REVIEW: The Thank You Economy By @GaryVee & An Open Letter To Gary
I just finished reading Gary Vaynerchuk’s new book called The Thank You Economy. Gary, or @garyvee as he is known on Twitter, describes himself in his Twitter bio as a guy who is all about:
His bio on his own personal website is uber long so I will just say he has accomplished a lot and if you’d like to read it, check it out here.
On to the book. I really enjoyed reading it and if you are already interested in social media (I know Gary hates that word as he says in the book but that’s what the world at large calls it so we are sort of stuck with it now) and how it relates to business in the 21st Century I recommend reading this book. Anyone can learn from it, from students to CEOs (if they’re open to hearing about something new where the ROI [return on investment] is long-term). I finished the book’s back pages as I sat on the TTC subway today waiting for my 30 minute trip which got stretched into an hour somehow and while I waited I wrote an email to Gary as he encourages people to do in the book. I received a very nice response directing me to a number of contacts but none were – as far as I could tell – suited to my own little review of the book. Actually, I don’t know if I would call the email I wrote a review of the book so much as comments and suggestions for the book so I will also review it a bit.
The book is well written. I am given to understand that he had a ghost writer write it – although I do not know the level of involvement Stephanie Land had in the actual writing of the book I am going to assume that Gary is more the type of guy who paces around a room with energy and just reels of his thoughts in sequence and Ms Land wrote them down. He probably then read what she wrote when she translated his verbal gestalt into words on a page and approved it but nonetheless he didn’t, it seems, actually do the writing of the book. I read that he had a ghostwriter in the acknowledgements – ya I read those.
The book definitely brings out Gary’s passionate feelings on the matter of social media and is sort of a guidebook for all of us of the generation that is slowly but surely taking the reigns of business and the corporate world from the Baby Boomers – Gary was born in 1975 making him part of the tail end of Generation X. The book gives us a lot of great case studies and examples of successful businesses in the 21st Century where companies chose to use heart and pull customers in to their orbit and then keep them there. He also mentions companies that sort of did the job but then failed to follow through – such as one company that made quite the boom with some of their advertising and then just failed to keep up the conversation online afterward. He gives opinions based on his own life experiences and their results and really makes you feel as if you are listening to him talk as he goes through the different aspects of the Thank You Economy.
It’s all in all a great read, very easy to get through, understand, and a lot to relate to. It is broken up into very easy to digest bite size chunks because, as I am sure @GaryVee of all people know, these days we are bombarded (and bombard ourselves) with so much constant stimuli a book with uber-long chapters and sections becomes difficult to pick up and actually get through. The book is designed for reading when you have 10 minutes to site down with it or and hour to sit down with it and that’s great in my opinion.
Before I get to the actual email allow me to state that #1 is a serious question and something I don’t think I really agree with him on. Why should companies only be hiring Community Managers internally? Then they just have to find someone to replace that person in the job they were already (one hopes) doing well. Instead, if you can find someone who is already interested in your field/industry/company and passionate about it – and reasonably intelligent – you can probably bring them up to speed pretty quickly on what your specific company is about. I would even go so far as to say it is BETTER to bring an outsider in to your company as by doing this they can then relate to everyone online their experiences getting to know your company from the inside and that just gives people a better understanding of company’s character. This further humanizes your company and, I think, helps build the bond between customer and company in the Thank You Economy.
In #2 I was expressing a feeling I have with a lot of books that mention and encourage further reading online. It is really awesome that he put the links to the studies and examples in the book but as soon as we turn the page they are next to useless. Even if we did want to go look them up they are often an annoying amount of typing to actually deal with which is why I feel there should be some sort of page on Gary’s site (or any author’s/book’s site) with all the links and a bit of reminder context for each one so we can quickly recall what it is referring to and with a click find the entire thing.
#3 is a straight up editing message I thought he may be interested in correcting. I am sure enough people have already mentioned it to him but I read it pretty close to my finishing the book and had, at that point, decided I was going to write the email so I made a mental note of it in my mind and then went back to find the exact quote later. You may say that the fact I did that contradicts #2 but I disagree.
On to my open letter to Gary (which, as I said, I have already emailed to him):
Subject: Thank you for writing TYE, my thoughts
Really enjoyed your book as it goes in-depth with a concept I have been espousing for quite a while. In fact, I even wrote a blog post about it – although, as I said, not near as in-depth as your book. However, I think the over-arching idea remains the same and that is of the changing nature of the market (due to social media) back to what it was before the 20th Century. I wrote the post long before your book came out and, honestly, before I had even heard your name…although probably while you were writing the book. The post is here http://www.clubsocmed.com/shrinking-world-social-media/ on a site I don’t really blog on anymore but it is there just the same – I am undecided if I should move it over to the blog I post to regularly or not but at least it’s still out there. [EDIT May 5, 2011: That site has now been taken down and as such that post is no longer online. I will be working to put it up somewhere, maybe on this blog, and when I do, that URL will change. Until then, that URL is a dead link.]
A couple of things I feel I should point out about the book one general, one specific:
- You keep mentioning in your book how you think that a company should always hire a community manager from within. Do you disagree with the idea of finding someone passionate about your industry (or product) from outside the company and hiring them?
- It’d be a good idea to include a page at the end of the book (or maybe the beginning?) with the links to websites mentioned throughout the book? When I read a book, I like to continue reading it and not go off on tangential web searches in the middle. Yes, I am a smartphone user and yes, I do own a laptop so the issue isn’t mobility and access it is just I prefer to devote my attention to a really good book when I am reading it. Maybe (hopefully?) some day your book will be used as a textbook and people will sit there with highlighters and post it notes to mark interesting parts to go back to layer but right now, reading books like these on a weekend afternoon, on the subway, on the can (ya I said it), in bed, or even during TV commercial breaks I like to immerse myself in it as I read it and not go for exterior input at the same time. So once I’m done reading the book I then have to go out and hunt down the links mentioned. Maybe it’d be best to just include one link to your own site where it lists all the links you’ve mentioned along with their context so we can just go there, find them, and click them.
- On page 209 under ‘What Touches People’ you mention people waiting in line for the latest copy of the new Twilight book and then the next sentence reads, “Or six hours for the new video game, Sneakers Smart Phone?” I have a feeling you meant, “…new video game, sneakers, or smartphone?” But somehow it must have gotten lost in translation. Just a small editorial mistake I caught which you might like to update in the book’s next printing (or on the electronic edition right away).
Again, I enjoyed reading the book immensely and am all the more sorry I missed your talk at The Art of Marketing in Toronto in early March. Next time, I won’t make that mistake! (Although I sort of lied about hearing it when you @mentioned me on Twitter – I’m @TheDanLevy – about what I thought…cmon, it was Gary freaking Vee talking to me! I wasn’t admitting in public I missed it when you took the time to talk directly to me!)
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