I’ve been doing marketing and promotion inside local television stations for more than a decade. Nearly everything we do is highly perishable, especially in the linear broadcast. It must affect my mindset, because two instances today – neither especially profound – open-hand slapped me in the face with the idea of permanence.
These instances immediately took me back to a Vaynerchuk take (find it at 19:30) on staying mindful of the fact that our great great grandchildren will be able to see much of what we do.
Instance 1: The final button on an interesting little case study by Darren Dahl in Inc. about a legal and PR crisis faced by Tagged. I won’t go into the details of the saga, brief as it was, and will instead go straight to the closing quote. “‘In the age of Google, bad press stays forever,’ says (CEO Greg) Tseng. ‘This incident will be a part of Tagged’s legacy forever.'”
Instance 2: A blog post from Alexandra Levit titled “Google is Forever,” in which she runs down a young man’s persistent haunting by the press generated by a wildly anti-gay Facebook page he started with blind, youthful enthusiasm in his college days. You can delete the page, but you can’t delete the press. He professes great embarrassment it now and alleges it’s prevented him from being hired recently. (Note: the post was brought to my attention by Dan Schawbel)
The takeaway: We’re building our legacy every day, one decision at a time. Whatever’s online is testimony to that legacy.
And just for fun … a 3 year old rant (and I mean rant in the best way) on legacy vs currency:
If you’ve already dropped your New Year’s resolution and you’re looking to pick up a new one, I recommend that you start to Crush It! The concept is laid out by Gary Vaynerchuk in his book of that title. I wrote about it late last year.
The subtitle of the book is Why Now Is The Time to Cash In on Your Passion. In it, Vaynerchuk advocates that you put family first, do what you love and work super-hard. Tools are now available to help you build your personal brand and monetize your personal passion. It involves a ton of hard work, but your passion should continue to pull you in such a way that it doesn’t feel laborious.
In thinking again about the key takeaways, I realized that a friend of mine is starting to Crush It! My favorite part: I don’t think he’s explicitly trying – he’s just doing what comes naturally.
From Left to Right: Ethan Beute and Matt Payne on the summit of Emerald Peak, Sawatch Range, Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, Colorado
Matt Payne’s got a full-time management job with Peak Vista Community Health Centers here in Colorado Springs. He’s a husband and father. He’s also a mountaineer at heart. Matt achieved the summit of his first “fourteener” (14,000+ foot peaks for which Colorado is famous) at the age of 6.
After losing touch with this innate passion, he decided a year or two back to revisit a long-time goal to climb the top 100 peaks here in Colorado. Researching the peaks, planning the trips, getting new and necessary gear, locating and screening climbing partners – it all consumes a great amount of time. He layered on another set of tasks by committing to shoot photos and write trip reports, which he’d post to a personal blog (now defunct, more on that next) and to other sites, like SummitPost.org and 14ers.com.
The new skills he taught himself by building a website with no prior programming experience has resulted in potentially revenue-generating outcome – offers to built others’ sites. Consider, too, that the Examiner series is revenue-generating (authors are paid per page view). Add in the various revenue-generating aspects of the site (he gives away 25% to the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative and the Rocky Mountain Field Institute). Also consider the value of building a community around such a focused concept – climbing the 100 highest peaks in Colorado.
In short: Matt’s using newly available tools (like Facebook) to begin to monetize his personal passion. These efforts eat up nights and weekends. It’s a sacrifice. The revenue’s not nearly enough to boot the day job (it may be just enough to buy new gear), but he’s building an asset for himself, for his family, for their future. The best part: he’s loving every minute of it (or most, anyway).
Related: his wife, Angela, is taking a more blended old-school/new-school route. We were one of her earliest customers, ordering holiday cookies that she baked and sent to our family’s homes across the country. Check out The Sweet Shop on Facebook.
Their efforts are young; I’m excited to see where it all goes. So, will you start to crush it this year?
Photos from our visit to Collegiate Peaks Wilderness to summit Missouri, Iowa and Emerald Peaks are right here.
Photos from our visit to the Sierra Blanca to summit Mount Lindsey, Iron Nipple and “Huerfano” Peak are right here.
Years after writing this post, Matt continues to drive into his passion for landscape photography.
Reading “Crush It!” set me on a short course of watching some of Gary Vaynerchuk‘s live presentations and interviews. This one, from RailsConf 2010, was one of the more comprehensive in terms of conveying who he is, what he’s about and what he’s currently thinking and doing (though it’s from June).
I posted it to my Facebook page, but it got no likes or comments. I get it – you had no idea what it was about and didn’t want to bite off an hour of the mystery behind door number 2. So, I decided here to provide multiple in-points to encourage some viewing. Find your topic and jump in wherever you’d like.
A few notes off the top: Ruby on Rails is a web app framework developed by 37signals. This gives the conference its name; it’s a Ruby developers conference. Vaynerchuck refers to “freed” and “DHH” a few times. These are the leaders of 37signals, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. (Read my short review of their book Rework here).
Though he’s speaking to a group of developers, it’s a talk – plus a great Q&A session – about marketing, branding, social media and general business. The guy really loves life and loves people, so it transcends these topics regularly. In this way, it moves toward life, philosophy and being a good human.
