AJ Vaynerchuk

Cofounder, VaynerMedia

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON May 18, 2016

Discussion

AJ Vaynerchuk@ajv · Founder, VaynerMedia
* 2:03pm: Thanks guys, that was fun! Hey there, I'm AJ Vaynerchuk, co-founder of VaynerMedia and Partner at VaynerRSE. I have spent the last 7 years neck deep in the world of social media marketing & startups, and on many occasions, the convergence of the two. Excited to chat, ask me anything! Think it is also important to add that I recently left VaynerMedia and have no idea what's next. More context here: https://medium.com/@ajv/doing-so...
Dan Fennessy@dan_fennessy · Founder at Party with a Local
Hi AJ. Are you coming to Amsterdam next week with Gary for TNW Conference? If so I wanted to invite you guys on a pre-conference event... on a boat, cruising the Amsterdam canals with my startup @partywithalocal & a bunch of local & visiting people from the tech scene. Would be awesome to have a couple of Vaynerchuk's on the boat :-)
AJ Vaynerchuk@ajv · Founder, VaynerMedia
@dan_fennessy unfortunately I will not be going to Amsterdam, but thank you for the invite!
Patrick Onyekachukwu Udeh@patrick_udeh · Digital Vigilante
1. How has your agency evolved over the past seven years? 2. What is the average tenure of your clients? 3. What is your talent acquisition process? 4. What is your vision for what the future of digital marketing and advertising will be in say five to ten Years? My sincere apologies, if it seems like I'm bombarding you with too many questions. It's okay if you can answer just one.
AJ Vaynerchuk@ajv · Founder, VaynerMedia
@patrick_udeh 1. The agency has gone through many stages over the years. There is a huge difference between a team of 10, a team of 50, a team of 150, a team or 300 and so on. I would say the culture has evolved, but has remained with strong roots in family & communication. We have opened various offices around the country and now in London and the work has changed as the industry has changed. 2. I don't have the exact data at my fingertips, but our team tells me we are extremely strong in this regard compared to industry average. 3. We try a bunch of different things. We're also very fortunate that a lot of great talent comes to us. 4. Hmm, I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about this subject. With my departure from Vayner, I'm not sure if marketing/advertising will be a primary focus in my future.
Will Chou@willc · Personal Development: willyoulaugh.com
Top 5 pieces of advice for success and standing out when applying for a company?
AJ Vaynerchuk@ajv · Founder, VaynerMedia
@willc 1. Try to get a warm intro. Maybe a friend works there or a friend knows someone at the company. That always helps. 2. Research the company, important to show you have a genuine interest & understanding in the company and industry. 3. Use alternative means of contacting decision makers. I've had folks tweet me their interest and I've always rewarded that hustle. Not sure I have a #4 or #5!
Will Chou@willc · Personal Development: willyoulaugh.com
@ajv Thank you AJ
Will Chou@willc · Personal Development: willyoulaugh.com
@ajv Wow! Tweets still work? Heard it's been getting a bit spammy. Thanks
AJ Vaynerchuk@ajv · Founder, VaynerMedia
@willc I see all my @replies
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
What advice do you often find yourself giving to startups on how to better utilise social media?
Elizabeth V Novello@elizabeth_v_novello · SISTER
YAY!!!
AJ Vaynerchuk@ajv · Founder, VaynerMedia
Alex Mulhearn@alexmulhearn · Creative, VaynerMedia
Oh hey AJ ;) As COO at VaynerMedia, you championed technology as means of improving internal communication and increasing efficiencies. Slack was one example of a product we implemented to take on tons of email and bring a company of 600+ closer together. What other areas of 'corporate' or agency life (like email) do you think are ripe for disruption?
AJ Vaynerchuk@ajv · Founder, VaynerMedia
@alexmulhearn sup bud :) 1. Meetings. Millions have tried, and I still don't think it's been cracked. 2. Reviews/Feedback. Lots to do there. Both things VM still needs to work on in my opinion!
Kim Garcia@kpop · SVP, VaynerMedia
AJ! <3 <3 <3 miss you!
AJ Vaynerchuk@ajv · Founder, VaynerMedia
@kpop <3 <3 <3 :)
Brendan Hufford@brendan_hufford
What is one thing you wish you would have done differently at VM when you started it?
AJ Vaynerchuk@ajv · Founder, VaynerMedia
@brendanhufford thanks for the question! I would say one thing I would have done differently is bring in an employee or two with more agency experience earlier on. I feel as if we wasted a lot of time in the early days on things that are routine to those with experience and if we brought in someone earlier with that experience, we could have ran faster.
Brendan Hufford@brendan_hufford
Looking back, VM started as social community management and added creative later on. In retrospect, would you still have done the same thing?
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
What are the main reasons IYO for the failure (e.g.Secret) and decline (e.g. YikYak) of anonymous messaging/social media platforms?
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
If you had to design a new social media platform, what type of product would you build? Do you have any core features in mind?
Brendan Hufford@brendan_hufford
What is your best advice for small digital agencies looking to get their first clients? Would you advice focusing on cold-calling, content, or something else?
AJ Vaynerchuk@ajv · Founder, VaynerMedia
