Meeting Gary Vaynerchuk

by cv harquail on November 10, 2009

There are 3 things that really seem to validate a blogger:

1. Creating a s*&#%storm Breaking a controversial story and getting tens of thousands of new visitors and dozens of trolls to your blog,

2. Going to a blog insiders’ conference like BlogHer and having people recognize your blog, and

3. Meeting Gary Vaynerchuk.

I am pleased to say that as of last Friday, AuthenticOrganizations.com and I have accomplished the third item on the list.IMG_0230.JPG

Who is Gary Vaynerchuk?

If you work at all in the online space, you’ve heard of GaryVaynerchuk. It you haven’t heard of him, take a look at the NYT Business Best-seller List. GaryV has made his name through WineLibrary.com, where he has been one of the first and one of the most aggressive adopters of each social media tool that’s become important.

And, like so many of us who work online and offline, he has become an expert at using social media to build his business and his personal brand.

What distinguishes GaryV from other early adopters of social media have been his ambition, his enthusiasm, and his willingness to take risks.

I’ve been bemused by GaryV as an online presence — he’s remarkable, and unique, and also sort of loud and brash. My sense of Gary was that he was a little self-important, maybe verging on being a bit of a “jerk-in-a-nice-way”.

So far, the closest our paths have come is that GaryV and I are speakers for the same NYU Entrepreneurship-in-action class (on different days, but it still feels like being part of the in-crowd). When I heard that Vaynerchuk would be giving a talk and a book signing at our neighborhood independent book store, I thought it might be worth the walk over there to check him out. I’m so glad that I went, not only to hear him talk but to see him in action.IMG_0232.JPG

After hearing GaryV speak, seeing him interact with others, and meeting him myself, I’m convinced that the guy is the real deal: funny, self-deprecating, self-confident, warm, self-reflective and authentic. He’s even more fun in real life than he is in his online keynotes and webisodes.

What’s more, he really has developed some unique insights about social media, in part because he has set some high standards for himself (e.g., reply to every email) and in part because he  allows invites challenges himself to experiment and fail and experiment again.

Three observations about GaryV ‘in real life’ :

  • GaryV is the most extroverted person I’ve ever met.
    Despite how weary Gary must have been from his crazy book tour, he got recharged with each and every personal interaction.
  • GaryV was able to stop and dwell in his interactions with each person who came up to have a book signed.
    He was happy to pose for pictures with just about anyone, and he took his time with each of us. No one felt rushed; instead, we felt welcomed. This was the single loveliest thing about the evening, just having the chance to watch someone be authentic, maybe even to go beyond their ‘personal brand promise’.
  • GaryV’s heart is bigger than his ego or his ambition.

GaryV attracts a good crowd

I wished that we’d been able to grab all 25-30 people at the book signing to take them out for a beer a glass of wine. I was so curious to hear what other people had learned and what new things they were planning to do based on GaryV’s insights. We did manage to get some friends of friends to join us for dinner, and we had 2 hours of some of the best ‘how can I make my business better?’ conversation ever. IMG_0234.JPG

Why is meeting GaryV a validation?

I said that meeting GaryV was a validation– and you may ask, just how does that work? Why does meeting some “web celeb” ® validate you?

It’s not so much that what GaryV has to say validates any of us who blog, but more that his insights help confirm that blogging and social media can influence people in ways that make (more of) a difference.

If only I were a better multi-tasker, or just less polite with my Flip cam. I would have saved some of GaryV’s comments to muse on later. Let me leave you with just this one:

The best thing you can do for your business online is to scale up your caring.

How might things change, if all of us did that?

Be sure to see:

Gary Vaynerchuck Is One Inspiring Man (by TK Hamilton)
Crush It! A book review
(wineconversation.com)
Blogher’s Lisa Stone on the power of women bloggers
(reportr.net)

{ 4 comments }

todd hamilton November 10, 2009 at 4:09 pm

nice writeup, and it was good to meet you at the signing as well.
.-= todd hamilton´s last blog ..notmylawyer.com =-.

Kathy Rees November 10, 2009 at 6:48 pm

If you don’t have time to read Gary’s new book Crush it, you can get the cliff notes here http://cliffnotebooks.com/crush-gary-vaynerchuk-cliff-notes/

CV Harquail November 10, 2009 at 8:25 pm

Todd, I just saw that you not only blogged about the book signing, but came away with an impression similar to mine! Will you let me know as you find ways to connect GaryV’s comments to what you’re already doing with your own work?
.-= CV Harquail´s last blog ..Meeting Gary Vaynerchuk =-.

Jackson Fall @ Living Digitally @ Local Oklahoma City OKC web design November 22, 2009 at 10:35 pm

I did a great interview with Gary V at OKcrushit! You should check it out along with my other interviews. -Jackson Fall
.-= Jackson Fall @ Living Digitally @ Local Oklahoma City OKC web design´s last blog ..Gary Vaynerchuk =-.

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