The following is a capture of the important ideas from a talk by Gary Vaynerchuk at RD Summit 2019 in Brazil.
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Everybody is so caught up with raising money for their startup. This has become an entire generation that thinks about raising capital and appeasing venture capitalists and investors, not actually building a business.
When I started my current company, Vayner media, which is an advertising agency, I started it in the conference room of another company because I had no money and I wasn't going to raise money for the business. I was just going to find my first client. Use those dollars and just keep reinvesting. It took longer but longer was it's strength. I think one of the most important words for me to communicate in this talk today by far is patience.
The reality is the thing that I spend most of my time on is trying to get people to understand that patience is a very important variable of success and more importantly that I believe the far majority of people do not have a great relationship with time. The quicker you want success, the more vulnerable you are. My energy is high, maybe my style of communication is fast, but my business actions are extremely slow.
Organic Reach and Organic Attention
For the majority of my career I had no money so I had to always look for places where you could get a lot more for less. What I look for in the digital world. This world is organic reach. When I think about organic reach and when I think about organic attention, I day trade attention. Every day I look at the data both in the analytics and in the culture conversations to try to figure out where should I market.
The one requirement for all of us is to have somebody's attention. Before you can sell anything, you need somebody's attention. Then what you say in the written word, in audio or in video becomes the variable if you are successful. The reason I follow attention is if there was nobody reading this right now, I would have no potential to achieve what I want.
I spend my life in a very basic mind frame. If you look at the businesses, it's all one very simple game. Do you understand where the people are and what they're consuming and do you understand how to do the written words, the audio or the video to put in those platforms?
This is how it's always been. Television, radio, print, outdoor billboards. It's always been the same game.
Where is the attention, and what is our capability to put content in it?
Here's the real honest truth about how the game of life and definitely businesses played. The quickest way to be happy in life, let alone business is to be 100% accountable. The quickest way to be unhappy is to blame. If you really understood what I just said, the reality is we have never lived through a time where people at scale had so much opportunity. I see how much still unbelievable untapped potential on LinkedIn and TikTok and other platforms are for organic reach where you have to spend no money, none, and you can get awareness. The fact that podcasting is exploding and the cost to start a podcast is to just record it on your phone and upload it.
The thing that I've become unbelievably fascinated by is that the single reason whatever is not happening for you is your ability to say no before you've tried. If you are capable of writing words, recording videos on your phone or recording your thoughts in audio on your phone, your business can grow. Your idea can be flourished. Your personal brand as an influencer, your advertising shop, trying to get more customers, whatever you want to be. The reality is the cost is zero. The mindset is the tricky part. 90% of people do not post as often as they should on these platforms because they worry about the judgment of their family or strangers. This is a very, very, very fascinating dilemma in our society. There are people who are not posting. I mean, look how many people here follow my content. The opportunity to build your business or your personal brand has never been easier. People see more people doing it and they think they're too late. The real answer is 99% of the people in here do not have the patience and stomach to actually achieve it. They want it so fast.
I did wine library from 2007 to 2010 for 35 minutes a day, five days a week. I would stay up and work on Twitter for four or five hours looking for people who were talking about wine and for three years, every day, very little happened for me. Very little people now start an Instagram account post for six weeks and give up because they're not getting enough followers. We've become remarkably impatient. We've become remarkably entitled.
If You're in a B2B business. You must do this!
You must do one of two things consistently, starting tomorrow. Number one, start a podcast in your industry. You must start a podcast, go on LinkedIn, go into your inbox and email 25 50 people and ask them to be guests on your show. And number two, you must attack LinkedIn more. I think people very much underestimate how much is happening there in this market. I did the homework, it's there. It, people don't see it because not that many people are doing it, which is the reason it's most interesting. People always fall into two groups. Number one, they don't want to do it cause it's new and they want to see other people do it before they do it. Or number two, other people are doing it so they think they're too late so they didn't want to do it. People are split up in two places of not doing. We live in a world, a world where everybody has a reason for, no, I can't do it because of this. I don't have the money. I don't have the team. My industry doesn't want to do it.
The fundamental difference in the game today is the people that say yes blindly versus the people that say no blindly. The only unique leverage you have is you yourself. There's so much information now you're not coming up with any new idea. There's nothing I say that is a new idea. People have been around too long. I'm not the first person to talk about kindness or gratitude or empathy or hard work or context. I'm really not. I'm just doing it my way in the way, my perspective, my words on my platform and for me is the real conversation today to me is today gonna be the conference. Is today going to be the time that you finally understand that it is time to put it out?
