For Gary Vaynerchuk, accountability and gratitude are foundational blocks that he credits with making him who he is today – a five-time New York Times bestselling author, Chairman of communications company VaynerX, and CEO & co-founder of VaynerMedia. “They came directly because of the circumstances of my life,” he tells iHeartMedia Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman in the latest episode of “Math & Magic: Stories From the Frontiers of Marketing.”
Fresh from the USSR, Vaynerchuk’s earliest memories are of his family of eight crammed into a studio apartment in Queens, NY. “It shaped me,” he says. “I wanted something. I had to kind of get my own money.”
He's been focused on turning lemons into literal lemonade from the very beginning. Vaynerchuk launched his own lemonade stand at age seven—and he's been an entrepreneur ever since. He rose to prominence after establishing one of the first e-commerce wine sites, WineLibrary, to grow his father’s brick-and-mortar wine shop into a $45 million business.
The entrepreneur also prides himself on accountability. “When you get to the top of anything, whether it's a three-person team or you build a huge business or life or career, accountability's an incredible gateway to happiness,” he says.
Pittman developed the podcast to explore the intersection of science and creativity in marketing and Vaynerchuk offers his thoughts of what marketers get right – and wrong – in ad creative. “Ultimately, creativity is best when it's free and allows the end consumer to judge and everything that happens in-between: debating politics, subjective opinions treated as truth, reporting, and other math trying to be deployed against it to be a benchmarking system,” he says. “Creativity is a process of finding right far more than a process of being right, and I think modern advertising tries to be right and push down.”
Vaynerchuk, who delivered a keynote at the 2019 Radio Show in Dallas, also talks about how advertising should be relevant in multiple contexts, the importance of staying humble and staying curious and why he might buy the New York Jets, something he first aspired to do in grade school.“I just kept saying it, and then it just kind of became this beautiful fairytale. The attempt to try to buy the New York Jets is my great love,” he explains. “My great enjoyment is the chase, the thrill of the hunt to see if I'm capable of achieving it. I was a child who wasn't able to afford to own a Jets jersey.”