Personal Development

Thoughts From the BiggerPockets Inaugural REI Summit 2012

Expertise: Personal Development, Personal Finance, Mortgages & Creative Financing, Real Estate News & Commentary, Business Management, Real Estate Investing Basics, Flipping Houses
249 Articles Written

DSCF0260Lord knows how many seminars, summits, so-called bar camps, and conferences I’ve attended since the 1970s, when I attended my first. A couple hundred for sure. There are a couple ways to appraise the larger ones, summits and conferences. The #1 factor, of course, is the quality of speaker(s) and the subsequent information they convey. Second is everything else. What was the quality of the building in which it was held? Was it easy to navigate? Was obvious care taken to make the experience comfortable? The details are legion, big and small, most of which you might not notice unless they hadn’t been taken care of.

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This Summit went beyond anything I’ve ever attended. At least for me, it raised the bar.

Clearly, the speaker lineup was awesome. Whatever combination of them you chose to see, you were served nothin’ but steak ‘n lobster — no fast-food here. I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed, or finding the speakers not measuring up to expectations. That’s rare these days. In just 48 short hours attendees could go from raising money, to the ins and outs of notes, to landlord dos and don’ts, to investment lending, long term investing, wholesaling, mobile homes, and the list goes on. All taught by those who were bona fide experts with big-time experience actually doing. That doesn’t happen too much. In fact, I don’t think it’s too harsh to say many conferences offer speakers who’re merely ahead of their audience a few chapters in the book from which they’re speaking.

Another observation made by many, including Josh Dorkin in his closing talk, was the incredible quality of those in attendance. I can verify that myself. It was impressive. In fact, it was one of the first things I noticed, at least for the 78 minutes I was in attendance myself on Friday. 🙂 But that’s another post entirely.

The planning and logistics were out of this world.

The speaker meet-up held Thursday evening at the Ale House was first class. A nice, perfect sized room with great ambiance, beer and wine, some snacks, and great company. It set the tone. Josh arranged for the Hyatt Regency shuttle to do a few round robins taking us all home during the last half hour or so. Nobody’s done that for me at a conference in which I’ve spoken.

Then there was the hotel in which most of us were housed, next door to the convention center. It was literally just a three minute walk, then cross the street and we were there. If it wasn’t a 4-star hotel it surely felt like it. When I was released from the hospital with a clean bill of health, the hotel’s concierge, Mark, sent a taxi for me, paid for by the Hyatt. Go ahead, beat that. Their shuttle was otherwise being used.

The hotel bar was perfect for networking or just enjoying the evening with the others. The food was fantastic. Seriously, when you can rave about a simple tuna salad sandwich, it means somebody knows what they’re doin’. Not your cuppa tea? Thursday night late, I sat with Kevin Kaczmarek and his wife, Fansion (I know I just slaughtered the spelling there.) talkin’ notes and stuff. Ordered a filet mignon that was so good it was akin to beef’s version of cotton candy.

The setup for the speakers was world class.

We were each assigned a volunteer, mine was Ed, a very cool guy who owned a local property management company. They’d let us know when we were five minutes from hitting our 50 minute limit. Even held signs, down to the one minute mark. Very, very helpful. The volunteers were solid gold. Without them it woulda been a bumpy road for sure. They rocked.

A/V guys were assigned to every room for every speaker to ensure the setup went flawlessly — which is exactly how my setup went. Seamless is how I’d describe the logistics and their execution. Designated rooms were made available for both attendees and speakers to sit and relax, directly across the hall from the action.

Simply put, Joshua Dorkin knocked it outa da park.

I’m convinced beyond debate, those who attended this first ever BP REI Summit will be braggin’ about it as it grows into an annual happening. I believe either next year or no later than the third year, the Summit will draw 1,000 investors. It was that good.

We’ll never really know how hard Josh and his spectacularly supportive wife, Julia, worked. Then there were their mothers. Claire was everywhere, and instrumental in ensuring I was well taken care of when the altitude sickness struck on Friday morning. She and Josh elegantly finessed me into being transported by paramedics to the local hospital, which I’d originally resisted. From all accounts though, I looked like death on a cracker. 🙂 Thanks so much to Josh and his family for gettin’ my back. Major kudos.

As I implied earlier, most of these things are nothin’ but glorified networking road trips.

I’ll make a prediction requiring no courage whatsoever. The annual BiggerPockets REI Summit will be a ‘must go’ on the list of serious investors almost immediately. Thankfully, the networking is merely a happy byproduct of the event — very happy. As far as the bang for your buck? In plain English, Josh ain’t chargin’ nearly enough for what he delivers.

And man, does he deliver. Put it on your calendar for 2013. I already have.

Licensed since 1969, broker/owner since 1977. Extensively trained and experienced in tax deferred exchanges, and long term retirement planning.
    Marty Boardman
    Replied about 8 years ago
    Excellent write up Jeff – couldn’t agree more. Josh and his team did fantastic job putting this conference together and I was honored to be part of it. Nice to finally meet you too.
    Jeff Brown
    Replied about 8 years ago
    Hey Marty — It was worth the trip if only for the short discussion you, me, and Kevin Kaczmarek had in the speakers’ lounge.
    Replied about 8 years ago
    I will have to agree with that statement. It was nice to finally put faces to the names. Jason
    Jeff Brown
    Replied about 8 years ago
    Geez, Jason, it was very nice to finally meet you. We’ve been talking with each other online for so long, it felt like meeting a long time buddy.
    Replied about 8 years ago
    I will have to agree with that statement. It was nice to finally put faces to the names. Jason
    Replied about 8 years ago
    Jeff – aptly put! I must say they were all top notch – but your session was the icing on the cake for me. Bravo!
    George Moehlenhoff
    Replied about 8 years ago
    I could have listened to you speak for 3 hours Jeff… So much knowledge to gain, so little time. Great job!!!
    Dick Rosen
    Replied about 8 years ago
    Evertime I read another post from somebody at the Summitt, I regret once again that I did not go. I will not miss the next one.
    Toni DeSalvo
    Replied about 8 years ago
    Hi Jeff, Totally agree with your write up regarding the Summit, like you, we have attended very many conferences & nothing can beat what we encountered at Biggerpockets! All the speakers, including yours were fantastic & the Wholesale Bootcamp was one of my favorite. We actually met Kevin & Fanchon & have started dealing with them in Indianapolis. Josh & Julie & their Moms worked so hard at this Summit & so appreciate everything. Cant believe it was so perfect, but it was. Thank you for taking the time to write your feelings! Hope you remember us!