Saturday, July 26, 2008

Gary Vaynerchuk interview - "Passion is the backbone to success"

I first came across Gary Vaynerchuk earlier in the year in the States, when he was part of a live taping of Revision 3's Internet Superstar at AdTech SF.

His passion for digital (and wine) and enthusiasm were infectious. Since I have followed his efforts across his Wine Library TV web show - - as well as TV appearances all over the US (inc. Conan o'Brien, Ellen, Fox News, Jim Kramer) - and his new book '101 Wines Designed to Inspire, Delight and Bring Thunder to Your World' -

His background makes for interesting reading -

Gary's Wine Library TV show has in excess of 80,000 viewers daily - and makes for compelling viewing. I hope, in time and if scale allows, AU can generate web based video content this strong ... similar to the Revision3 model (however it would need to be broader content wise to work in AU than Rev3)

I wanted to get Gary on my blog as he's a smart guy who is passionate about what he loves. Somehow in between travelling around the US, media appearances, tapings etc he found time to answer some of my questions.

Gary, for those unfamiliar with you here in AU, sum up what you do in 25 words

I put out a wine show on the internet that is interested in changing the wine culture in the world.

How did Wine Library TV come about? How did you refine your palatte and gain such an incredible understanding of wine and all its complexities ... and how did you go about translating this passon into the emerging platform of web TV?

It came about because I turned 30 and freaked out and wanted to do something new. I learned by growing up in a family business, which allowed me the opportunity to taste a lot of wine at a very young age.

How does Wine Library TV go in terms of usage and related metrics, and how do you go about monetising this engaged audience?

Monetizing the audience is not a priority in any shape or form for me so it's not something I really think about.

Can you tell us a little about your recent deal with Revision3? What does it entail and how does it feel to be working with the Rev3 guys (I noticed your brother is doing an internship with them and you're mates with Kevin Rose so it seemed like a logical fit)

I'm very excited to be in a deal with Rev3 because I respect them a ton. It's basically a situation where they are distributing Wine Library TV through their network but also and more exciting for me they are creating a 5 minute condensed version called Wine Library Reserve and that is something I'm very excited about.

I have to say I love your attitude to your audience and the respect you show them. I love how you use digital channels to essentially allow people into your life - through forums, twitter, AIM, your blog, show etc ... you are short on time but you always find time to give something back to people who find time to give it to you. How important is this to you and how do you manage to do it

It is fundamentally the most important thing to me--my community. The way I find time is by making it my #1 priority. That’s it!

Where do you see Web TV in the next 5 years? What are the factors that will drive it and are there any factors that can stand in its way?

Immensely important and competing with mainstream tv for eyeballs. The factors are the realities of the marketplace and the fact that people keep becoming more comfortable with the medium.

You seem like a person who needs challenges to stay inspired. What are the key challenges you face in the next 12 months ... and do you have any plans to take WLTV and bring the thunder to a more global audience?

I don't anticipate challenges, I react to them. So I have no idea what they are going to be! WLTV is already global.

Social Media is a big buzzword in the advertising strategy world. You have called yourself the 'social media sommerlier'. What advice do you have for companies looking to use - or even understand - social media ... and how do you try and bring back your social media activities to ROI type metrics?

#1 Companies have to not be afraid of it. #2 They must recognize that it is the future. #3 Quickly embrace and execute because it is the most opportunistic way to reach a new audience.

I think the example of GV raises a really great ideal - if you're passionate about something and you can channel that passion effectively nothing can stop you. And in doing that it makes what you do inimitable. This also seems to ring true in the wider digital world - most groundbreaking digital tools (like Google, Netscape, Paypal etc) have come from a passion to make something great ... not a drive to extract revenue from a successful sector. What are your thoughts around this?

Passion is the backbone to success. To win on a global scale is so difficult and takes so much effort--if you don't love what you’re doing all the way through and it's not part of your DNA you really have no chance.

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