I’ve known Gary Vaynerchuk for a bunch of years now, pretty much a few months after he started making a big splash. As he just pointed out to people on a stage in Norway, we’ve really only shared physical space together for a few hours tops. But we’ve stayed aware of each other’s lives and presences via Twitter and Facebook and emails and texts and whatever for a while. And I’m going to make a confession.
Sometimes, it’s easy to tease Gary.
He is SO passionate, and he’s such a great hustler (his language, but I’m bought into it), and he’s the first to tell you that he’ll shamelessly sell what he’s selling as hard as he can. That’s easy to tease about. Gary swears like a sailor, no matter the context. That’s so easy to tease about. I can follow Gary, not swear, and feel smug that the audience thinks I’m more of a professional.
And if you’ve teased Gary about this too? (And maybe you have.) It’s okay. First, Gary doesn’t give a shit if you tease him (cursing for you, Gary, but then again, Julien curses, too). Second, Gary’s right, no matter what we think. More often than not, Gary is right.
Gary Vaynerchuk is Right
Moments ago (when I typed this), Gary was talking about a person in the board room who was hounding him, “What’s the ROI of social media? What’s the ROI? What’s the ROI?” Gary’s answer, when he’d finally had enough? “What’s the ROI of your mother?”
The audience, mostly Norwegians, laughed appropriately. (And let me give you context: Norwegians are wonderful and smart and nice and have senses of humor, but it’s not very Scandinavian to laugh out loud, I’ve come to observe.)
And he’s right. Gary goes on to say that ROI will be coming. I’m sitting beside Avinash Kaushik, who is pretty close to this answer. I think Olivier Blanchard has some insights on this. But it’s still kind of early. And Gary’s not wrong even when the definitive answer comes out, our mother has a strong ROI that’s hard to put on paper, and that’s what he’s saying about social media.
Gary Doesn’t Have to Give You the Answers
One mistake people make with keynote speakers is that they, the audience, often criticizes a keynote speaker for not giving details. I hear it all the time. Scroll down on my professional speaking page to the GenBlue speech and watch it (if you’ve got a minute). I give a few details, but mostly, I paint with a broad brush.
Gary doesn’t HAVE to mention the details. He’s pushing the emotion down your throat and into your gut. He’s selling the emotion so hard that I (someone who’s been involved in social media since 1998) feel like jumping up and screaming “Hell yeah!”
Instead, Gary’s giving us the context. He’s setting up the stage so that we can learn what we have to do with it. And that’s what is and will be important. He is ending with this message: “You will not catch up with money, because the people who have the emotional relationship will stay ahead.”
Say What You Will
I’m a fan of passion. I’m a fan of people who humanize business, and Gary is that 100%. No matter what, Gary is human, and so, I’m a fan. Thank you, Gary.