On Saturday night, Gary V. leveraged his incredible social media following to take the pre-orders for his new book - The Thank You Economy - to #1 on Amazon (an astounding 202,842% climb in a day).

The guy knows how to move a crowd… but that was online.

So what happens when he’s standing in a room full of hungry young entrepreneurs? 

Shit gets real.

I’ve now seen Gary speak three times. Once at NYU, once at TechStars for a day, and most recently, this past Wednesday. Does the guy “crush it?” Yes, he does. He really, really does. 

“Why?” do you ask? Because here he was digging into every company in the room, giving them honest feedback… Here he was explaining how he wrestles with his desire to “crush it” versus the time he spends with his family… Here he was explaining how he believes the future lies in “the humanization of business.”

“It’s amazing what you learn when you bury your ego.” Gary’s a polarizing figure. He even asked how many people think/thought he was a douche when they first heard of him. Even in a friendly crowd, many raised their hands. But by the end, I think he turned everyone in his favor.

How? Total honesty about himself and his philosophy of self-awareness.

“If you know who you are, you can win in any situation.” He talked a lot about really embracing who you are and putting that to work for you. For Gary, that’s his natural charisma. Some people get it, some people don’t, but “To [him], the truth is undefeated.”

So now, a room full of people feel that they have a closer connection to Gary - and indeed, they do, he has humanized himself by exposing his neurosis - which in turn makes them customers of his, jumping to buy his book and participate in the business that is Gary V. 

I don’t mean to sound skeptical. I honestly believe that Gary is exactly who he is - a passionate, driven, entrepreneur - but what he is, is a business, and a brilliant one at that.

At the end of the day, if I had to describe Gary, I might say he’s an ‘everyman philosopher.’ Whatever you call him: a wine-nut, a business, a person… I’m a fan.

P.S. - Gary posted a video about the night. Humanizing business, right before our eyes.