Gary Vaynerchuk is an entrepreneur. He built a $70 million dollar wine mail order business from his family’s $3 million dollar liquor store. He did this using a daily internet show, and Twitter. The story of this exploit is told in a New York Times’ Bestseller Crush It.
Crush It is a great read, as well as Gary Vaynerchuk’s latest book, The Thank You Economy. Gary quickly helped me understand that our grandparents are better suited for social media and business applications than we are. The man is correct. Most business owners and salespeople cannot fully appreciate the old “word of mouth” integrity of generations past. Social Media is all about personal, honest and real transactions.
Gary Vaynerchuk is a proud family man. He enjoys promoting that side of his character. He is married and has two young children (Misha and Xander), and currently resides in New York city. He explains in our recent conversation and interview his sense of “responsibility” for future generations and how social media impacts that role.
You could say that Gary Vaynerchuk views his current work as carving his own statue out of social media substance. He is rapidly carving it with his words. My recommendation is to listen to his prophetic voice and watch him chisel. He is quickly building a legacy of value.
Listen to our conversation here: Brian Interviews Gary Vaynerchuk
Below is a transcript of our conversation:
Brian: Gary Vaynerchuk is 37 years old and he is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best selling author who has written “Crush It” and “The Thank You Economy” which are incredible reads and essentially tell the story of taking his family’s business to his own mail order wine business, the $70,000,000 business. Basically from Twitter, a New York Jets spittoon and a lot of moxy, this book is really kind of telling of Gary’s self made or born entrepreneurship. You talk a lot about legacy, and I’m kind of curious, is it from the past from where you’re from and your parents and you certainly honor your parents in all of your talks and I respect that and appreciate it, or how much is it about what you’re doing now and how much you’ve also talked about how your behavior is being shaped today because everything’s being recorded and being projected into the future to Xander’s great grandkids.
Gary: Yeah for sure.
Brian: And the legacy thing.
Gary: I would tell you that selfishly and at some level from the vanity aspects that I have in my DNA I would say that it’s a little bit more of the latter. Right? I think that it’s important to me to tell the story of the prior, but when I do talk about it, I do talk about it selfishly. I do realize that given the fact that the way technology is being structured and content, I’m aware that I will become the patriarch of my family. Not my parents. You know? Because the majority of content that’s going to be out there of the Vaynerchuck family in 100, 200, 300 years there’s going to be a lot more me than anybody before me which then sets me up for that situation so one, respecting the heritage that I come from and making sure I story tell enough for future generations, but more importantly those are stories my actions and the things I do and the things that are being documented and this interview in itself. You know I’m very aware that my great-great-great-great grandchildren are gonna actually listen to this interview. And to me that is outrageously powerful, and something that I take an enormous amount of pride and an enormous sense of responsibility to execute in the best way that I possibly can.
Brian: That’s awesome. I was blown away by your Facebook post the other day and you were looking back and you were talking about your family and just, how do you keep in check? Keep that balance?
Gary: I have to assume that self-awareness is a personality trait that I am very in tune with. Right? And so, I would tell you that it is my north star to my success. It has kept me out of trying things that I’m not as good at. It’s allowed me to understand how I’m being consumed by the general public. And it’s something that I rely on heavily. It’s not something that I have a process for. I just think it’s innately ingrained into my everyday.
Brian: Okay I’ve gotta ask this. As the poppa of two of the future leaders of the free world in Misha and Xander, do you have in your heart expectations that you want to communicate some things? I’ll never forget my grandfather took me out in the garden and I was six years old and he started talking to me about how to choose my future wife. It was a bizarre, kind of a crazy conversation, but you know he was laying the framework
Gary: That’s funny. I’m very much a chip off your grandfather’s block. I will do those kind of things. Absolutely. Now, at the same token, there’s going to be very simple lessons. I have no ambition for what they achieve financially or career-wise. I have enormous ambition for what they achieve as human beings.
Brian: You’re also a husband to one wife and this is coming up Mother’s Day. You got any plans for Mother’s Day?
Gary: Yeah. The whole family including my sister, her brother, her parents, my parents, my brother and sister, and then even Sandy who is my brother-in-law’s wife, her sister, and her parents, they’re all coming to our apartment in New York City to celebrate Mother’s Day. So I’m just very excited for a lot of family time this week. It’s an enormously good time.
Brian: Simple little question. Why do you think Gary Vaynerchuk is on the planet?
