Gary Vaynerchuk is an irreverent content machine.
He get's put in a "social media" box in people's head's, and can be a bit off putting to some people at first, but here are 8 things you'll get some valuable insights on if you keep an open mind... and ear.
Most people appear to have attention spans that make goldfish seem like savants on adderall.
The demands on our attention continue to skyrocket. Even if our ability to remain focused on one thing at a time remains static, the value of our attention will continue to inflate. We call it “paying” attention because it costs us our most valuable resource… time. Gary’s business is centered around this thesis. From what I can tell, this is a copy of Vaynermedia’s business plan:
Just a few months ago, Gary would sum this up as “market in the year that you actually live in”. This implies that the focus is dependent on the current tools, like being sensitive to the context of each platform, understanding how to identify which hashtags to use, and “things of that nature” (as Gary would say). It can be used as a rule to justify a shift from email marketing to Facebook, to Instagram to SnapChat, and so on. He’s recently further distilled this mantra to “day trade attention”. This gets more directly to the heart of the matter. The only thing that matters is attention. The tools and tactics are just a means to an end. If you get this, the dynamics of shifting platforms and the emergence of trends become much easier to see an react to. Just don’t fool yourself into thinking you can predict them.
It’s easy to find narratives about how the sky is falling and the world is going to hell in a hand basket. They exist because there is demand for them, but Gary offers a refreshing counterpoint to those world views. He’s quick to find opportunity in just about anything. Yes, the world is changing, but the challenges also open up new opportunities, and moving fast can generate disproportionate outcomes. You don’t need any special degree, or permission, to take advantage of the opportunity to create value for the world.
PROVIDE VALUE UPFRONT
“Value” has become a played out word, but it will never be a played out concept. How do you make yourself valuable? You need to actually care about the other person, be able to produce or provide something they truly need, and then ACTUALLY execute on it. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve re-watched a clip multiple times or he’s repeated it, but I’m sure I’ve heard Gary say, “Whoever asks first is losing” more than once. This is like Steven Covey’s concept of an “emotional bank account”; the more “deposits” you make, the more you can “draw” on later. Give, give, give, Ask. Gary’s version of this is “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook”. A basic awareness of this phenomenon is common sense, but putting it into practice can be tricky. There is a subtle difference between exploiting this concept with superficial, self serving “jabs”, and undervaluing yourself and never going for a real ask. Gary balances the two pretty clearly…
“Smell the exchange of value. I give give give, they repay, we both benefit, and we will all dominate the world.” - Gary with receipts from his "Super 8" Book Pre-sale event.
This is not just with followers and customers. It’s with everyone. As you follow Gary, you’ll pick up on the effects of what happens when this principle becomes “part of your DNA” as he likes to say. Do you ever wonder how “random” guys like Gary Vaynerchuk get the opportunity to invest early in companies like Facebook? It’s often this principle at play. In one of his keynotes/talks in the Youtube RabbitHole he tells the story of how he got to know Zuckerberg through an article he wrote about Twitter titled something like “Why Facebook Should Be Scared”. He “provided enough value” in that article that Mark called him. Gary also has a great way of breaking down this concept and how it applies to building a team by being invested in your employees as people, and aligning their goals with yours so you both win instead of simply trying to exploit them. The more you watch, the more you see this principle at play. The more you see the benefits, the more you apply it. The more you apply it, the more it becomes a part of who you really are. The more it becomes part of who you are, the more you do it without thinking about what’s in it for you, and the more you do THAT, the more it works.
He’s huge on betting on your strengths “1000%”, almost to a fault. He’s now in a position to be able to go to the extreme, embracing his use of profanity and using it to further differentiate himself, build his personal brand, and then cite this as an example of betting on his strengths. Gary embraces the fact that he was a D and F student, trashes traditional education and has encouraged kids to drop out of college. Most of the time, when he’s speaking more generally, he does a great job of qualifying these positions, (“now… you can work 18 hours a day, but if you suck shit, you lose”). When he’s giving advice to individuals, he’s usually right on the money with the people he’s talking to. The potential problem is that he’s not just talking to the individual, and the rest of the audience often doesn’t have the self-awareness to realize that they still “suck shit” and therefore don’t have tangible strengths to bet on… yet.
Of course, that's ultimately on the listener and a voice like this is absolutely needed, but it will need some qualification and nuance for most people who will want to latch onto this. If you are recommending his content to others, (as I am), it’s just something to be aware of. But Gary is absolutely a useful voice in the conversation articulating the role that self-awareness plays in success and happiness. If someone you care about cites Gary as a reason to drop out of school, tell them “sure… just first demonstrate your inflection point for me”.
