Shama Hyder is a web and TV personality, a bestselling author, and the founder & CEO of Zen Media, a global marketing and digital PR firm, which specializes in helping both B2B and B2C companies master the digital world. She has been named the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by FastCompany.com. Shama has also been honored at both the White House and The United Nations as one of the top 100 young entrepreneurs in the country.
Thanks to her understanding of the power of social media, she was able to reach success at a very young age and is now helping companies implement influencer marketing, experiential and digital storytelling, to create meaningful connections with their clients and increase revenues.
From Grad Student to “Millennial Master of the Universe”
Shama was finishing her master’s in organizational communication and technology at the College of Texas at Austin and needed to decide on a topic for her thesis. These were the super early days of social media, but she was sure it would be the next “big thing.” So she decided to write her thesis on Twitter, which had 2,000 users at the time. To give you a reference: By the second quarter of 2021, Twitter had 206 million monetizable daily active users worldwide, which clearly shows Shama’s foresight.
After graduating, she started looking for a job, only to find that the career she wanted to pursue did not exist. At the time, most people were convinced that social media was a passing trend, and there were no such things as social media and digital PR agencies. So at age 22, Shama founded Zen Media and has helped since then companies like Chase Business, the U.S. Navy, DFW Airport, MaryKay, and Tupperware succeed in the digital age.
And now here’s Shama Hyder.
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Podcast with Shama Hyder. The Zen of Social Media Marketing.
people, thought, professor, students, community college, opportunities, subject line, teaches, school, business, ut, communication, brand, email, high school, zen, classes, feel, question, mike
Shama Hyder, Mike Malatesta
Mike Malatesta 00:07
Hey everybody welcome back to the HOW TO HAPPEN podcasts, I’m very grateful that you’re here today, and I’m glad that you listen, subscribe and share these episodes with your friends. That’s what makes the show grow, you’re definitely gonna want to listen, and share today’s episode because I have Shama Hyder with me. SHERMER Welcome to the show. Thanks so much for having me, my pleasure to be here. Yeah, I’m very excited about this because she is a super accomplished, entrepreneur, and visionary and I’m going to tell you a little bit about her and then we’re going to, we’re going to dive in.
So, Shama Hyder is a visionary strategist for the digital age, a web, and TV personality, a best selling author, and the award winning CEO of Zen media. You can find them media at Zen media calm and Zen media is a global marketing and digital PR firm, and also a b2b tech PR firm, I’m not sure what you prefer there but is that, do I have, right. Yeah. The majority of our clients are tech driven b2b companies tech driven b2b Got it, okay.
So she has been named the Zen Master of Marketing by Entrepreneur Magazine. It’s quite an honor, by the way, and the millennial Master of the Universe by Fast Company comm. She’s also been honored at both the White House and the United Nations as one of the top 100 young entrepreneurs in the country. That’s fabulous. It just keeps going here, she’s the best selling author of the zen of social media marketing. Now in its fourth edition and momentum, how to propel your marketing and transform your brand in the digital age. She’s a keynote speaker. She’s an influencer she’s worked with brands, global brands Movado Chase Tupperware Inc 5000 I mean you name it. She’s done it. So I ask every guest, the same question to get started and that is how did happen for you.
Shama Hyder 02:16
Great, great question and really cool title for the podcast to Mike so thank you, it’s, it’s funny because I think life is what people like to say life is what you know how you respond to certain things I think it’s a nice combination of right time, right place, and then how you respond to it right so I think there’s two elements one of sort of being fate or luck or whatever you want to call it, and then the other elements of, you know what you do with that given opportunity. So in my case, by the way, I feel like any his student of history should be so incredibly privileged to be alive right now, like if you’re listening to this, I hope you’ve taken a second, a minute. A few hours to contemplate how incredibly lucky we are to have the opportunities to technology the a that blows my mind that I think I you know I find myself interested just as much in history as I am in the future so it’s a nice little mix of technology and history together. But, but that being said, it really is the background to. How did it happen for me which is, You know I graduated at a time where social media was very new and very new. I mean I did my thesis on Twitter when it had 2000 users. You can get more new than that. That really is what propelled my career because at that time I graduated and I thought I would do what you’re supposed to do, which our system teaches you from day one, which is go get a job.
We set up students
Shama Hyder 03:45
get jobs and so when I graduated I thought that’s what I would do. Industry didn’t exist. People just be looked at, so don’t worry. Sure, what is that, what is social media. What’s Twitter what’s, you know is Facebook is something my 13 year old, it uses and it’s a really early days, and that’s how it started. And so, you know, at that point I had a choice whether I would continue to follow traditional conventional wisdom and walk away from what I felt like was really a turning point in the business world and communications at large, or, or dive in and I think the beauty of being 22 and naive, is that you get to dive in. And so that, that is how indeed it started for me.
