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Gary Vaynerchuk Practices What He Preaches

April 15, 2011 3 comments

I originally interviewed and wrote this article for my FORBES blog, but wanted to ensure my readers received as well.

How many of you have ever reached out via email, Twitter or phone to an Internet superstar?

I have. Before writing this article, I gave Gary Vaynerchuk a test. I wanted to see if he really responded to all people, to see if he’s truly “engaged” and how much he “cares,” regardless of whether you’re a client or not.

He did and he does.

I emailed, asking him if I could ask him some questions about his New York Times bestselling book, Thank You Economy. Within 30 seconds, I had a response. “Phone number?”

While I was not able to get back to him at that exact moment, I responded back with my phone number later in the day and, again, received a personal response.

And finally on 3/30/2011, Gary called. He was on his way to an interview on CNN and he had put aside time for me. We connected and spoke.

And I found he is just as true to his concept as he said he was. He cares.

Thank you Economy was written for all of us. In typical Vaynerchuk fasion, the book was written from the heart, engaging us with a passionate intelligence surrounding business relationships and transactions. It’s for first-time entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 executives, and the first of its kind.

TYE demonstrates the ROI on social media. It outlines the dangers of “waiting” to see short term results and, most importantly, it clearly depicts what we are in the midst of – a humanistic revolution.

When I spoke with Gary, his thesis was so simple; yet he has proven to be the best at executing on it: “Be reactionary,” he said. “React to what the market wants. And the market wants one-on-one real time engagement. Now that we have the tools to engage, I’m going to continue fighting for the end user.”

TYE puts into words what we’ve all been trying to define since the onslaught of social media: what’s the best way to use it? According to Gary, we have the opportunity to regress back to the days before there was a Starbucks on every corner or a supermarket every five miles; using the same tactic we did when there was a locally-owned butcher or coffeehouse. Care about your consumer.

So simple, yet the U.S. economy has been so focused on “driving traffic” and mass media over the last 20 years, we forgot about our consumer. We looked at the numbers, and the efficiencies, but we stopped listening…Except for people like Gary.

When I first started the book, I admittedly thought it may be a bit elementary. The content of the introduction and first few chapters spoke of brands in a very similar fashion I had read of in college or other business books. There wasn’t any mind blowing differences in the actual content.

But as I continued reading, I found that Gary’s secret is not in the content. His secret is in inspiring and motivating others to act. In the book, he does this not only through passion, but also through specific examples and case studies showing the ROI of one-on-one engagement.

His reason for working IS the end user or the consumer. The consumer’s voice matters and we all need to not solely except that, but embrace it and use that first consumer to build our companies. We can all SCALE CARING.

And Gary certainly cares of everything in his life with the same fierce passion he does his consumer. When I asked him how he found the time to even write the book, his response, “We all have a different definition of work/life balance. Spending time writing this book was not remotely close to how happy I am when I’m with my daughter. But we need to cut out the fat.”

In the same conversation, he beeped over to take a call from his mom; but he did not beep over for business calls. What was cutting out the fat? “Stop doing things that waste time. Don’t replace time with your family or things that you NEED to do. I NEEDED to put together two fantasy teams this weekend because that’s something I enjoy, but did stop playing Nintendo Wii for hours on end.”

Gary has become a master author, a renown social media expert, the fighter for the end-user, and still remains a family man – able to see all the Jets games and do everything else he loves. How? By caring for the consumer.

And if you want to keep up and learn how to do this with your company, your personal brand, your product, and yourself; you’ll read his book too. Don’t pre-judge like I did at the beginning. Just read and be inspired. And then commit to Care.

Don’t be a HATER

April 12, 2010 Leave a comment

I got an email from Gary Vaynerchuck today stating, “Hey Guys I was wondering if you guys have read Crush IT and if you had if you would please leave your honest review on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0061914177/ref=cm_rdp_product a bunch of haters have come on in the past week and I was thinking that it’s sad that people with venom are more motivated than the peeps with Honey. If I got a review for every person that has e-mailed me how much they loved the book I would be in the ball park of 5000 5 star reviews. lol. Anyway wanted to say hi and ask for this support and more importantly wish you all well and a great week”

It amazes me how many people HATE those that are outside the status quo; that are not ‘the norm’. If we go back in time, most entreprenuers that have been successful in business have gone against the norm. Even Warren Buffet tells us to “buy when it’s not popular to do so and buy something that’s not popular”. Why does he say this? Because something that is popular in business has already become the status quo – there is already a business model out there doing what you would be purchasing. It is the “next big thing” that you need to find. There are certain business models, or sales and marketing strategies, that will forever work. Example: call centers. It is rare to find a call center business that differs vastly from the others; however, in businesses that are similar – it is the one that has the unique “business approach”. In the call center example, perhaps you can find a company that will take payment on performance rather than a fee per hour. In a business like “fast food”, maybe it’s the angle of the commercials that differ. I can assure you – whomever is doing something the furthest from the norm will be the most noticed.

In relation to Gary’s email above, why do people hate Gary? Pretty simple; people are afraid of him. The biggest (most documented) fear in the human race is fear of the unknown. it is innovators like Gary Vaynerchuck who not only figured out how to ‘market’ the unknown, but have taken the step to inspire others to pursue what they never thought they could.

So, why the haters? People are afraid of those that follow their passion; afraid of the business leaders that want to differentiate and mentor others to be creative and think outside the box…they know that the next round of successful business will come from these Gen Y businessmen and they don’t like it.

Well guess what? Suck it up.

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