Small Business Funding Event Coming to Seattle

1236729_558062194229624_1577621121_nHey RCG Community!  I’m super-excited that I’ll be returning to Seattle for an Access to Capital event that Dun & Bradstreet Credibility is hosting this Nov 12. The event is all about helping small businesses get the money they need to grow their businesses.

We’ve been running these events all over the country (Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta) and they’ve been crazy successful events in terms of helping get small businesses funded… (No kidding, tens of millions of dollars of funding have come out of our first three events!)

544538_557687417600435_2047497257_nI realize that this isn’t a “real estate” specific event, but from my experience a lot of people in the real estate community are looking for funding and/or know business owners who would love to be able to fund their growth. Specifically, I’ve met and heard stories from many real estate investors at previous events who are looking for innovative ways to fund the purchase of investment properties… and know that most Realtors are active in their local business communities.

At the one-day event, we will offer two main things:

  • Access to Lenders: At previous events we’ve had dozens of representatives (typically 50+ people) representing over 20 different lending organizations, and I’m sure we’ll have a similar turn out in Seattle.   Best part, before the event we will work with attendees to schedule one-on-one meetings with their choice of lenders.
  • Funding Education: We’ll have panels, spotlights and speakers that will get down-and-dirty and show you how to prepare your business to get funded.

1229872_557686864267157_1862403206_nIt’s worth noting that the lenders who show up represent the full-spectrum of options for small business owners.  In the past, we’ve had representatives from large banks (Wells, BofA, etc.), representatives from community banks, representatives from alternative lenders, crowdfunding organizations, venture capitalists and more.  Most people are blown away by the number of options that they have!

Obviously, I’m hoping that the RCG community can represent well at the event, so I’m giving you’all access to a Super-Early Bird ticket!

A bit of serendipity…

At our Chicago event, I made all kinds of friends and have loved seeing multiple companies take off.  But one guy in particular has been hitting home runs left-and-right with his BBQ’d Productions company.  He recently announced that through connections he made at our event, he’s not only gone on to get funding through an innovative small business program offered by Sam Adams:

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But it gets better!  His business is even getting featured on an upcoming bottle of Sam Adams!

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Anyway, I tell this story, not because it’s a “success” story from a previous event, but rather because I think it highlights the importance of taking chances for entrepreneurs.  Kris took a chance on the event… met up with some great people… networked, networked, networked… and is making great things happen!  I’ve become a firm believer that one of the keys to turning the economy around is helping more of these innovative entrepreneurs and I feel super fortunate that D&B Credibility is organizing these funding events to do just that!

1229993_560128970689613_980300401_nNow’s your chance to take a chance!

Sign up for a ticket while they’re discounted on top of Super-Early Bird Specials! (note: we haven’t started to do any real marketing around this event yet… but it will come and it will be big!  I’m only pushing this out early because they let me and I love that I can offer something great to the RCG community!)

And of course, let me know if you have any questions!


Are you ready for BuzzRE???

Next week, I’m helping to organize an internet marketing educational event and I encourage everyone interested to set aside next Thursday to join us!  For the BuzzRE event, we’ve lined up some of my favorite educators in real estate marketing including:

edgefieldIn addition to the great lineup of speakers, there’s going to be ample opportunities to learn from and network with hundreds of agents from the Pacific Northwest, many of whom are leaders in internet marketing.

It doesn’t matter if you’re want to learn about SEO, SEM, blogging, conversations, tools, or any other online marketing topic, the experts will be there and you just need to join us to take part!

Details for location and much more are on the BuzzRE website, but here’s a few key stats:

Cost: $25

When: June 2nd: 6pm – kickoff party
June 3rd: 9am – 5pm (with after party till 11pm)

Where: McMenamin’s Edgefield
2126 S.W. Halsey St.  Troutdale, OR 97060
(Just 10 minutes east of PDX)

More info:


We ran another BuzzRE event in Orange County a few weeks ago and it was so much fun. So many great people and so much great feedback, which has really helped guide this event in Portland!

Are you going to be there???  Let us know!

