Gary Vaynerchuk is an extraordinary entrepreneur.
He built his family’s wine business a $4 million dollar business to a $45 million dollar business in five years, and then to a $60 million dollar business.
Now he runs VaynerMedia, the world’s greatest social media marketing agency.
Gary is also a prolific angel investor and venture capitalist, having invested in companies like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Uber, and Birchbox before co-founding VaynerRSE, a $25M investment fund.
He’s the host of one of the top business podcasts, the Gary Vee Audio Experience, and he frequently headlines as a keynote speaker at business conferences worldwide.
Recently, Gary was a judge on Apple Music’s Planet of the Apps show, where he judged founders on their mobile app startups besides Jessica Alba, Gwenyth Paltrow, and Will.I.Am.
Today, I’m very excited to share this interview I did with Gary where we talk about mobile apps, why voice is the future, cryptocurrency, and intuition.
Adam: You’ve been one of the judges/mentor/coaches on Apple Music’s TV show, “Planet of the Apps.” How has your experience been on the show and what apps should we all be looking out for from the show?
Gary: So, it was super great, first of all. The other judges were a lot of fun for me. Obviously, they’re all dramatically more famous than me, so that was kind of funny. It was a lot of fun. I genuinely enjoyed it. I was a little bit worried that TV would be too slow for me, but the pace was really great. I got really excited about it and the process was a lot of fun. It was a great learning experience, and helping young entrepreneurs was a whole, whole lot of fun for me.
It was fun to see people’s reactions to seeing the behind-the-scenes of how the process of pitching actually is. It was just interesting because they went more in-depth. It wasn’t just like Shark Tank where it was just the pitch. We went further, so that was cool. As far as the apps that people should look out for, Companion, I thought was super interesting. That was on my team. I really enjoyed that. I thought that one really stood out as a security app, and that one was really interesting for me. There was one Jessica had that I liked a lot, an AR app called Pair. Gwyneth had a cryptocurrency banking infrastructure app that I was obsessed with. Those are the three that kind of stood out to me.
Adam: What’re your thoughts on blockchain and cryptocurrency?
Gary: A mix between extremely real and a lot of over-hyped ICOs. So, kind of like Internet 1991. A lot of pets.com, but there’s going to be some Amazons. Blockchain is real, you know what I mean?
Adam: Yeah, totally. If you were an app founder on “Planet of the Apps,” what would your app be?
Gary: My app would be a voice app that was agnostic to Alexa, Google, and Apple HomePod. They probably want me to be in Apple HomePod, so I would build an Apple HomePod app to be built on top of the voice infrastructure. I’m obsessed with voice. I believe voice is the next social media, the next kind of genre of innovation.
Adam: Do you think there’s going to be one main brand that’s going to be in every household, do you think Alexa’s going to dominate, or do you think there’s going to be a variety?
Gary: I think it’s very likely that it’s going to be all three of them. Just like how we have Android and Apple, and I think we’ll have Amazon too. And I don’t even count out Facebook joining the fray and trying to do something. But I also think that actual devices are gonna be like speakers and things of that nature are going to be just a limited run because I think eventually it’s going to be literally integrated into the paint and the furniture and the whole world.
Adam: Yeah, totally. Now I know you’re a start-up investor. Also, being on the show you saw so many different pitches coming from mobile app start-ups. Are there any patterns that you’ve seen in successful mobile app start-ups versus those that are unsuccessful?
Gary: Yes, the Jockey’s ability to completely adjust on the fly. So the CEO’s lack of romance around the vision that she or he started out to do. It’s always about iteration with these companies and too many people hold on to the romance of their original idea and don’t adjust to the reality of the market, and that’s why they don’t succeed. For the CEO, aka the Jockey, the ability to adjust to the reality of the marketplace has been the differentiation of success in the marketplace.
Adam: I know in previous podcast episodes and just anything you’ve been involved in, you’ve mentioned for people to pay attention to Musical.ly a lot. Why do you believe Musical.ly caught fire? What do you think was unique about them versus the dozens of other apps that may have tried to do something like that?
