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'VR will arbitrage the internet' - serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk on start-ups, social, and sleep

Entrepreneur turned social media star Gary Vaynerchuk (@GaryVee) stopped by The Drum’s London office last week for a Social Buzz chat where he was quizzed by The Drum’s editor Stephen Lepitak and head of social Adam Libonatti-Roche in front of a live audience.

Here are some of his best moments.

Gary Vee on Virtual Reality (VR)

"The only arbitrage to the internet itself is virtual reality. So VR is not going to arbitrage social. VR will become the next platform where our attention is. But it’s not going to grow as fast at a consumer level as most people think. VR right now is like Internet 92."

Gary Vee on content and social media

"What I love social media for is different from most. I truly believe people are way too focused on distribution of content and not building actual relationships."

"Creating content is the cost of entry to being relevant in society, whether you’re a person or a business."

"Video is the most powerful platform for me. I don’t think I’ve written the body of an email in three years."

"How many people in this room didn’t jump on Snapchat because they didn’t understand the ROI? Big brands make the mistake of being too transactional."

"I believe that the art of marketing is the magic, the variable. It's not the maths."

Gary Vee on doing business and being a good person

"My dream is that I want to prove to the world that you can build a financial empire on being a good person. I think I can change the business landscape forever. A lot of my friends started being mean to tech guys because “that’s what Steve [Jobs, Apple founder] did”. And it affected me. I’m on a crusade. I think capitalism and meritocracy are the greatest traits of our society – there are absolutely ways to beat your competitors to the ground but also be a nice guy and be good to your team."

Gary Vee on start-ups

"This is a generalised statement but the marketers at start-ups with less than 20 employees are probably the weakest group of marketers right now. Rather than getting people with experience, they give the job to upstarts. That's great, but [the work] leaves a lot to be desired. I’ve asked marketers [like this, at start-ups] what they want and they say “I don’t know.” The answer should be, whatever the business needs to fucking happen tomorrow."

"The carnage that’s about to happen in start-up land with the next economic downturn, which I can’t wait for because I’ve become stunningly disgusted with start-up land. No one is building companies any more. Everyone is building machines for the next round of funding. It’s crazy."

"Which early stage start-ups are doing it right? The ones that are clearly going to be profitable in the next 12 months and not just living off the next round of funding. Very big start-ups that we all look up to are going to be out of business in 36 months. Watch for the following term – downround. It means X start-up that got valued at $800m in their last round and you just heard they raised new money at $325m. Why? Because no one was going to give them money at a higher range and it was either that or go out of business or lower the valuation of the company. Companies have been getting A and B funding without a business."

"Any company being arbitraged by the internet in the physical world has to go into full scale data collection. I would incentivise every touch point tomorrow – food should be cheaper if you hand over data. Park in a better spot for data."

Gary Vee on Fiverr (a marketplace for creative services)

"We’re thrilled to laugh at big companies when they get arbitraged but when it hits home…oh no. I respect people’s opinion on the other side. We have to recognise market behaviours. There’s people that get paid $100,000 a day to shoot photographs. And then there’ people that do it for free. That’s the game. And some people are at zero and these platforms can help. Who the fuck are you to tell me what I can't do?"

Gary Vee on social media influencers

"There’s a lot that get over paid. I’m obsessed with the long tail. There are people with 300 to 1,000 followers that will do so good for your business. There are people with 100,000 followers but they’ve pimped every fucking thing under the sun so the depth of their sponsorship isn’t real."

Gary Vee on work life balance

"I’m huge fan of sleep. Everyone should get a lot."

An edited version of The Drum's Social Buzz Live chat with Gary Vaynerchuk will be released shortly. Stay tuned.

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