Gary Vee: Futureworld Media Magnate, Carpetbagger or both?
Gary Vaynerchuk is many things to many different people. To most who’ve heard of him, he’s a guy who talks about wine. He talks in simple terms and appeals to those who loathe the stodgy and embrace rapscallions.
Then there are those who seek Internet opportunities: At least a second income, at most Virtual Celebrity.
Members of both sides collided at Will Rogers Theater on Friday night for an event organized by folks from around the local twitterscape.
Both sides got what they came for, though not always simultaneously.
Those who came to learn how to become an Internetrepreneur like Gary became irritated with those who came to try out wine, and vice versa.
But why wouldn’t there be conflict as this social experiment brought together two groups not used to mixing: introverts and extroverts.
The event drew people most comfortable behind the virtual cloak of their computer or smart phone and others who came in full nightclub or social event regalia. Think Alpha Betas and Tri-Lams living, more or less, in harmony. Plus there were a couple flappers, which is always cool.
Ironically, that suited Gary Vee just fine. He’s an equal-opportunist kinda guy.Whether it’s tri-lams or Alpha Betas in his presence, he doesn’t care as long as they’re picking up the tab and buying his book.
Thanks to the extremely hard work of local jeweler Daniel Gordon and a fleet of Gary Vee loyalists, Gary flew in to town, stayed at the Colcord, had a brilliant Table One lunch from chefs Ryan Parrott and Bruce Rinehart of Rococo, ran around town in a limo, was the guest of honor at the lush new digs within the Will Rogers theater for the low, low price of $0.00 while selling a minimum of 500 books.
It was the perfect lesson to go along with his new book, though Larry David might call it a pamphlet, “Crush It!”
Perhaps in keeping the 140-count limitations of Twitter, Gary Vee’s book will never be used as a doorstop. In it, he talks for a couple chapters about his humble beginnings before going into the details of his entrepreneurial successes and goals, which will culminate when he owns the New York Jets.
From there, the book is a how-to guide in exploiting all the Internet has to offer for free to build yourself from a human to a brand, which — according to Gary — is a revolution in progress that will help “Nike put ESPN out of business!” and etc.
Gary has a savant-like quality both in his accomplishments and his manner. He talks candidly, confidently and occasionally profanely about how the mainstream business community has long overlooked social progress when planning their futures.
His message on Friday was meant to empower local bloggers to go forth and take the power that’s available via the Internet from the media gate-keepers known as radio, television and print.
He said “Social media, will some day be known simply as media.”
And he’s banking on that with his company, which he runs with his brother A.J., Vaynermedia. By the looks of the Web site, it appears they would have any business follow Gary’s lead. Rather than Phil Knight spending billions on high-end commercials, he should start his own video blog, put it on youtube. Think about the money he would save. It all makes sense when you listen to Gary present it. He’s funny, engaging and believes totally in what he’s saying. One of my favorite moments was when he extoled the crowd to ignore “anyone who calls themselves a social media expert who has never run a business. Don’t trust somebody who says they know how to make money for you, when they’ve never earned a nickel on there own.” Amen, and amen.
Some members of the so-called mainstream media in attendance were put off by Gary Vee’s pointed talk about current gate-keepers losing their keys. But he wasn’t saying anything about the state of print, radio and broadcast media that I haven’t been saying for at least half a decade to tens of people that will listen to me. That said, Gary’s a wine guy with an eye toward media and the NFL. He has yet to hire a reporter, photographer, editor, or copy messenger.
After his speech, I spoke to him briefly about the expense of information gathering, which he admitted was steep. But, he said, we don’t need someone to gather the information if people will simply make their own information available online.
I mentioned the challenge wimgo.com has getting people to use its free resources, and he said, that while people aren’t doing it now they will eventually.
When I mentioned that between now and then, someone has to pay the bills to run a site, he admitted “That’s true.”
Before we could continue, he was called to tape a live segment for his wine library TV.
While his talk might’ve been a little overlong for the event in progress, especially with the equally long Q and A session, he drew hoots and hollers from his devotees. Others trying to taste wine and get information about them grumbled about the guy on stage “who wouldn’t shut up.”
Gary was more civil than some in their distaste for the wine-tasting crowd, saying the sight of people conversing and interacting was part of his message. The overriding message, though, was and is: “don’t be afraid to be yourself.” A wiseman in a wheelchair once said “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
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