A Journalist’s Dilemma: Dissing a Friend

Gary Vaynerchuk has captured attention with his pioneering, multi-faceted approach to personal branding and business. After primarily utilizing traditional advertising techniques to build his family’s local wine business into a national industry leader, Gary rapidly leveraged social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook to promote Wine Library TV, his video blog about wine. As his viewership swelled to over 80,000 a day, doors opened to a book deal, several national TV appearances, and a flurry of speaking engagements around the world. Gary’s dual identity as both business guru and wine guy has made him the “Social Media Sommelier.”

Gary’s remarks on personal branding, social media, and business at FOWA, Strategic Profits, and South By Southwest occasioned praise from established web denizens including Kathy Sierra and earned the admiration of countless bloggers and aspiring entrepreneurs. Check out the Keynotes tab above for more video and check out Gary’s national TV appearances on the left!!

Gary’s landmark seven-figure book deal with Harper Studio was featured in The Wall Street Journal and he was recently profiled by The New York Times and Market Watch. Watch his interview with Business Week for Gary’s advice to entrepreneurs and small businesses.

  • Transcript


Question: Describe an ethical dilemma you’ve face in your career.

Gary Vaynerchuk: An ethical dilemma. Probably with Wine Library TV. I remember I was doing a Cabernet Franc episode and I wanted to have a Cabernet Franc from every part of the world. And we only had one California – four or five of our California Cabernet Franc’s were out of stock, and the only one we had was from a good friend of mine, Shawn Larkin who let me sleep at his house once on a trip. And I did the show, we opened up the wines, and he’s always made great Cab Francs, so I was very confident going in that it wouldn’t be anything weird, but they were never too spectacular that I would give it 100 or anything right. And I didn’t like it. And you know how you can think really fast, and even though it was two seconds? I just remember thinking, ‘oh man, this is not interesting. This is not a place where I want to be sitting.’ And I went on and panned the wine and he really got pissed. You know, phone call, F-bombs, fight me after school, the whole nine. So, it was a very difficult thing. It was an interesting cross roads because nobody knew that I had stayed at his house in 1996. It was a long time ago, and so, it was tough. It was disappointing for me, but you know what the best part is? Now we’re back. Right? Like, he gets it. So it’s like, it’s cool. I just think, at the end of the day, you can’t win in this new world by not being 100 percent transparent.

Recorded on:  September 15, 2009