From my years of being in the wine business, on September 8, 2008, I observed that Gary Vay*ner*chuk would be the next Parker. For most of the established wine world, that was a daring statement and pretty inconceivable.

For the millennial generation, that prediction was dead on, and they knew it. Now everyone’s writing about that one, and deservedly so… Millennials and my own peer group.


Here’s how he tricked me… I thought he’d be working in his fathers wine store forever more and become King of Retail, but that isn’t going to happen.

He’s moved away from his father’s store, and has springboarded into the national limelight as what he’s actually doing best… Understanding the intricacies and implications of social media. He’s still leading a lot of his generation with information about wine; however, he’s off into quickly swirling, uncharted territory that anyone trying to keep up needs a daily score card.

From his Website, for which I couldn’t write any better:

New York Times bestselling author Gary Vaynerchuk is an in-demand speaker at conferences and organizations world-wide. Gary speaks about entrepreneurship, social media, emerging technologies, and the new frontiers of customer service made possible by the Internet.

To my peer group: This is a result of raising our children with computers, but with no foreseeable comprehension for where all of that would be headed. With no established road maps, how can anyone completely predict the unforeseeable? Remember, I could only predict Gary’s success based on my own knowledge of how the wine business operates, and understanding his indefatigable energy. I saw Gary as a paradigm shifter… a tipping point maker… a voice for a younger generation that doesn’t need to listen to anyone that their parents might subscribed to. He was talking (and still does) their language. And he came at the exact time when this inquisitive Millennial group needed a hero. He’s like the Beatles were to the 60s and my generation… They spoke our language and we all instantly “got it.”

This generation holds the pioneers of their time now, and God bless Gary… He’s become the champion of all champions in social media… And, he’s gone way beyond wine, which he still reports on quite well, but he’s an international figure. Born of the US wine industry + the internet = mega expert.

As I opened his book, The Thank You Economy, I was struck by how it started… a real parallel to what I’ve written above, which I began writing on April 14, long before I was given his new book.

“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communications.” – Western Union internal memo, 1876

“Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic. Baloney.” – Cliff Stoll, author, astronomer, professor, 1995

So… This is how @GaryVee tricked me. I didn’t see him leaving his father’s store. And, what’s happened is that Gary’s now on his own, proving that he has an irrepressible energy and charisma that’s shot his popularity through the roof and onto the international stage. His fan base is worldwide, and the world’s his oyster, having become the universe’s spokesperson for how to navigate the waters of social media.

Seeing Gary on national television explaining social media is an absolute sketch in many ways… Some of these commentators are at a complete loss when even hearing the word “Twitter.”

It’s been fascinating to watch. I don’t watch morning TV; however, I’ve got to turn it on to get to my yoga music. Twice now I’ve seen Gary with either a morning show group or one single commentator, explaining social media. Each time the TV personalities were incredulous. They’ve been living in insular worlds, obviously, but no one can keep the Internet at bay for long these days. It’s replaced the morning newspaper in a very personal way… And it’s interactive at every turn. I remember sitting in my HTML class and hearing about Web 2.0, about six months before it was launched. It was explained to us that Web 2.0 was going to revolutionize the world, and all of us just had vacant stares.

Fortunately I glimpsed it coming, because I’m a bit more removed from traditional wine marketing, having come from radio broadcasting… not from wine country. I wasn’t born into the wine industry, nor did I know anyone in it when I first arrived, and now that seems to be my saving grace. When I got into wine, I tried to convince everyone that they were leaving a media outlet on the table… like radio. You would have thought I had just come in from Mars. Everyone dreamed of the day wine would be embraced by television, and wondered what that tipping point would be. Well, now we know.

When I first saw Tom Wark blogging, a fellow PR specialist, I was inspired. That was long before any other female publicists had seen the potential. Tom jumped in first, and I followed him within that year… both of us jumping into a small socialnomics* macroshifting crack in the window of time, for establishing our blogs as wine publicists.

I’ve got to hand it to Gary Vee… How he tricked me is really fun… I saw him becoming famous, but never saw the full brunt of it until now… and he’s still got so far to go.

Now I’m off to the rest of his book, moving from his opening quotes of those who have doubted vision in the past, into what The Thank You Economy is from his perspective.

Keep up the great work, @GaryVee!

*Socialnomic macroshifting; a small window of opportunity is unlocked where companies and people can benefit.

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