Gary Vaynerchuk In Seattle

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The sign outside the hall said “Please enter quietly, an author reading is in progress,” or something like that.

There was no “reading”, there was no reason to be quiet. Gary Vaynerchuk was holding court with about 75 or so Vayniacs in attendance, fielding questions on everything from his rotisserie baseball team, to a diabtribe on the uselessness of decanting, from his dream to own the NY Jets, to the environmental practices of winemakers, from terroire to twitter, it was all covered and none of it was read.

Gary was in town promoting 101 Wines, but there was no need. It was sold out before it started. Go figure. I always thought book tours were done to promote sales with boxes and boxes unleashed upon the masses, but not at this joint. They were sold out. So I got to watch Gary not read from his book and wax on about things that I share a passion for. Wine, web, sports.

Gary is a very very passionate man. He’s all about breaking molds, doing things differently, not buying in to conventional wisdom and just squeezing every second out of life. There were at least 3 of us at the back of the room capturing the session on Flip cameras. I’d love to toss some of it up, but the Flip Ultra doesn’t play nice with my Mac.

Gary had some great and strong ideas about social networking, talking about how he’s a very public and not private person. If you’re semi private, you’ll have some issues with the way these networks operate.

He talked about his vision for Corkd, a social wine site that he’s owned for a couple of years and hasn’t really done anything with. Gary’s idea is to have it work like Pandora, or Last.fm (my comparisons not his) where you would input meta data on your favourite wines and it would help suggest new ones you might like. He also wants to take it mobile, where you could snap a photo of a wine label and the site would send you back all the data you, or your friends, have inputed about that wine.

P1040924I loved what he said about Twitter when responding to calls that Twitter is dead. “Is Twitter dead? No, 99.9% of the people in the world haven’t even heard of Twitter.” Gary admits he’s always looking for the next big thing moving from Friendster to MySpace to Facebook to Twitter, but at the same time we need to take time to make them more than passing fads.

I kept thinking the whole time how Gary is so much like Seth Godin. A natural. An outside the box thinker who is constantly innovating, but at the same time using the most basic of tools to build his brand – relationships. Gary even name checked Seth saying he’s heard the comparisons before, but doesnt buy them. He says he’s never read any of the big buzz business books. He doesnt have time to read blogs anymore. He’s just himself. He believes in himself. And he believes in his relationships.

Gary may have been there to promote his book, and he may be famous for his Wine Library Thunder Show, but if you look a little deeper and spend a little more time at GaryVaynerchuk.com you’ll learn things a lot more valuable than the difference between Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc.

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