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  • Tom: Hey, everybody.

  • Welcome to Impact Theory.

  • You are here, my friends, because you believe that human potential is nearly limitless,

  • but you know that having potential is not the same as actually doing something with

  • it.

  • So our goal, with this show and company, is to introduce you to the people and ideas that

  • are going to help you actually execute on your dreams.

  • All right.

  • Today's guest is one of the world's leading marketing experts and living proof that the

  • American Dream is alive and well, if you're willing to work your face off.

  • He was born in Belarus in the former Soviet Union, didn't speak a word of English when

  • he arrived.

  • His entire extended family lived together in a tiny-ass apartment in Queens, and as

  • the foreign kid, he was once bullied into drinking urine from a soda can.

  • He was a D and F student, and pretty much everyone thought he would fail in life.

  • Despite all of that, though, this guy not only refuses to complain about anything ever,

  • he is wildly optimistic, upbeat, and freakishly driven.

  • A born entrepreneur, he began by ripping flowers out of people's yards and selling them back

  • to them.

  • He had an entire lemonade franchise system while he was still riding a big wheel, and

  • in his teens, he was routinely making thousands of dollars a weekend selling baseball cards,

  • until his father forced him to go to work in the family business for $2 an hour.

  • But he didn't waste time whining about it.

  • He just got to work, and just out of college, by being an early adopter of the internet.

  • He took his father's discount liquor store from being a local store doing $4 million

  • a year in revenue to an internet phenomenon doing $45 million in revenue in just five

  • years.

  • Now, leveraging his unique ability to identify where consumer attention is going next, he

  • founded the pioneering digital agency VaynerMedia, which serves some of the largest companies

  • on the planet, and along the way, he's also built a massive social following of his own

  • that rings in at around 3.5 million devoted followers.

  • He is a people first kind of guy, and you can see it in everything that he does, from

  • his employees to his fans and partnerships.

  • As such, he's greeted like a rock star.

  • His business is growing crazy fast, and it'll soon be starring in Apple's original series

  • Planet of the Apps with Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba, and will.i.am.

  • On top of all that, he's also a prolific angel investor and venture capitalist who was an

  • early investor in such juggernauts as Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, and Uber, so please, dearest

  • of friends, help me in welcoming the four-time New York Times best-selling author and future

  • owner of the New York Jets, Gary Vaynerchuk.

  • Gary: Thank you, bro.

  • Tom: Welcome to the show.

  • Gary: Dude, that was super impressive.

  • Tom: Thank you, sir.

  • You [crosstalk 00:02:52] Gary: There's no shot I could have pulled

  • that off, and also, after listening to all that, I'm really glad my mom sent you the

  • memo.

  • Tom: Right?

  • Gary: That was very nice.

  • Tom: I got it all from her, just yeah, straight out.

  • Gary: It's good to be here.

  • Thanks.

  • Tom: Yeah, it's good to have you, man.

  • Gary: Nice to have some peeps in the audience.

  • I always like that a little bit better, so ...

  • Tom: You and me both, yeah.

  • Gary: Yeah.

  • Tom: So play right to them.

  • I mean, in many ways, this is for them.

  • This all started originally back with Inside Quest.

  • It was all about doing something for the employees.

  • Gary: Yep.

  • Tom: And I had this unending terror, because I have these 25 bullet points that I think

  • anybody should be living by, and I was terrified people would memorize them but not actually

  • live by them.

  • Gary: Sure.

  • Tom: Which is like the death sentence, because you think you're doing something right.

  • You pacify yourself by memorizing it.

  • So yeah, I love having people here and getting feedback.

  • Gary: It's funny you just said that.

  • I think so many people are keyboard activists, right?

  • Everybody's good at sending a tweet about how the world should be, and nobody's doing

  • anything about it, and that is just very much human nature.

  • Tom: I was just going to ask if you think that's human nature, or if you think that

  • we've gotten soft as a culture?

  • Gary: Yes.

  • I mean, of course we've gotten soft as a culture in the U.S., because the U.S. has had an incredible

  • 200-year run.

  • Right?

  • This is just what happens, so as a culture, I can't speak for people that live in the

  • Amazon River, and I can't speak for people that still live in Belarus, but the American

  • culture is soft, and that's a great thing.

  • That means there's been enormous amounts of prosperity, but let's not be naïve.

  • I mean, people literally complain when somebody gives them the wrong amount of extra cream

  • in a Starbucks $6 coffee.

