In 1969, a crew of three American astronauts were sent to the moon on the Apollo 11 space flight, covering more than 380,000km from the Earth to the Moon.
The state-of-the-art computers used by Nasa (National Aeronautical and Space Administration) were able to safely return the crew to home soil. As advanced as the computers were for the time, they were extremely weak by today’s standards.
To put it into context, the clock of a recent iPhone model is 32,600 times faster than the best of Nasa’s computers then. And the phone can process instructions 120,000,000 times faster. In other words, the smartphone you carry around in your pocket is capable of much more than you imagine.
Using Technology To Get Ahead
The advances of mobile technology have placed an extravagant amount of power into the hands of its users. From the mundane (ordering food, buying clothes online) to the extraordinary (recording a music album, starting a business), the possibilities of what we’re able to create are endless.
In 2009, Internet celebrity and serial entrepreneur Gary Vayner-chuk wrote his international bestseller Crush It! as a guide to personal branding for would-be entrepreneurs willing to follow his principles on how to maximise the power of social media.
Nine years later, he has written another bestseller (and his fifth book), Crushing It!, an updated version of his first book, which contains selected stories from hundreds of budding entrepreneurs who made a success of their business ideas thanks to his advice.
Vaynerchuk (known as “Gary Vee” to his followers) uses the book to drive home a direct message to anyone who wants to build their branding and start a business: there is no excuse for you not to succeed – you have the tools in your pocket.
Running The Talk
Anyone unfamiliar with the 42-year-old entrepreneur might be forgiven for thinking that Gary Vee is a fly-by-night businessman looking to make a quick buck off the back of another “guide to riches” business book. But they’d be dead wrong. This is a man who doesn’t so much walk his talk as run it.
Belarussia-born Vaynerchuk joined the wine business that his parents set up after moving to the United States at an early age. When he was 23, he took over the business and, perceiving the business potential of e-commerce, began to sell wine online. In 2006, he started a daily online show called Wine Library TV.
Within a few years, Gary Vee had built a US$60mil (RM230mil) business. Rather than enjoy the fruits of his success, the highest salary he paid himself was US$60,000 (RM230,000) – the rest of the money he reinvested into the business, and any spare time he had went into expanding the business as well as his personal brand.
His tireless work-ethic led him to amassing millions of followers online who tune in daily to his podcasts, web shows, social media videos and blogs to learn about the principles and strategies he has used – and continues to use – to great success.
The Rise Of Social Media
Today, there has been a seismic shift in how people consume information through media. As noted in the book, YouTube’s daily viewership is closing in on TV’s 1.25 billion hours per day, with TV viewership falling each year. One in every five minutes spent on a mobile is spent on Facebook apps and services, and more than 65,000 videos and photos are posted to Instagram every minute.
In Crushing It!, Gary Vee dissects the main social media platforms and how they can be used by anyone to captivate the attention of millions of people who are looking for entrepreneurs and businesses that can entertain, educate, inspire and inform their audience.
Many stories are described in detail of how ordinary people (ie not marketing or social media gurus) put into practice the principles from Gary Vee’s 2009 book and went from being struggling dreamers who often held down two or more jobs, to enjoying considerable success resulting from hard work and dedication.
A point that Gary Vee makes regularly in the book and elsewhere is that no one can be successful without time and effort (unless they win the lottery). To get anywhere in life, you have to do the work and that means putting in an ungodly number of hours and getting over any fears that might be holding you back from starting.
“You need to constantly be in do mode,” he writes. “I see you out there over-thinking your content and agonizing over your decisions, taking forever to make up your mind. Your confidence is low, and you’re worried people will call you a loser if you make the wrong call. Get over that quick. I love losing because I learn so much from it.”
Building A Personal Brand
For anyone who’s not 100% happy with their work life, or who’s had an idea niggling away at them, Crushing It! is an invaluable resource that highlights the necessary steps of building a personal brand and cultivating an online presence that could be genuinely life-changing.
Lauryn Evarts – founder of the lifestyle platform The Skinny Confidential – received Crush It! as a Christmas gift while studying. She was also teaching Pure Barre and Pilates in gyms and “getting bored out of her mind”.
Evarts wanted to create a platform that inspired women “to be unapologetically themselves”, in a similar vein to the platforms created by Gary Vee, and other author entrepreneurs like Tony Robbins and Tim Ferriss.
For one year, she worked tirelessly at her new endeavour. “I would shoot all my photos from 2pm to 3pm, bar-tend from 4pm to 12am, come home, write my blog post from 12am to 2am, wake up, teach Pure Barre, teach Pilates, go to school, rinse and repeat, five days a week. And then on the weekend, I would do Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and the e-mails and all the other little stuff that comes with it.”
She was finally ready to monetise her platform after being approached by a favourite brand of hers, and today earns “definitely a very good amount”, which allows for a comfortable life and a team of assistants.
Her own brand has become so strong, she turns down big brands every day, some of whom offer US$10,000 to US$15,000 (RM38,000 to RM58,000) to collaborate on a single blog post.
Adapting To The Future
With the advent of Industry 4.0, digitisation, and blockchain, there is no industry that has been left untouched by the digital space. It’s undoubtedly clear that, sooner or later, those who want to make their mark in their industry will need to build and shape their personal brand.
Commenting on those reluctant to embrace change, Gary Vee points out that people have “always dismissed or underestimated the new thing, from radio to TV, from the Internet to the social networks. They’re the same people who believe that Hollywood, not YouTube and Instagram, still has the biggest stars. As anyone under the age of twenty-five will tell you, they’re wrong.”
As a man with “obnoxious ambition” (he wants to eventually own the New York Jets, a professional American football team), his life’s work – besides being CEO of VaynerMedia – is to help others realise their potential and find greater meaning in their lives by building on and executing their passion.
Crushing It!, in Gary Vee’s view, should be the last business book you read. Once you know the principles, there’s nothing left to do but get out there and do it. As he implores, “… quit being a student of entrepreneurship and start doing the goddamn work”.
Crushing It! How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business And Influence – And How You Can Too
Author: Gary Vaynerchuk
Publisher: HarperCollins, nonfiction