Ultimate BPCON2019 Discussion

50 Replies

I am at the airport flying back home from the BPCON2019 conference. Like many of you, I had some great take-ways from the discussion panels, seminars and social hour conversations. I thought I would create a thread for attendees to discuss their experiences and what they learned.

Overall, great job BP team!!

First of all, as a professional who has been to over 75 conferences in my career, I have seen the good bad and ugly. I feel this gives me a unique perspective to rate the BiggerPockets Conference on overall quality compared to other conferences I have attended.

It was well organized. Maybe it was hectic in the background, but the attendees didn't see it. BP was smart to bring a large group of team members so they had enough man/woman power. The check-in process was good. Swag bag and auction were fun. There was ample signage with nice artwork and the convention had a good layout. The Gaylord venue is excellent (but not cheap). They have tons of hotel rooms, restaurants and plenty of conference space to run multiple events. Nashville was a nice selection for the venue. It is a hip and fun destination,is centrally located and the Nashville real estate market it on fire. 

The format of offering 2-3 tracks at each time slot is common in conferences and works well. Someone starting out can attend a house hacking seminar, while someone experienced can attend a next level topic. Providing food and drink as part of the event is a must. The social hours and after parties were probably the best I have seen.

There was a very small number of trade exhibitor booths compared to other shows I attend. Of course other shows I attend are on their 15-25th year, so they have had time to build a sponsorship. The exhibitors were off to the side. One recommendation I have is to mix some of the food or drink breaks into the middle of the exhibitors. That forces people into the exhibitor space. More booth traffic means the sponsors see more value, so they are willing to sign up in the future and pay more money. The more sponsors there are to pay the bill, the less it can cost for attendees! The exhibitors provide value for us, by showing us new technology or services that can help our business, so it is a win for everyone.

Quality of the key notes was excellent. Brandon and Josh delivered powerful mindset messages, which is exactly what a keynote should be. Brandon delivered a three point message. Know what you want, know how to get there and become the hero. Josh told his personal story and intermixed a powerful message of focusing on what is important, along with knowing when it is time for the next step. Josh spoke from the heart and very articulately. The other sessions were informative and hosted by experienced real estate professionals. I thought the variety was good, although some of the 30 minute sessions were rushed. Some of the speakers needed an hour, so maybe next time, give them more time.

Nashville was great, but if this is annual, moving venues each year is nice. Variety is important and it will draw new people as it moves around. 

The live podcast and discussion panels were the best! All the BiggerPockets "all stars" on the stage taking fire round questions. It was fun and informative.

It was great to meet so many people and have great conversations with so many of you! I am interested to hear what you all have to say.

Tag people you met at the show so we can get this thread going!! 

@Mindy Jensen @Nathan Gesner @Dave Meyer @Alexander Felice   

@Shiloh Lundahl @Scott Trench  

Great event!  I enjoyed networking with people.  The topics were wide-spread but could have used more time to get into some details vs. surface topics.  

@Alexandra Hughes If there is a way to have color coded name badges or additional flags to stick on the badges to identify what niche people are in, that would be really helpful for networking.  I met a lot of great people but would have loved to hone in more on people working toward the same goals in the same niche.  

I'm excited for next year!!  Hawaii is good for a location :)

@Matt Gilroy I agree with the badges as well.

The speakers do need more time for their presentations. They were all rushed and did not have enough time to answer questions.

Overall, i think the BP team did an awesome job organizing the event given the short amount of time given.

I will second Hawaii for next year’s location.

Ditto !

I found that it was a great experience!

 1.Learning tracks 

2.Time for speakers a little more would be great but starting low and adding time is smart! (Less boredom less walkouts ) leaving them wanting more applies here!

3.The offsite venue is nice it gets you off the compound .

4. I stayed at a Airbnb so I could get the feel for the city. Can I suggest reach out to any Airbnb BP members in the conference city next time! 

5 . Conference venue 101- it’s going to be to cold , so be ready to wear layers or you will be distracted! 

