The Horror Pitchfest: An Honest Review of Gary Vaynerchuk, Success Squared and Success Resources Australia
Firstly, this is NOT the post I wish I was writing today.
I do not make a career out of being bitchy or critical.
It does not delight me.
Instead, I was hoping to share with you my illustrated notes of wisdom learned from a business conference I was excited to go to.
But I don’t have ones like that for you.
Why is that?
Because yesterday, I went to the worst business conference I’ve ever attended.
It was the stuff of nightmares, of horror convention folklore.
I’d heard about such events before, but couldn’t comprehend it until I was actually there.
Fuck all content or wisdom to speak of, much less illustrate. Just hardcore sales pitches.
But first, if you don’t know who I am:
I am a self-made multi-millionaire. Not in theory. In cash.
I’m a #1 best-selling author. Over the weekend my latest books were #1 and #3 in Australia.
I am a serial entrepreneur of 7 figure companies.
And I want to shout from the top of my fucking lungs:
“These conventions are a waste of your time and money and energy. This is NOT how you get rich. This is BULLSHIT.”
I feel seriously enraged at the shitshow of sleazy hardcore sales techniques. It was marketing at its absolute shittiest.
And I feel protective over all the people who were there, the thousands of people who thought they were paying for a useful business conference and instead got trapped in a 9 hour infomercial.
So I’m writing this to hopefully stop other people from wasting their precious time and money on these piss poor excuses for a business conference. Not to mention getting sucked in by those sleazy sales people and ending up tens of thousands of dollars in debt on shoddy get rich quick programs.
So, why the fuck I was there?
I saw an ad for a Gary Vaynerchuk conference.
I read one of his books a few years ago. It was mostly fluff, but some interesting points.
From his videos he seemed like an engaging speaker. He appears to have a lot of business success.
So I thought it might be interesting to learn from him.
Here’s the kind of marketing material I saw:
There was a mention of a guest speaker, but it was far down the page and said yet to be announced.
There is now more information on their sales page, but as of a couple of weeks ago, that was not the case.
They sold most tickets before announcing guest speaker(s).
Call me a naive motherfucker, but guess who I thought would be actually teaching for a decent chunk of the event?
The dude that they had on all their promo material and ads.
Investing a day in something isn’t a choice I make lightly.
I homeschool my kids. Everyday is full and delicious and important.
I have two books to write and illustrate in six weeks to deliver to my publishers.
But I figure someone like Gary V would respect the sanctity of my time and make it worth my while.
So I front up the day of the conference. It’s a 2 hour drive, so I left the house before my kids were awake.
It starts, and the American emcee is completely off key.
He starts pulling out the most tired NLP bullshit out of the bag.
He wants everyone standing up, high fiving each other, repeating words he says, yelling affirmations about how ready we are.
It does not feel good, or exciting, or authentic.
It feels like I’ve suddenly fallen into a Tony Robbins commercial and I can’t get out.
The first speaker comes out. And I’m disappointed it’s not Gary, but I figure he needs a warm up act.
The dude is Tony Nash, founder of Booktopia, and he is excellent.
Humble, thoughtful, good pieces of wisdom from his business journal.
Tony is a good sort, and I’m impressed.
I think: well, if I just get to hear from great, seasoned entrepreneurs like this, this will be a good use of time.
Spoiler alert: I won’t, and it isn’t.
The next speaker comes out. It’s not Gary. This will continue being the theme for the rest of the day.
This time however, it’s a different kind of speaker.
It’s not lovely, thoughtful Tony sharing his gold ingots of hard earned wisdom without wanting anything back.
This guy is a smooth talking “_____ expert”.
First you think he’s a funny, good bloke here to help you with good information.. But then as the moments progress it slowly dawns on you that he still hasn’t told you anything useful, and in fact, he’s actually just doing a sales pitch with long testimonials and screenshots of how much YOU TOO COULD EARN SELLING ON ______… if only you sign up for his program today for the low, low, low price of $3500.