Let us know if you’re going to be there!  Either here or on Twitter!  (The hashtag to connect on twitter is: #BuzzRE).  And just a few of the Seattle folks I’ve noticed mention they’re going to be there include: Linda Aaron, Galen Ward, Darin Persinger and Scott Thomas

So much fun and let me know if I can add your twitter handle to the list!

[For those interested in a trip down memory lane… I had conversations with another real estate old-timer not too long ago, and we look back at the Las Vegas NAR event in ’07 as the kick-off point for real estate conversations on Twitter…  Back then, we were all trying to figure out if there was anything behind the hype of Twitter, and it seemed to me that the best place to figure out if it made sense was at a conference where we could use the tool to better connect.  With that in mind, I posted a list of real estate folks with Twitter accounts who would be attending NAR so others could follow along and connect with us. While the list started off small (I published the list with only 5 twitter profiles: JeffJoelJessicaKeith and Myself), I remember that by the end of the week, I was connected to over 50 people on Twitter who I’d met at the conference…  and I like to think that the background real estate conversation on Twitter that was sparked at NAR ’07 has never really died down!

Anyway, I was reminded of this story as I posted this list of a few folks from Seattle joining us at BuzzRE and realizing how these small lists of people sometimes blossom into unpredictable and amazing conversations!]

I hope to see you in Portland next week!

Join us at the HomeQuest Social Media Summit Next Week

David speaking at Real Estate Connect NYC '10Hey real estate professionals! I’m super excited to be taking part in the HomeQuest Social Media Summit next week in Portland…

I’m going to be speaking about creating and promoting your content… but more interestingly, the HomeQuest team has also lined up:

I know all three of these guys well and can tell you without a doubt that these are three of the smartest guys in online real estate.

This is sure to be a great event with lots of great learning (did I mention it’s free???).  You can register here!

And if you’re planning to attend, let us know in the comments. Maybe some folks from the Seattle are would like to carpool down!

[photos courtesy of Dale Chumbley of the Clark County Real Estate Blog, who always brings #thefun and will almost definitely be joining us next week as well!]

It’s September 17, 2009 and I still originate mortgage loans…

For those of us to whom this statement applies there are a few obvious questions that immediately come to mind:  Why am I still working in this God-forsaken wasteland of an industry?

  • A) Nobody else is hiring in this booming economy,
  • B) I wanted to move to Nome Alaska but I couldn’t trade my upside down mortgage for a thatched roof yurt and a dog sled, or
  • C) The positive image of my career as portrayed by CNN makes me feel like a rock star.

Seriously, for the love of God Why!?

2009wampconnectIn all seriousness those of us that remain are not that different than survivors of a natural disaster. The clouds dissipate; the water level recedes and her we are – the survivors of the storm.  Not unlike the analogy the first thing that a ‘survivor’ must do is identify the resources that one needs to rebuild and restore one’s life. It is with this in mind that I invite you to WAMP’s Connect event coming up in Bellevue on October 5th and 6th

The Connect event offers each of us the opportunity to come together and meet all of the other survivors face to face. We’ll be able to reflect on what ‘once was’ and still more importantly the ‘what is’. As is the case in any disaster, the landscape we live in professionally is dramatically different than where we’ve been. The resources are certainly more limited – remember the days of quoting ‘hundreds of lenders and programs’? Now it’s more like ‘five lenders and programs’ – and we’re all using the same five!

Fewer programs and tougher guidelines are the realities of the aftershock and yet another reason to learn what others are doing to be more efficient and succeed in this new landscape. The Connect Event also offers the knowledge of how to seed your landscape for tomorrow. New technologies and lead sources like the Zillow Mortgage Marketplace, social network marketing (can you tweet for dough?), and the brace of brave new lenders that have sprung up alongside the resilient and steady familiar faces; they’ll all be represented at the Connect Event. The Connect Event will be nothing short of a meeting of survivors learning how to forge their professional landscapes for tomorrow – so don’t miss out!

