Lord 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.
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.