Gary Vaynerchuk has always been an early adopter — even when it comes to online dating.
“I just remember thinking in 10 years, every single person — I didn’t think they’d be swiping to the right — but I’m like every person’s going to do this because this is practical. People are romantic. People are like, ‘I’ll never buy a tomato on the internet.’ This is what I heard in 1996.
“I’m like, ‘Yeah you will. Because time is valuable, because other things matter more.’ I knew because I thought people would buy stuff on the internet long before a lot of people thought that.”
The CEO of multimillion-dollar company VaynerMedia was right, and that same intuition led him to become an early investor in some of the biggest tech companies today.
His first investment was Twitter, followed by Tumblr and Facebook.
He met Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, after giving a talk in Palo Alto in 2008. [<LINK] They kept in touch, and by 2009, Zuckerberg and his sister Randi had personally invited Vaynerchuk to invest. “That was life-changing,” Vaynerchuk told Shontell.
He’s also invested in Snapchat, which held a $33 billion IPO in March — the largest since Alibaba in 2014. “How did you find Snapchat? It’s one thing to find and spot something but another for a founder to let you in,” Shontell asked.
“I should have invested earlier,” Vaynerchuk replied. “I was way on it before I actually invested, but I don’t like reaching out. I never reach. I have not spent a day with [CEO] Evan Spiegel. I’ve spent a ton of time with Emily White, who was originally his right hand and then with [COO] Imran Khan. I was bringing a lot of value, and they were like, ‘Hey, would you like to invest?’ I said yes.”
Vaynerchuk said he’s always thinking about the future, and the opportunities that could come his way. “I already think about what I’m going to be doing on Alexa voice and what am I going to be doing on VR and how am I going to use message bots and what’s going to happen when my kids are 18 and when I buy the Jets — who’s going to be my GM?,” he said.
“I’ve done really well on one core principle which is, I think I have an intuitive ability to understand consumer behavior more than the average bear,” Vaynerchuk said, “and I’m not scared to bet the farm on that gut feeling.”