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

Truthiness and the Dark Side of New Media

True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society by Farhad Manjoo. Wiley, 2009

The Internet is cool, and it is easy to mistake coolness for goodness. So for every few new-media optimists I read, I like to pause for a quick a dose of counterbalancing pessimism.

The latest dose for me comes from Farhad Manjoo’s True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society. Manjoo is the technology columnist for Slate magazine and, I infer, an Internet enthusiast. His book, however, is not as much about the new media per se as it is about the interaction of new media with the psychology of belief.

Manjoo acknowledges that the fragmentation of media is good, in so far as it allows a diversity of views to be aired. But, he argues, it is bad in that it allows people to choose to hear only those viewpoints that reinforce their own beliefs. Instead of reaching out for truth, society is willing to settle for truthiness. (For those who are unfamiliar with the word truthiness, here is Manjoo’s definition, paraphrasing that of the word’s progenitor, Stephen Colbert: “the quality of a thing feeling true without any evidence suggesting it actually was.”)

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What B2B Can Learn from Jeff Jarvis, Part 4

Turning Cash Cows into Mini-Moos

What Would Google Do? By Jeff Jarvis. HarperBusiness, 2009.

In the previous three parts of this review of What Would Google Do?, I’ve looked at how Jarvis’s ideas apply to B2B in terms of its relation to readers, the impact of hyperlinks, and the shift from product journalism to process journalism. The last subject I’ll address is in some ways the most obvious and dramatic: the impact of these areas on the way we do business.

To begin with the most obvious point, as succinctly phrased by Jarvis, “print sucks.” He’s talking here not about the usability of print—give me a hardback over my Kindle in terms of sheer reading ease and pleasure—but about the burden it places on a print-based publisher. “It’s expensive to produce content for print, expensive to manufacture, and expensive to deliver. Print limits your space and your ability to give readers all they want. It restricts your timing and ability to keep readers up-to-the-minute. Print is already stale when its fresh.” And so on. Sure, there will always be a role for print—but it will a very small role indeed. So to the extent that you’re still in print, you need to think carefully about whether you should be.

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What B2B Can Learn from Jeff Jarvis, Part 3

How the Shift to Process Journalism Affects Ethics

What Would Google Do? By Jeff Jarvis. HarperBusiness, 2009.

Scenes from an editor’s desk, circa 1989:

Copy arrives in the mail. You do a first read-through, do some fact checking, call the writer for clarifications, edit, and send it off to the type setter.

Galleys come back from type. You read through quickly for major errors and send it off to proofreading.

Galleys come back from proofreaders with changes. You send marked galleys back to type setter for corrections.

Corrected galleys come back. You check the changes. If copy is clean enough, you send it to production for layout; if not, it goes back to type for another round.

Boards with layouts come from production. You check them over and send to proofreading for a final read.

Corrections to boards come from proofreaders. You type up a list of line changes and send to type setting.

Line changes come back from type; if correct, you send to production for line stripping; if not, you send back to type.

You get the line-stripped boards back from production, review them, and sign them off for printing. You’re done (except for the blueline, but enough of all this. . .).

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What B2B Can Learn from Jeff Jarvis, Part 2

The Transformative Power of Links

What Would Google Do? By Jeff Jarvis. HarperBusiness, 2009.

When Jarvis writes in an early chapter of WWGD, “the link changes every business and institution,” it may sound a bit portentous.  But he has it exactly right.

The first time I encountered a hyperlinked Web page, back in the early 1990’s, I thought it was just a lame version of Gopher–a now largely forgotten way of finding various documents around the Internet. What I didn’t get at first was that the innovation was not in the links themselves, but the enormously powerful relationship of those links to the document in which they are embedded. The link, the ability to take readers directly to other sources of information, has revolutionized publishing and journalism. No longer is a document by necessity a hermetically sealed, constraining vessel. And no longer do you need to provide all the background details and related information yourself. Links are liberating for journalists and publishers alike.

Unfortunately, too few people in B2B seem to realize this yet in their practice. The desire to control the reader’s experience, to keep them on our site, has kept us from fully exploiting the power of links. Hence Jarvis’s admonition to “do what you do best and link to the rest.” If a publication is to stand out, he says, “it needs to create stories with unique value.” To do that, it must concentrate its resources where they matter most, and “send readers to others for the rest.”

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