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Big Omaha Backstage Pass – Gary & AJ Vaynerchuk: Context & happiness

This summer, you heard their speeches in our Big Omaha Video Series. Now, in partnership with our photography and moving images partner Malone & Company, we’re giving you exclusive access to backstage interviews with the entrepreneurs and innovators who presented at our Big Omaha event in May.

For one week only, the Big Omaha Backstage Pass will feature 10 of our Big Omaha speakers in 15 previously unreleased video interviews. We hope these interviews, with topics ranging from the importance of mentoring to the quest to change the world, will engage, encourage, enlighten and excite you to follow your passion, a message at the core of Big Omaha. 

Our sixth backstage interview is with Gary Vaynerchuk and AJ Vaynerchuk, brothers and co-founders of VaynerMedia

Context and happiness


Gary: You know, I’ve always known that context — and I didn’t know how to express it — was the whole game, right? For example, you have a feeling towards me right now that is different than you have towards AJ because we engaged together last year, so we created context, right? And now you have a different feeling towards AJ because he answered a question for you. And the ability for us to scale that in the social web really matters.

While everybody thinks that all this engagement and ‘Our kids are not social anymore, they’re always on computers,’ if that thesis was right, then we weren’t social when we all talked on the phone all day. I mean, it’s silliness. Emotion breaks through, and real, live feelings break through products. They go through those wires, through the cloud, and they touch (the heart), they touch (the mind), they touch a lot of things. And I believe there’s an enormous opportunity – there’s a war – to win the most context with the consumer, or an end user, and that’s kind of what I think about.

AJ: The thing that drives me to do what I’m doing at the present moment is that I have a goal that may be different than Gary’s. And Gary always talks about buying the New York Jets, and that’s definitely on my list of goals too. And there’d be nothing better for him to buy it or for me to buy it or us to buy it together or for him to buy the Jets and me to buy the Knicks — that’d be amazing.

But the goal that really drives me more so than that, day to day, is the quest just for me to be happy at every moment and to be in control at every moment. That’s why I think entrepreneurship is so amazing: if done right, it gives you the ability to control your actions and to make yourself happy when you want to make yourself happy. The fear that I have when graduating college, the fear that I did have, was that I wouldn’t be in control of my own happiness, that I would be subject to somebody’s else’s thoughts, opinions and guidance. And, you know, I think being an entrepreneur is great in a lot of ways and I think that’s the major factor for me. So my hope for the next big thing is that Gary and I will do something together that’ll make us happy and that’ll continue down that path.

To watch Gary Vaynerchuk’s Big Omaha presentation, see our post: “Big Omaha Video Series: Gary Vaynerchuk of VaynerMedia

About Big Omaha and Thinc Iowa, our two premier events:

Big Omaha, a Silicon Prairie News premier event, is held each May to inspire, educate and connect entrepreneurs, especially those with an interest in the tech industry. Visit BigOmaha.com to learn more.

Thinc Iowa, a Silicon Prairie News premier event, will take place for the first time October 20-21 in Des Moines, Iowa. Its mission: Provide a common ground for startups and corporations to explore partnerships, examine innovation and share lessons learned. Visit ThincIowa.com to learn more (tickets still available).

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