Mike Malatesta 04:35
And when you say, well, first of all, when you say you were sort of a student of history, where does that come from I’m curious. It comes from being a very nerdy little child. Okay, fair enough. It comes through. Yeah, you know,
Shama Hyder 04:52
I mean, my dad’s. My dad always studied history and informally right like I think you those questions where it’s like if you weren’t doing what you do now and in my case it’s like helping you weren’t helping these b2b companies, dominate today in the digital world, what would you be doing and the answer is maybe be a history professor, like, and so yeah I just think history teaches us so many things. I mean the Styles was one hell of a drug, but, but I enjoy I enjoy history and I always have. You used to watch history channel with my dad growing up I just, I think there’s I think everything happens in patterns, and we keep repeating yourself as humanity. You know, as a species, it’s very easy to see those patterns being repeated over and over. So I really do believe if we can learn from it, then perhaps we won’t be doomed to repeat the, the negative aspects of our history. Okay,
Mike Malatesta 05:49
yeah, fair enough. That makes sense. So when you before you got to college, what were you thinking about in terms of a career you mentioned sort of the path of. And it’s sort of maybe every parent’s path for children right go get an education, get a job, you can count on and, and, you know life is. Life is good right but so what were you thinking about before you got into college and started getting exposed to, or the convergence of social media sort of caught up with your thinking about where you want it to go next.
Shama Hyder 06:21
Funnily enough, and perhaps those who are listening who have often found themselves with very disparate interests might, might find this of some value. Funnily enough, I went to high school and a magnet program and I graduated with sort of like an undergrad degree, I don’t know how to say it, but I went to an academy and media arts and technology like literally that’s what it’s called a matte Academy Media Arts and Technology, and so I majored in high school, in, in media and technology like we had our own media studio in school, like if you think about like oh that sounds cool now but you’re talking like 2002 2003 So, you know, a different time in place. I did my like, you know, I did my CCNA my Cisco Certified network administration training which it’s, it’s so nerdy. It’s creating routers and network cables and so high school actually I was totally immersed in technology. And then, and still weirdly enough when I graduated, I, this is such a random thing but I have another sort of secret love. And that secret love was cosmetology, it
is you look at me my quick like,
Mike Malatesta 07:42
I didn’t see that one coming but it’s cool, it’s cool,
Shama Hyder 07:44
it’s a cool nology and so I told my parents, I’m thinking about going to cosmetology school, and they were fully supportive. There was a point where that and don’t want to go to college, maybe I’ll go, I’ll go be you know, I’ll start my own salon or spa, whatever, I don’t know what you did i just i You had a passion for cosmetology and makeup and skincare so I thought I’d follow that just, but I got a full ride to the Mexico state law. I got a I got into the business school and the combs business school at UT, which is consistently one of the top business schools in the country, right. So what got into the program, I didn’t. By the way, end up majoring in business I majored in communication, we can talk about that switch and how I shocked my, my career counselors, back then, but but yes I had a full ride and funnily funny story my boyfriend at that time, you know, he’s the one that really encouraged me to go, go to college, like I had zero pressure from my parents to go do that, it just wasn’t a thing. And, and I did I figured okay well I have a, you know I got up, I got a full ride and school was never hard for me. So I think I was one of these kids least had full fully nerdy kids who enjoyed school. Um, and so yeah so I ended up going to college but that those are the things that I was interested in at 1617. It was, you know, in fact, then, social media, that phrase wasn’t even, it wasn’t even a phrase.
Mike Malatesta 09:25
Yeah, and where. So where did this opportunity for the magnet school come from some was that. Did you find it did your parents find it did it find you.
Shama Hyder 09:36
Yes, another good question. So, I found it, and you do have to apply and get accepted and all of that, the weight. So, interestingly enough, what they were trying to do and I recognize this a lot more now that I’m older and out of the school system, the school district that I was part of, was, was quite the schools within the school district, I would say were very distinct so you had certain schools within the district that were that were much more diverse than other schools. Right, so the school I would have ended up going to that where I, You know, based on my geography and whatnot, was, was a school that they I think they were really trying to attract kids, and mix it up a little bit so I think the goal for the district was, we’ve got this one high school that is underperforming, how do we bring it up to par, so they thought well why don’t we take students from the district that wouldn’t fall into the school and give them an opportunity and we can use the the Academy of the magnet magnet program to attract students so I did end up going to the high school that I would have after middle school I applied and got in, so it was a little bit of both, and I think it’s funny that you asked it that way though Mike, is that I always looked for opportunities. And so, I found that
Mike Malatesta 10:57
I know that’s amazing. Yeah, that’s amazing. You look for him and you find them crazy.
