I am surprised by how not-adopted the video reply has been. What keeps other people from doing it, I think, is that they think a video comes across as 'I'm cool, look at how many e-mails I get.' That perception doesn't scare me, because I know who I am.
My dad is like a cactus - introverted and tough. I'm a people person, like my mom, but I got my competitiveness from my dad. He came to this country from Belarus with nothing and built a real business. He's my hero for giving me that need to run a business and for having enormous confidence in me.
The world has changed - through technology, through wine-making techniques, the quality of wine is greater than it's ever been. Whereas ten, fifteen years ago it was very easy to find lots of bad wine, it's kind of hard now. The technology, the science - it's like, are you kidding? We're in the golden years of wine!
You have to respect your parents. They are giving you an at-bat. If you're an entrepreneur and go into the family business, you want to grow fast. Patience is important. But respect the other party... My dad and I pulled it off because we really respect each other.
Even though I'm a hype man myself, I like the practicality of it all. People who understand how to turn a profit. At the end of the day, this is still business so I'm looking for real practical knowledge of how to actually make money, not necessarily raise it.
I'm not afraid to call a wine that tastes like Skittles or green peppers mixed with orange marmalade. I'll say, 'It tastes like chicken.' I mean, that's not what people think of when they think of wine, but that's what it tastes like to me and it hits home.
Winelibrary.tv was about building personal brand equity. It was a business move. Now, it was totally surrounded by a passion for wine, but I very much gave a lot of thought to doing a sports-video blog instead.
Too many companies think they want to do a video blog to sell merchandise, but if you turn your site into QVC, you lose. I have an audience that trusts me. It's about building a global brand - not selling four more bottles of Pinot Grigio.
My store, Wine Library, outsells big national chains. How do you think we do it? It started with hustle. I always say that our success wasn't due to my hundreds of online videos about wine that went viral, but to the hours I spent talking to people online afterward, making connections and building relationships.
Do you know how many companies have wanted me to do an energy drink for them because I named my book 'Crush It!'? It might be fun one day, but right now I think it would undermine the personal brand I've built.
Eighty-five per cent of the crowd is going to fall in love with me - they're going to feel it, wow. But fifteen per cent are going to think, 'This guy is obnoxious.' I spend enormous time with them - every negative review of 'Crush It!' on Amazon has a response from me - and I can probably bring back ten of the fifteen.
I think what's happening for me, it's fun to see other things besides Facebook and Twitter take hold. The maturity of Tumblr as a real player is exciting. I think Pinterest has proved to be a major player. It's fun to see Instagram become a major player. It's fun to watch things like SnapChat, and Vine, try to vie to be the next thing.
If there's a problem, we at Wine Library never tell ourselves that once we handle this issue, we'll never have to deal with the person again. We talk to every single person as though we're going to wind up sitting next to that person at his or her mother's house that night for dinner.
Social media requires that business leaders start thinking like small-town shop owners. This means taking the long view and avoiding short-term benchmarks to gauge progress. It means allowing the personality, heart and soul of the people who run all levels of the business to show.
When I hear people debate the ROI of social media? It makes me remember why so many business fail. Most businesses are not playing the marathon. They're playing the sprint. They're not worried about lifetime value and retention. They're worried about short-term goals.
One of the things that I'm really proud of is that I have really good timing. It's very easy for me to see what's coming up and it's no coincidence that I went headfirst into wine and then headfirst into new media - none at all.
Stop doing things that waste time. Don't replace time with your family or things that you need to do. I needed to put together two fantasy teams this weekend because that's something I enjoy, but I did stop playing Nintendo Wii for hours on end.
We're living in what I like to call the 'Thank You Economy,' because only the companies that can figure out how to mind their manners in a very old-fashioned way - and do it authentically - are going to have a prayer of competing.
Okay, let's talk about cartoon labels for half a second - some people think anything with a dog or a car or a colorful alien is garbage, which is not true. Look at Big Moose Red. It's, like, a $6 wine with a cheesy label, and it's actually a solid wine.
