In the Beginning
For the uninformed, Gary Vaynerchuk’s story starts (for our purposes) as the co-owner of a wine store in New Jersey called Wine Library. Inspired by Andy Samberg’s Saturday Night Live video Lazy Sunday exploding on YouTube, he started video blogging about wine at Wine Library TV. He sent one of his employees out to get a video camera from Best Buy and, as he would say, started hustling. Now he makes major appearances on talk shows with regularity, is syndicated heavily on Hulu and iTunes, and takes in 5 figures for speaking at media and technology conferences.
Why He is Successful
Gary is high energy, extroverted, but most importantly he is passionate and genuine when he discusses a topic. With wine, he has created a small empire around Wine Library TV. As someone that recognizes the business and marketing power of the social web, he has become one of the most popular speakers at conferences on the subject. Whether wine or social media, Gary gets others excited about what he talks about and that holds a lot of value. He brings humor, honesty, and passion. And he frames it in an easily consumed and entertaining package. He has mastered the delivery.
Why He Will Become a Media Giant
Not keen on settling for the success he has seen so far, Gary commonly shares his desire tobuy the NY Jets one day. On his Facebook page he sums it up simply with “I am a Wine guy who wants to buy the NY JETS.” This represents piece of his hustle, his willingness to put in the work needed to become the best in his arena. Combine his drive to completely devour the projects he is involved in with his entertaining personality and Gary brings a lot of value to the table. He even has his own iPhone game, B1nary.
Actively seeking content partners to collaborate with on future projects, Gary’s first video effort outside of Wine Library was personality interview show Obsessed TV. The show is good and could grow into something pretty significant, especially with Gary’s support. However I view Obsessed TV as Gary’s practice swing.
Where Will Gary Go Next?
Gary’s next step is where things will get interesting. He has mentioned that many corporations and celebrities have approached him for advice. Who can blame them? Combine his growing access to large brands/celebrities with his expertise and drive to constantly do bigger things and some very cool things could happen. At SXSW, Gary let people know that he is starting a media company, Vayner Media, with his brother AJ. This is obviously the most telling clue of his coming Media Giant.
If Gary can grow his own personal brand to the extent that he has – from wine store co-owner in New Jersey, to wine and media celebrity/speaker/media channel – imagine what he could do with a brand or a celebrity that already has a massive audience and appeal?
Some have called Gary the Oprah of the web. While Gary and Oprah are opposites in many ways, one common link is their drive to build themselves into media empires. Oprah started with cable TV, Gary with video blogging.
Learning from Gary
- Be Genuine – Be true to yourself
- Hustle – Put in more work than the other guy
- Persue Your Passion – If you are not working on what you love, you won’t make it
- Delegate – Learn how to partner and connect with others to get it done
- Watch the Tools – ” always pay attention to the nerds, when the nerds talk I listen – the tech scene is the future”
- Be the Expert – Learn everything you can about your industry, know more than the other guy