5 Lessons From Hillel Fuld
If I had to describe Hillel Fuld in one word, it would be “mensche”, a yiddish term used to define a refined individual – they type you would trust around your kids. The internet, however, knows him as a popular tech blogger, marketer and Twitter personality. Hillel, who became CMO of the popular team messaging app Zula earlier this year, recently had the opportunity to speak at a Microsoft Bizspark event in Israel. Of the many thoughts, tips and tricks he shared, here are five that stood out to me the most.
“Social Media” is Dead
The term “social media” is an oxymoron and has been confusing social network users for quite some time. “Social” infers a two-way interaction of both listening and (if necessary) talking. “Media” infers a one-way form of communication, mainly broadcasting. Broadcasting your brand or product on a platform like Twitter without listening to, or engaging in conversations with, other users is just “Media” and is not “Social”. Forget the term “social media” and think of it as a powerful communication tool you can use to provide value to other people.
Widen Your Range
When it comes to corporate identity, it’s good to know who you are and where you’re headed. Unfortunately, when it comes to writing valuable content for your company’s blog, people tend to say self-centered. Your blog posts are not for you they’re for your readers. As a side benefit, you may grow an audience of loyal readers who will come back looking for more. Take Buffer as an example. They’re a social tool, often times referred to as a “twitter app”. But their blog is full of useful content, ranging from social networking techniques to proper sleeping habits. This has helped them build an exceptionally loyal audience and their content is widely shared. As a result, I’m sure many more people have become Buffer users. Good for them.
In the words of Sara Bareilles, “You got the talking down, just not the listening.” I believe it is from Hillel that I heard the tidbit “We have two ears and one mouth and we should use them proportionally.” Too often in business – be it in marketing, content writing or even in-office interactions – people like to chat far more often than they like to listen. This prevents companies from hearing the needs and demands of their customers and employees from hearing the thoughts and ideas of their co-workers. Take the time to listen, it will help you fulfill the needs of others.
Hillel and I have a mutual friend, a seasoned medical professional who is well known for his expertise. When I first met this gentleman, he was starting an MBA program. Addressing the elephant in the room, I asked him “Why are you going for an MBA if you’re doing so well as a doctor?”. His reply was, “Why would I ever stop learning new things?”. Similarly, one of the most important lessons I learned from Hillel is not only to keep learning, but to do things that are uncomfortable. Starting a blog or opening a twitter account for the first time are not so simple from a personal perspective. It means opening doors to a new set of rules and a new type of social interaction. But this is a necessary mentality to have for anyone who wants to grow as a professional, or frankly as a person.
Be a Giver
One of the most painful lines I’ve heard at a startup is “it’s not my job to do that.” That stems from the same natural tendency to think “what’s in it for me?” before engaging in an activity. Think beyond yourself and help when you can. In today’s world, help can come in the form of introductions, plugs and brief conversations. In Hillel’s case, this mentality has helped him land over 68 people in new employment positions and introduced startups and VCs to one another for what have become very beneficial relationships. What’s in it for you? The satisfaction of making a difference.