5. Great job BP staff😀



Thanks for keeping the conversation going. Agreed for a first time Conference they hit it out of the park! Now to keep the F.I.R.E. going. Made some great connections and I value that the BP team brought the human element to our virtual relationships. WOW!

@Gio Gonzalez  and @Matt Gilroy  I have to admit Hawaii would be a great destination, but it would severely limit the attendance and severely increase the cost for BP.

@Sheila Greene that is a great idea to give STR owners in the destination city a chance to promote their properties for the next conference. Although, if I was a STR operator and heard a real estate convention was coming, I would raise my rates for those days, haha.

Fantastic event. I'm so glad to meet as many people as I could. 

There are some critiques to be made about the event as there always will be, but they are few. The team did a remarkable job and they should be proud of themselves. I've said thank you to the BP staff about a hundred times now, but a few more are still needed, so, thank you BiggerPockets. 

What I did get was to slap palms with people who are going to drastically change the trajectory of my career over the next few years. That's invaluable. 

Great to meet so many of you. My biggest complaint would be the constraint of time I had to be able to spend with so many fantastic humans. The event should have been like 2 weeks instead of 3 days ;) ;) 

The best part is that because I've met so many people face to face and know them better, I now feel empowered to talk smack EVEN MORE on the forums. 

My biggest complaint, and this is coming from someone who could not attend, is that the conference was announced only a few months before it happened. I find most conferences Im thinking about attending are announced 6-12 months out, so it allows for maximum planning.  With this one so near in the future I was not able to attend.

Originally posted by @Russell Brazil :

My biggest complaint, and this is coming from someone who could not attend, is that the conference was announced only a few months before it happened. I find most conferences Im thinking about attending are announced 6-12 months out, so it allows for maximum planning.  With this one so near in the future I was not able to attend.

I agree, generally when I attend a conference, they already have the dates and location for the next year picked. Some even have it scheduled 2-3 years out. 

Did I hear you right, as long as you have 6 months notice for the next one, you are coming? 

@Joe Splitrock

I will more than likely be at the next one. This time around I was already scheduled, and had 4 seperate October trips already.

I agree that timing was too fast for many, but I think they would agree with that as well. 

and the next one should have been planned already so they could be selling early bird tickets for the 2020 event on the last day of the 2019 event. I would have already bought the BPcon20 tickets if available, I believe others would have as well. My guess is there was so much focus on this event and too many unkowns to start hunting for next one in advance. Now that the event is over the correct response is to start working on BPcon20 immediately to start capturing dollars and leveraging that for production efforts. 

@Joe Splitrock Thanks for starting this thread and I agree with everything you have stated. I think the badges or color coding would be a great addition as well. I had mentioned that it would be cool for those on BP to have a year they joined on their badge as well. The common interest would be better for networking though. I love it!

I would love to see a much larger vendor area with a better set up as well. Some more physical products would have been a nice touch. SimpliSafe comes to mind. I feel it will get bigger next time though. Also, maybe just do the raffles through an app or another setup like by name.

I also agree with @Gio Gonzalez that the shorter secessions seemed rushed and it would have been better for speakers to have more time. 

I personally got a little claustrophobic at the Mephis Invest cocktail event since it was in a smaller space. I just had to step away for a bit and that is totally a more personal experience and in no way reflects the amount of fun I had at it though. Maybe a bigger space would have been a bit better though. Easier to hear each other and flow throughout the room for networking. Huge shout out to @Chris Clothier though for being an amazing sponsor! I have always been a big fan and it truly reflects his commitment to love for the REI and BP community.

Overall, I was extremely blown away for the first BP Conference! I think the team did an amazing job and I appreciate them all working so hard. I truly loved it and can't wait for BPCON2020!

3-day event next time...?

It's on my list to attend next time around as I, too, couldn't swing it given the timing.  It's interesting to hear the feedback regarding the venue and format.  

Aside from the priceless networking that took place, was there anything impactful or novel that you took away from the event or conversations?  Maybe some nuggets about the direction of the industry or unique/alternative investment strategies?  I know much of this will be dependent on your level of experience.

Originally posted by @Michael R. :

It's on my list to attend next time around as I, too, couldn't swing it given the timing.  It's interesting to hear the feedback regarding the venue and format.  

