If you don’t already know who Gary Vaynerchuk is, at some point you will. Such is the trajectory of a kid who was born in Belarus, grew up in New Jersey, and who has just written his second bestselling business book, The Thank You Economy, currently #2 on the New York Times list.
Vaynerchuk is a whirlwind of perpetual energy and relentless output. What might come as a surprise — especially considering that he writes books about business — is that Gary Vee, as he is called by a legion of fans, is considered to be the second most influential wine expert in the country. Only Robert Parker, of numerical grading fame, seemingly has more clout. For now.
The 35-year-old Vaynerchuk went into his dad’s retail wine business and used his natural born salesmanship, together with a heavy dose of internet savvy, to help transform it from a $4 million operation to one with sales in excess of $50 million. He proved to the naysayers who declared that wine couldn’t be sold over the web that they were wrong. He also took to “social media” very early on by producing daily videocasts about wine from his warehouse. Not exactly Hollywood production values, they’re raw, single camera, unfiltered, unedited rants from someone who is clearly passionate and knowledgeable about his bailiwick. Although his critics might disagree, they’re genius. By sucking out the pomposity and pretense of the genre and bringing street cred to the grapes, Vaynerchuk is changing the way people view wine.
It wasn’t long before Gary started to show up on broadcast television to do his thing there. The Today Show. Conan O’Brien. Ellen DeGeneres.
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