Vaynerchuk speaking during Ad Week New York, 2016.Image: Getty Images for 2016 Advertising Week New YorkBy Anne-Marie Tomchak2018-03-30 10:00:00 UTC
“Technology is exposing us, not changing us.”
Gary Vaynerchuk is on a mission to spread his can-do message through his use of digital media. The entrepreneur, who’s CEO and co-founder of the digital agency VaynerMedia, has something of a cult following online and IRL. Millions tune into his Instagram stories daily to learn from his positive and no-nonsense approach to life and success. This is the place where Gary Vee (as he’s known) has plenty to say about personal responsibility and not blaming others when things go wrong.
So it was no surprise that he took a similarly no-nonsense approach to a question about the potential negative side effects of tech (of which many have been reported) when I caught up with him over a video call as he was on his daily commute in New York.
“Technology is exposing us, not changing us. We are using these tools and we are big boys and girls,” he says. “Facebook does very little in comparison to what network television does. People have been curated to their whole lives. We make choices everyday.”
. Either you were born with too little or born with too much. That is the conclusion I have made based on the 10’000’s of interactions I’ve had over the last year. – Here is the issue and the opportunity, so many of you who stopped to read this blame something or someone else. That’s super fine and all but the issue is simple, once you learn to blame yourself happiness is around the corner. – The issue with blaming Someone or something is it makes you feel like your not in control and not being in control of your life leads to extreme happiness. Allowing someone to be in control aka your parents are paying for shit because you have too big of an ego to work somewhere basic or too lazy to put in the super hard work to make something for yourself, sucks, but it’s reality. – Blaming where you were born, to whom, who was around you or terrible events all leads to negative shit. – Make this morning the morning you blame yourself for everything whether it’s true or not the mindset will lead to your happiness. – PS: be smart about blame, it’s in the past, who gives a fuck, it’s over, the accountability that you are in control of today and tomorrow is the 🔑
A post shared by Gary Vay-Ner-Chuk (@garyvee) on Mar 29, 2018 at 5:53am PDT
Gary Vee simply doesn’t buy into the assertion that technology is potentially having a negative impact on our lives. His message is clear and consistent: People need to take more responsibility.
“I think there is an enormous lack of responsibility. We have an unbelievable inability to take responsibility for our actions and it feels a hell of a lot better to blame technology than it is to blame ourselves for shortcomings and ignorance.”
The Facebook Cambridge Analytica data scandal has only reinforced Vaynerchuk’s opinion. “People are up in arms in this situation without understanding what it actually means. For example, Visa, target and the IRS have had their information breached. Big media companies have used data around us to market to us.”
And he says getting hung up on Facebook is something of a red herring. “What Google has on us compared to Facebook has, is a joke, wait until people figure out what Google is doing be concerned about.”
Unapologetically embracing technology is what Gary Vaynerchuk does. And Voice AI is no exception. To say he’s passionate about the possibilities of humans talking to machines is an understatement. “Voice is going to be one of the core pillars of our interaction. I would say in a decade it’s going to rival the cell phone as we know it today,” he says.
Hmmm… you may be on to something there, Gary. Voice AI has already been touted as potentially having a bigger impact than the iPhone, it’s been dubbed the new battleground for marketers, and the big tech companies are all fighting for a piece of the action.
“Growth numbers for Voice/AI platforms, like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, are actually more impressive than the early growth numbers for mobile,” said Mukul Devichand, Executive Editor for voice at the BBC, during a panel discussion hosted by Vayner Media at Advertising Week Europe this month.
“According to the Accenture Digital Consumer Survey 2018 nearly a quarter of all UK consumers are now using digital assistants, 11 per cent of British adults. And up to a quarter of U.S. adults, we think, now have access to smart speakers in the home. The opportunity, in theory, is fabulous,” Devichand added.
VaynerMedia has already a proven track record for harnessing the power of social media in digital marketing. Now they’re turning their attention to voice. JP Morgan Chase has named them their agency of record for voice marketing. And it’s clear that voice is a passion point for both Gary and the company.
With all of this opportunity come many, many questions. Who’s actually in control in the dynamic between the user, the brand and the platform? “We have to go a little further in that question,” says Vaynerchuk. “The consumer is in control of everything because if you don’t choose to have that device you don’t have it. But once you enter into the fray that relationship changes and then the device starts the process of taking over.”
Some believe it’s a risky strategy for brands to put themselves in the hands of a third party, ultimately letting the likes of Amazon or Apple speak for your company. Vaynerchuck doesn’t seem overly concerned by this or by the dominance of the big tech companies. He concedes that there is a certain element of control that will need to be handed over.
“I mean, what’s the alternative, right? Let’s talk about the number of businesses that are not leveraging Google or Facebook. That’s just the game. If you wanna build a brand and build awareness you are going to rent space at some point. Driving them to your environment and collecting first party data is the game, right?”
You can catch our conversation with Gary Vaynerchuk in full here.