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Lessons Learned from Gary Vaynerchuk

gary_vaynerchukThis morning I watched a keynote by marketing force, Gary Vaynerchuk being given at Web Summit 2016 in Lisbon, Portugal. Gary is an inspiration to thousands of marketers because he’s raw, he’s unfiltered, he swears too much, and he seems to be at the cusp of every emerging digital marketing platform. I don’t know when this guy sleeps, honestly. He produces content non-stop.

I read his book “The Thank You Economy” recently as well, in which he basically boils it down that the companies who care the most are the ones who will win in the long run. Companies must care about their customers at a level that they used to, back when customers were fiercely loyal to the local butcher, for example. Social media has connected customers in a similar way, and so successful companies must encourage that open communication and care as much as possible about interacting. Leaders must be authentic, honest, and humble.

Another interesting tidbit learned from The Thank You Economy was about the ROI of social media. ROI is a business term for ‘Return on Investment’, and many people’s careers depend on ROI. If a company invests $100, they’d like to make sure that they made a distinct profit. HOWEVER – What Gary says in his book, is that ROI on Social Media is very hard to track, and so is the ROI of treating people well. Businesses that focus too much on ROI, and less so on providing a warm and welcoming experience, may suffer from customers going elsewhere in the long-term.

A few other points that stuck with me, that Gary mentions in his books, but also in his keynote today that I’d like to reflect on:

  • “People are inconvenienced by incoming phone calls!”
    • This is something that I’ve thought about for a while, as it’s true, that we are currently in an attention economy, where our attention is worth more than anything else… and where it’s common to be doing multiple things at once (not that I recommend this)… and when someone calls you, you’d most often prefer to just communicate over a text, get in, get out, and get on with your life. Phone calls feel old, archaic, a waste of time, UNLESS it’s when YOU want to talk on the phone.

      This makes me think there’s an opportunity for some kind of app or functionality where someone requests a call, and the other person then engages the call when he/she wants to. If the original person is still available, they will connect, otherwise, the 2nd person will now be waiting for the call to start. Might have to think that one through a bit, but wanted to just write it out, anyhow. 😉

  • “NOBODY wants to watch commercials, ever. When a pop-up appears on your cell phone, and you have to try and find the little “x” to close out, and you accidentally click the ad, it enrages you. When you can’t skip through a commercial on HULU, or on a TV show, you disengage, you don’t feel like watching it.”
    • This means to me that ads will be more and more niche, where you will only be seeing what is targeted for you specifically. So for example, if you were thinking of traveling to Italy, and you were researching Milan, you would see a brief ad about ‘What to See in Milan’, and it would then interest you. Otherwise, you would just skip. HOWEVER – This is counterintuitive to the old-school method of advertising, which is to expose a viewer multiple times, until there is brand recognition. You might not have been wanting to view such an ad, but now you believe that Acura is a luxury car, because you’ve seen luxury-looking ads for it, many times over. I’m not sure how we will have a future advertisement that achieves both…
  • “People who are worried that they have nothing to share on storytelling social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram stories – the future is in DOCUMENTING your struggles, your experience.”
    • Gary is someone who is constantly documenting his day. He’s constantly interacting with his fans, answering questions, and he hustles like he’s got nitro coffee in his veins 24/7. I think he’s a rare entrepreneur who can function like this, and that’s what makes him so spectacular. There are others like him, such as the popular sales maven Grant Cardone, for example. They are both hitting social media every day of the week. My skepticism here though, is that many people don’t have the interesting day-to-day that these guys have. Do people really want to watch me reading e-mails and having Skype meetings? You’d have to have a gifted storytelling mind to be able to shape the average day in the office into something that people want to consume… Perhaps if you are focusing on your struggles and wins, and you edit it nice and tight, and finish off with Q+A, then you’ve got something there, but that requires a storytelling gene that I think most people don’t have, or need to work on. It’s not intuitive.

Gary V vloggingAnyway – I’m thankful that a guy like Gary exists. He is a content-producing animal. He produces so much content in fact, that I’ll go weeks of ignoring him, and then click again weeks later, be it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat.

And also – I recommend his audio books. Good stuff there, I intend to listen to Jab, Jab, and also Crush It, in the near future. His energy is fun to listen to, and he often goes off-script.

Categories: Marketing

WHY Do you want Freedom?

What lights you up? When do you feel “in flow”?

I’ve written about this idea previously, but let’s see if I can glean some additional points today.

The question is: Why do you want to live the freedom lifestyle, and also, how can you make a positive impact while living this lifestyle?

Well, lucky me, I feel like I’ve got both of these items covered.

1. WHY do you want to live the freedom lifestyle?


Categories: Productivity

Finding Your Focus

I’ve seen two of my friends writing blog entries in this ’10 day blog challenge’, and so without investigating all that much into it, I signed up as well, and am going to give it a shot.

What are my biggest challenges?

– Time management

– Follow through / Letting fear get in the way

Why are they holding me back? (more…)

Categories: Productivity

Storytelling for your Small Business or Non-Profit with Alex Blumberg

Storytelling. It’s the buzz-word currently, as organizations from huge corporations to tiny startups realize that the sale is made in the connection to the user.

Storytelling is something that I am fascinated by, and it’s something that is nearly always on my mind, for the last couple of years. I’ve purchased various courses and books on the subject, and it seems in a way, similar to say, dating. There might be guidelines, suggestions, but the real magic happens when you get your hands dirty and find your own methods.