Shama Hyder 11:01
You know what, what a shocker, but I’ll give you another example. In Part of this was like, I think because I’ve always questioned things and I’ve always been curious and I never necessarily accepted the first answer that was given to me. And so another example of this is when I was in high school, I was interested in taking classes in community college like I, I’d heard that, you know, people went to community college in my, in my neighborhood and whatnot. And I thought, I wonder if as a high school student, I can take courses at a community college. And so I did a little bit of homework and I found out, well, not only could you take classes at a community college, but those credits would transfer over. And not only that, they had a program for juniors and seniors in high school, this community college did like they have a whole separate department for this, that lets juniors and seniors in high school take community college classes and transfer those credits to whatever state school they want. And so I did, I took that program, and by the time I entered ut when by the time I entered the University of Texas at Austin. I had enough credits to be almost a junior,
Mike Malatesta 12:13
Shama Hyder 12:14
Yeah, and it was like this but they like they didn’t come to school and tell you about it, you know what I mean you had to go digging and look for it. And then when I get to UT, there’s another funny story. They told me they said you can take 15 hours a semester, and I said, Why me so well it’s because, well, that’s what we recommend for students and I said well yeah but that puts me at a graduation rate of four years, I want to graduate in two. So, and they said well you have to take a lot more credits and I was like okay, I get that, and said, What do I need to do. And they say you got to go talk to the dean. Okay, so go to the dean’s office and I’m thinking okay I gotta go. I got the interview I got to make my case I go to, you know, the front desk.
I would like to be four hours.
Shama Hyder 12:57
Wait, she gets out a form and she says please fill out this form that says you would like to take more hours. I filled it out, she stamped it she said you can now take more hours.
Mike Malatesta 13:07
Okay, simple, and that, that magnet school was that an area. It was in Dallas, it was in Dallas, okay, I was just thinking, imagining, like fast forward to today, what the, what that magnet school might look like maybe you know because you know that the Austin area at least in Dallas probably to have become very popular with tech companies, and so I just thought well you know maybe it’s like the killer place to go now, maybe there’s like a line around the block to try to get in there. No, I don’t know if it’s that different, still. Okay, yeah, I was just curious. Hey Mike, yeah we’ll figure it out. Yeah.
Shama Hyder 13:54
Can we pause for just a second. The recording has stopped. This is so sorry, I’m gonna have to run my phone down to my husband, because I’ll just tell you off the record, I ordered a birthday present for him that’s coming from Europe, okay and they’ve been trying to get the delivery scheduled for a week now and the guy texted me and said they’re about to call you, I don’t want to cut us off in the middle somewhere, so if you will give me just a minute, I’m sorry I’ve been waiting all week for this call.
Shama Hyder 14:27
Yeah, I’m just gonna run this down to him as a call, he can answer and I’ll be back and then we won’t be interrupted. Okay,
Perfect. Thank you. Thank you. You’re welcome. Thanks. Hi, good.
Shama Hyder 17:35
Sorry. Yeah, yours we can start. We’re gonna be an easier. Mix free.
Mike Malatesta 17:43
Okay, Well that’s perfect. I’m gonna start with. Well I’m going to start with cosmic cosmetology and then I’m going to go to.
Okay, yeah, back to you.
Mike Malatesta 17:52
Okay, now just, I’ll start and then I’ll count down 321 again and then we’ll just go.
This meeting is being recorded.
Mike Malatesta 18:03
- Okay, so I’m I’m curious about the cosmic cosmetology so you’ve, you were interested in it, maybe you were considering it, you went to UT and now you’ve, you know, done all the things we were talking about at the beginning of the podcast but have you ever gotten back to it you’re interested in it and maybe with, you know, your, you know like a skincare line or I don’t know something, something like that or I’m just curious if it just is. Okay. It’s in the it’s in the mind. Yeah,
Shama Hyder 18:37
you know, and it’s funny because now I see like all these YouTube influencers and the beauty, you know when it blew up. If I’ve done that, that’s the road I would have gone down to right because it might eventually I think what happens is your passions always find their way emerge. And you, for me that’s really been true, Because like what I do now, there was a short while. Well, when I first got into school I was trying. I wanted to do when I was in business school, and I think he told you I switched to communication. And I remember my career counselor calling me and saying, Are you sure, and I said yes because she said we have a huge waitlist of students wanting to get into business school. We don’t usually have anybody who transfers out of their business. Yeah. And as I understand, things that I do I want to transfer out. And part of what I was playing was playing with was maybe I do journalism, because that was the other things my passion for history, communication technology there were so many things I found fascinating. Even a brief stint with the, you know, in perhaps the medical industry. And still, but then journalism was changing so much but what do you do today, it’s such a great blend of all those things it’s a blend of media, the blend of technology, it’s, it’s just a perfect blend of all the stuff.