Here are your in-points:
2:00 Family emigration from Belarus to US
3:35 Entrepreneurial start (lemonade stands and baseball cards)
4:40 Doing awesome – 13 year old with six grand under his bed
5:40 Goonies reference
7:10 Collecting wine = collecting baseball cards
7:50 Brand damage from being part of co-op/franchise
11:45 Finding happiness in community
12:30 Getting repped by CAA
13:15 New book: “The Thank You Economy”
14:50 Building long-term, real relationships, beating competitors on culture (Zappos/Amazon)
16:40 Consulting with big companies, trying to help them get in on conversations
17:40 If one person follows you, you should be ridiculously thankful
18:10 Riff: “If I get a hundred more followers, I’ll donate $100 to Haiti”
19:30 Shout out to his great, great grandchild (writing your legacy right now)
22:00 Becoming self-aware, showing people who you are
22:45 Huge Twitter fail
23:50 Work your face off, be thankful, have gratitude
25:40 Gatekeepers controlled the game forever, now lost the keys, we can go direct to consumers
26:50 Freemium debate, app culture opens the door to begin charging
28:30 Q&A starts
31:20 Why it’s difficult to impossible right now for big companies participating sincerely in online conversations
34:15 Killing on cost effectiveness of traditional media – outdoor, print, TV, “Don’t even get me started on fucking Nielsen”
37:00 Why our elders are more properly positioned to be successful in 2012 and beyond
39:30 Rework and Crush It book deal customer, nice story of community support – results in a hug at 41:10
42:15 “It was very tea and rock climbing in 2006”
42:40 Why he’s going to jail soon
44:00 Who’s trying harder than him (hint: no one)
44:50 Quoting Jay-Z
45:30 Customer complaints as a gift – results in kiss at 45:50
47:10 Why the corporate game is built not to do this
49:00 Why you need to taste things
49:30 Rocky 4 winter training reference
50:30 Why he loves old people and what matters to them
51:30 Revisiting freemium debate
53:40 Why he’s backing off speaking
55:40 Overlooking the good in favor of the bad
56:40 The “shark and hippo thing”
1:00:20 Why he showed someone his tax returns at Starbucks
I just finished reading “Crush It! Why Now is the Time to Cash in on Your Passion” by Gary Vaynerchuk. Again, I’m behind on this one. This was one of the “it” business books of 2009 (NYT and WSJ bestseller).
If you’re not familiar with Gary, watch a few episodes of Wine Library TV. In short, he’s extremely enthusiastic and inspiring. Connecting personal branding, personal passion, and social media, “Crush It!” is brimming with obsessive energy and absolutely delivers on its title.
What feels like the single most important ingredient, though, is hard work. Lots of it. Very, very hard. Ceaseless hustle. This shouldn’t be a surprise, though, from a guy for whom owning the New York Jets “has been an obsession … since the third grade” (p 15).
Web 2.0 Portraits - Gary Vaynerchuk (Gary Vee) by Sam Taggart (samtaggart.com)
Hard Work Notes and Quotes
On page one, he makes clear that hard work’s part of the formula: “You’re lucky because you live in an age of unmatched opportunity for anyone with enough hustle, patience, and big dreams.” He bridges pages one and two with a reference to “a willingness to work your face off.”
His three simple rules for life: “Love your family. Work superhard. Live your passion” (p 2).
His “timeless” messages in the book: “Do what makes you happy. Keep it simple. Do the research. Work hard. Look ahead” (p 12).
Regarding the ceaseless nature of the effort: “No matter how successful you get, you cannot slack off … Stop hustling, and everything you learn here will be useless” (p 13).
Regarding the modeling of learned behavior: “My dad worked his ass off, so much that I really didn’t get to know him until I was fourteen years old.” (p 19) Gary got to know him by … you guessed it, getting into the family business, Shopper’s Discount Liquors. He helped grow the business from $4M to $20M between 1998 and 2001 (p 25).
An example of hard work toward your passion: “You should be reading and absorbing every single resource you can find – books, trade journals, newsletters, websites, as well as taking classes and attending lectures and conferences” (p 49-50).
What life looks like while crushing it: “There will be time for meals, and catching up with your significant other, and playing with the kids, and otherwise you will be in front of your computer until 3:00 A.M. every night … Expect this to be all consuming” (p 89).
The real, true and absolute bottom line on hard work: “Someone with less passion and talent and poorer content can totally beat you if they’re willing to work longer and harder than you are. Hustle is it. Without it, you should just pack up your toys and go home” (p 88).
By his own words, hard work and hustle are not just fundamentally important, then, they’re the difference maker. This explains exactly why more people are not crushing it: “Too many people don’t want to swallow the pill of working every day, every chance they get” (p 88).
I appreciate that while drawing a wonderful, idealized image – making a living (or even getting rich) by living your passion – Vaynerchuk doesn’t sugar coat the requirements in any way. There’s no magic. There’s no silver bullet. Instead, there’s reality and credibility.
Vaynerchuk does provide a nice formula to help you take advantage of inexpensive tools that have only recently become available (the “now” part of the title). While the general outline and rough plan are his, the passion, patience and hustle, though, are all yours. In theory, the hard work doesn’t feel like work if it’s about something you love.
Interestingly, Vaynerchuk’s true passion isn’t wine. It’s business development. This means that he’ll be even more interesting to read, hear, and watch in the coming years.
A note about Sam Taggart: he’s got a sporadic series of these portraits at his website – samtaggart.com. I don’t know Sam; I found his site through a Google search. This was – by far – the coolest image of Vaynerchuk on the internet. I thought it was a nice inclusion because a) it’s a great image and b) it’s obviously born of personal passion. Coincidentally, he’s a project manager for VaynerMedia. Again, check him out.