Gary: They growth-hacked Instagram. When Instagram was disproportioning the place where a lot of attention was, and still is, this was early on, they figured out a way how to share Musical.ly videos on Instagram that were branded “Musical.ly”, which built a lot of awareness. And then it caught natural, organic vibes with eight to thirteen-year-old females especially, which created the subculture that drove it. Lip syncing among young, young, young females, and I thought it was very important to pay attention to them because it was the first eight to thirteen-year-old social network, which was going to teach us new dynamics we’d never seen before.
Adam: Along with Musical.ly, are there any other apps that you think we should be paying attention to, downloading, and using right now?
Gary: There’s nothing that really has my attention in a very substantial way, but every day I hope for there to be something new. When there’s something new, it’s not that I get a high or I that I think it’s funny or it’s cool or because I love technology. To be very frank, it’s that there’s just an opportunity. There’s just huge opportunity. There are little things popping every day. TBH is popping right now, a little bit. A lot of these things go to number one or ten or fifteen and then disappear, so nothing that I feel comfortable putting my name behind as like “this”. Marco Polo has been doing a nice job, the video walkie-talkie has been doing a nice job sticking around, so I like watching them. But nothing yet.
Adam: What would you tell somebody who wants to build the “next big thing” in terms of apps?
Gary: I would tell them to build on top of voice platforms, not mobile platforms.
Adam: Facebook Live recently had that feature where you could now do live audio. Do you think that’s going to be really big?
Gary: I haven’t played with it, so I’m still going to hold my judgment. I’m not sure, but I definitely am obsessed with voice. I can’t talk about it enough. I’m a very, very big buyer in that audio, podcast, skills, briefings, all those things are just enormously important.
Adam: Why exactly?
Gary: It’s a time hack. Time is the game. Time is the game. Time is the game. And some people can passively listen and do other things. And it’s going to be integrated into a frictionless flight that’s going to be in your car. It’s going to be in your home. It’s just going to be frictionless, and that is super duper important.
Adam: Aside from the expansion with voice, is there anything else you see happening in the future of the app marketplace?
Gary: You know, AI (Artificial Intelligence) and AR (Augmented Reality) are super important, where the next frontiers are…I think augmented reality’s going to matter. I think people are going to struggle with taking a normal picture in five years.
Adam: I know you’ve mentioned before that you have an upcoming book called “Crushing It” that will be published in some months. Can you give us a little rundown on what it’s about?
Gary: Yeah, I mean the book that kind of put me on the map was call “Crush It”, and I really nailed it, right. It was about personal brand and people kind of snickered at the idea of making a living off of YouTube and Facebook and Twitter. Now it’s so obvious, so I’m excited about that. I was really happy that that was the case, and the last year, my personal brand has exploded, even off a pretty good base, because I think I’ve gotten better at YouTube and Facebook, at audio and video and written word. And I thought it was time to update the book.
So it’s an updated blueprint on how to build a brand on all these channels, and intertwined are stories of people that built their businesses after they read “Crush It” including how they did it. So it’s kind of super cool.
Adam: That’s awesome. Could you share one story from “Crushing It”?
Gary: I can’t remember her last name. Amy, though, she basically watched one of my videos, read a book, and instead of being the person that was good on computers and helping people at her law firm, she started making small businesses videos for their YouTube channels for their business and turned it into a seven-figure published for writing books, having clients business for herself.
Adam: When is the book coming out? Is there a way that people can pre-order it?
Gary: Yeah, January 30th, and it’ll be available for pre-order pretty soon.
Adam: Okay, cool. I know you talk about self-awareness and intuition. What would you say intuition is? What’s the practical definition to you of what intuition is?
Gary: Being able to understand what’s happening without somebody using written words or speaking out the situation. Understanding the situation without somebody physically communicating it.
Adam: How important do you feel intuition is to creating a successful start-up?
Gary: Unbelievably important. Because if you bring intuition, you are anticipating consumer behaviors and internal situations, the two things that matter when you’re trying to build something successful.
Adam: Last question here: what’s one word that you believe everybody needs to have in their mind for this year?
Adam: Gratitude. Love it. Why gratitude?
Gary: Because I think it fuels the work ethic and the optimism needed to succeed in anything you actually put your mind to.
Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com