What It Really Takes to Win in Business – with Jack Welch and Gary Vaynerchuk at SXSW


On Saturday, I took myself along to witness a Q&A with former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch, and venture capitalist, Gary Vaynerchuk to find out what they think it takes to ‘win’ in business; here are some of their key findings. Enjoy!

Q) ‘What are the things is business that will never change, and what’s brand new?

Jack Welch’s main focus was to ‘hire people with passion…HAVE generosity – be a boss who wants people to succeed’. As he said: “LOVE to take care of your people – or work with a boss who is generous”. Whereas Vaynerchuk noted that one thing that’s always remained the same was quite simply ‘supply and demand’.

Both speed and upscaling were the two ‘new’ features in business according to the pair – e.g. the level of upscaling in a company such as Uber who’ve gone from ‘zero-40 billion dollars in 3-4 years, is something we would have never imagined 20 years ago’.

Q) What companies are under-valued and which would you say are over-priced?

Welch’s response to this was interesting – ‘Who can say what company is over or under valued? It’s all in the eye of the beholder’. Vaynerchuck however, pointed to Facebook being being under-priced – stating that it’s the time-frame and speed of growth that all play a role (or should play a role) in the true valuation of a company.

Q) What’s the best thing an investor can say to you [as a business owner]?

Gary Vaynerchuk: ‘having tenacity and be willing to change your mind and adapt’. As a VC himself, he stated that he places the greatest value on those that have the courage to shift and pivot (especially if they’ve made mistakes).

Welch: ‘Do/deliver what you say. Don’t bullshit. ‘Your credibility is key to you’ – they both stressed the importance of this in business, especially nowadays when everything we do and say is recorded online, offline and shared within milliseconds across the globe.

Q) What’s the best thing your employees can say about you {as a boss/business owner}?

Jack Welch: “He really cares about me”. Welch also stressed the importance of bosses/managers ensuring their employees know exactly where they stand – ‘tell people 3-4 times a year’.

Gary Vaynerchuk: “That I [as a manager/boss] am prepared t adjust, that I’m always prepared for the worse and that I will be there to protect them”.

Q) What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given regarding business?

Gary Vaynerchuk: (from his father) “If you buy something, you keep it”…he went on to explain, that simply put this means ‘always stick to your word’

Jack Welch: “Be yourself/stay authentic…like who you are but change as you learn about yourself”

“Business is a game and the best team wins…your job is to build the best team” Jack Welch

Gary Vaynerchuk and Jack Welch’s business books hot reads:

Business Insider
The Journal
New York Post

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