“Family first, Jets second, then business is a distant third”.
What is a pre-requisite to all these things? Being alive. Time is the truest form of wealth, and prioritizing your health extends your runway. Gary has made his health a priority. He’s made it clear it hasn’t been easy or fun for him… but he’s put in the work to figure out how to hold himself accountable and make it happen. It’s smart, it’s practical, and it’s a much needed example from someone that a lot of people look up to. The more people “follow” Gary here, the better.
HUSTLE + PATIENCE
Once you have your priorities crystal clear, it makes sense to execute ASAP. Gary has no shame in promoting his work hours, and loves to break it down in your face. The “hustle” narrative can seem self-congratulatory to anyone who already knows the “entrepreneur life”. If that’s you and you know any “wantreprenuers”, you can outsource the gut check to Dutch Uncle Gary. He’ll be happy to deliver an overdose of reality.
The flip side of the “triple attack this second” strategy is to focus on the long game. Gary has enough self-awareness to know that his style turns lots of people off. But he also knows his intentions and that he is focused on building relationships that go beyond the short term. If his day job is to "day trade" attention, his retirement strategy is to "buy and hold" relationships.
“We will win them all over, in a 60 year period, one by one by one, because the truth is undefeated.”
I think the first exposure I had to Gary was a Chase Jarvis interview, and I only heard the audio. He sounded like a super intense ego-maniac. I was about to tune out when I heard Chase ask Gary what keeps him motivated. Gary’s answer was basically “gratitude”, and being humbled by the opportunities provided to him simply by being in America. If you follow Gary, expect some mushy, (sometimes borderline creepy) thank you’s on snapchat, but also some really authentic gestures of appreciation to fans, audience members, employees, Uber drivers, wait staff, and generally anyone that Gary comes in contact with. There can probably never be too much gratitude in the world, so I think we should all thank Gary for calling us out and keeping it real… after all:
TRANSPARENCY + ACCOUNTABILITY
If you follow Gary across platforms, it’s like being a fly on the wall in a house of mirrors… and then getting deja vu. You’ll literally get different camera angles and views from points in time.
A likely scenario:
You’ll get a Periscope notification that says “@Garyvee is live: Filming the #askGaryvee Show.” In that stream you’ll see DRock (his filmer) getting set up and filming the show with a very “behind the scenes” feel. You’re basically sitting in on the production process. Later in the morning, you might see an Instagram photo announcing the new show is up with a Youtube link in the profile. Now you’re in the audience. You’ve already heard the content, but you get to see how it came out with quality equipment and post production. Later in the evening, you could watch Gary’s Snapchat story of the day, and see micro first-person glimpses of his meetings, logistics etc. The following day, you can watch a “Daily Vee” documentary that DRock filmed and then edited to music (FYI...they need more, and it's great exposure, hit them up if you can produce) to tell the story of the entire day you just sat shotgun to.
If you pay attention across platforms, you don’t just see the results, you also see how it happens and hear why.
We teach kids not to rub success in people’s faces because it can be obnoxious as hell.
But there is a subtle nuance here… this can also be a way to build credibility and gain followers. If the audience makes out from following along, you're doing them a favor.
Gary wants you to succeed… not just for you (which is great), but it makes him look better too. If you weren’t listening all along, the “I told you so” moments seem immature. If you have been listening along, these “wins” just increase his credibility, and serve as confirmation that you are paying attention to someone worth listening to. Of course it’s biased towards the highlight reel… but he doesn’t hide his shortcomings and misses either. In fact, he CAN’T. He’s almost always on record, and he has been for over a decade. Who else has a VLOG archive of 1000+ episodes from 2007, and is just producing more and more content as time goes on?
Gary knows that we’re ALL on record, all the time. He just has the balls to leverage technology and his team to put himself in a world where the majority of his actions, reactions, and interactions are recorded and broadcast to the world, often in real time.
Gary is not an outlier here… he’s just early. As everyone approaches the level of transparency that Gary opts into now (whether we like it or not) it won’t be about being “right or wrong”… it will be about being ACCOUNTABLE for you intentions, actions and results. Right now, you can put on a front for the world, and ACT and LOOK like someone you're not.
You can still "fool the world", at least in the short term. But those days are numbered.
As we all become more on the record, we'll be less and less able to fool anyone, which will ultimately help us stop fooling ourselves that we could ever win without doing the right thing in the first place.
I don't know about you, but I think that's a good thing.