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What’s the difference between BloodhoundBlog Unchained and a trade show like Inman Connect? Nothing but the chains…

In a comment to my Parliament of Whores post, Erion Shehaj asks:

I’m having a hard time differentiating between an event such as Connect and BHB Unchained[....] Is there any real difference between them charging for a conference and you doing the same?

Now that’s an excellent question.

Have you been to events like Inman Connect, StarPower or the NAR Convention? Are they charging you for a conference? You bet.

Is that their sole or even their primary objective? To the contrary.

A trade show exists to deliver you to its sponsors. The conference curriculum will consist of sponsored presentations, with the sponsors attempting to sell you their products. Are these the best tools for your business? No. The sponsors you hear from will be the highest bidders, and the hosting organization — Inman or StarPower or the NAR — will actively prevent anyone from pointing out that the sponsor’s products are inferior to others available. In other words, a trade show like Inman Connect, StarPower or the NAR Convention is nothing but a shillfest, a carnival for bilking dupes, who come there to be bilked on their own nickel.

I know you haven’t been to the one Unchained event we have had so far, but what we do is nothing like that. We had one sponsor, Zillow.com, which bought nothing but naming rights — practically speaking as a much-needed subsidy. No other sponsors, no sponsored presentations at all, no trade-show booths. The bulk of the program was Brian Brady and I teaching the theory and practice of Social Media Marketing. We interviewed a few vendors as a means of pinning them down and putting the screws to them. Everything about Unchained is contained in that one word: Achieving the greatest possible independence for the grunts on the ground.

You highlighted this text:

rather than strive to find new ways of milking Realtors and lenders of their income

Everything that Brian and I do is aimed at helping working Realtors and lenders hang on to every cent they earn. If you come to see us live, you’re going to pay. Electrons are almost free but atoms cost money to move around. But everything we talk about is always available right here for free.

Everything associated with the NAR and the Inmanosphere exists to enslave you in one way or another, to tie you up with one set of golden handcuffs after another, so that, in order to retain as much as half of your income, you have to piss the other half away on brokers, memberships, leads, hosted software solutions and other useless crap. Everything associated with BloodhoundBlog Unchained is aimed in exactly the opposite direction, cutting one bond after another, so that you control as much of your own destiny — and retain as much of your own income — as you possibly can.

You can come see BloodhoundBlog Unchained in Orlando for $99 — at least for now; Brian still hasn’t bumped the price, and I like it where it is. But you can come and reap everything we have to teach right here for free. We want nothing to do with milking you of your income. We want you to make so much money that, if you should pay to come and see us, it’s because you want to make even more.

You don’t have to take my word for it. There were almost a hundred people with us for our first time out. Ask them what’s the difference between BloodhoundBlog Unchained and a shillfest like Inman Connect or StarPower or the NAR Convention.

In the mean time, please do not doubt my gratitude to you for having asked this question. It’s those lingering objections that don’t quite get addressed that cause problems in any persuasive endeavor.

To close, and to summarize, here’s the one clip I made with BrokerIPTV.com at BloodhoundBlog Unchained in May:


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  • 11 comments

    11 Comments so far

    1. Brian Brady July 22nd, 2008 10:32 pm

      The price will go up to the original $199 on August 6, 2008. Early birds get the worm. If you’re having cash flow problems, call me at 858-777-9751 and I’ll work something out with you (find someone who will do that).

      Zillow was an amazing sponsor; they let us have free reign and David G went out of his way to NOT be the show. It was the textbook example for how to “soft sell”. Their benefit? Over 100 videos pushed out on the internet with a tasteful highlight of their generosity. Over 100 students who see the value of their site to display their listings. A bunch of lenders who provide quotes to ZMM.

      Will we have “vendors” at Unchained Orlando? You betchya. We did in Phoenix, as well. The “vendors” were prodded, examined, questioned, and tested. The cream rose to the top and displayed their value.

      There IS a difference. At Unchained, you’ll go home with your money’s worth. If you don’t, we’ll give it all back.

