Review: Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuck

In my most recent Tech Beat article I included a  reference to Gary Vaynerchuck’s Crush It! It was sort of a mini-review within a longer article. I thought I’d give the book  more thorough treatment here where word count is not an issue.

If you are looking for a blueprint for building a successful online business, you should consider reading this small (148 pp) book. It’s both inspiring and cautionary. If you can absorb both of those feelings and take them to heart you can also follow Vaynerchuck’s recommendations on how to build a personal brand and thereby create a variety of income streams both on and off line.

Vaynerchuck begins the book with his “secret to success”: “Love your family, work superhard, live your passion.” Then he proceeds to tell his personal story to illustrate how he as followed those 3 rules to build a $60 million business.

The inspiration

Briefly, he began working in his father’s local liquor store in New Jersey. He started out as a stock boy and cashier, but he eventually found a niche by reinventing how wine is reviewed and sold. Eschewing the enigmatic language with how wine was described and marketed he decided he wanted to make wine accessible to the average buyer. This helped him greatly expand the liquor store sales. But it was when he went online with his unique approach that things really exploded.

And here is where his story will be of most interest to the online entrepreneur. Vaynerchuck lays out a set of steps if you want to follow his model for building a personal brand. If you watch his videos on or elsewhere on the web you may not think you can or want to turn yourself into another GaryVee. He is well aware that his story and personality may not be a fit for everyone. And he provides some alternative paths. He also throws out some quick examples of people in other professions who are following their passions and even offers ideas for other businesses you could pursue.

But be warned, it ain’t easy!

But the cautionary thoughts are also woven throughout the book: Don’t attempt this if you do not have a real passion for the product, service or concept you want to market because while the online tools are free or relatively cheap, the true cost is the investment of time you will need to make in order to succeed. You have to truly “live your passion” because outside of your family it will become your life. You can’t approach this casually. But if you believe in what you are doing, the work should be fun. Follow the steps outlined in the book. Do many of them over and over again. In fact, you don’t even have to buy the book. Just find a copy and memorize Appendix A where he lists 21 steps. To quote a few:

  • Post your content.
  • Start creating community by leaving comments on other people’s blogs and forums and replying to comments to your own comment.
  • Search to find as many people as possible talking about your topic, and communicate with them.
  • Use to find more blogs that are relevant to your subject.
  • Join as many active Facebook fan pages and groups relating to your blog topic as possible.
  • Repeat steps 12 through 16 over and over and over and over and over.
  • Do it again.
  • Do it again.

Not a complete how to

This is a book to read to get you to turn off the TV and get busy. However, if you’re looking for specific instructions on how to use the various social media tools such as Facebook or Twitter you will need to look elsewhere. I plan to review other books and resources on social media and other topics here in the future. So check back.

Apparently there is also a Vook (video book version), too.

The Social Media Revolution?

Some people think social media is a fad. It’s possible that the tools we know today such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so many others are fads. But is the trend itself going to fade? What do you think? Is it a fad a powerful shift in the way we communicate and consume information and goods?

I Have Been Untwittered

Update 2: This morning my account was restored. Yay! It appears it was human error. Go figger.

Update: Apparently I am not alone. It seems there has been a sudden influx of suspended accounts. So something is awry with Twitter. It’s not me.

Suddenly, this afternoon, I stopped receiving tweets in my desktop application (Tweetdeck). So I went to and lo and behold my account has been suspended. Say what? I hadn’t even posted anything today. Suspended on Twitter

That says: “This account is currently suspended and is being investigated due to strange activity. If we have suspended your account mistakenly, please let us know. See Suspended Accounts for more information.”

So, I quickly wrote to Support and got an automated reply. In case you’re wondering, here’s the reasons they give for suspending an account:

If you are suspended, it’s most likely for one or more of these reasons::

User Abuse
* a large number of people block the profile or write in with spam complaints
* aggressive following
* imbalanced ratio: the number of followers is small compared to number of people following
* misuse of the reply feature
* updates consist of duplicate links and/or text
* updates consist mainly of links and not personal updates
* updates consist of updates poached from others’ timelines, passed off as one’s own

Technical Abuse
* updates consist of links pointing to phishing sites, malware, or other harmful material
* a large number of accounts is created in a short amount of time
* an account is identified as belonging to a spam cluster

I obviously hadn’t done any of these things. So, I waited a while but got no further correspondence. I checked the support page and it said my issue had been resolved! Except it hadn’t. Still suspended. So, I wrote another message in reply, re-opening my support ticket. 2 hours later, as of this posting, I’m still untwittered. Kind of an uncomfortable position to be in as I’m doing a talk on social media this week…There goes the live demo of Twitter.

What’s a Follower Worth?

Hello, my name is Bob, and I’m a Twitterholic.

Yes. It’s affecting my work life, my social life, my sex life. OK, maybe not that…yet. But I am taking steps to control it. Really. I am. I have lots of 3rd party Twitter apps that give me much more control than you get with your basic account. I know, I know, I should just quit altogether.  But I am fascinated by this thing. At least until the next thing comes along.

One of the things that confounds me though: Out of the 6 million?users on Twitter, how many of them are worth having as followers? I don’t use tricks to get followers, but as of this posting I have 615 followers.  But so what? That’s not a huge amount. I am consistently followed by people who have thousands of followers. For example, here’s a recent follower’s statistics: “7621 Following | 7932 Followers | Ratio: 1 | 8834 Updates – On Twitter Since April 17, 2009 (46 days ago)”. Huh? How could this person post nearly 9,000 tweets in 46 days? And why does he have so many followers in such a short period of time? I’ve been on Twitter for over a year. Maybe it’s because I don’t promise lots of riches for almost no effort. So, who cares if this person follows me? I’d much prefer, 100 followers who actually read my tweets and have something to share besides get rich quick schemes.

What’s a follower like that worth? Not much.

I would love a way to screen these folks out. Anyone know of such an app?