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The Democratization of Content

Gary Vaynerchuk (VaynerMedia)
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(3.71, 7 ratings)

Social media and the Internet as a platform have neutralized content gatekeepers, giving a voice to anyone with the motivation and desire to express themselves online. The democratization of content has great implications for entrepreneurs and businesses, but also for the government and the individuals that comprise it.

Photo of Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk

VaynerMedia

GARY GETS BUSINESS: Meet Gary Vaynerchuk (VAY NER CHUK), a 34 year old New York Times and Wall Street Journal Best-Selling author who is also a self-trained wine and social media expert. From a young age, it was clear that Gary was a businessman. At 8 years old he was operating 7 lemonade stands in his neighborhood and by 10 he had moved onto selling baseball cards at local malls. In high school while working at his family owned liquor store, Gary started reading The Wine Spectator and wine books, and realized collecting wine offered an allure similar to his previous hobby of collecting baseball cards. With a wealth of knowledge and an entrepreneurial spirit, Gary spent every weekend of his college years at his parents’ wine store. By 1997, Gary launched Winelibrary.com and helped grow his family business from $3 million to $45 million by 2005.

GARY GETS WINE: In 2006, with a flipcam and NY Jets bucket Gary began WineLibraryTV which revolutionized the wine world. Today, his irreverent wine reviews currently attract over 90,000 viewers each day and his email queue typically holds 1,000 messages from die-hard fans, self-named “Vayniacs.” Gary’s cult-like following is the result of his unconventional, often irreverent commentary on wine. Using comical expressions like “Sniffy sniff” and “The Oakmonster,” he encourages straightforward wine tasting and debunks wine myths. Wine Library recently launched Cinderella Wine, a wine website which features one wine per day beginning at 9PM EST for 24 hours sold at a severely discounted price. Gary also owns Cork’d, where wine lovers can review, share and discuss wine in a fun, interactive way.

GARY GETS SOCIAL MEDIA: Gary is one of the first Facebook users to maxed-out his friend limit, with over 17,000 requests still pending. He also has close to 1 million followers on Twitter and was included in BusinessWeek’s list of the top 20 people every entrepreneur should follow. Gary landed a 10-book 7 figure deal with HarperStudio. The first title, Crush It! Why Now Is the Time to Cash in on Your Passion, released in October 2009, hit the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Associated Press Best- Sellers lists in its first weeks. The book maps out Gary’s road rules for how to “Crush It” in today’s business market by following your passion and building your own personal brand. In the spring of 2009, Gary and his brother AJ launched VaynerMedia, a Social Media Storytelling agency and angel investor in www.dailybooth.com that helps Fortune 500 companies and individuals expand and build brand equity with clients including his beloved NY Jets, the NHL and Cadbury.

GARY GETS NOTICED: Gary has appeared on countless programs from Jimmy Fallon, LateNight with Conan O’Brien and Ellen to FOX News, CNN and NPR. He was also notably featured in Decanter Magazine’s 2009 Power List which is a list of the 50 most influential people in wine and named Innovator of the Year at Wine Enthusiast’s 2009 Wine Star Awards. Additionally, Gary was one of Askmen.com’s 49 Most Influential Men of 2009. Gary’s ultimate goal is to one day own the New York Jets.

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