Gary Vaynerchuk Chats with Dave McClure, Calls Entrepreneurs a Rare Breed

2/19/13Follow @jpruth

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such investors tend to look at startups with their own plans in mind for growing the business. “I pretend I am running that company and I know exactly what I’m going to do,” he said. “What you learn is that not everybody is like you.”

The market is correcting itself, he said, as more investors grow more cautious. “All those young angels that drove a lot of what was going on, we’ve been burned enough now,” he said. “We’re learning.”

Investment activity coming out of Los Angeles excites Vaynerchuk, as celebrity clout helps drive some buzz for startups. “They know how to make money,” he said, referring to the likes of Troy Carter, CEO of Coalition Media Group and Lady Gaga’s manager. Carter has invested in LaunchRock in Walnut, CA, a platform for launching viral websites, and music-sharing site Turntable.fm in New York.

There were a few other aspects of the investment and innovation landscape Vaynerchuk voiced strong opinions on. He remains bullish on subscription commerce, when done right, in spite of the bad rep it currently gets. “When people buy [stuff], you make money,” he said. “That’s good.” Wannabes and me-too companies that tried to ride the wave of subscription commerce but failed, he said, stoked some fears, but commerce will persist. It comes down to execution.

“We think too much that we have Nostradamuses in this industry,” he said. “We don’t. We have fast followers and then they execute. That’s what a lot of us should be paying attention to.”

He doubts there is a bubble among incubators, which a few industry watchers have hinted at, however he did question the mettle of some would-be founders of startups. “We have more people than ever that aren’t real entrepreneurs thinking they are entrepreneurs,” he said. “I think it’s time we started talking about entrepreneurs more like athletes, singers, and songwriters. It’s a more rare breed than we think.”

In fact, Vaynerchuk believes some founders are better suited to serve in secondary roles at companies. “I’m investing in things now with the thought, ‘I think this person is going to fail, realize it, and then I’m going to hire them to do something for me’,” he said.

A trend Vaynerchuk wants to see end is the rise of impatient, unrealistic expectations among some founders who believe they can sprint to wealth but are not willing to take entry-level jobs to develop their skills at companies that have been successful. “I met a 23-year-old who wants to live this [lofty] dream we’ve been selling in this space that’s nuts,” he said. “Most of this baffles me.”

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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