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Gary Vaynerchuk on Being a Good Human

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

1:02:10  “I’m bullish on human beings”

Here is the video, compliments of O’Reilly Media by way of YouTube:


Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk: Hard Work Trumps All

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).

Here’s the book’s website.
Here’s the Amazon review page.

 

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).

 

portrait, illustration, drawing, Gary, Gary V, Gary Vee, Gary Vaynerchuk, Wine Library, Wine Library TV, Sam Taggart, Taggart, Media 2.0, portraits

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.

 

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