… entrepreneur, investor, author, public speaker, and internet personality.

Play to Your Strengths

Everyone has different strengths. I say I have high EQ (also known as self-awareness). I joke that I have to have high EQ, because I don’t have high IQ, yet I’m very successful. How do I do it? How does one exercise high self-awareness and earn success? I have a 3, 5, 7, and12-year plan for all of my resources. Not by months, but years. Most people have 3, 5, 7-month plans. Long-term vision and planning all the steps in-between makes all the difference. When you have a long-term vision, your daily tasks are different that they would be otherwise. You invest differently in yourself and business when you think long-term.

If you have more IQ, be self-aware and know that’s your strength. Bring your strengths to the table. America is very good at selling us the things we need to fix. Take a step back, and bet at what you’ve already got.

Then or Now?

I founded VaynerMedia in 2009, and really dove into it in August 2011. But today is 2015, so people think it must be a different way to success now. Is it easier or harder now? If you are good, you win in any market. My first book was Crush It. I used to answer every twitter comment, and would spend 5-7 hours a day doing it. A successful person today may or may not take a similar path. We will all do things differently, bot those who use their strengths will get it. The cream always rises to the top.

Current State of Marketing

All the talk now is about “social media”, which is really a slang term to talk about the internet. Yes, it is helpful to have the term so many people understand what we are all talking about. And we can wave out hands at doing all that “social media” stuff. It is harder to dismiss the idea of the “current state of the internet”. And that’s what we are really talking about. Marketing technique online is really the same as it is with traditional media. They are all tools that we use in ways that are best for our business. It really boils down to reverse engineering what you are trying to accomplish. Use the tools in the eco system that will best help you accomplish that. Lots of people talk about one vs. the other. Which is better, which is hotter. While everyone else is debating all this, I’m using it.


I am doing some VC Funding, and I meet and work with a lot of new business people. Deciding who and what will be successful is tough. Everyone has ideas. Will one business work more than another? It’s the execution that’s important. There is always the question: Will it work, and can they execute? You don’t know. Is it the jockey or the horse that will win? You need both, and sometimes one is stronger than the other. It still could work. Use both at different times.

People think that entrepreneurship is a rite of passage. It’s not. It’s a strength for some. Everyone thinks they are an entrepreneur. We have a kind of entrepreneurial bubble going on right now in the marketplace. And why not? There is so much money being thrown out there. It is hard to navigate. Challenging to see what will survive and what will die. The ones that win are real operators. They are set for the long haul. Market fluctuation won’t drown them or dry them out. Those that operate with no money, no momentum, and a figure-it-out-as-we-go mentality won’t make it.

Best Way to Build a Business

Building from $0 is super-attractive. Don’t take a VC’s money if you don’t have to. Learn how to make money. Truly learning how to operate a business from humble beginnings is the oxygen to a business. Lack of patience is the vulnerability in the marketplace right now. People sell too early. Instagram sold to Facebook for $1M and I said Facebook stole it. Hundreds of people tweeted me saying what an idiot I was. What is Instagram’s net worth now? Who had the long-term vision?

Top Resource

What is the biggest resource we are competing for? It isn’t money, it isn’t clicks.

Attention is the asset. Watch SnapChat. Snapchat wins over Facebook, hands-down, with the amount of attention its users give it. It’s about depth, not width. We are using the catchphrase of “engagement” lately. That’s not the whole picture. There is a limited supply and demand of attention. I say all the time now: “My only competitor is your index finger”. It is keeping your attention that is my biggest goal.


The Long Game

24 yr old- how much time you have. Play the long game, Your behavior now sets you up for success in the long term. Know where you will be, a long ways down the road. Set up all the steps that get you there in-between. Chanel your business needs to the right marketing mediums. It’s about creating content and distributing it. People really don’t know what they are talking about. Do you know what the #1 underrated place for distributed content is? Facebook. Is is set up to provide you the best reach per dollar you spend. People get distracted in headline reading about what Facebook can do, and that it’s bogus for the company to charge money for advertising. How else are you getting your message out? Do you pay for advertising through traditional media sources. Of course. So why is there a different expectation with Facebook?

What Do You Think of Current Value in These Social Media Platforms?

Pinterest is awesome. It’s a search engine for pictures. It is just beginning in it’s capabilities. Instagram is interesting. It has extra depth because of the attention it holds. When given the question, “How does a business convert Instagram into sales?” You convert Instagram to sales through BRANDING, not sales. You build loyalty and emotional connection. Instagram is a lot like print is to traditional media. You get you message out there, and your images are imprinted in people’s memories.

The Team

The three keys you have to combine for business success are branding, marketing and sales. Too many focus on only one or the other. If you don’t build brand, you become vulnerable. What good is a business if you have no identity, depth or connection? Marketing is a heart-beat. You need SEO, the math, the words. What good is a product if no one knows you exist? If you want cash, you need sales. Understand this. You have to have sales. If you want to be big, you need to understand and do all three. You need to do all three where the attention is, where the story is. Make your money when the audience is there and using it. Be relevant.


Spilling the Secrets

People often ask me why I share so much of what I know. Why don’t I hold something back, like a BBQ recipes “secret sauce”? First, I want to provide value. I really want to help people do better and be better. Second, I talk about everything I know, because 99% of you will do nothing about it. Nobody executes. My sharing everything in no way dilutes its effectiveness, or my success. Truth is, today, If you want to know anything about anything, it is there for you. Go online. Something I do every day is check out the top apps. I watch, see if it stays. Once I see it’s doing well for a bit, I’ll try it out. It’s the “taste”. That’s how you see what is real. That’s how you see what is up and coming and what will be successful in the future.


Images and Content Source: Video Interview with Jeremy Smerd, Cran’s Business – Internet Week New York– Keynote 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTNX1sXeMdc