Although I’m not much of a betting man when it comes to the bright lights and free drinks of Vegas (Vegas baby!), I do take risks in business. The few times I’ve been to Las Vegas I typically employ the following strategy: place all the money I’m willing to bet in my left pocket, and put all my winnings in the right pocket. When the left pocket is empty I’m outa there on to the buffet to count my winnings!
What does this have to do with Gary Vaynerchuk, host of Wine Library TV, social media rock star and author of the top seller “Crush It” now available on Amazon and retailers nationwide? I’m getting to that so just hold on. Needless to say, Jon Moss is not one to bet on the ponies or even buy lottery tickets for that matter! My thought is you have a better chance of coming up with a good idea, working hard at it and scoring big time than winning the lottery. Heard once that most “instant millionaires” are broke and/or bankrupt with a few years anyway.
Business is different though. All bets are off and it’s go the gold or get eaten alive. I’ve been following the leaders of the social media evolution via Twitter – people like Chris Brogan, John Jantsch, and of course Gary Vanyerchuk. They provide inspiration, strategic thinking and practical tools for entrepreneurs, dreamers, doers and most everyone else tuning into their messages. I glean much from them.
Having spent half my life in Miami, I’m a Dolphins fan. Each year they break my heart and almost every week the Dolphins make me cry. So it’s Monday night and the Dolphins are playing the Jets. It’s bath night at the Moss House and I’m watching over my four-year old daughter as she splashes away. Checking my Twitter stream I see @garyvee tweet his excitement for the soon to start Jets game.
Hmmmm…Gary’s a huge Jets fan. I’m a huge Dolphins fan. There’s been a definite rivalry between the two teams. My memories of Jets-Dolphins games usually include them beating the Fins in the last minutes of the game or sticking it so bad to us that it hurt real bad. What hurt the most was going to Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami and hearing the Jets fans drown out the Dolfans at times. That was the worst – losing home field advantage in one’s hometown.
Gary’s been promoting his new book, Crush It, through all his media channels and I took note on his website where he illustrated how a person could “buy” some time with him by pre-purchasing a large number of books. How cool would it be to make a bet with him on the outcome of the football game?
Without thinking to much, I tweeted the following:
Twenty seconds later he responds:
As my daughter splashes water on the bathroom floor and all over my shirt the gravity of what I’ve done is starting to weigh in. Holy sh#$%t!!! Did I just say that? Did he just agree?????? Wait a second! We’re talking Dolphins and Jets – how much do those books cost again?!!!!??????
I must have verbalized some of my thoughts because at that moment my wife came down the hall asking “what’s going on?” “Nothing Dear,” I stammered while pondering my recent impulsive action.
My mind started racing: “What’s the line? Are the Dolpins favored? How much am I on the hook for if/when they lose? Oh crap – we’re playing the Jets. They always beat us at home. I’m dead meat.” In a distant corner of my mind I hear Hootie and the Blowfish playing that all to familar tune. I’m such a baby cuz the Dolphins make me cry. Would I be crying at the end of the night?
After telling my wife, who by the way was very supportive, yet not sure if this was such a wise thing to do especially because of the potential out-of-pocket. She kept saying, “I trust you.” Thanks honey – you have no idea how much that meant to me.
The game starts and I’m pacing the floor. I call my good friend from college for moral support. He and I have suffered over the years watching the Dolphins since we were freshman at FIU back in 1987. He, and he alone, will understand the gravity of the situation. I get his voicemail and leave a message asking him what the odds are for tonight’s game. He calls back and says “it’s funny you called. I’m at a casino and just placed a bet on the Dolphins.” Did I mention Paul lives in Las Vegas?
Our conversation goes something like this:
Paul: You did what?
Me: I bet Gary Vaynerchuk on Twitter that the Dolphins would beat the Jets. If they don’t I have to buy 100 of his books
Paul: Dude, it’s the Dolphins and Jets! Can you retract?
Me: I dunno. It’s Twitter dude
Paul: Oh man, this is big. This game has new meaning. I’ll be rooting even harder for them tonight
Me: Are they favored?
Paul: Well, Goldberg picked the Jets
Me: That’s great. Who did you pick?
Paul: I bet $10 on the Fins. But I can place a bet on the Jets for you – just in case you have to cover some losses
Me: (burying face in hands) I’ll get back with you
Okay, let’s watch the game. Only this time I’m watching a little bit differently than normal. Dolphins start off playing good, and the score at the end of the 1st quarter was 10-7 Miami. By the end of the 2nd quarter the score isn’t so good. Jets 13, Dolphins 10.
Halftime – I pace even more. The phone rings. It’s Paul. “Dude, are you good for 10 books if this thing doesn’t go my way”, I ask of him. “Yeah, put me down for 10”, he says.
During all this I had also called another friend. Whereas Paul was good for the football support, Jimmy was the one who’d understand why I made such a bet since he follows @garyvee on Twitter too.
“Dude, that is awesome”, exclaims Jimmy. Yeah, it’s awesome – can I put you down for 10 books? Jimmy agrees. His wife emails my wife: “we’re praying the Dolphins win tonight.” The sound of all this makes my wife feel a little better, and more importantly smile a bit.
Living in Tennessee, I don’t get to see Miami on TV that much anymore. Over the past couple of years I’ve theorized that when I watch the game they lose. If I don’t watch they sometimes lose, but sometimes win. They almost never win when I watch. I submit the last two games as evidence. Maybe I should turn the game off and not watch. At this point I’d do anything to increase my odds.
Defense rules the 3rd quarter as neither team scores. But Miami is mounting an impressive drive at the end and punches it in at the start of the 4th quarter. I’ve resigned myself to laying on the bed and staring at the ceiling while listening to the game.
The lead keeps changing, and we keep getting called for penalties. I’ve seen this before. We go toe to toe with the Jets and end up losing in the last minute because of a failed drive or a stupid penalty or even worse a fumble. Heck, I’ve watched the Dolphins blow a 20 point lead in the 4th quarter to the Jets. This ain’t over till it’s over!
But wait, could it really be happening? Are the Dolphins on the verge of a victory? Visions of being buried in books are replaced by thoughts of picking up Gary at the airport, showing him a bit of Chattanooga and spending time with him talking about my business and how everything he and others are saying can and should be applied in my life/business/industry.
And then it’s over. The final score reads Miami 31, Jets 27. There are no more seconds on the clock. The phone rings. It’s Paul. He just made $34 from his $10 bet. We both agree that I may have made a little bit more. As he put, the odds maker that he is, I made a 5:1 bet and no matter what happens the rest of the season this was the sweetest victory in a long time.
During the game I did not tweet at all. DMs were flying among friends, but I stayed silent. After the game I tweeted a smiley face whereas Gary was not happy at (with the result of the game) Check out his Twitter stream for his reactions to the game.
As for what happens next I don’t know. Would I have bought 100 books if the Dolphins lost? With the help of friends I’m certain we would collectively been able to make good.
Will Gary come to Chattanooga? I don’t know. What I do know is that I have not rooted for the Dolphins that hard in a long time! Sure was a different experience having some skin in the game. Reminds me of that saying: whereas the chicken makes a contribution, the pig is fully committed to breakfast
Oh, and in case you’re reading this Gary. Sorry, I won’t go double or nothing on November 1st. 😉