Every week, I get emailed 2-4 offers to do book reviews on my blog.
I dont do them.
I quickly replied “Of course,” while thinking to myself “that book is 250 pages! What have I agreed to?”
Before I get into the Thank You Economy, I want to tell a couple of stories. (I drop names like Thor drops hammers. But whats a story if you dont know the players?)
I met Gary, and his brother AJ three or four years ago at the TechCocktail conference in Chicago. I was giving a talk entitled SEO for Douchebags, and while I was talking, I kept looking over seeing two dudes, one with a shirt that said “Legacy > Currency” and the other with a baseball cap, tshirt and shorts. And they were nodding vigorously. “Who the hell are those guys?” It was clear to me that they were from New Jersey, and knowing all the stupid crap I have done in my life, I was wondering if 1) I pissed them off some how; 2) if the opposite door was unlocked; 3) that I was pretty sure I could take them.
About an hour later, the dude in the “Legacy > Currency” shirt takes the stage, and the program said he was Gary Vaynerchuk. I leaned over to my friend Harper Reed, and said “Who is this dude?” Harper (if you dont know harper, find him on twitter, and get to know him) says, in his very Harper way, “hahaha that dude is awesome. Its Gary, he sells wine.”
Later that night, I ended up with Gary, AJ and a few other folks playing Cranium, watching Gary get pissed because he was losing, and putting playdoh in Nate Westheimer ‘s mouth as he snored.
Two years ago, at the Big Omaha conference, I was lucky to speak with a bunch of friends. At around midnight, Jeffrey Kalmikoff, Jason Fried, Gary and I found ourselves in Gary’s room chatting. (By chatting, I mean four strong personalities diving into all kinds of topics, learning and teaching simultaneously.) It was a smaller version of several similar sessions at various conferences that we have all attended, which was great, because less people meant the room didnt stink as badly or was as warm.
About half way through the night — We were there until, I think 3am, with Jason being the second speaker at 9:30ish — Gary said “You know, the only way to win is to give more than you take. For businesses to be successful, we have to figure out how to use the internet to be more like old school mom and pop shops.” Now Jason with 37signals does that quite well and Jeffrey, who was at Threadless at the time preached the same. That one statement led to easily a 1.5 to 2 hr conversation about what Gary now calls “The Thank You Economy.”
You see, for all the noise that Gary makes around wanting to own the Jets or using sound bites like “Whats the ROI of your mother?” at his core he is a kid running a liquor shop, where each person matters.
Gary was on his book tour for Crush It a year or two ago. He was coming to Denver, and wanted to swing by Boulder and say hi to some friends. Joe Stump was here as was Jeffrey and a few others. I offered to drive him to his signing in Denver, and on the drive down, traffic was horrendous. We got to talking about people.
“I hate people,” I declared. “I hate that people have expectations and view others by who they are and what they do, rather than what they care about.”
“I love people, Micah,” Gary said. “I really, really do. I care that people are happy and fulfilled, and that they are as excited about what they are doing as I am for what I am doing.”
I used to tell people that I believe that there are two types of people: People that care how the world effects them; and people that care about how they effect the world. Gary is clearly the second.
Now, to make sure you dont think this is some puffery about how awesome Gary is, while we were driving down to Denver, he got a call from Wine Library, the liquor store, and he had a long discussion with the manager about an employee that wasnt performing. You think Gary was soft? Yeah, I didnt think so either.
Want to know what I think of The Thank You Economy? I will sum it up in a single quote from the book:
“Success in the Thank You Economy hinges on obsessively caring about the customer, yes, but a great caring culture stems from the top of a company and cascades through it like a waterfall.”
Is that how we end up being successful in life? Its how Gary has done it. It is what we are trying to do at Graphicly . And, frankly, if you are not focused on caring, then you are planning your demise.
- Why Gary Vaynerchuk wants to buy the New York Jets: Wine Library… (thetickr.com)
- Thank You Economy is Better than Crush it (garyvaynerchuk.com)
- Vaynerchuk’s Thank You Economy Hits Stores This Week (socialmediaexplorer.com)