You’re Focusing on the Wrong Stuff

Ignore everything between the clouds and the dirt

Gary Vaynerchuk
2 min readMay 28, 2014


I don’t spend any time on anything that don’t matter.

It’s a concept that I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. I think it mirrors my “Steak vs Sizzle” idea, but, as with a lot of my pieces recently, it’s way more focused on actual business execution. I hope you’ll be able to take something actionable away from this.

I spend all my time in the clouds and the dirt. That is to say, I only ever focus on the high-end philosophy of what I believe, and the low-down subject matter expertise that allows me to execute against it.

Know the philosophy, know the details,
and ignore everything in the middle.

So here are my clouds right now, as they apply to VaynerMedia: I believe that social media has a better value proposition than other marketing tools because it has the growing attention of the modern consumer. Moreover, it has the targeting capability to reach the the right demographics at scale with diminishing spoilage. My philosophy is that social media marketing works, so long as you know how to do it. Those are the clouds. I have fully bought into the ROI here; I don’t need Nielsen, or reports, or seven years of research, or the political approval of my boss.

And the dirt? The dirt is what you’re reading right now. I’m putting out the content. I understand what Facebook’s unpublished paged posts (dark posts) are, and how they work. I know the details of Pinterest’s new ad product. I spent the time to figure out Vine when it was first released. Put simply, I put in the work that allows me to know my shit.

Know the philosophy, know the details, and ignore everything in the middle. The politics, the process, and all the crap that doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter to me.

I know my scope is a big one, so maybe it’s hard to apply it to your life. Maybe you have to worry about politics or process. The idea is to understand the “why” that is up in the clouds, and then be obnoxiously proficient at the “how” that is down in the dirt. No matter how narrow your scope is, there will always be stuff in the middle for you to trim away from your thought process.

Playing at a level of high buy-in, and extreme dedication to the craft, is a recipe for success, my friends, and I urge you to give it a try.

Thank you so much for reading this far! If you found this helpful, maybe scroll down a bit more and hit the recommend button? I’d appreciate it ;)



Gary Vaynerchuk

Family first! But after that, businessman. CEO of @vaynermedia. Host of #DailyVee & The #AskGaryVee Show. A dude who loves The Hustle @Winelibrary & the @NYJets