April 2, 2010

Crush It - Storytelling

I recently buzzed through Gary Vaynerchuk's 2009 book, Crush It. The book covers a wide array of topics related to social media, and how you can quit your job right now and start doing what you love for a living. I was quite skeptical when I sat down to read the book but I slowly warmed up to it and was able to see some key ideas that he meant to convey in the book.

For those that have not heard, Gary is a co-owner of his family's wine retail shop in New Jersey and the host of the Wine Library TV webcast.

The book goes into detail about Gary's childhood, which is the most entertaining part of the book. He recounts stories of the seven-year old Gary hustling lemonade stands around his neighborhood at age 7. He talks about his passion for baseball cards and how his business education comes from card shows. This is where I was really drawn into the book - the story of where he is coming from sets the tone for the rest of the book.

He is really practicing what he preaches before he even mentions it in the book, and that is to tell a story. I was sold to read the rest of the book after hearing the entertaining story about how he lost all his money at a Baseball card show when he was a teenager. Quoted directly from the text - "Storytelling is by far the most underrated skill in business."

Being able to tell a story will leave a customer with a positive attitude. It might even be so positive that they will come back and do business with you again. They might tell their friends.

Storytelling does not have to happen in person, and that is a theme in the various means of connecting to customers that are described later in the book. Gary mentions that providing content (Blog, Tweet, Podcast, etc.) should be telling a great story. This is a convincing reason as to why Woot is so popular. They could just be a shopping site that only sells one item per day. But they are so much more than that - they are a blog that personifies the items that they are selling. They have other posts that are games that the Woot team likes, or interesting headlines with one-liners mixed in.

That is why I continue to check Woot. I like the stories that they are telling. It is entertaining and is a great way for the company to draw my business in.

If you do have a few hours on your hands and are looking for some light reading material, do check out Gary's book. Definitely check it out if you are a fan of social media.

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