Through a confluence of interesting happenings, I had the chance to do a quick phone interview with Gary Vaynerchuk, social media headliner, last month. It. Was. Awesome.
Gary talks social entrepreneurship. Listen in.
- Gary’s thoughts on social cause marketing–It is at an interesting point in maturation. Business people are leveraging cause marketing, not sure if it’s a good thing–will it cause consumer cynicism?
- Business models that have caught Gary’s attention: buy one, give one is clever, so is giving percentage of retail price. He is more concerned about the passion of founding entrepreneurs of a startup—how are they evangelizing the message of impact + business?
- Social enterprises Gary likes: Warby Parker, charity: water
Gary Vaynerchuk, a household name after 2008 TED Talk
A little background on Gary, and my sincere enthusiasm in having a chance to chat with him. Gary has been a household name for me and my entrepreneurial siblings since we watched his TED Talk —“Do What You Want (no excuses!)”— about a year after it was posted.
To be fair, I think we were as captivated by his passionate, colorful speaking style (note emphasis of phrases such as “please stop doing that!” and “there is no reason [in 2008] to do $#@! you hate!”) as by the clarity of his message. [tune in, esp. to 25-55 sec :]
There is something refreshing about his vigor and unapologetic, no holds bar approach to entrepreneurship. He went all in for his new venture, saw traction, and was committed to making it grow. Let’s just say, at moments demanding inspiration, I have tuned back in to this talk—and maybe even joined him in some of his memorable phrases.
A book, another two, and an empire
Since those early days of breaking into the social media scene, Vaynerchuk has attained certain celebrity status among social media superstars. There was the first book in 2009, Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion, which was well-received and frequently quoted. The follow-up came just a couple years later.
The Thank You Economy and has been topping charts as a best-seller. Gary will be releasing his latest book this year, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy, Social World.
Gary V’s empire now expands beyond WineLibrary TV to include books, a social media consultancy, and investments in upcoming startups. He frequently headlines large social media events and conferences, is popular for his candor and humor, and is unabashed in giving advice to new entrepreneurs. (See him give his two cents to this entrpreneur at a talk at 59:00: warning, expletives)
What would Innov8Social have to ask Gary Vaynerchuk?
Gary Vaynerchuk does not profess to be a social entrepreneur, so why interview him for Innov8Social?
As has been mentioned before, in this blog’s authentic exploration of social innovation, I have found (repeatedly) that one of the hardest part of social entrepreneurship is being an entrepreneur. It is the initial hurdle.
Whether you are enterprising for money, world domination, or social good—there is a pervasive emphasis on taking on the challenge with an entrepreneurial mindset. And that’s why Gary Vaynerchuk was a great candidate to continue and deepen the exploration. In a few words (some of them likely four-letter) he can get to the heart of the matter when it becomes to being an entrepreneur.
Notably, not every entrepreneur needs to be like him. Not by a long shot. But there is an infinite depth that can be learned from his enthusiasm, belief, and strategic thinking when it comes to launching and growing enterprises.
Gary shares what he really thinks about Innov8Social
As you may have noticed from the audio interview (above) we spent part of our 15-20 minutes doing a Q&A for Innov8Social readers. The rest of the time I talked blogger-to-blogger with Gary. I caught him up on my efforts with Innov8Social at the meta level, asked his opinion of how I can focus on growing, and what would be “success” for this blog and effort.
As I anticipated (and hoped), he was frank and honest. From dealing with readership in hundreds of thousands of pageviews, and millions of clicks—Innov8Social is at best a humble effort. It was good to talk to him openly and pause for reflection on my efforts so far, and how Innov8Social can grow into the expansive vision I have for it.
Hope you enjoy listening to our conversation as much as I did having it., and that it provides a different perspective on how a through-and-through entrepreneur views social enterprise.