When I first heard about RE Bar Camp, I thought, "Now, this is an event I have to attend." The actual event itself did not disappoint. The gathering of some 100+ people who are on the cutting edge of real estate, of mortgage, of technology in this industry, was really a refreshing breath of air for me personally. And as a representative of Onboard Informatics, I was happy to see just what the sorts of challenges and needs people were facing out there. Some of those issues, we may even have a solution for. Not sure which ones yet, but it was a great learning experience.
It was chaotic, to be sure. The hall itself was noisy, to be certain. Perhaps in the future, we'll find better spaces for the format that RE Bar Camp takes. Basically, you get a group of people together, then people just post what they want to talk about or present. Then other people just attend these ad hoc sessions.
One of the best sessions was about usage of Web 2.0 technology in the mortgage business. Talk about a commodity business where people are nonetheless adding value in all sorts of different ways, and leveraging technology to do it. I mean, money is the ultimate commodity, right? Well, not to these guys. I came away learning quite a bit about how that industry works, what some of the challenges are, and what some of the solutions people have crafted are (Twitter 4TW).
One of the most amazing facts I learned was from an agent, Stacey Harmon from Orange County, CA. She enters her listings into a total of ten different systems and websites, ranging from her MLS to Zillow to Trulia to her corporate site to her blog to... well, a bunch she couldn't even think of. This is one of those things that I look at and go... "We are living in the 21st century... right?" This is something that I think the industry needs to solve, and quickly, if we are ever to become truly professionalized. Transporting data from one computer system to another is a challenge, but it isn't an impossibility in this day and age. Seeing as how we have an expertise in data, this is something we may have to think about some.
I'm looking forward to the actual Inman conference as well, but this was a fantastic event in and of itself. Highly recommended, if you're open to learning and discussion, and can handle the chaos.