Gary Vaynerchuk (and others) at Web 2.0 Expo NY

Gary Vaynerchuk (Director of Operations at Wine Library) presented a high energy, passionate and fun keynote on ‘Building Personal Brand Within the Social Media Landscape’ at the Web 2.0 Expo New York last month.


  • “There is no reason in 2008 to do shit you hate. You can lose just as much money being happy as hell.”
  • Community. Don’t just listen to your users. Care about them.
  • Start with yourself. Whatever you love, do that. “If you collect smurfs, smurf it up”.
  • Legacy is greater than currency. Has everybody grasped that your great great great grandchildren are going to watch and see everything you’ve ever done.
  • The only thing I fear in the world is Internet on planes
  • We only get to play this game one time: one life.
  • You have to do what you love.
  • Which tools should I use? All of them.
  • Reality TV isn’t real, but we like it because it’s somewhat real. The space we play is very real.
  • How do you get money to do what you love? You don’t. You position yourself to succeed. You work 9-5, you get home, you kiss the dog and you go to town.
  • “Everybody has time. Stop watching fucking Lost“.

Of course, there were plenty of other interesting presentations. Here are four more of my favourites…

1 – Clay Shirky‘s keynote presentation on It’s Not Information Overload. It’s Filter Failure is well worth 20 minutes of your information-overloaded time.

  • We’re always dealing with information overload.
  • We’ve had information overload since the 1500s … what’s changing now is the filters we used are breaking.
  • Yitzhak Rabin quote: ‘If you have the same problem for a long time, maybe it’s not a problem. Maybe it’s a fact’.
  • Rather than asking what’s happened to cause an increase in information, ask ‘what filter just broke’?

(Incidentally, if you somehow missed Clay’s presentation at the earlier Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco, about ‘Gin, Television and the Cognitive Surplus’, it’s great. I wrote some notes on it here in May, and Gary Vaynerchuck’s point about “stop watching Lost” resonates strongly with this.)

2 – Dan Lyons (aka Fake Steve Jobs) on what he learned from being Fake Steve, which includes a nice overview of the history behind the Fake Steve blog, and what Dan learned from it.

  • Why did he do it? Boredom. Plus staying relevant to avoid being laid off.
  • Parody of Naked Conversations idea of an open blog by a CEO. What would a CEO really blog about if it wasn’t a PR exercise?
  • Steve is ripe for parody. (I found it touching that he stopped because Steve was looking too ill).
  • Even after being outed, people still suspended their disbelief.
  • Fake Putin and Fake Chomksy (commenting on Fake Steve). It was a performance space.
  • It’s a shame he had to rush at the end, because he was in some really interesting territory about how media companies can benefit from openness, giving up control and fostering creativity in participatory spaces.

3 – Ben Huh on I Can Has Cheezburger.

  • A brief history of lolcats and I Can Has Cheezburger.
  • Simplicity. Think about just two people sharing, rather than the complexity.
  • Value proposition of the site, never explicitly stated: ‘make users happy for 5 minutes a day’.
  • 100% user-generated content. Simple tools to release pent up creativity.

4 – Irene Greif, IBM fellow, talking about the lovely Many Eyes tool.

  • Scaling the audience to increase the network effect
  • The impact of the visual display of information
  • Desire to analyze and visualize data
  • People find surprising uses for the tools and data.
  • Allowing people to take the data into their own blogs is important
  • Word visualizations are particularly popular and interesting. Comparative tag clouds, graphs of word sequences and the spinoff of Wordle.

One reply on “Gary Vaynerchuk (and others) at Web 2.0 Expo NY”

  1. Thanks for the links + notes. I found the Gary Vaynerchuk talk very motivating! The ‘Gin, Television and the Cognitive Surplus’ was also very interesting and I hadn’t thought about this surplus before. Makes me feel OK now with playing an MMO as at least I am doing something. :)

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