:: An Insightful Interview With Gary Vaynerchuk ::
It was an unusually dreary afternoon in the suburbs of Atlanta. Some family members and I were at the lake, lounging around in the slowness of that lazy, early summer day. There wasn’t much to do for most of us but to try and guess who would be the 139th winner of the Kentucky Derby that evening, which was, admittedly, pretty exciting for this horse-loving family. That is, for everyone but me.
I was much more like a giddy six-year old kid on Christmas morning and Santa was about to show up. I had an interview scheduled with Gary Vaynerchuk of VaynerMedia. Yes, the Gary Vaynerchuk: social media maven, bestselling author, wine connoisseur, and entrepreneur since age eight!
After spending an afternoon at the park with his adorable daughter (as I was able to observe on Vine, thank you, social media), Gary dialed my number. Like a giddy high school girl or an over-eager job candidate, I did everything I could to hold myself back from answering on the first ring.
“Thank you so much,” He said. “I’m really glad to hear it!” Gary’s latest book now set to release on November 26th called Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World was certainly already on my Amazon wish list. In the haze of my compliments I seem to recall wanting so badly to tell him this, but no. Such admissions could easily lead to stalker status and I couldn’t risk that.
Gary is always on the go…a man about town, that’s for sure. As we talked he said he was walking down a busy city street (somewhere in Manhattan, I imagined) and at one point in the conversation he paused to tell me that about eight people were watching him have this conversation. But did he care? No, not at all. He didn’t need to tell me he didn’t care; there was just something in the way he mentioned that to me that I knew. I could hear the jovial lack of concern of being judged in his voice. I greatly admired that. I suppose that having your entire family migrate to America from Belarus at the tender age of approximately three would make you pretty darn brave.
Although I had been anxious to talk to Gary for months, I didn’t have a slew of questions to ask him. I really only had one burning question that I needed his feedback on – the one I knew would help my audience.
My big question for this entrepreneurial social media maverick was: What would he say to people who are afraid to engage in social media? I wondered what insights would he have for small business owners and other entrepreneurs who are fearful to navigate these relatively new waters?
His answer was eloquent, simple and a bit jarring. “Being left behind has diminishing returns.” “Being left behind has diminishing returns.”
“Being left behind has diminishing returns.”
Wow. Ouch. If that wasn’t akin to pulling the Band-Aid off, I don’t know what was. But you know what? He was exactly right.
If you see yourself as a blue chip stock, for example, but you don’t put the necessary effort in to grow and increase your value then eventually your value is going to start to tank. And one day you’re going to find yourself getting traded.
Then he left me with this, “Listen, it’s really a lot like the car radio, cable TV or the Walkman were of their time. People were scared of these new things but eventually they became less and less fearful of them and then they became a part of regular, everyday life.”
Gary and I spent a few more minutes chatting, I thanked him for being so generous with his time and just like that, he was gone. I was in such awe by this man whose business acumen was so acute, whose fundamental grasp of social media itself was so deep that I truly could not believe I had just been on the phone with him. The interview may have only lasted a handful of minutes, but Gary’s words left an impact on me that I won’t soon forget. I hope you’ll also take them to heart and remember his words when you’re next faced with a social media challenge or simply saddled with the overwhelm that any new changes can bring.
By the way, Orb was the proud winner of the Kentucky Derby that day. Rather appropriate for the well-rounded social media “globe” we’re all living on these days, don’t you think?!
Photo courtesy of Christa Fogleman, VaynerMedia