There are very few lifeboats in this economy. There have been far more casualties than survivors. Come and be counted among the living. Come to Connect and learn how to forge a better tomorrow for yourself and for the industry you work in. Face it – If we don’t see you at Connect we’re going to suspect that you traded the house for the dog sled and the yurt – Don’t be ‘gone missing’

In Search of a Secret Weapon

You: An articulate, interesting and dynamic real estate agent/broker with a desire and determination to turbo-charge your online marketing activities. You have a wild streak and are willing to consider the day (potentially sooner than later) when nearly all of your business is generated online (a la Ardell)

Me: A ruthless online real estate marketing machine looking for a short-term commitment so that we can walk on stage in San Francisco at Inman’s Bloggers Connect conference as the winners of Project Blogger. 🙂

I happen to know that Ardell already has already chosen her secret weapon… so has Jim. While I have a few people in mind, I figured I’d open it up to the RCG community before I commit to anyone. (While not required, it would be helpful if you’ve either already attended one of my seminars or would be willing to attend the March 30 seminar in Pasadena…)

Note that there are a bunch of rules and guidelines, but we’ll do our best to differentiate ourselves by not following too many! I’m of the opinion that no one wins in marketing (personal, professional or corporate) by following the rules. 😉

Also, there was discussion while developing “the rules” on the appropriate amount of money that a participant could spend promoting themselves. If you team with me, this will be a very cheap endeavor. I need someone willing to commit time not money…

You can apply to take part by leaving a comment below. My recommendation is to read up on the event and then convince me that you are hungry and can commit to focusing your marketing activities to the online environment over the next few months. There WILL be a lot of publicity around this event, so this is not for the timid.

And in all seriousness, expect to have a lot of fun!

Most Innovative Blog Nomination Dinner

[photopress:Innovator_finalist.jpg,full,alignright]Inman’s Most Innovator Awards will be announced at a the SF Connect conference on Wednesday (7/26) between 5PM and 6PM… I’ve had more than a few requests to have dinner/lunch over the two days I’ll be at Inman, so what I’d like to do is organize a dinner at one of my favorite restaurant in SF, House of Nanking, with anyone and everyone being invited. It is not a fancy place (and their service is definitely nothing to write a blog entry about), but the food is soooo good.

For those not familiar with San Francisco, House of Nanking is a long walk (or a short taxi ride!) from the Palace Hotel. It is on the border of Chinatown and North Beach (the Italian district) in a micro-neighborhood I’ll always associate with the Beat Generation. There’s Vesuvio, Caffe Trieste (warning: music!), and, of course, City Lights Bookstore, all of which are still operating and will always thrive within the writings of Jack Kerouac, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and many others from the Beat Generation.

To summarize, if you’re reading this blog post, then you’ve been invited to join a group of us as we descend on North Beach on Wednesday evening (I plan to be at House of Nanking around 7:30 or so). Also, I’m covering the first round at Vesuvio’s for any and all real estate bloggers who were nominated by Inman! 😉

Free Bloginar in L.A. for 200 Agents!

Russ Cofano and I are giving our 2nd Bloginar for agents next week on how to use blogs to effectively generate leads. Interestingly, the sponsor of the event, Coldwell Banker, decided to open up our seminar to all southern california real estate agents and not just Coldwell Banker agents (WOW!)… Not only that, but they decided to make the even free (Double WOW!).

The catch is that the facility can only hold 200 people and they’ve decided to offer seats on a first-come, first-serve basis! The only place to register is on this fancy flash page they created for the event! (A little bird has told me that there are already over 50 people 70 people 80 people 100 people registered for the event, and the organizers are expecting a full house!)

The event is scheduled to start promptly at 9:30am and last until 12:30 on July 19 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Brentwood.

Last time, we ended up rushing things (and skipping one of two planned breaks) because we really have four hours worth of material we’re trying to condense into three hours. I’ve attempted to filter things a little more this time, but with the inevitable (and valuable) questions that real estate blogging encourages from the audience, I’m sure we’ll be rushing to cover everything in the end this time as well!