Alex BlumbergAlex Blumberg is my favorite radio-storyteller that I’ve come across. He’s worked for NPR on various wildly successful programs, and since then created a successful podcast startup, called ‘Gimlet Media’. If you’ve never heard his podcast Startup, I highly recommend that you check it out.

I had the good luck of attending a talk by Alex Blumberg in Brooklyn, NY recently, and I took some notes. I hope that they are helpful. This is mostly about radio interviews, but it can be applied more broadly to storytelling.


Categories: Storytelling

How a Mattress Startup went from 3 sales to $100,000/month in 3 months

I found this post online from a marketer/SEO who took a fledgling mattress startup, and applied some crafty advertising and targeted ads to the tune of helping explode the sales of the startup that he worked for.

Some of my favorite takeaways are that he targeted his competitor’s names in google adwords, and then had a landing page where he compared his product to theirs. This is genius, because he gets to ride their coattails, and when it comes to mattresses, there are a lot of unsure customers, that will obsess over comparisons. (I know, because I was in that spot a few years ago!)

I also liked his affiliate strategy of sending people with big enough audiences a free bed for a review. And I loved the part about not ignoring local PR. This was a great piece of learning, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Here’s the content:


Categories: Google Adwords, Intermediate Tips

What’s it like to work for a non-profit?

For the past year, I’ve been working as a digital marketing consultant for a nonprofit, located in Silicon Valley, California. I visited the office for the first time a few months back, and enjoyed driving past Facebook and Google, and seeing a self-driving Google car around Palo Alto. The future is near, folks.

The nonprofit that I work with is InSTEDD, which was created from a prize-winning TED talk by Larry Brilliant, and the main focus of the nonprofit is to use technology for humanitarian aid.

I must say that working on projects such as bettering digital disease detection in West Africa, environmental mapping in Rio de Janeiro, and UAV/Drone use for humanitarian relief in Southeast Asia is way, way, more interesting to me than working on a website to sell dating website subscriptions, or antivirus software. Is the income as passive? No, it is not, but thankfully the work is engaging, meaningful, and I can still work from home.

I was in Cambodia in the beginning of the year, working with the iLab Southeast Asia, to help them better communicate and tell their story during an important software launch with the CDC Cambodia. My main role was to help script an informational video, and do so while working closely with the communications lead. This was to help build capacity in the film-making area, so that future projects by the iLab could be covered in this way. We are working on the final edits as I type this post. It’s a video project that included clips taken in California, Cambodia, and New York City. The scripting was pretty difficult, as the context of each interview was not the same, however I think we’ve done a great job and I’m looking forward to watching the final edit.

The big benefit of traveling to Southeast Asia for work is being paid to travel. It’s something that I always romanticized. This idea of stepping on the plane, consulting with others in a faraway place, and also having time to enjoy my surroundings. I was lucky enough to be able to make that happen on this trip. I toured Bangkok and Koh Lanta in Thailand for 10 days before I had to work, which helped a lot with my jetlag… and I then toured the temples of Angkor Wat, the beaches of the south, and Saigon, Vietnam, after I had finished my week of work.

In total I was gone for a month, and I caught myself at various times telling myself how grateful I was that not only I was traveling in Southeast Asia, but was doing so for work.


Categories: Travel, Work

Are you just fine, or are you f***ing great?

I’ve been meaning to watch a movie I heard about recently which features guys like Grant Peelle, Pat Flynn, and others.

It’s all about people who left soul-sucking jobs to pursue their passions. The reason that I enjoyed this documentary is mainly because throughout the course of the film you can piece together the journey that each of these people go through, from frustration, to fear, to just going for it, and the results for each.

Google “I’m Fine Thanks film“.

I think it’s a worthwhile watch, especially for those of you interested in film, as they put this idea together and shot it in 6 weeks!

Enjoy –


Categories: Motivational

The BEST Free, Invoicing Web App

I recently purchased a course on developing business videos. I plan on perfecting my craft and becoming a better videographer.

However – I stumbled on the best invoicing app I have ever laid eyes on, and best of all it’s FREE.

There are countless other invoicing apps, and they range from $10-$100+/month depending on your needs.

The site that I use (and they just came out with a mobile app as well) is WAVE.

These guys make the entire process so incredibly easy. You just set up a profile, you can connect payments via Stripe (a PayPal alternative) and  then you just create invoices, and send them to your customers through the app.

Your customers can then pay you via their invoice that they receive in the mail.

You also get to see if your customer viewed the invoice or not – and the best part is that when they pay you via Stripe, your invoices change themselves to “PAID”.

The site also lets you send reminders when people are late to pay their invoices, and it gives you a useful overview of your incoming and outgoing funds by the month.

I can’t recommend WAVE enough for it’s incredible invoicing capabilities. As a freelancer, I wouldn’t want to use anything else.


Categories: Product Reviews, Productivity

A mystery swag bag arrived today!

I just checked my mail and received an airmail package from Estonia.

Weird, I thought… Until I remembered that the team at Toggl (a time keeping web app that I love and recommend) offered to send me a T-Shirt.

You could say they over delivered 🙂

They sent stickers, a pen, a bag, and a shirt.

All because I wrote to them with some feedback.

Pretty cool, huh?



Categories: Uncategorized

A creative ad that hit me like a ton of bricks

Lately I’ve been exposed to many similar messages talking about the importance of giving value, giving of yourself, and improving situations wherever possible.

This video hit me like a ton of bricks. Such a beautifully done video.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Categories: Uncategorized