Aside from the priceless networking that took place, was there anything impactful or novel that you took away from the event or conversations?  Maybe some nuggets about the direction of the industry or unique/alternative investment strategies?  I know much of this will be dependent on your level of experience.

 I wouldn't say that any session contained some "new ground breaking strategy". At least not for anyone who is experienced or who has spent some time on the forums, reading books or listening to podcasts. For me the most value came from motivation, little key take away statements and one-on-one conversations. 

Loved it as a first company organized conference, we'll probably find that a lot of the kinks will work itself out by the time we have our second. So glad I was able to meet and connect with a lot of like-minded individuals all in one area. A lot of general knowledge of real estate could be self taught, if the mission was to learn from the conference like a seminar..then I think the attendees missed the point. The conference to me was a networking opportunity and the opportunity to ask one of the BP team a question you couldn't ask through a podcast, I gained a lot from this conference and I loved it! Carol Scott did give me an Oprah vibe from the giveaway though haha, it would be nice to have names tied to the winnings.

Thanks for starting this, Joe!

I thought the location was great. Tons of space, no need to leave if we didn't want to. We needed bigger meeting rooms for some of the break-out sessions but it was otherwise perfect.

Food was pretty good. Sometimes really, really good and sometimes mediocre. There was enough food to feed another 500 people! Breakfast got a lot of complaints for the lack of protein but it was still fresh and delicious.

Sponsors were awesome! I think BP needs to do something to highlight the sponsors instead of sticking them in the corner behind a curtain. I seriously didn't notice them until the end of day one and didn't have time to visit them until lunch on day two.

Speakers were...ok. Some of them provided very generic messages. The ones I sat in on were given by highly accomplished investors but they didn't share any detail we could take back home. In most cases, the audience could have listened to one podcast and garnered twice as much actionable information. I expect speakers to provide 2-3 nuggets the audience can put into action. It would be also be nice to see different tracks for beginners and experienced investors so speakers could tailor their message and provide more meat vs. general concepts.

Networking was the best! I could have spent three days speed-dating my way around the cafeteria and meeting every single person. I'm pretty introverted but this was the easiest group of people to talk to and I managed to share or learn in every situation. 

Some suggestions:

1. Negotiate the hotel rate through the night of the final day. My only options for flying out were early morning or afternoon. I wanted to stay for the second day and leave the following morning but an extra night at the hotel would cost me around $500. If it were more affordable, I think more people could stay through the finish and stick around to network more.

2. Send out a survey and start collecting feedback. I don't think you'll hear many complaining but you might collect a good number of suggestions to implement next year.

3. Don't book Hawaii. Too expensive and if people are going to spend that kind of money, they want to enjoy the location. NARPM has a Broker/Owner conference in Hawaii next year and most of my friends are skipping it because of that. if we're going to a place like Hawaii, we want it to be on vacation and not in a conference.

4. Book something now! Conferences I attend are typically booked 18-24 months in advance.

5. BADGES: Find a way to lift them up so they're visible while sitting at a table and we don't have to stare at someone's belly button to see their name. Use a lanyard that hooks to each side so the badge can't flip around easily. Get rid of the ribbons to keep the badge simple and clean. Make the first name larger and easier to see.

BONUS SUGGESTION **** Add a QR Code to the front or back of each tag that includes the wearer's BiggerPockets profile information (name, phone, email, web site, and social media. When someone scans the QR code with their phone, the contact information is added to their phone. We don't have to worry about carrying business cards or running out of them! Once the QR code is created, allow us to add it to our BP profile so people can scan in contacts from home. **** Instructions here

Thanks to everyone at BP for an amazing conference! It was great to meet you all in person and I look forward to the next one!

Thank you, BiggerPockets, for hosting this event!

Lots of great ideas on this thread.  I met lots of great people (in spite of VERY poorly timed laryngitis!) and would have loved to stay one more night as well.  

