I knew little about Gary Vaynerchuck prior to SXSW 2010. I had heard that he did some wine videos and he had a book out. I did cite one of his articles in my Online Culture, Offline Behavior articles, but I hadn’t really dug deeply into this world of GaryVee. I attended his SXSW 2010 panel, and I was surprised. Gary didn’t talk about anything new. Gary didn’t talk about anything I didn’t already believe or implement. In the first 10 minutes of his talk, I could have sworn he was reading my mind (and website).
However, Gary delivered his message in such a way that it made an impact. He was energetic. He was passionate. And he used the F-bomb at least 40 times. Thom Singer counted 28, but he missed quite a few. This man gives a simple message such a punch that I swear the room was like a religious cult. Here’s some highlights and comments from the panel. Also, there was impromptu rapping at the end of the panel that was awesome. It is probably better than anything else you’ll see at SXSW music. :oP Note: These aren’t my videos. These were on youtube. The rappers were @flexmathews and @Koshadillz. Awesome job to both!
1. “We don’t care enough about thank you’s.” No one these days give enough gratitude. Thank people. Thank everyone on who responds to you on Twitter. Thank them for coming. Thank them for listening to you. I’m an adamant believer in this point. Successful people don’t get that way on their own. I’ve never done anything on my own. Be it dog training, hypermiling, cooking, or writing, there was always and there still is a strong support system taking care of me. In every single activity I’ve ever attempted, I’ve had a mentor. That mentor was there to advise me when I was confused, to encourage me when I felt overwhelmed, and to be happy for me when I accomplished even the smallest achievements. To those people, thank you. Now YOU thank those people in YOUR life.
2. “Don’t sell your product when it comes out. Sell your product before it comes out.” This is self-explanatory. Create the buzz about your product. Get people interested in it before you have it out. Don’t wait until the last minute to start promoting it when it already on the shelves. By then, it is too late.
3. “Experience and interaction are paramount.” Business is built on relationships. There’s no denying it. Gary said, “Any interaction be is a handshake, hug, or butt-grab can turn into business.” Business is also personal (also preached by Jason Calacanis), and it is high time that we started building relationships and then business. We can use social media to build those relationships. There are many ways to not use Twitter effectively, and one such way it to use it as an information dissemination tool. Information is good, but it is not at all sufficient for creating relationships.
For example (if you are standing, please sit as you might hit the floor laughing), there is a certain company in Austin that doesn’t understand social media. To give you a little background, they offer consulting services that cost $250 for the initial meeting, and they think they were worth every penny. They thought social media was useless. Of course the CEO’s account was only following 16 people and had 17 followers after six months. Their marketing plan was to put fliers on cars in grocery store parking lots. They wanted to post fliers with those little pull off tabs in gyms, coffee shops, and on neighborhood mailboxes (which is illegal). This company also posted service ads on craigslists. I asked if they knew any teachers in the area (should be the biggest referrals of their business), and they knew none. The excuse was, “We’d have to buy them lunch and talk to them.” This marketing style was the antithesis of what Gary preached. He would have had a field day with this company. I’m sure the F-bomb count would have been pretty high.
4. “Do what makes you happy.” Follow your passions. If you do it well, and you create waves, there will be arrows in your back. Gary has the same message as Randy Pausch, except Randy doesn’t use the F-bomb. Both people have the same inspirational message and eerily the same words. I’ll probably be using both Randy and Gary in my lectures from now on.
I also got a hug from Gary afterwards. Totally awesome.