“Want to know what it’s really like to be an entrepreneur? Well, let me tell you. It’s hard. It’s fucking lonely,” says Gary Vaynerchuk, kicking off his keynote at the Business Squared event at the MCEC.
For those in the know, Gary is a formidable online force whose fast-talking, forward-thinking ideas and perspective have made him into one of the planet’s most sought-after public speakers.
For the wine folk among us, you will no doubt remember him from his Wine Library TV episodes (of which there are over a thousand) and will recall how capably he commands your attention.
So, as he took stage at Business Squared, the full house was literally on its feet and cheering. It was clear it was he, out of all the speakers, who they were there to see. So was I.
On a day which seemed full of self-congratulatory, ‘I can make you a million if you buy my $4000 program’ speakers, Gary’s humble approach was a welcome reprieve.
“Empathy is a strength, not a weakness,” he begins, telling us that mindfulness and self-awareness are the anchors in any successful business. Hard work, rather than a ‘Look at me and my fucking bling on social’ attitude, is how you make it. “Get on team optimism, not pessimism.” Amen, brother.
His insights, incredibly well-articulated, came at us thick and fast and we couldn’t help but feel a sense of urgency and excitement to just get out there and do it.
“If you do not learn all you can about Facebook, Instagram and audio right this second, you will miss it all,” he implored. “The speed and pace of now is phenomenal. Do not get left behind. Put the work in or you’ll be replaced and you’ll regret it. And regret is death.”
The urgency in which he says this is contagious. “The technology we’re seeing right now is everything. It’s oxygen. It’s coming and sure, I get it, learning about it is like learning how to swim in a tsunami.”
As we spend 50% of our time on a mobile device staring at social media, it is all about the ‘currency of attention’. We need to be where the eyeballs are. And Facebook and Instagram is (still) where it’s at.
“Information is worthless. Experience is the game as we have everything at our finger tips and in our pockets. Experience becomes vitally important in capturing and maintaining attention. Compelling storytelling is key here. ‘Content, content, content,’ may be the catch cry, but to be effective it must be compelling.”
What’s next, says Gary, is a very emphatic call to audio. Why? Because “it trades on selling us back time”. Time that we are so limited with. “If you haven’t got a podcast yet, do it.”
Sales of Amazon’s Echo and Google Home are going nuts (Alexia is already in 11 million homes in the USA), so we’ll be having those in our homes increasingly more in the next three to four years. Do yourself a favour and learn an Alexia skill right NOW, he says.
But whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Snapchat, Spotify, blogging, vlogging, podcasting, or whatever, do it all. But make it compelling.
Because if you don’t, “You’re going to miss the greatest attention land-grab we’ve ever seen”.
Why does he give away these insights? “Because 99% of you won’t do anything with them”.