“Do you know how excited I am for the world to collapse….”
If you know Gary Vaynerchuk, you can guess why I can’t actually finish that sentence in this publication. The gist of it is that if an entrepreneur does not have good intent and is not willing to do the hard work, they will not develop a real foundation for their business, and that fact will be revealed quickly when the next downturn comes.
Vaynerchuk offered his fiery entrepreneurial truth-telling to a crowd of 1,400 at the Real Talk Summit held over the weekend at the Vancouver Convention Center. If you’re not familiar with him, Vaynerchuk’s F-bomb-littered straight talk can be polarizing. When he asked how many people hated him the first time they saw a video of his, a third of the room stood up. But his style strikes a chord with people feeling platitude-fatigue from ubiquitous business advice that is nothing more than short-term esteem-boosting dopamine hits at a time when the only due paid to give it was learning how to upload a YouTube video.
Gary Vee was a fitting choice for a summit created to “pull back the curtain on entrepreneurship through real and raw conversations.” The thesis underlying the summit was that entrepreneurs can “leverage business to move humanity forward” in what Real Talk founder Connor Beaton calls “a connection-based economy.”
Throughout the event, which was emceed by Facebook ad strategist Nicholas Kusmich, guests spoke on the themes of connection, social entrepreneurship, and big thinking. These speakers included O2E Brands and 1-800-GOT-JUNK founder and CEO Brian Scudamore, Thinkific founder Greg Smith, and Saje Natural Wellness founder and CEO, Jean-Pierre LeBlanc.
Scudamore, who publishes prolifically on company culture, said “I love that Connor Beaton got up on stage and said, ‘What can you give?’ Think of what you can give today versus what you can take.” This fit with Beaton’s question to the audience: How do you shift from a focus on money and time to a focus on connection, which he claims is the outcome we are seeking in the first place when we engage in business activities.
Beaton and summit speakers explained that connection and empathy are fundamental values from which business decisions manifest. While a requirement for business success, connection transcends commerce, and the event was admittedly a business-capsule delivering this life lesson payload.
Unpacking the idea, Beaton who is also the founder of ManTalks, explained, “Everything that we do has an impact, it leaves a footprint, either environmentally or on people, socially through communities, financially, the whole spectrum.”
“One of the most challenging things that I saw developers and employees really struggle with was bridging the gap between the products or the services that they were building, and how they connected that to the actual individual,” Beaton said.
Beginning with the end in mind, he said aspiring entrepreneurs would be well served to frame creative and business ventures with empathy, to think “what are people going to feel like on the other side of this, and then building it back from there.”
“If this conference is positioned as how you build things and have great impact,” Vaynerchuk said, “it starts with only two things. It’s intent. What are you actually trying to do? Is your intent to actually build a great business and give back to the world, or is your intent…. that you want to make money?”
“Number two, the only way to do this whole thing is my favorite part: Doing the work,” he said. “The world is shifting faster than it ever has before, but the way to win is as old as time. Do the right thing, and put in the f***ing work.”