March 5, 2015

Gary Vaynerchuk at Launch: Traditional media holding on for dear life

Gary Vaynerchuk at Launch: “We adore human interaction.” (Photo by JD Lasica)

JD LasicaThere were lots of remarkable moments at the eighth Launch Festival, which ended a three-day run Wednesday at Fort Mason in San Francisco: Investor legend Peter Thiel exhorting entrepreneurs to find a space and “create a monopoly.” Pundit Glenn Beck declaring, “We don’t need the media. I trust my neighbors.” Forty or so founders taking to the stage to launch interesting new startups.

But there’s only one Gary Vaynerchuk, and he made his first appearance at Launch a lively one.

Turns out garyvee is a big fan of the Taylor Swift brand of social media marketing. When Swift randomly sends gifts at Christmas or shows up to interact with ordinary fans — to their delighted screams — it all gets amplified through social.

“We adore human interaction,” he told about 2,000 attendees at Launch. “It’s real.” And it’s what the most powerful kind of social media marketing consists of — even if it’s a fleeting 14-second video message. It’s the personalization that makes it real and leaves a lasting impression.

Vaynerchuk has made his mark through such observations, and his VaynerMedia, now a thriving social marketing agency. VaynerMedia is banking on the continued retreat and fragmentation of those large corporate entities Formerly Known As The Media.

“These traditional media companies have such large overhead for something that doesn’t provide value anymore,” he told interviewer and Launch founder Jason Calacanis. “They’re holding their collective breath. The shit’s about to hit the fan, and they’ve decided to let the next CEO worry about it.”

The changes in media and technology are coming so fast, Vaynerchuk said, that “I wake up every morning trying to put myself out of business. I’d much rather put myself out of business than have somebody else do it.”

In addition to his social marketing business, Vaynerchuk also operates a sizable investment fund, and he had this tip for entrepreneurs: “We are living in such a fast-paced world where time is such an asset. The thing I want to invest in is people buying or capturing and selling back all of us time.” With the world valuing it so highly, “time is the play right now. Every piece of technology that is selling us back time has an enormous value opportunity.”

Founders, time to start getting those time-saving startups ready for Launch 2016.

Here’s my Flickr set of all three days of Launch — it’s the eighth year in a row I’ve attended.JD Lasica, founder of, is now co-founder of the cruise discovery engine Cruiseable. See his About page, contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

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