Stories from Eight Years & Two Months: Part I.

I met AJ on the first day of college.

There were three (or four or five, I can’t remember) basketball courts at the B.U. gym. The first court was where all the good players — generally upper classmen & women — played. The second court was the “B” court — for decent-to-good players who didn’t feel like waiting for court one. After that, it was a bunch of jokers & freshmen. At the time, AJ probably belonged on the “B” court & I probably belonged on the “C” court but we both found ourselves on the “A” court — the only two freshmen willing to lose, wait 45 minutes, & then lose some more.

AJ & I happened to live in the same dorm. When we got to Sleeper Hall that first evening, AJ turned to me & asked, “Want to play again tomorrow?”

& that was our freshman year.

Lots of losing. Lots of McDonald’s. Lots of MVP Baseball 2005.

I transferred to the University of Southern California for my sophomore year, but that was not the end of our friendship (SPOILER ALERT). I remember saying goodbye to AJ in the parking lot after finals ended in May, our families chatting in the background with fully-packed cars. AJ told me (as he’d told me before, & as he’d told many of his friends back then) to stay close & to pay attention to the newly-emerging social media space — because after school, he & his older brother Gary were going to start something. & if it made sense, there could be a job for me.

So, I did. I paid attention. I joined Twitter. I watched Wine Library TV. I read Mashable. I helped out on side projects.

Back when ajv was ajvchuk.

& then, during spring break of my senior year of college I went to South by Southwest with AJ & Gary. I met incredible, inspiring people who became instant friends. I ate tons of BBQ. I slept on their floor. I hung out in their room for late night jam sessions that would begin after midnight & would end at 5am — where founders & investors & prominent figures at places like Facebook & Twitter talked shop.

& on the second or third day, AJ offered me that job.

But VaynerMedia has hardly been just a job, & I look forward to sharing more about my time here in the coming weeks.


After eight years, I’m leaving VaynerMedia. I wrote about it here.

My last day is not until Friday, July 28th. Until then, I’m focused squarely on Vayner. After that, well…

Read a great book recently? Listened to a stellar podcast? Working on something cool? Just want to talk? Hit me up. I’d love to connect… listen… share… help. How can I help?

[sam@samtaggart.com on email. @gosam pretty much everywhere else.]

Much love.