Friday, March 10, 2006

Up close and personal with David Bach!

Well, sort of...

Yesterday I posted about The Automatic Millionaire Homeowner and its marketing campaign involving a massive giveaway of free books. A commenter named Joe tipped me off to the fact that one of those giveaways would be occurring that very night, here in NYC at the Javits Center! So because I am a woman of action, I decided to pound the pavement in order to get the story for my dear readers! (And because I am a cheapskate, in order to get that free book!)

First of all, I followed Joe's link to a web page where I was able to register for the event, a Wells Fargo homebuyer's fair featuring David Bach's lecture. (I could have registered on-site also.) I had to give my name, address, phone and email, and was given a confirmation page to print out as my ticket to the event. The event was free, but it will be interesting to see how much spammy stuff I get with my deliberately mis-spelled name on it as a result of signing up.

I arrived at the event late, after going to my yoga class. Yes, one minute it's "I am silence, I am peace, I am pure divine consciousness" and the next it's "I am budget, I am savings, I am a millionaire homeowner wannabe." That's just the kind of life I lead. My post-yoga bliss-out kind of dissipated after riding the crosstown bus and walking several blocks along a desolate stretch of 11th Avenue-- I kept thinking how ironic it would be if I got mugged on the way to see the Automatic Millionaire guy. Anyway, I missed most of David Bach's talk-- I don't know what he covered in the first 40 minutes, but when I got there he was talking about the Latte Factor (™!) Ooh, big surprise. Actually, I think it's great that he's made this his mantra-- it's so true and he is very good at communicating the impact of that kind of spending. So he talked about that a bit and the audience, which was a standing room only crowd of maybe 2000 people, was grooving on it. He then got into his key points about buying real estate. I won't repeat them, as I'm sure they're mentioned in every review about the book, but they were all sensible ideas. One point, "Get Professional Help," got a big round of applause, and Bach noted that there must be a lot of professionals in the room. There was also a lot of applause when he recommended going to So I guess in addition to all the Wells Fargo people, there were a lot of real estate agents in attendance-- makes sense, really, as Bach's message certainly benefits them. He acknowledges the uncertainty of the real estate market right now, but makes the good point that it's not about timing the market, it's about "time IN the market." Again, I think he is quite right that no matter when you buy, in the long run you will always end up better off than if you didn't buy at all. (The usual caveats about making sure you can afford your mortgage, etc., of course were mentioned.)

But in some ways, the real fun began after Bach finished speaking. Everyone flooded out of the lecture all into the adjacent homebuyer's fair. Along the way, we were greeted by a rainbow-wigged Uncle Sam on stilts, and a polka-dotted clown who was waving and kind of sheepishly grinning at everyone. The fair was a large room with Wells Fargo tables spaced out around the perimeter where you could pick up brochures, as well as some stations serving popcorn and lemonade. In the center of the room was a large table where people were pushing their way in to get the free book.

They could have organized this better, with lines rather than a shove-in, shove-out system. Part of this table was used for selling Bach's other books, but unfortunately they were barely visible through the crowds and most people probably didn't notice they were there. I shoved my way up to the table, and even though I had not filled out the survey you were supposed to give them, I scored my free book!

Then there were these folks:

I couldn't quite figure out what they had to do with homeownership. It turned out they were doing this kind of weird flower-interpretation dance inside clear plastic bubbles:

I still didn't see how this was supposed to entice anyone to get a mortgage with Wells Fargo. Frankly, the whole thing seemed like it could have a questionable cost/benefit ratio for them, but I don't know-- perhaps the number of people they have to turn into actual borrowers to recoup their investment is less than you'd think.

So I ate some popcorn, drank some lemonade, and skedaddled. I'm glad I went-- from what I've read of The Automatic Millionaire, and this new Homeowner Book (amazing how much you can skim on a subway ride), I think David Bach has a pretty good message, and he puts it forth effectively, so if he's drawing crowds and spreading the word with free books, more power to him.
Thanks again to Joe for the timely tip!


Anonymous said...

Wow - great reporting! Thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

Madame X,
Thanks for the great review. I was able to go as well, and wrote about it on my site. I found the homeowner's fair to be too chaotic and unorganized too. But I like the book so far.