The following is an excerpt from the 2014 SXSW Keynote with Gary Vaynerchuk. Special thanks to SXSW for hosting the video, and to Gary for answering tons of questions. This is uncensored and includes lots of expletives. It’s fucking fantastic. Watch the full keynote here.
Technology & Time
If you’re an entrepreneur, you should spend lots of time at night thinking about where there is inefficiency in our society and where technology can solve that problem.
The 3 things in our society we value - family and health, money, and the one no one talks about enough is time.
How many people remember when you were at home and your internet was 100th of a second slower? Remember how fucking pissed you were?
Time. People using Uber, they’re buying time. Not the service. So we value time tremendously.
So keep an eye on that.
I grew up obsessed with Richard Pryor. I’ve psycho-analyzed this. Because I curse a lot on stage and it’s kind of weird. There is a lot of people in this room who have no idea who I am, who’ve been turned off by my language and can’t hear all the other good stuff.
I convinced myself at least I only curse on stage. And I don’t curse in real life. That was true in 2007, 2008, or 2009. The problem is you get into practice and it starts slowly sweeping into your regular life.
I’ve cursed at a client here or there. I’ve very comfortable in who I am. I know what my objectives are and know that they are pure.
As a matter of fact, I sometimes use my cursing as a filter. To filter out people who are only willing to look at surface level, who are not usually the kind of people I want to do business with in the first place.
Can one bad tweet break a brand?
BP Oil spilled all of the fucking oil into the Gulf of Mexico. And you assholes still fill up your car with it. And so do I.
There is a complete lack of understanding of what cripples a business. The fact that billion dollar fucking brands sit in the room scared that one tweet that wasn’t so good, woe is me - you’re not going out of business. Idiot.
I believe intent trumps all. We are all going to make a mistake. I actually believe in today’s society, saying you’re sorry, when none of us actually want to say it - is so powerful. Sometimes I think about doing things wrong, just so I can come out and say I’m sorry.
I promise you, all the brands that are worried about their tweets - they need to worry about their product. They have bigger issues at hand than some random tweet, when they got a piece of shit product.
Growing a Business
My dad’s liquor store didn’t have a lot of money. Wine Library launched in 1997 and a lot of people weren’t buying online at that point.
So what I did was got myself involved in the community. I went to forums. I became active in every single wine forum. I wasn’t trying to sell them Chardonnay, I was trying to become one of them. That set me up and brought the awareness to the brand.
The way to build a business, when you have no user base, is to become one of the users. But acting as one of the users, instead of pitching to one of the users.
If you know exactly what you want to be, you need to spend as much time with people who are actually that already. I have this insane concept on what MBA’s should really be doing.
These business schools are getting $100,000 or $200,000 and putting these kids in debt. And giving them nothing that is real in the actual business world.
The last 40 conversations I’ve had with a business school person are the same. They say the content is not what I’m really paying for, it’s the relationships. I’m like - you can buy those relationships for less than $150,000. You’re a bad fucking business person.
My advice is if there is someone you want to be like, stop making money, and go spend a year with that person. Take one step back to take 10 steps forward.
Information is a fucking commodity. It’s never been worse to be information smart than it is today. Remember 10, 15, 20, or 40 years ago when being smart about something mattered? What do you want to know? Everything you want to know informationally is in your fucking hand, on your phone.
I’m so pissed that my daughter is going through a school system where they are going to teach her information she has to memorize for a few minutes for a test, and then move on. When that thing is in her fucking hand!
We’re living in a world where all the IQ value is shrinking by the second. And all the EQ value is exponentially exploding, as our reputations are becoming more and more of what matters.
They should be actually doing shit instead of memorizing shit in schools. Because it’s so ridiculous.