It is time to tell your story at scale contextually across all platforms, I'm just going to take one more step back. I believe that what the internet is doing is eliminating the middle. It's eliminating the middle, the distribution. When you look at Uber or Amazon or if you look at Netflix, what it's really doing is separating out the middle and it's leaping it to one of two places. The product, the story, the service, and your ability to tell that story. The entire middle of distribution has been commoditized because the internet has become the middle and the focus on not just the quality of the product, but more importantly, the deep focus on the ability to communicate has never become greater. The ability to be a communicator in 2020 has now become dis-proportionally more powerful than even the quality of your product. And that may be confusing and it's a very interesting debate, but the reality is a product is a subjective. I know sometimes you think the product's great but your client thinks that shit. Other times you kind of know that the product is shitty, but the client thinks it's great. The work is subjective based on the queen or the King on the other side who gets to this side your ability to be a phenomenal communicator.
How many people see it where and how is less subjective. The content in it is subjective, but the results are there through the leads, through the results that come through it. I believe today, that if you're in the business world that the ability to be a communicator, a content producer at the height of the scale for your product has become more important than any other variable. I would rather be great at YouTube and podcasting and LinkedIn and Instagram. Then be great at balancing my checkbook that I can hire an accountant for.
Figure out what medium you communicate well with and then produce
This skill is emerging and accelerating at scale, so here's how this game breaks down for me. One, I think everybody here has to take a step back and figure out what kind of communicator are they individually. Even if you sit here today and do not believe it is your job within the organization to communicate up eventually, especially at the age level that everybody here is. Eventually this skill set will become important to you whether it's now later in your career, within your family dynamics and definitely over the next 20,30, 40 years as communication rises in importance not declines.
Ideas and Making
The world is very simple. The world is breaking into a very simple game, ideas and making, do you have ideas? Can you make them? But it requires an incredible sense of self awareness. I'm very passionate for many people in this room who are introverted and who would be scared to give this speech or who feel uncomfortable in front of a camera to understand that if you are a remarkable writer, there an incredible world for you. For those who are scared to be in front of the camera because they're scared of how they look or they're just uncomfortable. That recording your ideas or what you're about in audio is an incredible time to be alive and there's an incredible world to you.
When you figure out how you communicate. Whether its the written word, audio, video. The next part is definitely the most challenging.
I spend almost all of my time and all of my content trying to bring value with no expectation in return.
If you look at the content that most people and companies and organizations put out, if you look at it carefully and you dissect it, it is wildly selfish. It is either a commercial in itself or its main objective is to get you to fill out your email, your phone number, your information so that I can sell to you instead of bring you value to build a brand.
The reason social media is subtly declining and the reason the algorithms always have to change is people do not have the disciplined to not self promote. People do not have the discipline to not try to sell on every post. The other problem is when people try to make pretend they're giving value in disguise underneath, they're actually trying to sell my friends.
Just produce high volume of content
The businesses that are most winning in the world do something super basic. It's just that nobody wants to do it. If you are not producing content, and when I say content, I mean 30 40 50 60 pieces of content a day. Most of the businesses and people are are putting out one piece of content a day on a good day, maybe three a week. We, if you're a personal brand, you're killing it and posting four things a day. There is nobody that is achieving the volume.
Create content in high volumes. This is a volume warfare. When people hear volume, they hear quantity. When they hear quantity, they don't think that you could make quality. They think it's a friction between quantity and quality. I believe that the world has grossly overvalued production quality and made that quality, not the story or the context of the message. And so as we have spent the last 30 to 50 years putting production value on a pedestal as quality, we have put ourselves in a position to not value context and the actual story and in that is the rub and the opportunity, the sheer size of this country, the sheer amount of spend, even in the separation of wealth. The uncanny amount of attention on YouTube and Instagram in Brazil leads this to be one of the most interesting places in the world, to be a marketer, to be a marketer, to be an influencer, to be a startup.
The problem is that people would rather complain than put in the fucking work. That is a human problem. That is a global human problem. Many people think business is a game of money and resources. But business right now is a game of the mind, thinking capacity and creativity.
This has come down to the simple deep warfare in one's head. What is stopping people from actually making content? I believe that it comes down to one simple word: judgment. I believe that judgment is crippling our society. And the force to counter act judgement is self esteem without the feeling of entitlement.
Mindset, and insecurities are the root of the problem
The ability to deal with losing, pushback and negativity is my strength, my entire model of content production.
Why are you willing to live a life that ultimately ends with regret and resentment? Because everybody who's 90 at a hundred years old talks about the things they wish they did, not the things they did.
