Few people have capitalized on the power of online marketing and social media like Gary Vaynerchuk.
As an entrepreneur, bestselling author as well as an angel investor and advisor for companies ranging from Uber to Snapchat, Vaynerchuk has always been ahead of the curve. In addition to being a trailblazer in the world of business, he’s also become a social media rock star thanks to his inspirational yet informative videos and blog posts.
We caught up with Vaynerchuk after his speech at the 2017 MPower Summit in Boston over the weekend, and the 41-year-old founder and CEO of VaynerMedia opened up about Internet fame, Tom Brady’s business skills and the dangers of Donald Trump’s tweeting.
As a rabid Jets fan, is it tough traveling to Patriots territory?
I went to Mount Ida College, so I spent four years in Boston and Newton. I love this city. I love the people of the city. I hate the Patriots, but I always have fond memories coming here.
You have to admit Tom Brady’s pretty good at the whole social media game.
It’s disgusting how much respect I have for him, only paralleled by my hatred for him in the most fun, sports kind of way. I have a lot of respect for him, who he is as a guy, what he does on the field and what he does off the field, business wise. It’s super well executed. It’s tough to say, but it’s the truth.
Fans are always asking you for tips on how to get Internet famous. Is it a mistake for an aspiring entrepreneur to seek online fame before getting their other ducks in a row?
It’s the mindset of short term vs. long term. If you want to be Internet famous, you have to wrap your head around seven years, and I think most people are in seven weeks. And it’s seven years of 15-hour days. Or it’s obnoxious talent. Some people get it right away. Great! Some people are gorgeous. Some people can throw a baseball 100 mph. It’s understanding those are anomalies. Look, I never thought there’d be a day and age where, as being a businessman, there’d be some level of micro-fame. The idea that I just stood upstairs and signed pictures of myself is laughable. Twenty years ago, that doesn’t make sense to me. But the world has a funny way of working itself out when you do the right things.
You’ve always been at the forefront of using the web and social media to grow your businesses. What do you think is the next big thing and how do you stay ahead of the curve?
I stay on top of things by staying curious, then things come to you. For example, I think cryptocurrency is so big, but so detailed that I haven’t gone deep into that rabbit hole because it would take up all my time. Because I’ve been closed off to it, I don’t know it as well as a lot of other people. But I’m very, very bullish on [artificial intelligence], machine learning. I’m obsessed with audio, podcasting, Alexa skills, Google Home, Apple pod. It’s just time arbitrage. Things that are fare, like cryptocurrency, and things that are about time, like the things I just mentioned. Things that are tried and true human behaviors, I’m a big buyer of. I basically think people don’t change. The world changes and we conform to it. That’s how I make my bets.
You have a lot of strong business views, but also offer a lot of positivity with your social media channels. What are your thoughts on being socially responsible with these new mediums?
Everybody should be themselves, because that always works. I’m pretty positive, optimistic and happy, and that works for me. There is something that I’ve been more focused on, which is, if you’re happy, I do think you have a responsibility to share that happiness because we’re only hearing from the people that are unhappy. I’m passionate about sharing happiness.
Considering that, in 2017, the leader of the free world can start a war with a tweet, does there need to be more responsiblity with these social media tools once you get to that level of government?
Politics is a place that I specifically stay away from because I think people are completely irrational. The way that I am about Jets and Patriots, people are about Republicans and Democrats and society–which I think is insane, meaning blindly emotional, like completely one side or the other. I have views that are Republican, I have views that are Democratic. I try to take everything one issue at a time. That being said, to answer your question directly, of course, with great power comes great responsibility. I think that subtweeting as the leader of the free world has the potential to be quite detrimental. I don’t think anybody would debate that.
Since you want to stay out of politics, we’re guessing fans shouldn’t expect “Gary Vee for President” in the future.
You know what’s funny, if I was born in this country, I would’ve definitely debated it. But the fact that I can’t be the president takes some of the juice out of the game.