Saturday, April 24, 2010
Magic words for business: Crush It!, a book worth reading
By Dan Danford, CRSP
Family Investment Center
This book was recommended by Dodie Jacobi, a respected business consultant in Kansas City. She suggested that it offers great insight into the social media environment, and is an easy read, too. If you own or work in a smaller business those are magic words: helpful and easy. I bought Crush It! that same day. I read it the next weekend.
I agreed to “lead” a discussion on this book blog because Dodie was right. Gary Vaynerchuk is a compelling character. His story is unique and wonderful. He used social media and other resources to crash one of the most exclusive parties in the business world – the wine industry. His fresh approach, enthusiasm, sincerity, and (yes) charisma allowed him to jump multiple rungs of the success ladder. That’s what any of us want, right?
And his story is not just about marketing, either. I know my way around marketing, and another marketing book isn’t necessary for my personal library. Gary’s approach blends both life and business lessons, along with a bit of Zig Ziglar or Dale Carnegie. Why Now Is The Time To Cash In On Your Passion is the book’s sub-title and Vaynerchuk clearly thinks that’s the important theme for success.
His three simple rules appear on the book’s second page:
• Love your family.
• Work superhard.
• Live your passion.
Now, the business implication is that social media and networks create the perfect opportunity to live your passion. Whether it is wine, motorcycles, or personal finance (to randomly select a few!), there is a community of like-minded people seeking expert commentary. And, since you are passionate about it, you can find an audience. Eventually, that audience can be lucrative enough to pay your bills.
Chapter Two’s lesson is that our personal uniqueness is an asset. I really enjoyed this chapter because Gary talks us through his personal story. In some ways, it’s the perfect American tale, from immigration at three years old, to eventual status as “Social Media Sommelier” (ABC News) and Wayne’s World Wine Aficionado (nightline). Like most success chronicles, it’s a great story and it makes fun read.
Chapter Three is – in many ways – the essence of this book. “Developing your personal brand is key to monetizing your passion online.” In the author’s case, that meant offering truthful information about wines in easy-to-understand terms. If you’ve ever browsed a wine store or bought a traditional book about wine, you understand how refreshing that is! You also understand why Gary Vaynerchuk has become so successful.
The point is that almost everyone has similar opportunity. We all care about different things and we all bring unique perspective to them. And we all have the ability to communicate that perspective in a variety of ways. We can write, talk, act, speak, or even create original art to share our message. And, if we are passionate enough and work hard enough, we can prosper because of it.
We'd love to have your thoughts on this great book. We've started a second blog for dicussion of business-related books, called Beyond the Bookshelf, and you can find it here. Please click on the link and comment there (same post content) if you'd like to tell us what you think about Crush It!
Here are a few questions for consideration:
1. Think about a successful person you know. In a few words, what is his or her passion?
2. How about Bill Gates or Warren Buffett? Again, in a few words, what separates them from others in their field? Describe their personal brands.
3. How does the Steve Jobs personal brand differ from Bill Gates?
4. If you achieved international success as a businessperson, how might people describe your personal brand?