Crushing It in Chicago With Gary Vaynerchuk

November 17, 2009

Two Thursdays ago, I had the pleasure of attending the Chicago stop on Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crush It! book tour. I enjoy Gary’s passion for wine and the fun that he brings to drinking wine.  Truth be told, I would consider myself more of a beer drinker (with an appreciation for craft beers), but watching an episode of Gary’s Wine Library TV seems to have me reaching for a glass of wine more often these days.

Attendees of the event were able to sample wines from different event sponsors, including Chicagoland’s Lynfred Winery where I sampled a very tasty Pinot Griggio and talked with their wine representative.  The crowd was young, professional and very tech savvy, a testament to the power and reach of Gary Vaynerchuk who has used social media to promote his wine business and his new bestseller, Crush It!

About an hour into the party, a very tired, well-traveled Gary Vaynerchuk is welcomed by an eager audience.  He’s offered food, but instead prefers to start the discussion and Q & A session.  He tells us that now is the best time to find your passion and build a business around it.  The world of social media now makes it possible for everyone to promote their product, brand or service in ways that only large businesses used to be able to do.

As someone who loves marketing, I am impressed with his business instinct and ability to spot trends.  But I hear something that captures my attention: Gary’s description of the “Thank You” economy, which is dependent on businesses providing great service (and caring) to its customers.  For more on the thank you economy, please watch this brief video:

After at least 90 minutes of speaking and answering questions, Gary takes some time to sign books and meet attendees.  I am amazed at his ability to effortlessly eat dinner, sign books, shake hands and take pictures.  He is noticeably tired, but few people hustle and seem to care about his fans as much as Gary does.

In addition to talking briefly with Gary, I bump into a former coworker, a woman who’s a semi-professional photographer and a video blogger named Ross who traveled from Wisconsin to attend the event.

I also ended up sharing a great conversation with Shawna Coronado, who writes a blog called The Casual Gardener and has self published a book called Gardening Nude. We talk about the challenges of blogging and she helps me out with some tips to combat writer’s (or blogger’s) block.  I am amazed to learn that Shawna is already practicing much of what Gary has spoken about…due to illness, Shawna left a successful corporate career to write about how gardening, healthy eating and living “green” have changed her life for the better. As we depart, Shawna gives me a copy of her book…just another example of the thank you economy (and good karma) in action.

I leave the event feeling a strong sense of community and possibility.  I’ve been blogging for about a year and a half, but it is the first time that I feel a real sense of connection from it.  I’m not sure where this blogging journey will take me, but I feel that I must end this post by extending a hearty thank you to everyone who has supported and encouraged me here as I try to create a sense of community.

To watch an episode of Wine Library Television in which Gary pairs wine with cereal, click here.

1 Lori November 17, 2009 at 12:35 pm

I love your blog and the community you’re building, Tim. I so much enjoy the bites of life you feature here at your blog, from your experiences moving through unemployment, to music diversions, to this inspiring post about the thank you economy.

This video was great – and what he’s saying here has certainly been on my mind. A hearty THANK YOU, too, Tim, for your support, continued work at your blog, and for being a part of my little JBN community, too.

2 Shawna Coronado November 17, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Thanks Tim, for the great shout out. I am thrilled things are starting to come around for you – in my mind both blogging life and the life we live off the internet are filled with positive experiences. It is all motivated by generous people reaching out to each other; working together to make a difference. Do the same and it will always come back to you – living the “thank you” economy; a great way to learn and grow.

Take care,

Shawna Coronado

3 Tony November 17, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Nice wrap-up post! I was the guy who was talking with you and Shawna right after Gary got done speaking. I do remember discussing writer’s block & how to combat it. Good to see you writing! Keep it up!

4 Tim November 17, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Lori: A big thank you goes to you, especially, for your support here. You’ve convinced me that it is really possible to meet good friends doing this. Much of what this blog is about is taking everyday things in our life and learning from them…and I am happy to say I am blown away by all that I’m learning and the connections that I am making. I wish you continued good luck over at JBN and all the ways that you keep us nimble (I love that word!). Have a great day!

Shawna: I’m very happy to mention your blog and book because I enjoy your message…and it really was awesome to learn your story that night. You’re right about people helping each other to make a difference…I think one reason I really like Gary’s idea of the thank you economy is because it is missing from a lot of businesses. I love the fact that these businesses are going to have to treat us, the consumer, a little better. Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

Tony: It was great to meet you, as well, that night. I didn’t get a chance to give you my business card, but I’m glad you found this post. Thank you for your good words and have a good one!

5 Kathy Rees November 18, 2009 at 1:20 am

If you haven’t had time to read Gary’s new book Crush It, you can get the cliff notes here

6 Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord November 18, 2009 at 7:37 am

What a beautiful post, and one I completely resonate with as I look around at how full my life is these days, all because of blogging! I never could have dreamed I’d meet all the people I’ve met, or been connected with such awesome opportunities. It’s mind boggling, but lovely all at once.

Thanks for sharing your experience in Chicago, and for posting that video — informational to say the least!

7 Tim November 18, 2009 at 11:30 am

Hi Megan: Thank you for your good words…it is good to learn that you are meeting a lot of people in the blogosphere, as well. It is pretty amazing how everything is changing. Thank you also for spreading joy and insight on your blog. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Have a good one!

8 Nadia - Happy Lotus November 19, 2009 at 9:04 am

Hi Tim,

I am all for a “thank you” economy. We sure need more and more people like Gary and Shawna. It is awesome that you were able to be at such an event and meet such people. I truly think that the times are a changing and this is a start of a new trend.

Thank you for sharing your adventures with all of us. As for dealing with writer’s block, a piece of advice, just embody your work. You are constantly surrounded by inspiration, the key is to just be tapped into it. Creativity is not something separate from you but a part of you.

Hope all is awesome and thank you for always introducing us to such amazing people.

9 Tim November 19, 2009 at 10:33 am

Hi Nadia: Yeah, I think it is an interesting, cool trend. The fact that these businesses have to not just sell to its customers, but actually care about them. I think that is a good reason I read certain bloggers…they provide entertainment, good information and they seem to care about readers. Thank you for your tip about writer’s block, I will have to keep this in mind. Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have a great day!

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