    2. Greg Swann July 23rd, 2008 6:31 am

      Following up, I don’t mean to imply that no one can learn anything at a trade show. We’re off to StarPower today, and our strategy is to learn everything we can — every Bloodhound thing we can. But no one at any of the trade shows we’re talking about will stand up and say, “Don’t buy this crap! Learn how to make your own rain!” This is just about all you will hear from us, and if we make a vendor recommendation, it’s going to be because we know from first-hand experience that the product not only delivers benefits in excess of its costs, it is superior in our estimation to every available alternative. We don’t get in bed with the Inmanosphere. We don’t get sucked into the Borg that is the NAR. And we don’t pimp crap products for TwitterBuddies. We don’t give a rat’s ass who we piss off, but we will never betray the guerrillas, the grunts on the ground.

    3. The Harriman Team July 23rd, 2008 6:40 am

      We didn’t go to REBC, we’re not at Inman, not at Starpower, won’t be at NAR, CyberStars or Unchained (sorry!). Not because we don’t want to be or because we don’t think we’ll learn anything, we just don’t have the time. We’re just too damn busy trying to sell houses, of all things.

      Brian, you said “the cream rose to the top” at the first Unchained. What vendors rose to the top and what was their value, and who were the bottom of the barrel? If you can direct me to a blog post about it, that would be fine. I don’t want you write it all here in comments if it’s already out there in a post. Thanks so much, guys, for all you do to help the “grunts on the ground”!

    4. Flynn Gentry-Taylor July 23rd, 2008 7:59 am

      Okay, where will you be next?

    5. Flynn Gentry-Taylor July 23rd, 2008 8:00 am

      Okay, where will you be next? Can’t wait to hear about your cream of the crop vendors.

    6. Greg Swann July 23rd, 2008 8:03 am

      > Okay, where will you be next?

      Orlando, November 7th, as a pre-NAR-Convention prophylactic.

      > Can’t wait to hear about your cream of the crop vendors.

      Watch the top of the blog. A quick hit in just a few minutes.

    7. Erion Shehaj July 24th, 2008 9:39 pm

      I wasn’t expecting a whole post when I posed the question, but I’ll take any explanation I can get.

      I must admit that I have not attended either Connect or Unchained due to inability to go. However, I have followed these events through posts, clips, twits and (why not) Facebook status updates.

      A trade show exists to deliver you to its sponsors. The conference curriculum will consist of sponsored presentations, with the sponsors attempting to sell you their products. Are these the best tools for your business? No. The sponsors you hear from will be the highest bidders, and the hosting organization — Inman or StarPower or the NAR — will actively prevent anyone from pointing out that the sponsor’s products are inferior to others available. In other words, a trade show like Inman Connect, StarPower or the NAR Convention is nothing but a shillfest, a carnival for bilking dupes, who come there to be bilked on their own nickel.

      Greg, I’ll concede the point when it comes to the commercialism of these events. That aside, why should one not attend Connect for instance, when one could listen to many of the speakers at Unchained and then some. Last I checked, Mary Mcknight, Kris Berg, Glenn Kelman, Laurie Manny, Jay Thompson etc. are all contributing to this conference. Should one not consider listening to them simply because that section of a conference is sponsored by a vendor that could be disingenuous about the true value of their product when the concepts introduced during the presentation are as valuable? Moreover, I listened to your embedded video interview and heard that you consider Inman News your direct competitor. Competition aside, why should one not attend both conferences, if within their means?

      Quite frankly, the argument that Unchained is better simply because the vendors featured are some that you qualify as “cream of the crop” just doesn’t fly for me. Zillow may have purchased just naming rights to Unchained, but I remember that when Unchained was getting near, one in three posts you were writing, were praising Zillow in some way or another. And in my opinion, numerous posts from the central voice of Bloodhoundblog trump any “SEO Presentation -brought to you by Worthless SEO Solution, Inc.”

      I did appreciate this post a lot. Thank you!

    8. Greg Swann July 25th, 2008 4:38 am

      > Quite frankly, the argument that Unchained is better simply because the vendors featured are some that you qualify as “cream of the crop” just doesn’t fly for me.

      I didn’t make that argument, Brian did. I would not have included vendors, nor panel-based presentations. I think the experience of shows like Inamn Connect or StarPower argues that any one of the panelists, fully-prepared, could do a better job than the panel as a whole. Going forward, I want to do even more intense curricula, so we’ll have even less time to deploy on less than optimal presentations.