This goes on for over an hour.
The overly produced videos. Getting all his apparent clients in the room to stand up. Trying to incite a stampede of orders to the tables at the sides.
It feels increasingly uncomfortable. Increasingly hard core sales techniques. The worst of the worst in action. Exactly the kind of people and tactics that give marketing and business a terrible name.
The worst part is, I hear from people who’ve fallen for the slick sales pitch.
How the $3500 isn’t enough to learn what you need to know.
How you then have to pay $30,000 for private coaching.
How there is always another inner circle you need to pay more to get access to the information you need to succeed.
It does not improve from there.
After that guy there is the stocks guy. Then the property guy.
All with their hour+ long sales pitch.
I hear more stories from people who’ve invested in them. And the horrific, underhanded dealings and behaviour that happen from them.
Oh and all those people rushing to the orders table to buy now? Half of them are paid employees. Gotta get that social proof in somehow, right?
Want to know how these (shithouse) business models work?
These “experts” have usually PAID to be on stage. That, or they have a joint venture where the conference organisers take a cut of their day’s sales.
You’ve paid to be there. But it’s not enough.
Not enough to give you actual content.
Not enough to teach you anything useful.
Not enough to respect your time or money.
I feel trapped in a room full of hungry people with lies being sold to them.
I storm out often, fuming and shaking at just how much I’ve been duped. But I feel like I can’t leave completely. Always on tenterhooks waiting for when the rare GaryV will finally arrive.
Gary Vaynerchuk is the worm, the bait.
We are all here to see him. We took the bait, and now we are hooked on a day-long infomercial of the worst kind of bullshit conpreneurs on the planet.
The event starts at 8:30am.
It is after 4 fucking o’clock in the afternoon that the bait makes his way onto the stage.
He speaks for barely 40 minutes.
Meandering, nonsensical. Completely opposing statements said one after the other.
Here’s some treats for you:
“You aren’t sharing on social media because you’re afraid of being judged. You need to go home right now and have a hard conversation with someone in your life. Your mother or father. Or your siblings or friends. So then you can start using your voice.”
“The only reason any of you have problems with any of your families is your own ego, pure and simple. If you didn’t have an ego, you wouldn’t have a problem. That’s why I don’t have a problem. I would never have a problem.”
“I am 100% about empathy. That’s what I am really teaching everyone here.”
and then his parting words?
“Just remember, everyone go home and PUNCH YOUR MOTHER IN THE MOUTH.”
Sidenote: in a country gripped in a epidemic of violence against women… where 10 women have been murdered in the last 22 days (many from family violence)… what on EARTH would cause a man to tell over 3000 people (mostly men) to commit physical violence against a woman. Even as a “joke” that’s not.fucking.funny.
Why on earth would I ever illustrate this shitstream?
Here’s another treat for you:
“You need to be creating 100 pieces of quality content on social media every day. I am trying to create 1000 pieces of content on social media every day. I judge myself that I’m being a slack fuck if I’m not doing that. So if you’re not even creating 100 pieces of content every single day, imagine what I think of you!”
I think to myself:
- I have built million dollar companies that are more than enough to sustain me and my family and I do NOT need to create 100 pieces of content a day.
- If I created 100 pieces of content a day, my children would not see my face without a motherfucking phone in front of it. That is NOT a life worthy of replicating.
- 1000 pieces of content a day. Does this guy understand fucking MATH or how time works? If you sleep for 7 hours a day, that means you need to release more than 1 piece of “quality content” per minute every minute for every hour of the rest of the day from the moment you wake up to the moment you fall asleep again.
- This is not a burnout-proof way of living. This is not a heartful way to live, or thrive.
I think to myself:
Does he know this is the kind of event he signed up for? Surely not! Why would he EVER put his name and personal brand behind something so horrific, so dehumanising, so obviously rotten!