I'm trying to challenge you to understand the simplicity of the framework and the massive difficulty in the head and really lead to a couple tactics. For example, tactic number one, one of the biggest things that I have seen work in people starting the process to produce content is to make a single video and tell the world their secret that they've been holding onto. If you really think about what stopping people, it's the darkness and shadows inside of them by putting it out and taking control of your secret, your dyslexia, your terrible issue as a child, your relationship with X, your drinking problem, whatever it might be by you taking control of it, by putting it out, no longer does anybody else have leverage to expose it. It is a freedom play.
The two platforms you should pay attention to
A lot of people, missed YouTube, they missed Instagram. I believe there's two places where you have a chance over the next couple of years to not miss it. Number one, you have to watch ticktock very carefully. If tick top takes off seriously in this market, there will be an enormous amount of opportunity because the global penetration in Asia, the U S Europe is exploding.
Please, please do not underestimate what is happening on ticktock globally and where the potential sits in this market. You should absolutely should be smart enough to go home and execute around the thesis around the opportunities around the knowledge.
One is TikTok, number two is voice. We are becoming much more of an audio consumption world. How many people now listen to a podcast? How many of you were listening to a podcast five years ago? Audio is becoming the growing usage because we're busy and we want to do two things at once. Three things at once, four things at once. One of the biggest opportunities is understanding how big audio is and producing audio content.
Let talk about branding and marketing. The way real things are built, the way the biggest companies in the world are built. The biggest personalities, celebrities, brands, they're built through branding and marketing, not sales. Audio is no questionm the fastest growing opportunity to build a brand that most people are not doing. Start a podcast. Start recording your thoughts and just posting the video. I mean you could literally take your phone, hit memo record, put the phone down, it's just a black screen and you can post a black screen with your words. You can, most of you won't because you don't think that's quality. This subjective point of view around quality is stopping the world from making. We must flip that on its head. Be thee person who starts making.
The theory is very simple. The details and the questions matter. Business and parenting have a lot of similarities. You can have common sense everywhere else, but when it's your kids, it's hard to maintain it. Self esteem is the ultimate cure to everything. And I think most parents go on defense when their kids are hurting instead of offence. So when their kids are bullied, they want to go fight the school. They want to go fight the parent of the kid. The remedy for that is to go insular. It was authentic. Be in your own head hearing nothing else. It's about yourself inside your own head, your own self worth and and you have to pound it. A lot of parents who are like, Oh, so easy to say, but when their kids are making, you're right, but it's no different than working out and eating healthy. It's no different than may content and put on all the platforms. The answer is simple, pounded into your kid's head, their own self worth, not the opinions of others. There'll be a happy person their whole life. The problem is most parents aren't acting that way, so it's hard for them to give advice that they don't even feel themselves. But that is the answer.
Questions and Answers
So the question is what's big, right? Because, because this is where people get caught. It's so simple. Being in a small town in Argentina thinking you have to go to New York city. It's easy. It's easy. You're like, that's a much bigger place to go. The question is, it comes down to what makes you happy. For me, what makes me happy is to play the game. Not the money, not how big or small. I just want to play. I've always wanted to play. I've watched so many people have a $1 million business in a small town in America or in the world, move to a bigger place, do 5 million and be very unhappy. They were very happy at 1 million in their small town. They went to a bigger town. They do 10 million and they're very unhappy. It is time that we start making happiness what we go after. Not more money. - Thank you. - We have to, we have to right? For me when I hear bigger, I want you to have a bigger fucking smile on your pretty face. Not make 280,000 more in fucking net revenue. You understand? You have to decide that for yourself. I don't know. You, have to decide that for yourself.
I feel like so many people that don't have confidence are very scared of the camera, but can do much, much better writing or recording audio. I don't want people to be like me. Not everybody is ridiculously handsome and charismatic, you know what I mean though? I don't want people to be like me. I want people to be like me where they found their voice in their medium. But for a lot of you that's writing, if you're more introverted or insecure, a lot of writers are come from that framework or I really like audio, so keep that in mind, but keep going.
What else can we do besides content to get our first clients? Do it for free. So the biggest thing you should do is work for free because it gives you the referral base. When nobody's hiring you, that means your work is worth free.
Don't try to convince anybody. The number one mistake when you're selling something new that most people don't understand is people spend too much time trying to convince them instead of finding the person that already understands people, make it a noble mission instead of a business. I've been right and early for the last 20 years of my life, I have spent almost no time trying to convince anybody. I sometimes have a one hour meeting with a company, fly from New York to Chicago, walk in, sit down. Start the presentation and end it in 10 minutes because I already know it's over. Every minute that you spend trying to convince somebody who's already NO is a minute that you're not spending trying to find somebody that will say yes. When you're selling something new, they can't see it or they don't have reports in their company to justify it. So if they don't have the report to justify your work, they're scared. They might agree with you, but the machine that they work in won't allow them to say yes. So you just move on.
