An illustration of Gary Vaynerchuk in a white suit with his hand over his chest, looking upward as flowers surround him
Illustrations: Guillem Casasus

GaryVee Is Still Preaching the Hustle Gospel in the Middle of a Pandemic

His message is what so many desperate people want to hear right now. It’s also dangerous.

Sarah Kessler
Published in
21 min readAug 12, 2020

--

There are few business maneuvers that Gary Vaynerchuk appears to love more than the flip. The Belarus-born, New Jersey-raised, straight-talking entrepreneur — “GaryVee” to his fans — regularly recommends flipping everything from sports cards to sports cars. He once created a special five-part video series devoted to his love of yard sales, and in January, suggested his fans flip 250 sweatshirts printed with the slogan “Hustle like my name is GaryVee,” congratulating via tweet those who succeeded in driving the price up on Ebay. So when the coronavirus essential supply schemers emerged in mid-March, like a teenage boy in the U.K. who sold squirts of hand sanitizer to his classmates, it wasn’t so much of a leap to conclude that, as one tweet put it, “this kid is 100% a GaryVee fan.”

Though there is no way to count exactly how many people publicly assumed that Vaynerchuk would support flipping essential supplies during a pandemic, there were enough that Vaynerchuk decided he needed to address them through his social channels. “There have been so many articles written about people hoarding hand sanitizer and wipes and things of that nature and flipping it, and I see a lot of people tagging me,” he said in a video posted on March 14, emphasizing his disapproval. “When there is a global pandemic and people need things and you hoard them to flip them on eBay and Amazon… That’s garbage, that’s not fucking entrepreneurship I look up to. That’s fucking disgusting horseshit.”

For more than a decade, Vaynerchuk has been an evangelist for a branch of entrepreneurism known as “hustle culture,” a philosophy that looks a lot like meritocracy, but with punchier slogans.

Distributed to his 4.5 million Facebook followers, 8.3 million Instagram followers, and 2.1 million Twitter followers, the video resembles the thousands of others Vaynerchuk has posted over the past 14 years: a raw, barely edited aesthetic, with Vaynerchuk addressing the camera head-on in the tone of a…

--

--

Sarah Kessler
Marker

Author and journalist, writing and editing at Medium’s OneZero.