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.