He says during his veering randomfest:
“I will outsell anyone here on this stage. Without the shitty sales techniques.”
And the whole crowd, mad with 8 hours of being NLPed and pressured and sales, bursts into wild applause.
But here’s the fucking kicker:
He KNOWS that he is the tempting worm that got us all here.
That held us all captive in a room through 8 hours of horrific infomercials wanting tens of thousands of dollars from us.
He’s been paid handsomely for it.
He knows. And he is profiting HUGELY from it.
He is gaslighting us.
He sold our day’s attention to the highest bidder.
And we are the ones paying for it.
I hear from others, who have been to GaryV events around Australia, in the US and UK.
EXACTLY THE SAME EXPERIENCE.
He is not the only one.
Tony Robbins. Robert Kiyosaki.
The worst of the worst high-pressure, manipulative marketing techniques.
This industry SUCKS.
Feel free to email me if you’ve been roped into these other horror pitchfests.
Out of a full day’s lineup, there was only ONE woman.
And no racial diversity, no BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour).
It’s 2018, motherfuckers.
The least you could do is let someone other than a white man try to sell me a horrifically overpriced bullshit fest. EQUAL OPPORTUNITY FOR SPAMMERS!
I would like to say that this is NOT the usual experience for business conferences.
Gary V, Success Resources Australia and Success Squared should be fucking ashamed of themselves for even pretending to be one.
Business conferences are where you go to be uplifted, inspired, taught. Given a bag full of practical tools to take home and start using. Inspiring, thoughtful talks from entrepreneurs who are humble, share their insights freely to raise everybody up.
It’s what I expected (+ got) when I saw Jim Collins, Verne Harnish + Liz Wiseman at the Growth Faculty. They were exceptional speakers that we got to learn from all day instead of 40 fucking minutes (gasp!) with actual useful content (OMG!) not just fake sales bullshit.
Ausmumpreneur Conference is just the same. Authentic, heart-centred. Real. Actual wisdom.
Not a fucking infuriating, belittling, daylong infomercial that degrades and takes and takes and takes.
Throughout the day, the
speakers scammers kept asking everyone:
“WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE? YELL OUT YES I DO IF YOU DO!”
And so many people would. Seekers, wanting, open hearts.
And these people would go on to tell us the course we need to buy for $5,000 today ONLY to make that happen.
Now here’s the thing. I’m a multi-millionaire. And this kind of shit is not the way to get rich.
Yes, invest in your education.
But do your slow, thoughtful research on who is a good teacher. Who doesn’t put you tens of thousands of bucks in debt to learn from them. Who turns up and serves YOU first so you know who they really are. Who delivers on what they promise. Who don’t make you make you pay more and more to get closer to their inner circles of wisdom. Who respects your time and energy and sovereignty.
Not some shiny, pushy salesman who you’ve known for less than an hour while caged in a pitchfest room.
So skip these bullshit conferences. Find your own path. You can create your own abundance in YOUR own way and time. With teachers who are worthy of your time, and who treat yours as precious too.
I got home late last night, bleary eyed and exhausted and enraged.
And my children had already gone to bed.
And I missed seeing their eyes open today. I missed a precious day with my beautiful kids, one I won’t ever get back.
Had it been a day that filled up my well, that gave me tools to walk the path with, that inspired and uplifted me, that helped continue tend to and nurture my family and our finances, it would have been worth it.
Instead, Gary and Success Resources Australia lied to me, and to all of us.
They stole a day from 3,000 people.
They took our day, our joy, time with our families, one whole day of our glorious, fucking beautiful lives.
They filled it with indignity, shame, pressure, pain, lies.
For many, they took even more: credit card details.
And it’s not good enough.
It wasn’t ever good enough in the past either.
But it’s time for these pisspoor pitchfests to go get extinct.
To Gary and Success Resources:
So VERY much better.
This world needs it, desperately.
And you do too.
This life is too grand, and too tender, and too precious for anything but.