How to Raise a Barn in a Weekend



Stunned and staring at my screen. Fingers resting on my keyboard. I walk around to find out what I’m thinking …

Last Friday morning at SOBCon2010, we looked at our hands and considered all the ways we use them to communicate — all the information and feelings that we pass through them.

Today my voice is gone and my two pairs of glasses still qualify as 1. lost and 2. broken. My head and heart are filled with meaning. Yet my fingers aren’t feeling so eloquent.

Sometimes words are inadequate. I trust you’ll read the spaces between them this time.

Wish more than anything I could reach through my computer to shake a few more hands, to underscore an idea, to give one more hug or handshake while a taxi was waiting.

How to Raise a Barn in a Weekend

Raising a barn can’t be done by one person. In fact, it helps to start with a truly committed and generous partner … one who will sing if he needs to … even when an executive from a leading business website and verified platinum-selling rockstar are in the room.

At SOBCon2010, we offered an invitation, an excuse, a reminder to “raise a barn” of ideas, strategies and tactics and a 150 incredible people laid aside their self-consciousness and invested the time of their life to be there — for some it was easier, for some not so much so. It takes practice to be fear-less.

People came together in unexpected combinations.


Barn raising is a noble investment.

If you’re wondering how you might raise a barn, it’s been my experience that raising a barn is easier if you …

  1. Show up in spades. Be there. Gather everything you might be, everything you might offer, and all you believe.
    No barn was ever raised by, for, or with someone who didn’t invest, want, and already see one.
  2. Bring a simple plan and a people-centered process. Support and encourage expression, participation, and creativity. Don’t five undue attention to nonparticipants. Some folks need to find their own way in … Instead be attractive.

    Getting started is the hardest part. Make it the easiest.

  3. Fill the quest with quality. Have the best leaders, the best tools, the best food, the best places to think, talk, work and relax.

    Live the vision. Don’t just talk about it.

  4. Know, love, and trust the people who are investing. Welcome everyone who came to contribute. Let them know they are valued. Leave room in the plan for positive mutations. Let people be smarter, than you are.

    Realize and recognize that every act of generosity goes both ways.

  5. and when the barn is almost finished …

  6. Give back, give forward. Take action that keeps the momentum. Work in full gratitude by, for, and with everyone who participated to celebrate what’s been raised. Find ways to help them pass on the experience and insights they gained to those who could use them.

    Imprint every learning by inviting every learner to be a hero and a teacher.

  7. sobcon2010-day-3-by-adrants

Thank you to every sponsor for looking acting and investing right with us. Thank you to the presenters, who delivered the content as members of the audience. Thank you to every person who helped us build more than we imagined. It will take a while to unpack the complete value of your contribution.

Without your fearless participation, we might be remembering a meeting.

Instead we built meaning. We saw, heard, and understood each other.


Damn it’s fun to take your brain out to play in a roomful of smart people!!

No wonder I keep staring at my screen.

You have changed my life.

Can’t wait to do it again!

–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz on your business!!


  1. says

    I’d help you raise a barn anytime, Liz.

    What’s amazing is that I wasn’t even at SOBCon this year, yet virtually I felt like a participant – that’s how powerful some of the ideas being shared were.

    And I even heard about the singing. Shame it isn’t available on Youtube as of yet. :-)


    • says

      Hi Andy!
      And you’d be welcome to help us. You’d make that barn stronger. I’m thrilled to think you might join us next year. :)

      The videos are coming out and so are the blog posts. We’re celebrating and documenting!

  2. says

    I remember how awesome the first SOBCon was … can only imagine how great this latest one was. Wish I could have been there. Keep doing remarkable things, Liz and Terry, and all you SOBs!

  3. says

    I’m staring at my screen but cannot see it. My eyes are filled with tears. Tears of gratitude for you and Terry and the 150 people who trusted me with their brain.

    I love you, Liz Strauss. You are irresistible.

    • says

      Hey Kneale Mann,
      No one showed up more or invested more to get here than you did. You’re my hero! I’m so glad you came to get the experience. We’re making something good together. :)

  4. says

    And no one likes to raise a barn for the one farmer who likes to keep count. The one who tracks how much you do for him, and is careful to only repay that much to you.

    You are the one. There is no SOBCon without you.

  5. says

    Wow. I get chills just reading this. I felt the power of this meeting simply from following along @knealemann ‘s tweets and a few others. I can only imagine what it must feel like to surround in a room with others who practice all these barn raising techniques you reference. Counting down the days til 2011. (unless I can get you to let me help ahead of time). :) So sitting here saying wow because the impact was surely that and more. Will be awesome to see the footage. Thanks from a big fan who’s becoming better at owning her fingers;)

  6. says

    Liz, I’m an avid fan been following you for a long time. Anyhow – I was over at Sobcon website on the ‘bios’ page, and the link to this blog actually links to: and I had to fix it for it to work, not sure if you’re aware of this. Just thought I’d mention it.

  7. says

    …Liz I loved every second of Sobcon and thank you for staying true to your vision, and working so extremely hard to give 150 other people a chance and opportunity to shine…Thank you…
    Sobcon is the only conference that I truly walk away from where I feel a real connection and unexpected bond to all the folks in the room…yes of course it’s the energy, passion, commitment and the wealth of information that is in the room, along with real knowledge and being able to walk away with real goals, tactics and strategies on how to start to accomplish them. I also feel a sense that I can call any person who was also in attendance at Sobcon and ask for advice, help, or share ideas without feeling 1. Threatened…2. Dumb….3. Off my watch out others I may be calling you…once again Thank you T & L
    Needed Kneale…to check my spelling on this…hope it o.k..hee hee

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