Instagram doesn't cause anything. People are anxious. Yes, - But this is important. Instagram, there is no Instagram. There is a platform. We post pictures and humans decide to see somebody having a nice time and they decide to be upset. It's important though. By putting out real shit. If everybody here didn't only put out photos when they're most dressed up, going to the most fancy place and showing everybody how fucking amazing their life is, the world would be in a better place. Not super complicated.
I want to talk about gratitude and kindness and empathy. We're in control. There's no fucking Instagram monster. There's no YouTube monster. We're the monster.
I believe that adversity in youth is a very powerful advantage if you're able to get out of it. If you're lucky enough to be born with natural mindset or consume something that helps you get out of it.
My biggest hope for everybody is to not have regret besides health, I want people to have happiness and as much happiness and as little regret. I just wished that people had a better relationship with time. Everything I do, everything is knowing that it's almost impossible to be a human being.
What rituals do you have every day that changes your life and I want what? Every day. Yeah, every day. At some point, I imagine my children or my parents or my siblings, somebody in my family dying every day. And that makes me happy. And I know that that might be confusing, but every day I practice reminding myself what is actually important to me. If God forbid one of the 20 people that I love the most got sick or died, I would not give a shit. My only ritual every day is to make pretend somebody that I loved died, which makes the rest of my day very easy.
You have to be self aware. For me, entrepreneurship and building businesses has always been my happiness. For me wanting to buy the New York jets is very important because it's a goal that allows me to play for a very long time and that is what brings me happiness, the process. As a matter of fact, I've already made a video maybe five or six years ago that I have saved and it's the video that I'm going to share with the world. The day I buy the New York jets and in the video I tell everybody that today is a sad day. Not a happy day because something that I've been chasing for a very long time has come to a conclusion. And then I make a joke about winning a Superbowl and something like that. But nonetheless, it's important for me not because you shoot for the moon and you land in the mountains. It's important to me because it represents a process. I want everybody here to love what they do in the process, not necessarily the stuff that comes along, money, fame, vacations, clothes. I want them to love the game, not the stuff. For me, having a big goal lets me play longer.
You always talk about hustling, what keeps you up at night today? Like, cause you're a successful guy still, but you still have some, right? - Yeah. But, but that's what I signed up for. Like I don't understand. When people are trying to aspire to be unbelievably happy and unbelievably wealthy, it should be hard. Like every day is hard. I landed here from these three flights to get here and immediately I get wifi and there's four texts from clients. Problem, problem, problem, problem. It should be hard. My struggles today are 100% outside the framework of my business. For me, that's my safe place and I accept that there's going to be tough things. As a matter of fact, but sometimes when I fly and I have to fill out custom forms, when it says occupation, I write for fire fighter. That's how I feel an entrepreneur is you're always ready for another fire, whether it's two o'clock in the morning or 930 you have to be ready, and I don't struggle with that because I've been practising it my whole life, which is why I fear when people try to become entrepreneurs because it's cool. Now I worried about that because it's very hard and if you're not used to losing, I lose every day. Every single day I lose. And unless you're good at that, you will not like entrepreneurship.
It's hard to lose when you already lost. I'm already committed to the game. I know what I signed up for. You can't lose when you already think you're losing. Everybody thinks entrepreneurship. I'm going to start the next fucking Uber and be a billionaire. No you're not. And the second you understand that is when it gets good. You run multiple companies. Most of them are very successful. How to prioritize life, how to balance stuff and only don't allow them the word balance, but juggling. The reason most people aren't doing what I do is I'm okay juggling and letting something fall because I don't. If I was juggling right now, eggs and you were all impressed and I dropped an egg and you all said I wouldn't care. It's part of the game. So for me it's easy to do the wine and the business and the sneakers and all the stuff I'm doing because if something fails, people will tweet about it. People will write about it, but I won't hear it. What's so important and the one thing I wish for all of you, as you can imagine, especially if you don't know me and you just discovered me and you see how people are talking about me, you could imagine how easy it is to get high when people say that you're changing their life and all this unbelievable, but it's very funny for me. I don't, when I hear the beautiful things that are said to me, I think about my parents. I think man, they did a good job. I'm the product of them. I'm the product of immigrants and struggling and good parents. So when I hear nice things, I don't get high. But that's a very good thing because when people say the reverse in my comments or negative things, I don't get low. When you become detached, from either positive or negative comments, you win. The reason so many of you struggle is you like the compliments. When people say you're pretty, you like the compliments. When people say you're smart, you like the compliments. When you're dressed good, he came up with a good idea. You scored a goal. You made a couple of you like that. So when, but now you get used to the feedback. So then when somebody says your shit, you believe that too. I don't believe either. I hear nothing.