Some of the reviews we had from our first bloginar were very encouraging…

Dale Crockatt:

Dustin and Russ, your first bloginar class was awesome! I have not been so excited about a new idea in years. We have been searching for an idea for the fourth generation of our website and I am convinced this is it! I was surprised you were not selling something at the end of the “show

Seattle Real Estate Calendar Update

Thanks to Tom of Trumba, I’ve been playing around with Trumba‘s calendar solutions. They are definitely doing some interesting things and there are some benefits to their solution that go above and beyond the current offerings of Google Calendar I discussed a little while back. In particular, I really like two features they’ve added to the NYTime’s Automotive Calendar that I think could easily be ported to the Seattle real estate scene.

  • Feature 1: Submit an Event allows for any user to add an event
  • Feature 2: Add This Calendar to Your Site gives some simple javascript so that anyone can add the calendar to their site.

There are two types of calendars that can easily be added to another site. One is a preview calendar shown on my sidepanel (below the comments!) and the other is a “full” calendar shown below.

I really like the distributed collaboration and if anyone wants to add this calendar to their real estate site, it is as simple as copy-and-pasting some code… If you are interested, email me and I’ll send you the code!

By the way, the current calendars on this site do not have the “add an event” feature, but Tom assures me that it will be available in a few weeks! Until then, feel free to email me with your real estate event if you’d like me to add it to the calendar!

One more thing!!! The TechCrunch event looks to be a lot of fun and is coming up this next Wednesday!!!

Meeting of the Mind Camp


I just returned from MindCamp2.0… and am now just getting mentally back on my feet enough to write a quick story of my adventure.

What is MindCamp?

MindCamp is an “unconference” organized by self-proclaimed geeks… I view it is a great place to learn about cutting edge computer stuff by the people who are most interested in teaching.

The idea is that you bring together 200 people and let them quickly hash out a schedule of sessions with about 6 of them running at any given time. Add plenty of coffee (thank you Starbucks), keep the conference running for 24-hour straight, and it definitely makes for a memorable event. And yes, people did stay up all night attending event, hashing out computer stuff and playing games.

[photopress:social_networking.jpg,thumb,alignright]I attended sessions on SEO, AJAX (these guys are developing some very interesting software for enterprise deployment), Social Networking (led by a co-founder of Biznik, a great Seattle-based business networking tool), Mash-ups, geo-location tools, solving transportation problems, and coffee brewing! I learned all kinds of interesting things.

In addition, Galen and I teamed up to host a session on “Social Networking in Real Estate” which turned out to be a lot of fun and give some great feedback about some interesting uses for social networking tools in developing real estate search sites. Just as Rain City Guide was getting bombarded with the “Bubble Faithful”, our session was temporarily overtaken by someone who wanted to focus the entire conversation on why housing in Seattle is a horrible investment. I did my best to keep us focused on potential users for social technologies in online real estate tools and I hope others who participated learned a little something.

If you’re curious what an “unconference” looks like, there are a bunch of photos available on Flickr, including this classic shot of Galen.

And if you’re wondering what it takes to run an event like this, look no farther than this great group of event volunteers and a lot of caffeine. My thanks goes out to all the great people who put together this fun event. I look forward to attending more of these in the future!

The Living Barge Project

Barge? Life? Art?

Enter the Living Barge Project.

The Living Barge Project is a large-scale, temporary public art installation by Sarah Kavage and Nicole Kistler that will be moored on Seattle’s Duwamish River for the month of April 2006. Native plants will be installed on an industrial barge, creating a temporary floating island full of ferns, shrubs and tree seedlings.

[photopress:BargePostcard.jpg,full,alignright]We want to use this project to create a lasting, positive dialog about the history and future of the Duwamish and the neighbors and businesses that surround it. We also want to raise citywide awareness of the Duwamish and invite people to participate in its restoration.

For years, I’ve been working with Sarah Kavage in a completely different context, so it is a lot of fun to see what she is up to in her “art” life.

Considering the opening day tour to the barge scheduled for April 1st is already sold out, this looks to be an extremely popular (yet temporary) art project. Check out the schedule of events to find out how you can experience the Living Barge.