Gary Vee’s Three Ps: Passion, Personal Branding, and Patience

Crush It! Why Now Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion, by Gary Vaynerchuk, HarperStudio, 2009.

Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk

As a case study in how social media can revolutionize business and create whole new careers, there are few better examples than Gary Vaynerchuk. A wine merchant by trade, he became a new-media icon after starting a daily video series to talk about wine. His new book, Crush It!, argues that virtually anyone can replicate his success, given the right mixture of passion and hard work.

Superficially, at least, Crush It! is a fairly standard business book of inspirational encouragement and practical advice. Like The 4-Hour Workweek, which it somewhat resembles, Crush It! draws from the author’s life and business experiences for much of its content. At 160 not-very-dense pages, the book is a quick read and may feel a bit disappointing at first. But for me, at least, it repays second and third readings.

Although Gary Vee, as he’s known to his fans, makes efforts to direct at least some of the advice in his book to established businesses, his real target lies elsewhere. He is speaking for the most part to early-stage and wannabe entrepreneurs, to disaffected or unemployed workers, and to other individuals who may be contemplating striking out on their own.

His premise is that the Internet “represents the biggest shift in history in how we do business.” Online social networking applications, he argues, have given individuals the tools they need to go into business for themselves and live their passion. Even if you like your job, he says, “you should aim to leave it and grow your own brand and business or partner with someone to do so, because as long as you’re working for someone else you will never be living entirely true to yourself and your passion.”

Underlying his argument are what might be called Gary Vee’s three Ps: passion, personal branding, and patience. All three are essential elements in his vision of new-media business success. Continue reading

In Search of Print-to-Online Success Stories

Photo by Net_Efekt

Photo by Net_Efekt

Tuesday’s post on Advanstar’s decision to take Aftermarket Business magazine online-only was one instance of a critical question for B2B publishers today: how to move successfully from print to online.

This is the question UK-based B2B blogger and consultant Rory Brown asked last week. One problem, he notes, “is that there are hardly any examples of print products that have transitioned online and been a commercial success. Print pounds get turned into digital pennies and publishers are forced to prop up their declining brands rather than turning them off.”

While I’d love to challenge Brown’s assertion, I’ve yet to come up with a good example to back it up. This isn’t to say that there are not highly successful B2B sites, such as Canon Communications’ Medical Device Link, but they are generally not extensions of single print brands but separate products encompassing a group of brands. (Full disclosure: I was a cofounder of Device Link in the mid-1990s and oversaw its content and design for much of the following decade.)

One reason for this general failure may be that print brands just don’t translate well to online. This seems to be the position of Glam Media’s CEO Samir Arora.  As reported this week in the Guardian, “while traditional media companies struggle to turn their brands into cash, his company Glam Media has come from nowhere to invent a new model based on creating a network of shared content.”

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Three New-Media Lessons from Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk on New Media

Gary Vaynerchuk on New Media

If you are from a traditional B2B background and are neither an oenophile nor a new-media geek, the chances are good that you haven’t heard of Gary Vaynerchuk. Twenty years ago that would have been no cause for concern. But if you hope to be a player in the 21st century media business, you need to pay close attention to what Vaynerchuk is doing.

It’s a testament to the profoundly disruptive impact of the Internet that a guy who sells wine for a living should have valuable lessons for B2B professionals. Pre-Internet, Vaynerchuk would have been—and was—a big advertiser and marketer, but not a media maven. But he caught on early to the potential of the Web, starting an online outlet for his business at WineLibrary.com in 1997. His involvement in new media really took off, though, in 2006, when, inspired by Ze Frank’s  online video project , he started a daily video Webcast, WineLibraryTV.com.

As seems to be the case with most new-media celebrities, Vaynerchuk’s status has been confirmed by an old-media milestone: the publication of his first book. Released last Monday (Oct. 13, 2009), Crush It! looks to be above all a motivational book for nonprofessionals, but perhaps as well a useful guide to new media.

There will be a full review of Crush It! on B2B Memes soon. But in the meantime, I refer you to this brief ABC News  interview with Vaynerchuk. From it can be gleaned the following three lessons on new media.

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