  • We've gotten to a place where we complain ... Out of all those lovely things you said,

  • as I stood there getting ready to come, the part that, and I'm glad you pick up on this

  • and not a lot of people have said it before, so thank you, my lack of interest in complaining

  • is so high.

  • And when I watch what people complain about, it breaks my heart, because they completely

  • lack perspective, and I genuinely believe my happiness and optimism comes from my perspective.

  • Even in political unrest times like right now, a lot of people very bent out of shape,

  • but the reality is, is that it's just never been better to be a human being.

  • That's just the truth.

  • That's just data.

  • That's reality, and yeah, I mean, it's just a very fun time to be alive.

  • So much going on.

  • The internet is starting to hit maturity.

  • Look at what we're doing right now.

  • Tom: It's crazy.

  • Gary: This way now, right?

  • Would have cost millions of dollars in production and distribution to have the amount of people

  • who watch this just 15 years ago.

  • I just think it's very interesting times, and I was saying something to a friend the

  • other day.

  • I was like, "Could you imagine if you told a parent 15 years ago, 'Hey, parent.

  • What you're going to want to do in 15 years, instead of buying a kid, your 16-year-old,

  • a car, you're going to convince your 16-year-old daughter to go into a stranger's car every

  • single day.

  • You're going to pay for your 16-year-old daughter to go into a stranger's car every single day,

  • and you will think that's normal and actually safer than buying that kid a car'?"

  • That's literally what we're living in now.

  • High-net-worth individuals in America are preferring to give their kids unlimited Uber

  • to buying a car, because they don't want them drinking and driving.

  • They don't trust their driving, and literally, they think it's safer for their 16, 17-year-old

  • to go into a stranger's car than to drive themselves.

  • That's sacrilege 15 years ago.

  • Online dating 20 years ago, the weirdest, nerdiest.

  • You're thinking 300-pound white dude in the basement of a kid's car.

  • Now it's just completely standard.

  • I mean, if you add in sliding into people's DM on Instagram, it's like 89% of relationships,

  • right?

  • So I think we're going through a huge transition, because all of us, even thought leaders, are

  • grossly underestimating the internet itself, and we're hitting scale.

  • Right?

  • We now all are on at all times, and this is now the beginning ... I was joking while I

  • was working out this morning, the DRock, I'm like, "DRock, you're going to get replaced

  • by like a Pokemon ball.

  • I'm going to throw it up ... People in 20 years are literally going to throw something

  • up.

  • It's just going to hover 360 and film everything they're doing."

  • I mean, it's just an incredible time, and I think the way people look at the world right

  • now, because it's such an incredible time, is actually the quickest tell to who they

  • are.

  • If you think it sucks, and it's bad, you have losing pessimistic DNA, and if you think it's

  • awesome and phenomenal, you have optimistic winning DNA, and I believe that to be true,

  • and so that's where we're at.

  • Tom: No, man, I'm with you on that.

  • So I've been involved in the XPRIZE now for a while.

  • Reason I got involved with the XPRIZE is largely for that reason.

  • I look at the future, it's so fucking exciting.

  • What's going on is crazy, and if you're the one that can see where the trends are going,

  • and you can ride those trends, be the early adopter, get into it before anybody else,

  • and there's obviously chances for huge wins there.

  • Gary: While you're practical.

  • Tom: Right.

  • Gary: Right?

  • Because I think a lot of my ... So I've had that career, but a lot of the reason is, I'm

  • not guessing or getting in too early.

  • Right?

  • It's like real estate.

  • There's a big difference between the people that bought beachfront property in Malibu

  • than people that are buying beachfront property in off-region, no infrastructure ...

  • Tom: Right.

  • Gary: ... islands in the Caribbean, which is right, in theory, but it could be an 80-year

  • theory, right?

  • And so it's about timing.

  • Like VR's coming, but consumer VR is very far away.

  • All my friends are spending millions of dollars, tens of millions of dollars, in consumer virtual

  • reality, VR, yet there's nobody here, nobody watching this, that knows a single person

  • that spends three hours a day on VR.

  • Tom: Right.

  • Gary: Right?

  • Like it's just, it's way far away.

  • I'm not sure there's people that know people that have spent three hours in their life

  • yet in VR, right?

  • And definitely not 10 people, outside of people in the business testing stuff, so I think

  • timing really matters on that, because I get worried that people jump way too far ahead,