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Media mogul Gary Vaynerchuk on growing your business in the digital age & his next big move

Larry King NowApr 22 '16

VaynerMedia founder Gary Vaynerchuk opens up about the roots of his entrepreneurial spirit, the keys to expanding your business in the digital age, and why he thinks the U.S. higher education system is failing us. Plus, Gary weighs in on what apps and businesses to look out for in 2016, and — in a hilarious exchange — teaches Larry about the power of "poop emojis."


*Posted Online on Ora.TV on April 22nd 2016:

“What happened with me was that I had the great benefit of being an immigrant. I was born in Belarus, in the former Soviet Union, forty minutes from Minsk. I came to the states in ‘78 when they let some Jews out of there. We set up in Queens and my parents lived the American dream. They worked very hard. My father was a stock boy in a liquor store in Clark, New Jersey, and eventually became the manager of that store, and eventually saved up enough to buy another store in Springfield, New Jersey. I was a lemonade stands, baseball cards, real hustler kid, anything to make a buck. And at fourteen I got dragged into the store.”—Gary Vaynerchuk on how his family came to America

“I fell in love with people collecting wine at the age of seventeen because I was into collecting sports cards. That was my connection point. I wanted to build 4,000 wine shops. I was going to build the Toys R’ Us of wine, sell the franchise and buy the New York Jets. That’s what the plan was. Then I heard the internet in college, that [imitates dial up noise] and knew it was special; and in 1996 I launched one the first e-commerce wine businesses in America called ‘Wine’ I took over my dad’s business, running it day to day in 1998 alongside with him. From 1998 to 2003 I helped it grow from a three to a sixty million dollar business.” —Gary Vaynerchuk on how he started off in the business world

“School failed me. Schools fail entrepreneurs every single day because it’s not built for entrepreneurship. It’s built for workers. If you’re taught to play within the lines, there’s nothing that maps to the entrepreneurial market. Matter of fact, my biggest criticism when I sit across an entrepreneur today is if they are too successful at school. I probably look at an ivy league grad starting a startup right now with more of a negative light than I do with somebody who wasn’t as good.” —Gary Vaynerchuk on how he believes schools fail entrepreneurs

“The biggest thing I do right now is I run a 650 person social media digital agency that works with the brands like Toyota and Pepsi, and that’s called VaynerMedia. We’re a modern day ‘Mad Men.’ We’re a Madison Ave. agency. The same people who used to sell commercial time on anything you ever did on radio and television, we now do that on Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram. We produce the creativity for the brands to sell stuff through the phone.” —Gary Vaynerchuk on what VaynerMedia is and what his company does

“I believe the telephone is becoming the television, and the television is becoming the radio. I’ve been spending a lot of time studying the transition in the late 50’s from radio to television, because this is the first time we’ve had a platform shift in our society in half a century. And I think it’s a very big deal. I’ve been spending the last five years trying to be the best storyteller for that platform.” —Gary Vaynerchuk on how he believes phones will be replacing televisions

“First we need to understand that ‘social media’ is a slang term for the current state of the internet and when you position social media that way, you take it a lot more seriously. So, step one for 97% of the people that are watching is to actually take it serious. That’s number one. A lot of radio people didn’t take television seriously when the transition happened. That was their loss. That’s what’s happening right now! History always tells you the future and so that’s what happening. So, first take is serious, and two, understand that Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Youtube are different channels. It’s the difference between CNN and Fox and ABC and ESPN. You’ve gotta understand the context of the medium that you’re on.So when you’re storytelling for Youtube, you’ve got to produce different content for when you’re posting a picture on Facebook.” —Gary Vaynerchuk on how to make social media work for you

“Twitter lost its way in my opinion because it didn’t create an algorithm and everybody who follows everybody sees everything and it gets too loud. They have what I call a ‘fire-hose problem.’ Too much information means that people tuned it out, and so what Facebook did and what Instagram does is they don’t show you everything. They show you the stuff based on what you’ve been liking that it thinks you’re going to like.” —Gary Vaynerchuk on the fall of Twitter

“One- ‘cash is oxygen.’ I am blown away by all these people who are starting businesses that don’t realize that money is important. They think about all these things, trying to think about four years from now and they haven’t made their first check. Just complete practicality when thinking about a business. Number two- ‘strengths.’ Are you a salesman? Are you the accountant? Do you have financial strengths? Sales strengths? Are you operations? Are you good at HR? Whatever you are best at, do that and surround yourself with the other three or four pillars that you need to have to have a business. And number three-’ look for the white space.’ Meaning, where are people not marketing and not storytelling that you can. Is Snapchat? Is Youtube? Is a blog or a podcast your way to separate yourself from everybody else while they are running directly to mail, or radio, or television, or print advertising? What is the white space in your sector that nobody else is filling?”—Gary Vaynerchuk on the top three things to know when starting a business

“I believe a purebred entrepreneur suffocates in doing anything in other than owning their own business.” —Gary Vaynerchuk on people asking when they should start their own business