Last Thursday was my fourth exposure to the RE Barcamp revolution, this time at RE Barcamp OC.  Similar to the others I attended in Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Denver, the OC location had its own personality that sparked interesting and thought-provoking conversations throughout the whole day.

To start off, OC was the first RE barcamp to actually be held at a bar (not to mention steps from the beautiful sand).  The day kicked-off with Jim Marks inspiring the participants with a little barcamp history and their roles in the day.  As usual, he got everyone fired up to learn, share, and create change.  One big difference between the previous RE barcamps I attended and this one was how we managed the day’s schedule.  At previous RE barcamps, people use to rush up to the board after the keynote speech and start writing down conversations they want to facilitate, but this usually led to a lot of overlapping topics throughout the day.  This time, Jim Marks and Stacey Harmon (the organizers) took topic suggestions and questions from all the participants, and then they arranged the days agenda based on these suggestions and simply assigned people to moderate each discussion.  I found this approach very refreshing and more productive since it eliminated the same topic from being discussed in separate sessions and brought together all the opinions in a single room resulting in more meaningful (and sometimes heated) conversations.  I love it… this is how change happens!

As an example, I attended a session on the future of real estate search.  This was the most interesting discussion I’ve been a part of during all my RE barcamp experiences.  At times the discussion became controversial, but that’s all part of the fun – there was passion displayed by the participants.  During this session, David Gibbons from Zillow moderated conversations ranging from IDX to SEO to mobile websites.  I would love to join more of these types of discussions at future RE Barcamps.

The RE barcamp OC organizers and volunteers did a great job!  If you haven’t been to a RE barcamp and want to experience one, I highly recommend going to REBarcamp San Francisco on Aug 4th.   It’s worth the trip!