There's always a wine bully. The one person who did read the 'Wine Spectator,' who tells you what to drink and why the '97 is better than the '98. I want to punch the wine bully in the face. I want to make sure this generation of wine drinkers isn't elitist and snotty. I want it to be about family and bringing people together.
IQ is a commodity, data is a commodity. I'm far more interested in watching people interact at a restaurant with their smartphone. We can all read 'Tech Crunch,' 'Ad Age.' I would rather be living in the trenches. I would rather be going to Whole Foods in Columbus Circle to watch people shop with their smartphones.
It's important to build a personal brand because it's the only thing you're going to have. Your reputation online, and in the new business world is pretty much the game, so you've got to be a good person. You can't hide anything, and more importantly, you've got to be out there at some level.
Really, truly, try to figure out what your palate is all about. If you've determined that you don't like dirty old stinky wine - old-world flavors - you probably like new-world fruit bombs. Stick to Shirazes and California Cabernets or Zinfandels.
Jabs are the lightweight pieces of content that benefit your customers by making them laugh, snicker, ponder, play a game, feel appreciated, or escape; right hooks are calls to action that benefit your businesses.
I hate recording all the shows for the week in one day, because I want to be able to mention current events and pop culture. If Madonna punches Britney in the face today, I want to reference that on 'Wine Library TV' tomorrow. Monday's episode is always the best, because it's hot off the press.
Many people who I respected were disappointed when I started 'Wine Library TV.' They thought I was dumbing down wine, but I always knew I was one of the biggest producers of new wine drinkers in the world, and people are realizing it now.
Whether you're an entrepreneur, a small business, or a Fortune 500 company, great marketing is all about telling your story in such a way that it compels people to buy what you are selling. That's a constant. What's always in flux, especially in this noisy, mobile world, is how, when, and where the story gets told, and even who gets to tell all of it.
Unless you are building a new company from the ground up and can install caring as your businesses' cornerstone, you have to be willing to embark on a completely cultural overhaul so that, like a local mom and pop shop, every employee is comfortable engaging in customer service, and does it authentically.
I definitely think there's some way to understand how people emotionally feel about somebody, but I don't think data collects it. They're not going to click your bit.ly link or click your TweetMeme retweet every time.
You cannot underestimate people's ability to spot a soulless, bureaucratic tactic a million miles away. It's a big reason why so many companies that have dipped a toe in social media waters have failed miserably.
Anyone working for a big company might be skeptical that a large business, or even a strictly online business, can form the same kind of friendly, loyal relationship with customers as a local retailer. I'm saying it's already been done because I lived it.
True success - financial, personal, and professional - lies above all in loving your family, working hard, and living your passion. In telling your story. In authenticity, hustle, and patience. In caring fiercely about the big and the small stuff. In valuing legacy over currency.
The reason I was able to grow my business was that every day, after producing 30 minutes of wine television, I spent 15 hours a day replying to every single person's e-mail and every single person's Twitter @ reply.
Don't worry; skills are cheap, passion is priceless. If you're passionate about your content and you know it and do it better than anyone else, even with few formal business skills you have the potential to create a million-dollar business.
I would argue heavily that the time that has been allocated to social used to come from television, and people are benefitting from it. People who are saying, 'Aw, you're spending all your time on Facebook, or all your time on Twitter,' I'd like to understand what the person used to do with that time.
Here's how I work: It's 2013, and most marketers are operating like it's 2009. I'm always trying to market like it's 2015, but not like it's 2020. A lot of my contemporaries who understand where the world is going, go too far out, and aren't practical. I have always prided myself on being visionary, with a heavy practicality.
When I was 17 or 18 I wanted to become a wine expert, and my parents wouldn't let me drink. So I was devastated. All I could do was read, and I read and I read. And I'd read something like, you know, 'Subtle hints of cassis.'