During the Fall of 2013 I was working on a tech startup I had co-founded by the name of Supshot. It was a mobile and web platform that was supposed to allow anyone to license the photos they were taking on their smartphones. Around the same time I had discovered Gary Vaynerchuk. I had just finished reading "The Thank You Economy" when he was doing a launch for his newest book, "Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook". He was doing a book signing event in Union Square at the Barnes & Noble.
If you have read "The Thank You Economy" you would know Gary basically says that you should give before you ask. I took that message, and really ran with it. When I decided that I would definitely go see Gary at his book signing, I knew I wanted to ask him to go for coffee with me. The problem is that would be me asking before I gave so I chose to go get a $50 gift card from Starbucks. In that packaging I also put in my business card. When I got up to go get my book signed I gave him the business card, and told him that I was doing as he said in giving before taking.
A few weeks went by and I hadn't heard from Gary. I wasn't sweating it at all though. That's because I was doing as I should with running my startup, and actually had an all expense paid business trip to France around that time. The French Foreign Ministry was flying me out, and showing me around because they were interested in having me bring my startup to France because I had won a spot through Young Enterprise Initiative (YEi) France.
The award through the French Foreign Ministry had me in the south of France for nine days of my trip. Then I spent another seven days in Paris. As soon as I had arrived in Paris I saw that on Twitter they were offering free passes to the famous LeWeb 2013 conference that was being held while I was there. The competition was to use a particular hashtag, and best explain why you should win them. For days I was frantically tweeting at them trying to win passes, which I eventually ended up winning! There was no other way I could have attended that conference because passes were thousands of Euros, and I was just a broke founder of a startup.
While looking through the speakers for LeWeb I saw that Gary Vaynerchuk would be there as a keynote. That was another opportunity for me to speak to Gary to finally get that meeting so I wasn't going to miss it. An hour and a half before Gary was to speak I started tweeting at him, and commenting on his Facebook statuses. I told him what I was wearing, where I would be sitting, and that he better pay attention to me.
During his talk Gary looked over to me a few times. Maybe it was just in my head, but I felt like he had actually seen my messages. I'm sure if I asked him today he wouldn't even remember so we'll never know. But as soon as his talk ended I had my hand up right away to ask him a question. You can check out the question, and his answer right here. He actually posted it as a Facebook status today.
People couldn't stop asking questions of Gary once his talk was over. He decided to tell everyone he would meet them in a different building in a half hour. Obviously, I sprinted over to where that was so that I would be first in line. When he finally got there I was the first one to ask him a question. I asked him if he remembered me from the book signing, and told him I had followed him all the way to France so he really did owe me at least a coffee. Right then he gave me a personal email address I could message him at, and said "Wow kid, you're a hustler!" That compliment was all I needed to know I had done well already.
When I got back to America I did end up getting that meeting. He followed through on his word. Nothing ever ended up coming of it because Gary had just recently invested in a competing startup. It was okay though because the point wasn't necessarily to get him to invest. The point was to let him know I'm a hustler too, and that I was someone he should recognize. And I got exactly that. So what have you done to get your hustle on today?