Gary: You know? I don’t take myself that seriously i guess. My first reaction to that question is you know I think I’m on for the same reason that everybody else is on. You know? We’re here right? We’re individuals. I don’t think I have this enormous calling. I think I have enormous talent that I feel very required to execute against. I know that I can impact people. I’ve known that from a very young age. I’ve always had leadership skills. You know, but I’m, I feel like I get pulled in equal directions in what’s like my overall legacy to the world. Remember how there was that term that you’ll get your 15 minutes of fame? Now I think everybody’s gonna be famous to 15 people. Right? Meaning that everybody in this new world where there is this media and information has a fan base or potential of a fan base, so maybe mine will be a little bit bigger, it will be smaller than a lot of people’s. I don’t feel a huge over-arching belief system of what I’m here to do. I feel as though I’m here to do the right thing by my family. I feel clearly that I’ve been gifted with communication skills that allow me to impact others, and so I play in that space. I think I’m here to like you know scratch my own itches, and allow myself to be happy with my period of time on the planet. So, that’s kind of how I think about it. A mix of those things.
Brian: Okay, real estate. I want to bring it back to real estate in the last few minutes here. I’m 49 years old. Most average Realtors are pasty white and about 65. And the average buyers and sellers are in their 30’s you know 20’s to 40’s. We’ve got an age gap difference and when I think about you providing solutions for the big boxes and some of the brands I’m kind of curious as to the teams and how they communicate and if there’s problems that come up that you’re having to do solutions for? Here’s another observation I see sales people tend to recruit people their same age. And they’re very comfortable selling to people that smell and age look so I’m kind of curious to what solutions you’ve got there.
Gary: You know I don’t think of it as an age thing to be honest with you I’ve met plenty of you know gray haired 60 year old’s that think like 25 year old gals right? So, I think it’s a mentality thing dramatically more than an age thing. So I think by percentage you’re 100% right. To me it’s about the mentality and the rationale. If i can get any of those people whether it’s a 60 year old real estate agent or a 45 year old executive at a big box retailer or a 40 year old brand manager at a a conservative brand or a 25 year old brand manager at a progressive brand. It all comes down to the same old thing. Which is if you don’t know how to story tell to the consumer that you’re looking to attract, you have no chance of being successful. So, for me, I would tell you that I feel like I know how to sell to 14 year old girls. Right? But I don’t necessarily look like one. I don’t worry about what you are, I’m worried about can you figure out how to story tell to that sector? The end. You know when I was a 20 year old kid I was able to sell, very effectively, to 50 year old men. Right? Who were interested in collecting wine. So, I think it’s about being a chameleon and capturing the voice that can actually dictate success to whatever business you’re in.
Brian: The big box brands that in the 80’s and 90’s were mean something to real estate Century 21, Better Homes & Gardens, Prudential, do they diminish in the next 20 years because as smaller mom and pop brands take hold of social media? Or perhaps the brands I guess I’ve heard you answer this to some degree. The brands learn what you’re doing for the big boxes and
Gary: It’s the same old thing. You’ve got it. It’s capitalism right? The answer is both. Ironically I’m sitting in a car right now driving to a client, a new very senior hire of ours and yesterday he asked a question. What happens when the big agencies figure out what we do? And my answer was, it’s gonna net in the middle. There’s big agencies that are not going to figure it out, aren’t nimble enough, have too much overhead and just don’t have the DNA to figure out how to market and story tell and provide value to their clients. And then there’s small guys like us that will grow to our ability and then there will be a new leadership. There will be a new establishment. And it will be a combination of the two. I think the same answer goes to what you just asked me. You know, some of the big ones will figure it out, and be there. And some of the one’s that have been iconic 100 year real estate brands will disappear. And there will be a small handful of real estate brands that are quite small right now that will net up and become bigger. So that’s what happens when there are savvy innovation in every market. You know there are some sneaker brands and apparel brands that are falling by the wayside right now where there’s a company called Under Armor that was very small five years ago that’s now growing and is going to be a real competitor to Nike. So you know, that’s the same old thing in every market.
Brian: Even real estate. Okay do you ever see where sales people? So i guess i see what you are saying that even sales people who get it who translate this care to the customer via social media you don’t see any sales people being robots?
Gary: Never. Never. Never. It will never happen. It will never happen. Because there’s too much human element involved. I mean maybe, maybe super long term, but there’s nothing that I see in this short term. Let’s call it 5-10 years. That can have that kind of I just don’t see us going we’re so heavily predicated on human aspects right now. And so, it’s gonna take a whole lot i think for us to get there from a computer stand point.
Brian: Got it. Alright, well Gary thank you sir. I appreciate the call. And appreciate the time this morning. Have an awesome day.
Gary: Thanks for everything. I wish you well. Bye Bye.