      > Zillow may have purchased just naming rights to Unchained, but I remember that when Unchained was getting near, one in three posts you were writing, were praising Zillow in some way or another.

      If the imputation is that I’m corrupt, this is incorrect. If I praise or criticize anything, it is for my own reasons. I have written more about Zillow than anyone on earth, but this has nothing wahatever to do with their sponsorship. At the time that the money was changing hands, I was outright rude to them to make sure they understood that they had bought nothing but naming rights, no special treatment and no influence on the curriculum. Brian is a much nicer person than I am, and probably more of a believer in ideas like consultation and cooperation. I believe in independence, period. I’m chopping the jungle back even where there is no jungle.

    9. Erion Shehaj July 25th, 2008 8:08 am

      If the imputation is that I’m corrupt, this is incorrect.

      Not at all. My point was that it didn’t make sense to me at the time that your “destroy all vendors” persona was making way to a gentler giant when it came to Zillow. But after you explained this:

      I didn’t make that argument, Brian did. I would not have included vendors, nor panel-based presentations.

      ..it made a lot more sense to me.

    10. Greg Swann July 26th, 2008 2:58 am

      > Quite frankly, the argument that Unchained is better simply because[....]

      I’m coming back to this briefly, and I’ll ask you to forgive me I have seemed to give this short shrift. I am in Orlando for StarPower, and I’m working off of Cathy’s Windows tablet computer, which apparently is advertised as being Unequivocally Better Than Nothing.

      What I have written until now has been more a matter of damning Inman or StarPower, rather than praising Unchained. There are four factors that I think make BloodhoundBlog Unchained far and away better than any real estate training I have ever seen:

      1. As with BloodhoundBlog itself, Unchained is based in original thinking, not the echo chamber that bedevils the RE.net, nor the monkey-see-monkey-do mania that infest virtually all businesses.
      2. Unchained is devoted to digging up and explicating the underlying theories that buttress the ideas we are teaching. Much of what is taught at StarPower, by contrast is based in a cracker-barrel kind of pragamatism — monkey-see-monkey-do as an educational philosophy.
      3. Unchained is thoroughgoing. Putting four people plus a moderator together for 45 minutes gives each speaker an average of nine minutes — nine minutes scattered and homogenized by the moderator. Anything that we do, we want to do completely, covering the material thoroughly, hearing from only the most authoritative of voices. I won’t say we’ve been perfect at this so far, but this is the objective.
      4. Unchained is not about technology (or technology vendors) it’s about the intersection of Social Media Marketing, Direct Marketing and Salesmanship. We’re not fitting each other for propeller beanines, we’re teaching you how to move product in the Web 2.0 world.

      Different people want different things, and that’s wonderful. BloodhoundBlog appeals to smart people who want to get smarter, and so does BloodhoundBlog Unchained. As far as I can tell, the real audience for Inman Connect is people who want to get together and drink. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s not what we’re about here.

    11. Bill Lublin July 30th, 2008 6:02 am

      Greg: I hate to interrupt you in the middle of a commercial for your ‘conference’ but you compare apples and oranges and pears, pretending that they are all alike.

      StarPower is a vendor event created to make money for its operators.

      NAR’s two meetings are not vendor conferences at all, and there is no endorsement of the vendors who pay to be at the trade show. The Trade show defrays some of the expenses of the meetings, which, though they do have numerous educational meetings are held primarily to deal with the governance of the organizations and host the semi-annual meetings of committees whose volunteer members come from all over the country.

      The fact that you choose to try to piggy back on the NAR meetings only differentiates you from any other vendor because you seek to benefit from the attraction of the event without participating in it, not because of any inherent superiority of form or content.

      Where a comparison might be made is in your third compaeison. Inman is an event created by an information provider as a business opportunity to promote itself, position the operator as an authority on a sector of the real estate industry ( technology), and operate in a revenue positive manner – You may not realize it, but at the time Inman Connect was originated Brad Inman was promoting his technology business, and creating this conference was a method of doing that (of course it has grown beyond that). It is this model that you most closely emulate, and your rhetoric notwithstanding, your conference is a benefit to you and any other individuals holding it, even if that reason is gratifying your own ego.