Do you ever find yourself wondering what it would be like to ask your favourite entrepreneur all your most burning business questions? Reddit’s /r/IAmA section gives you exactly that opportunity. “IAmA” or “AMA” basically means “I am…” or “ask me anything.”
Even if you didn’t get a chance to ask questions, you can still go back and read what your peers inquired of these tech moguls. The responses are usually genuine, invaluable, and quite often hilarious. I’ve read dozens of AMAs over the years with great nuggets of information. With this in mind, I’m dedicating this series to scouring the Internet and finding the best Reddit AMAs with advice for startups and entrepreneurs. Enjoy!
Fresh out of college, I took my family wine business and grew it from a $3M to a $60M business in just five years by hosting a wine YouTube show. Now I run VaynerMedia, a 600+ digital agency, invest in companies like Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Tumblr, Uber, and Birchbox, and co-founded Vayner/RSE, a $25M investment fund.
I currently host The #AskGaryVee Show on YouTube, a Q&A show where I take questions via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook about social media, entrepreneurship, startups, and family business based on my experience of building successful, multi-million dollar companies.
Q: What do you think about MBAs and grad school in general?
A: I think that if you’re an entrepreneur, it’s a bad ROI. If you want to be a consultant for a big firm, it’s a good ROI.
Q: What’s your thoughts on Search Engine Optimization compared to Social Media?
A: I think that I day trade attention and there’s a better arbitrage on social media than SEO right now, but it depends on the business.
Q: When will you be acquiring the New York Jets?
A: Hoping for 25 years from this moment.
I think we all know the co-founder of Microsoft and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Q: What do you see human society accomplishing in the next 20 years?
A: First is an energy innovation to lower the cost and get rid of green house gases…Second is progress on disease particularly infectious disease…Third are tools to help make education better…
Q: How soon do you think quantum computing will catch on, and what do you think about the future of cryptography if it does?
A: Microsoft and others are working on quantum computing. It isn’t clear when it will work or become mainstream. There is a chance that within 6-10 years that cloud computing will offer super-computation by using quantum. It could help use solve some very important science problems including materials and catalyst design.
Q: Are there any purchases that you are adamant about being frugal over?
A: I think people’s spending instincts are set when they are in high school. I don’t like spending a lot of money on clothes or jewelry (for me – I do like to buy nice things for my wife).
Q: What’s your fastest time in expert minesweeper without editing the .ini file?
A: Sometimes you just get very lucky based on the configuration. I forget the exact time but I think I had a time below 10 when it was just right.
Q: …can we please have another Age of Empires? Not sure if this is your department, but I figured I’d ask since you were here…
A: I will look into this. How many empires do you need?
Zip2, PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla and SolarCity. Started off doing software engineering and now do aerospace & automotive.
Q: You seem to have had to deal with a tremendous amount of adversity in a few of your ventures. Do you have any advice for those dealing with seemingly insurmountable adversity?
A: There is a great quote by Churchill: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
Q: How do you learn so much so fast?…
A: …Frankly, though, I think most people can learn a lot more than they think they can. They sell themselves short without trying.
One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree — make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to.
Q: What daily habit do you believe has the largest positive impact on your life?
Q: Would you ever consider becoming a politician?
Star of CNBC’s The Profit, Marcus is a prominent business strategist, investor in small businesses, and philanthropist.
Q: What is the best advice ever given to you?
A: To be myself and not try to impress people. Sometimes people wont like you and thats ok.
Q: Why do you often complete your due dilligence AFTER the cheque was given on the show? Do you have the business owners sign a contract stating that you may rescind your offer within a specific amount of time?
A: I always rely on peoples words first. It tells me a lot about them. They always know that they cant cash the check until I check things out. I want to continue to trust people and not let some ruin it for others.
Q: How do you determine the value of a business? What approach do you use?
A: Never a perfect formula. You must understand the multiples of like businesses. I look at tangible net worth of business, current revenue, where I see margin improvement and expense reduction. Most people go off of cash flow but if the business is struggling its much harder. Often times I use my gut and measure my risk. The greater the risk, the more return I need.
Q: What is the most important trait you look for in either an employee and/or business owner?
A: Transparency and enthusiasm. I want them to be passionate about what they do and believe in it as much as I do.
Q: What are the key qualities you think a small business needs to have to be able turn their business around from a failure to a success?
A: …1. do you have the right product, is it relevant, fresh and current 2. is your process right, the way you make it, distribute it, merchandise it 3. do you have the right people, are you willing to make the changes.
Q: Is there a class you would recommend every college student takes, no matter the major?
Q: What was your first job?
A: I owned a lawn company at 11
Have a favorite AMA you want to see featured? Let us know in the comments section!