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Gary Vaynerchuk Bet Right On Facebook, Wrong on BlackJet (wsj.com)
15 points by jkuria 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 19 comments

I keep hearing the name but as far as I can tell his only claim to fame is that he’s an “internet personality”. What did he build, and why should anyone care about what he has to say?

Since I would have sympathized with this viewpoint earlier in life, I’ll give you the just-the-facts version:

He took an offline business in a regulated industry (wine) which he inherited and ~20Xed it online, got Internet famous, built one of those social media marketing companies which has fairly little lasting impact but (like Madison Avenue) has a metric truckload of money run through it, got deal flow, invested, etc.

At least one thing he's done is worth watching for many HNers: someone said "It's easy to make money when you have connections but I don't have connections so boo hoo" and he said "Watch me. Suppose for the sake of argument that I own a beer blog, instead of the blog I actually own. My new name is Steve. I Google beer accessories and see this company is advertising on AdWords, so I know they have an advertising budget. I will now cold call them live, as Steve who runs a blog no one has heard of which doesn't exist, and sell them ads on my beer blog."

He then does.

Edit: Found the video. In the intervening years I had misremembered some of the details. Very little of what I watched in 2008 I still quote in 2018; I think I will probably be able to quote this video with that level of detail in 20X8, too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fG7WFxT1ySY

Just a nitpick about the wine business - he claimed to have taken over the operations for some time and then stepped away (not inherited.)

He does give some practical advice for young people, like be willing to sacrifice your 20s. Besides that I’m not sure how helpful the rest of his stuff is. He believes FB and IG ads are currently underpriced. I think he makes predictions based on observing what people are putting their moment to moment attentions on, calling it “day-trading” attention.

Honestly I’m wary of charismatic / hype / inspirational speakers / performance coaches as much of HN likely is. But I think he’s not bad for the younger generation, and at least he has some entrepreneurial experience, if that means anything.

His primary skill is being adept at Internet marketing. His other keys to success are inheriting a successful family business and gambling on Facebook.

Some variation of this story accounts for about 95% of "personality entrepreneurs"/bullshit artists of the Tim Ferris ilk that plague us these days.

Before he became some sort of ill-defined entrepreneur/investor he used to talk knowledgeably and enthusiastically online via a podcast (or possibly several) about wine, which was his family's business - this was probably a decade or more ago. Since then I guess you could describe his career as having "sprawled".

He helped build his father's wine company called "The Wine Library" [0]. He then went on to build Vayner media and his internet personality "Gary Vee".

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Vo0nykupIo

My introduction to GaryVee was through Signal vs Noise in 2006. Beyond growing his parents wine company he's in the business of producing inspiration porn, like Malcom Gladwell or the 4 hour work week, its homeopathy for entrepreneurs.

I’ve always thought highly of Gary because he seems like a smart hustler. Then I read this:

”Anytime a company goes out of business, it’s because the founder and CEO was not good enough,” Mr. Vaynerchuk says.

Which is so obviously wrong it makes me rethink my opinion.

Gary V unashamedly uses hyperbole to deliver his message with simplicity and impact.

I'm sure, in his inner thoughts, he would have a more nuanced position. Is every business failure, 100% always 100% because the founder/CEO isn't good enough? I'm sure he would agree that it isn't.

But it's true enough, often enough, that it's a solid rule of thumb to use for investment decision-making.

"It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness; that is life." - Jean-Luc Picard

Of the two I think I'd trust Picard.

Is it though? There’s a saying that goes “there are no bad teams just a bad leader”. Could you provide a common seen example where this does not hold up?

Use freewsj.com/<resource> instead of wsj.com/<resource>

For those wanting to bypass the paywall.

Didn't seem to work here.

Paywall :(

Any way to read this without having to subscribe or register ?

The Read Across The Aisle Chrome extension, which is free and does not use your private data in any way. (Source: I am the creator, and I care about privacy.)

We have an official partnership with the WSJ, unlike most/all of these other avenues for free access.


Put outline.com in front of the URL to bypass the paywall.

Why was this downvoted? It works!

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