@brendanhufford I would focus on your own network and try to get a warm intro. Maybe your friend's friend has a contact at company A. Or your cousins' best friend's father is the CEO of company B.
Brandon Rubinshtein@brandonshtein · Founder & CEO of @Verrehere
@AJV thank you so much for doing this! I know in your medium post you spoke about stress and how you left Vaynermedia because of the damage it was doing to you. Would you ever take a role as a startup advisor where stress would be minimal? If so what startups would you like to advise?
AJ Vaynerchuk@ajv · Founder, VaynerMedia
@brandonshtein Hey Brandon, I'd like to clarify that while stress is an aspect, in no way was stress the driving force of me leaving. In fact, I was more stressed 3/4 years ago than I was in my last year or 2 at Vayner. Re: advising, absolutely something I'd consider amongst other things. As far as which startups, haven't thought about it, trying to not think about it for a few months.
Brandon Rubinshtein@brandonshtein · Founder & CEO of @Verrehere
@ajv Thanks for the response. Would love to help in any way possible, maybe I can have my chauffeurs take you to the best golf courses around new york?
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
If you had to swap lives with a tech CEO for a week, who would it be and why?
AJ Vaynerchuk@ajv · Founder, VaynerMedia
@bentossell I don't think there is anyone I would switch with. The role of CEO of a tech company is something I don't strive for, and think my decision to leave Vayner was a decision that moved me further away from that type of reality than closer. That being said, to give you something besides a non-answer, I have massive admiration for what Travis Kalanick has done with Uber. Again, I would never want to switch with him and be the CEO of Uber for a week, but it's an amazing company that I still think is just getting started. Also, in full disclosure, I am a small investor in Uber.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
If you could only use one social media app what would it be and why?
AJ Vaynerchuk@ajv · Founder, VaynerMedia
@bentossell Twitter. Gives me the best balance of content relating to news, sports, tech, business, and a means of connecting with friends/family.
Justin Novello@justin_novello · Loving life and forward bound!
1 more.. What is the greatest impact someone other than your family has impacted your life?
Anthony Liang@liangtfm · Co-founder, Hand & Terry
Hi AJ! Have you read, watched or listened to anything recently that has inspired/helped you in any way? Or maybe something you just really enjoyed :)
AJ Vaynerchuk@ajv · Founder, VaynerMedia
@liangtfm sup bud :) I'm a HUGE believer in "Zigging while others Zag" - I apply that to my work life as well as my personal life. A good listen that recently touched on that for me was Chris Sacca's appearance on the Bill Simmons podcast - https://soundcloud.com/the-bill-...
Sarim Haq@sarim_haq · AI Whisperer
Hey AJ, big fan of your work at VaynerMedia. My questions: 1. Have you ever used Reddit as a marketing platform to get organic traffic? If yes, what strategy worked for you? 2. What are your thoughts on Cold Emails? Do they work? 3. If you were to create a list of top 3 ways of getting organic traffic to a website, what items would you put on the list?
AJ Vaynerchuk@ajv · Founder, VaynerMedia
@sarim_haq 1. Yes, we have played around with Reddit ads for very targeted campaigns. We have seen nice results. Otherwise, haven't done enough with it. 2. I am not a fan of cold emails personally. I think they actually do work (there's a reason people still do them) but I ignore the vast majority of cold emails I receive. I feel bad that I don't reply, but I justify it by saying to myself that I am just a metric to them, so if they don't take the time to personalize their outreach to me, I'm comfortable not personalizing a reply. 3. Not sure I'm the best person to answer this one. This is a field I haven't spent any time work on in years!
Umi Hussaini@umihuss · Learning...everything.
@sarim_haq I see you work with AI. Would be interesting to see how AI & Machine learning plays a role in automating PERSONABLE cold emails and creating a SAAS business around it. What do you think?
AJ Vaynerchuk@ajv · Founder, VaynerMedia
@umihuss @sarim_haq I tend to believe that we need to be careful to try to remove all of the human interactions. While I think that is viable, and would work, personally something I wouldn't do or invest in.
Sarim Haq@sarim_haq · AI Whisperer
@ajv @umihuss We dont actually use AI to send out cold emails, we use it to increase user engagement with customers and leads. The AI part doesnt write the email, it just pings you when a contact is drifting away and at most creates a template based on the context of your last conversation. The cold email idea was inspired by Matt Epstien interview on TWIS where he said something along the lines of spending first couple of months just optimizing cold emails and figuring out what worked and what didnt...
AJ Vaynerchuk@ajv · Founder, VaynerMedia
@sarim_haq @umihuss "The AI part doesnt write the email, it just pings you when a contact is drifting away and at most creates a template based on the context of your last conversation." - this part I can buy into
Umi Hussaini@umihuss · Learning...everything.
Was college worth it?
AJ Vaynerchuk@ajv · Founder, VaynerMedia
@umihuss YES! Not so much the education but the life experience. Living away from home and taking responsibility for how I spend my time and actions. Also, I met some wonderful friends and best of all, my beautiful wife at college.
AJ Vaynerchuk@ajv · Founder, VaynerMedia
@umihuss also... it was a ton of fun!