring something to share (a tip, idea, information on what you are doing, etc.)
  5. Bring a camera and don’t forget to use it
  6. If you aren’t on Twitter get an account and start using it (you will get an opportunity to follow and be followed)
  7. Same goes for Facebook and LinkedIn
  8. To be really cool bring a flip video and walk around like you are using it all day. (You don’t have to turn it on or bring batteries, just hold it up as you talk to people, but remember to point it at them not yourself)
  9. Try not to sunburn your nose then rip off half the skin with a nose strip before attending. (same advise for black eyes and zits if possible)
  10. Wear a Red shirt (You will be able to find yourself quickly in the photos of the event) Red is optional, any loud shirt color will do.

Advise for attending your first REBARCAMP

  • Find out where rebar camps are being held.
  • Pick the one you want to attend
  • Go to their website, register and check back often (update email notification would be wonderful)
  • To get the full benefit of the social networking plan to get there a day early and stay a day after
  • Bring something to share (REBAR is Show and Tell for Big Kids)

Here are a couple of photo streams you can view to get a better feel for what REBARCAMPPHX was like   CWaterhouse RebarCamp PHX and The Phoenix REBARCAMP group photos

Finally (because this post is already over 1000 words), hats off to Jay Thompson and Crew for one of the most memorable days for me personally since becoming a blogger.


  1. I’m loving the logo, they did a great job with that.

  2. I think the best part for me was skipping the entire first session and picking your brain outside on the patio. Free one-on-one RealEstateBlogLab consulting! Can’t beat it!

    (I would say, however, that most of the sessions I did subsequently check out were surpisingly good.)

    Oh yeah, and then I learned a lot at the happy hour picking other people’s brains… and having a lot of fun, too. Did you know that Patrick used to have a nipple ring in his younger days!

  3. John,

    That was one of the best parts of the gathering for me as well. Great to see so many there in one day.

    No I didn’t know Patrick used to have a nipple ring. Not sure I wanted to know. : )

  4. “It’s a class reunion without the class” is an excellent summation. When I attended my first Rebarcamp, I was suprised at the lack of organization. It was a Real Estate Rave. Granted the seminiars were educational and I did learn a thing or two. However, maybe it speaks more to the generational differences. The web 2.0 generation may redefine how business will be done. No agenda’s, less and less structure, and forget the preplanning. You basically tell us what’s on your mind and we will address those issues. It worked for this type of event.

    As a result of the “free for all” I think there was quite a bit of dead time that could have been put to more productive use. But then again, I think we all got more than our money’s worth for the price of attendance, which by the way was no charge.

  5. Doug,

    I think each rebar camp is different. It really depends on who is in attendance also. I know the PHX camp seemed to be free form but a lot of pre-planning went into the event. Almost every session had been signed up for before the event and the leader of the session had indicated if they needed a projector or not. Each session I attended the leader had an agenda of specific topics they wanted to cover during the hour. In PHX I didn’t find any dead time at all. It moved very quickly from room to room and session to session. I attribute this to a great organizational team which blended the day with the sense of serendipitous meeting with a well thought out structure. The rooms were not pre assigned, or the times, but most topic and leaders were well planned.

    If every REBARCAMP is as well executed as PHX they will all be a positive experience.

  6. Hi Dave,

    I can’t believe I did not bump in to you at #REBARCAMP Phoenix! I’ve been waiting for a chance to meet you face to face. AND, that was my first #REBARCAMP too! What a coincidence.

    I chatted with Jay Thompson a bit, and we gave our books back that we had borrowed from each other, but didn’t get to hear him speak at any of his sessions. I met and chatted with Nick Bastian for the first time (from and Realty Executives), what a great guy!

    I finally got to meet Steve Belt face to face after many electronic chats via email, Twitter, etc. And, got to meet Alice Held face to face after many years of watching her awesome Web site, and having mutual friends for years (Debbie Ferrari in So. Cal.). Plus many, many other people I have never met before, yet heard of or read their Twitter stream.

    We’ll have to make it a point to look for each other at the next event in Phoenix, whether it be another #REBARCAMP or other venue. I probably would’ve known you were going if I had not been in and out of the hospital all of March and home recovering (plus a few trips to the hospital for CT Scans and to have my drainage tube removed, etc). So, needless to say, I wasn’t on Twitter, anyone’s blog or online at all for that matter from 3/5/09 till appx. 4/15/09. In fact, I had well over 1400 email in my InBox when I finally did get back to living/working online.

    I noticed that you have a new design on the Lab here… nice and clean Dave. Good job! On my computer though, FYI, there is the dreaded scroll bar at the bottom of the page (using IE 7.0.5730.13 and FF 3.0.10), and the “Submit Comment” button is impossible to read (on IE but not on FF). Just trying to be helpful, not rude.

    Take care! 🙂

  7. Matt,

    Just worked on the comment button, it was showing the text through the button on IE. Thanks for the catch.

  8. Matt,

    Sorry to have missed you at REBARCAMPPHX. Hope you are on the mend now.

    The scoll bar in IE. That might be your screen resolution for the computer. I’m running in a high res and don’t see that. I might have to check into that also. The theme is set to 1000px wide.

    Removing the value=”submit comment” meant only the image is now showing on IE, in FF it knew not to show the text. In IE . . .


  9. Thanks for demystifying what RebarCamp is! I’ve been seeing references to RebarCamp all over Twitter for months but didn’t have many details about it, nor the foggiest clue that it’s FREE. I’m definitely going to try and make my way to one of these soon. Hopefully they have one in my area as it’s hard for me to get away anywhere for more than a day.