The Easy Way
From time to time, I’ll go on a person or “thinker” binge. For a few days — or weeks — I’ll focus on a single person’s body of work. I’ll read their books, watch their interviews, and try to get a grasp on the overall point they’re trying to make. While I do it, I voraciously take notes. Once I’ve hit what I feel is a saturation point, I’ll go back and review those notes and try to understand the common themes. This week, I decided to revisit someone who caught my attention a few years ago: Gary Vaynerchuk.
Anybody who’s worked on the web in the last 5–10 years has likely heard his name. At first glance, he’s a bit over the top. He’s loud, he swears, and he’s got a wonderful “fuck you” attitude. What’s unique, though, is that his arrogance — from what I gather it’s for fun/show — doesn’t get in the way of him being incredibly polite and respectful to those who give him their time. Coming out of a week or two spent taking in a lot of his ideas, what made me happiest were his consistent focus on hard work, patience, and self-awareness.
Since about 2009, Gary and his brother AJ have been running a marketing agency called VaynerMedia. It’s since grown to be a $100M business with four offices in the U.S. and one in London. Back in 2010 when I originally heard about Gary, I sent an email to one of his staff members to see if I could visit their first office in New York. From memory, it was scrappy. Two closed-door offices, one for Gary and his brother, and about ten, tightly-packed cubicles in rows flanking either side of the office. In the back? A dingy couch hooked up to a TV with an Xbox. It was far from glamourous.
Seeing how he’s progressed from that starting point over the years is remarkable. To take that small, humble version and grow it into what he has in just seven years is beyond remarkable. If anything, it validates every single one of the themes I plucked from his various contributions; reiterating: hard work, patience, and self-awareness. These aren’t easy lessons to learn, but they’re easily the most important.
For all of the advice that’s out there, it’s not surprising that the hardest advice to take has produced an incredible amount of success. Sitting here over the past two years building up The Meteor Chef, I can put a rubber stamp on his word. He’s not wrong. Everything good that’s come out of this was born from hard work, patience, and self-awareness. No shortcuts. No “lucky moments.” Just raw time and energy. The easy way does not exist. You either do the work to get what you want, or you don’t. That’s it.