Just a couple of other suggestions to add (hopefully I'm not duplicating):

- Mark sessions as Novice/Intermediate/Advanced

- Clarify whether sessions are being video recorded for later posting on BP site (or via an attendee link), or if/when slides will be available.  Many speakers offered an email address to obtain slides at the end of the talk - thank you for that!  Some consistency might help people choose in advance which session they will attend when two concurrent ones are interesting.  Less pressure if you know you'll get the info another way for the ones you miss.

- Ask people to preregister for topics or rank first and second choice a couple of weeks ahead of time in order to better estimate room sizes needed.  

- Some conferences offer an overflow area where monitors are up showing the different talks from the smaller rooms.  They sometimes provide headsets so that it's still quiet in those areas.

- Kudos and thanks to Matt Faircloth who took several of us outside for an impromptu session on raising capital when Liz's session's popularity exceeded the room size! 

- Survey the group re: what topics they'd like for next year.  Also, I feel like we should prepare panel audience questions ahead of time as attendees.

- Agree with booking it ASAP, and somewhere fun where most can fly with minimal connections.

- Food and/or a cocktail hour, or raffle number reading in the vendor area has worked at other conferences I've attended. 

- The offsite welcome reception - if location/transportation were clarified that would have been helpful.  Lots of individual ubers.  The Uber code for the Jason Aldean's party was appreciated.  A shuttle would be nice if available/affordable at future venues.  

The BP team was organized and accommodating, welcoming, friendly and efficient.  You clearly put some serious effort into this event and it is much appreciated!  

Thanks again for all that you do which enables us do what WE do, and reach new levels of success by helping each other out.  The thing that unifies us is that we are willing to do the big scary things in order to free ourselves and our time up to live better.  That is pretty awesome, if you ask me.  Your mission changes lives.  

See you all next year, and on the forums until then!

One more suggestion for BP. Every conference I go to, the name tag badges flip backwards, so you can't see a persons name. This was a common complaint at BPCON2019. 

I was at a conference two weeks ago and our names were printed ON BOTH SIDES of the name tag. It sounds simple, but it was genius.

@Alexander Felice would that work for you?

@Nathan G. it was great meeting you and I am so glad we had a chance to talk! Great list of suggestions. I think next year they should give you a speaker session on property management!

Seriously, property management was a completely overlooked topic at this conference. Property managers get no respect.... haha

Originally posted by @Joe Splitrock :

@Nathan G. it was great meeting you and I am so glad we had a chance to talk! Great list of suggestions. I think next year they should give you a speaker session on property management!

Seriously, property management was a completely overlooked topic at this conference. Property managers get no respect.... haha

I offered that to Mindy for next year. I don't know if there's enough interest but I'm open to the idea. I could pack an hour full of recommendations on software, resources, tips and tricks!

 

Originally posted by @Joe Splitrock :

One more suggestion for BP. Every conference I go to, the name tag badges flip backwards, so you can't see a persons name. This was a common complaint at BPCON2019. 

I was at a conference two weeks ago and our names were printed ON BOTH SIDES of the name tag. It sounds simple, but it was genius.

@Alexander Felice would that work for you?

All we have to do is use a badge with a clip on each side (far right). That will prevent flipping.

 

@Matt Gilroy @Gio Gonzalez @Sheila Greene @Lucia Rushton @Alexander Felice @James Wilcox @Michael R. @Lionel Li @Judy Walsh @Nathan G.

Thanks for all the conference feedback! Lots of great ideas being thrown out there.

One thing non attendees want to know is any key ideas that we may have learned from the conference. Can each of you please post your top three ideas/concepts in a very short form 1-2-3 answer.

You know what you need to do!! - Josh Dorkin 

Great advice that seems so simple, but I know I don't take it enough


Originally posted by @Alexander Felice :

You know what you need to do!! - Josh Dorkin 

Great advice that seems so simple, but I know I don't take it enough

By far @Joshua Dorkin keynote was the most powerful message at the conference. It was heart felt and SIMPLE. But to your point, simple advice is often what we overlook. I know BP took a video of it, so I am assuming it will be on Youtube or something. Everyone needs to listen to it. 

I will go as far as saying the ONLY reason people fall short in life is not doing what they know they need to do.

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