Roughly 200 members of the so-called "Vayner Nation," packed the rooftop bar of the Gansevoort Park Avenue Monday evening for the 100th episode of #AskGaryVee.
Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of digital agency VaynerMedia, invited his fans via various forms of social media to the event. With 1.1 million Twitter followers, nearly 80,000 YouTube subscribers, 206,000 Facebook likes and a massive Meerkat presence, Vaynerchuk had no problem filling the venue.
The hipster-looking group of twenty-somethings mostly identified themselves as "founder," "CEO" or "president" of random apps and start-ups, like a scene from HBO's Silicon Valley with an audience eager to be inspired by their idol.
"The show is predicated on answering people's questions, and bringing them value. Instead of pushing what I want, it's me giving them what they want," Vaynerchuk told Adweek after the show. "I also think that utilizing a lot of different social networks to bring exposure to it has been very effective. Whether it's Meerkat or Facebook native video, it's all been very tactful, and that has pushed the show to have a much larger audience."
Vaynerchuk is brutal and honest with his answers. At one point, a 20-year-old fan, in town from Poland on business, explained how venture capitalists are hesitant to do business with him because of his "baby face."
Vaynerchuk was quick to shoot him down, "I think that's what you want to think. A lot of people are bad at giving critical advice. I know every VC in the game and they're pumped to give a 20 year old money, they just want to give it to something they believe in."
Another millennial wannabe Vodka entrepreneur mentioned his target audience is of the club-going, EDM (electronic dance music) crowd. Vaynerchuk hated the concept. Still, he gave heartfelt, meaningful advice on conference keynote speaking — which he does a ton of — working with family and staying humble despite success.
"There is an outrageous number of people who have bigger audiences than me. But for me, putting out this content that has a very specific niche audience hits the spot. It has organically grown because of that. Although, I do have to admit that I have been putting a lot more energy into growing out my Facebook video views than my YouTube views," he said.
Vaynerchuk's quick talking, in-your-face style is similar to a social media guru version of CNBC's Jim Cramer, but don't expect him to appear on linear TV anytime soon.
"Ultimately, TV deals, as a businessman, aren't that exciting. That is what is fundamentally holding me back," Vaynerchuk said, while leaving the window cracked open. "If the TV contracts change, and there is some kicker involved, I'm certainly not unaware or naïve to TV's exposure and brand positioning. It's never a closed book. It's just that the deal that gets it done doesn't seem obvious to me right now."
Now that 100 episodes are a wrap, Vaynerchuk isn't sure what his next project will be but says, "as long as I love doing the show, I'll keep doing it."