How Do We Crush It? F*ck if we know...

Grace Boyle has posted an interesting contest related to the new book by Gary Vaynerchuk titled Crush It: Why Now is the Time to Cash In On Your Passion (full disclosure: I've already ordered the book on Amazon but it hasn't shipped yet). We of course remember Gary Vee from his antics on Wine Library TV and his social media thoughts. Here is the prompt that Gary lays down for Grace:

"Take this quote from Gary in Crush It: “Skills are cheap, passion is priceless,” and write a blog post about how you’re crushing it, your dreams to crush it, and what this phrase means to you.

But what to do if you lack skills and passion? Every single 'personal branding expert' will advise you to pick a single topic, be really passionate about it, and then proclaim that you are an expert in that subject. Well, our whole premise is that we just talk about stuff we find interesting, with no discernible focus or expertise. Hence the self-conscious blog title. But maybe we're actually crushing it by just doing what we feel because we like it, critics (and readership) be damned?


  1. By the way I understand that the purpose of this prompt and GV contacting Grace is to drum up some grassroots excitement for the Crush It book - but I've already bought the thing so I might as well go in hook, line, and sinker.

    Total side note - why does Gary's picture on Grace's blog post make him look like he is going to either A) cry; or B) touch me inappropriately? No offense intended, just cracked me up

  2. Why does this feel like every computer programmer getting venture capitalist money in 1999, just because they can create a website?

    Or in 2004, with no money down, you can buy a house, fix it up, and flip it for huge profits.

    I think Penelope Trunk's advice on blogging is much more practical. There was a brief period of opportunity for a blog to really make money, but now there are so many, that you need to be really talented or really unique to stand out in the crowd, to 'Crush It'.

  3. And for what it's worth, this prompt by GV/Grace has generated more internal discussion/debate amongst the 4 of us than any other thing we've talked about yet. I actually sent around a DRAFT of this post before finalizing, which we never do.

  4. Royce - he's definitely trying to sell you candy or ask you to help find his puppy.

  5. I think your comment about us crushing it regardless of a "lack of focus" (can a pre-conceived lack of focus, in fact, be a focus? chew on that for a while) speaks perfectly to our hopes for this blog.

    My thoughts behind our brain child was a forum/medium by which we could simply discuss what we found most interesting - this, obviously, will change as we change, and as the world at large changes.

    Also - I hate to be pigeon-holed into anything; I open doors wider that are already open just cause I hate closed doors. Our format really works well for me in that case as well.

  6. In fairness Aaron, a lot of what Vaynerchuk talks about in general corresponds with some of Penelope's tips. For instance, her item on "Links in blogs" is something we do a lot (I might have set a FIWK record in this post), and Vaynerchuk frequently talks about "being a part of the conversation" as well - almost the exact phrase Trunk uses.

  7. Hey Gents,

    Good to hear some shenanigans going down this way. You're the first live post for the contest, whatup to that!

    I have to argue and say that everyone has skills. Maybe not passion, but skills don't have to be monumental. It doesn't make you an expert, but it does show that you guys are keeping it real and finding passion in anything that interests you. It seems pretty clear, that's exactly how you guys are crushing it. I love hearing the thoughts back and forth in the comments!

    Side note, just to clarify: I've been speaking with Gary and his team because yes, they wanted to encourage grass-roots, viral press and ideas for his book launch. However, they left my 'plate' completely open so I actually came up with the idea for the contest, picked the quote from the book, etc.

  8. There are two pieces of advice from Penelope Trunk that I remember, one I disagree with, the other I do agree with.

    Well, it's not that I disagree, more that I think it simply doesn't apply. "Blogging is essential for a good career." While I could write a blog on financial planning, I wouldn't be nearly as passionate as I am in my conversations with you guys.

    "You're not going to make money from your blog." I continue to contribute and care about this blog, without any plan for acquiring a larger readership.

    I think Gary V is a little pretentious trying to convince people that by following his model, they can make money blogging. I think this is more a case of him getting in on the ground floor and being successful, then making more money by selling a book on a model that is no longer effective.

    You either have to be ultra niche, or disregard all personal branding coaching.

    Our method is to disregard all their traditional advice and seek a new method. Our collaboration is how we are going to crush it.

  9. Aaron you cracked me up with your gchat to me earlier: "I googled 'wine blog' and there were 89.9 million results. Gary Vaynerchuk was #5"

    By this logic should we be reading the books of at least four other guys before GV?

    Is it too obvious if I make the "I'm really gonna crush it when I ditch you losers" joke? Yes? How about, man walks into a bar?

  10. I know I'm coming a bit late to the Comment Party, but I wanted to weigh in on "crushing it". Two thoughts:
    1) This just seems like one of those things where someone creates an amorphous concept - "crush it" - that only they can define, and cashes in on the idea. Next up, consultants at your office telling your boss why your company isn't "crushing it" and how they can help. For a small fee.
    2) There are a limited number of ideas for a book, to be sure, but I'll be expecting more from Gary Vee than a Key To Life like "follow your passion"; I think I saw that on a Starbucks mug the other day. Ho hum, I guess I should have listened, right?

    The problem is that "following your passion", while great-sounding advice, doesn't always translate into something you can live on. It takes hard work - and, yes, skills that actually aren't always cheap.

  11. Ok, I'm going to give Gary V some credit now. After some recollection, I do feel that for a blog to be sustainable, the blogger(s) must be passionate.

    However, to make a living as a blogger, passion is more an indirect requirement. You need talent and/or uniqueness to draw viewers, then you need to keep them coming back. Some people can be financially motivated to sustain a blog without any true passion on the subject.

  12. One thing you may not know about Vaynerchuk is that he started out running a liquor/ wine store, Wine Library, which he took over from his father.

    His passion for wine translated into him becoming a wine expert and turning Wine Library into a big player in wine sales in the NJ/NY area. He eventually parlayed that wine knowledge into the wine video blog Wine Library TV, which he promoted using social media networking, which is the subject of his blogs on the Gary Vaynerchuk site.

    The point is that his success, especially early on, is grounded firmly in traditional retail knowledge and success. He marketed and sold his product in a local area and grew his business the old-fashioned way.

    He's not JUST a 'personal branding' guru throwing out Starbucks-mug slogans and cashing in on it. Although he's kind of that, now... it depends on the actual content of the Crush It book, which hasn't come out yet...

  13. Update on this, Vaynerchuk just gave an interview to Business Week about his Crush It book a few days ago. I have to agree with a commenter that the article lacks much depth, but it does give you good insight into how Gary Vee is pushing his book.

    I hope that the book itself has a deal more depth than this short article does. The general "follow your passion" advice, Mik, does sound like a mug slogan I agree.

    But we're going to cast stones, really? Aaron just wrote that on FIWK "Our method is to disregard all their traditional advice and seek a new method. Our collaboration is how we are going to crush it" ... I mean apparently we are college freshman with that kind of doe-eyed outlook

  14. Well I switch back and forth between naive optimist (see above) and critical pessimist. What did you want me to say? There's no way we're going to stand out among millions of other blogs in an effort to win a $25 book?

  15. Hey I already bought the book, so it's on you if you want to win it. Lord knows I don't pull my weight around here anyway

  16. That's just cause you're a fattie!

  17. I like that this whole discussion took our standard path - premise, opinions stated vehemently, some consensus as we discuss, then ending with a few short jabs