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Gary Vaynerchuk – People, Wake Up!

By Shlomo Maital

Gary Vaynerchuk

   I am attending, and speaking at, an entrepreneurship conference in Monterrey, Mexico, sponsored by Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico’s leading science and engineering university.   The opening keynote speaker of the conference, known as INCmty, was Gary Vaynerchuk.  

   Here is Vaynerchuk’s story, and a short version of his powerful message. Happy birthday, Gary – he will be 44 years old on Nov. 14.

   He was born in Babruysk in the former Soviet Union – Belarus today — and immigrated to the US in 1978 as a child. Vaynerchuk’s family was very poor – he lived in a studio-apartment in Queens, New York, with eight other family members.     Vaynerchuk was a child entrepreneur – he operated a lemonade-stand and earned money on weekends trading baseball cards. At age 14, he joined his family’s retail-wine business, and became known as a wine critic who expanded his family’s wine business – he did it, some 20 years ago, by moving part of it online, long before such a strategy was known and implemented.   I first noticed him, when I watched his viral YouTube video, Do What You Love!

Here is the crux of his message to all of us. It’s only 500 words.

   “Everyone in this room underestimates the power of the Internet. Everyone! Once economic power resided with those in the middle – the distributors, retail stores, etc. Today, the value chain is different. The ‘middle’ is gone. YOU have the power and ability to leverage the Internet. YOU need to become a communication media expert. Every single person can be their own communicator. Audio, video, text. If you are not creating 50-100 pieces of content daily – you are missing the boat.   YOU need to start a podcast! The key – it’s free. You do not have to pay for distribution (of information), you don’t have to pay to make contact with people.

   “Everyone in this room needs to create an online journal. This is REQUIRED. It is not a luxury. Today, those aged 13-22 have remarkable online talent and create amazing content.   Unless you produce content you (and your business) will be outmaneuvered!   Are you a salesperson? Or a marketer?  

     “Raising capital – the idea that you DESERVE investment capital is laughable. You can build a business without raising capital.

     “Responsibility — the best part of being an employee is, you can always blame someone else. And it is done all the time. But as a founder, an entrepreneur?   100% of your problems are YOUR fault. When those you hire screw up – it’s your fault, YOU hired them.   As parents, we blame everyone else for our kid’s problems – social media, government. IT is OUR FAULT. We must take responsibility. WE are the parents, not they.

   “There has never been a better time to be alive, despite all the pessimism. No world wars, no black plague…   so we need to eliminate excuses and take responsibility.   …. My career is based on ‘underpriced attention’.   Be “in the dirt” not “in the clouds”…. Be in the world….

   “I “day trade” attention (see his best-selling book Crushing It!). You need to understand where attention is!     There are two key issues. A. your product. B. your ability to tell people about it. Which is more important?   B is!!   Your ability to tell people about it!

   “Artificial intelligence poses a danger. Alexa, Google Assistant, etc. are powerful. In the next 10 years, when Alexa tells us what to buy, your brand will be all you have — will Amazon’s Alexa be objective, or advise you based on what’s best for Amazon and its clients?   Everything we talk about today did not exist 10-15 years ago. This will be true in the future as well. “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”.

   So – stop thinking. Start doing. Think about what you want to say [about your product or service or business]. Then say it. Say it well! Learn to say it well. You are not effective in video? Get better!

Blog entries written by Prof. Shlomo Maital

Shlomo Maital

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