Book Review: The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk

April 1, 2011

1:30 pm

Why is it that though you are bombarded by ads from big national chain restaurants showing everyone having a grand time, you prefer to eat at your neighborhood restaurant down the street? Do you ever wonder why you’d rather go to the smaller venue?

The reason is simple: it’s because of deep personal connections. When you eat at big chain restaurants, the owners do not stop by your table to ask you how the food was.  They don’t greet you by name, know your favorite dishes, or inquire after your kids.  Right down the street at that mom and pop restaurant you love, the owners always stop by your table to ask how the food was.  They greet you by name, wish you a happy birthday (even though you don’t mention it), and discuss vacation plans. This type of intimate social interaction, whether online or offline, is the over-arching theme of the new book The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk.

Gary (@GaryVee) is well known in the both the wine and tech world but a little known fact is that he attend is first event in the tech world by taking the train down to DC with his brother AJ to exhibit our first DC Tech Cocktail mixer event in May of 2007. He was already doing his online wine video show Wine Library TV (which he recently discontinued), but it had not taken off yet. He since has gone on to write a NYTimes best seller (Crush It!), appeared on Late Night With Jimmy Falcon, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Today Show, and Mad Money, and launch his own show on Sirius XM Satellite Radio.

We’re really pumped to give you a sneak preview of The Thank You Economy by highlighting the key points that we found most interesting:

  • Relationships are what life is all about – reciprocating without asking for anything in return, for instance.  Business relationships are no different than personal ones.
  • “When given the choice, people will always spend their time around people they like.”
  • Social media is neither a media nor a platform, it is “a massive cultural shift that has profoundly affected the way society uses the greatest platform ever invented, the Internet.”
  • “If you don’t care, no one will.”
  • Social media return on investment (ROI) is proven through customer advocates (invaluable). Social media metrics are proven through trackable number of likes, followers, and comments (what customers are talking about and how often).
  • Change begins with yourself.
  • “Trust your people….Create a culture of openess. Let your employees blog and tweet as much as they like.”  Be authentic.

Gary also goes on to give examples of how Zappos, Amazon, Yelp, Zagat, LOFT, Old Spice, and others all use social media to grow their companies and brands. Bonuses in The Thank You Economy include Tony Hsieh‘s (CEO of Zappos) “incredibly personal” letter to Zappos employees explaining Amazon’s acquisition of Zappos and 40+ user submissions to Gary’s book jacket-design contest.

What are you #thankfulfor?  Leave a comment below – and tweet your answer using the hashtag!

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Jeff Tong is a social media strategist in Washington DC and has been a long-time contributor at Tech Cocktail. You'll find Jeff at tech events, foodie hangouts, and possibly snorkeling somewhere tropical. Contact Jeff online at @gundamwing4132 or

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