Mike Malatesta 20:03
And when you say that, that’s interesting when you because we talked about your to your books at the beginning. I watch some of your videos and maybe they’re from Instagram, I’m not sure but the, you talk about the writing process and I actually want to get into that a little bit with you but were you writing whether journaling or anything at that at that age when you were making that move to communications or before even
Shama Hyder 20:34
always writing. In fact, even before doing tech in elementary, middle school, I used to write I won, you know, I won poetry competitions I want creative writing awards. So I communication I think was always a form like a strength, and then somehow, you know, technology comes into play and it’s taken to the next level.
Mike Malatesta 20:57
Okay, and which, by the way, I love that about you that you’ve been writing, you know, ever. Basically your whole life, that’s just how I like to write and I just am amazed by people who have the discipline to do it regularly because they let because they like to or maybe sometimes because they have to concern a deadline or whatever but just the ability to sit down and write, get your thoughts is. It’s a great skill. So, anyway, you started young, congratulations. So you decided to make this change from business. So, actually, this is just really fascinating so you get to you get to UT. Your, you’ve got Junior status because of your community college work, you get into the business school, which, as you mentioned is very difficult, and you decide that you’re going to transfer out of that into communications. So you’ve got, I mean, you come in you must they must be looking at you like, Okay, so here’s this, you know, maybe over performer super performer whatever nerdy whatever they want to be saying but someone who’s really really gotten off to a fantastic start versus probably most of your classmates, into this school, and then you decide. I you know I just want to get into communications, was there something in particular that happened, or a series of things that happen that, that made you make, what is, or at least what some people like your advisor would consider to be, maybe even a mistake, kind of thing.
Shama Hyder 22:32
When you asked that Mike, do you mean like, what, what compels me to keep moving forward,
Mike Malatesta 22:38
no What. No What compelled you to make the change could you’ve been thinking about it but what actually was it that where you finally were like, Okay, I’m gonna go do this because I’m thinking it may not have been just a spontaneous thing is probably something you considered.
Shama Hyder 22:53
Yeah, so you know it’s funny because I got to UT. And I will say like you I had the community college experience which I thought was phenomenal. I think community colleges are so underrated, because my professors were amazing. They had deep passion for the extra I took a government class they took a history class, they took science classes and these, the professors were, I mean, they, they were phenomenal right they like, they were great, both as, as teachers, but also subject matter experts, Something I learned by the way about universities I didn’t realize this until I’ve gotten into the university world is that, you know as you go up the chain, and your professor let’s see at a respected university, sometimes there’s a lot of pressure to do research. So really your first hat is as a researcher and you’re teaching because you have to, to be able to research the things you want to research.
Shama Hyder 23:50
so it almost like subsidizes your research and publication, it’s like, you know, you go and teach these students versus what I found in community college was a lot of professors who love to teach and that’s their primary passion and that’s it, that’s what they care about so not spending time researching, and now, by all means not Cooper everybody or this was just something I learned that research was such a big component for so many people, so many professors at at UT and other places in general. So I get to UT expecting it could be like my community college, which generally average class size was like, 30 students, you had a professor who was deeply committed, it felt a lot more like high school even right. It’s an extension. And now, you might end up at UT which is a huge public university, and my class my freshman class for certain things, three different, and it’s very different and you don’t even see a professor, sometimes it’s like the TA, who comes in, they’re doing most of the lessons you see the professor once in a while and then you wait, Right, but it’s like a, it’s so to me I was like, I guess this school is ended up just auditing a couple of classes and they ended up, auditing, a couple of classes and Communication School to the different building completely different you know Canvas part of the school, and they loved it I mean I’m talking to audit as like, go sit down during my lunch break and watch professors you just sit in the class and learn. And I, you know, and that’s where I found a couple of professors when I really loved like I wanted, and this is the other thing I realize it’s not so much the classes you pick, that’s new secondary it’s like what they see in business, it’s not the job but the boss. You pick your you should pick your boss not your job, you want to learn from where you want to grow with you feel like you could, you know, would be a good mentor, to some degree. I think that’s true of colleges, it’s less about the class are more about the professor, and for me that was really true, and it just happened that when I was taking these journalism classes, these communication classes. I was jiving a lot better with those professors and I like that was a much meaningful connection for me. so that’s why I made this switch because I thought, you know, I don’t want to go through school and don’t want to go through college and be miserable or like not enjoy it i I’d rather you know and I thought, you know, whatever do the degree is secondary. Then I realized that, unless you were going to be an engineer or a doctor, your degree didn’t matter as much as what you did with it right like what you learn what you what you gained from it. So I think that was an understanding I had even going into school.
Mike Malatesta 26:41
Well that’s a, that’s a mature understanding for someone just going into school because it feels to me like, like my two daughters, you know, graduated from college they. It feels like they and their, their friends and stuff sort of felt like if I study this this is what I’m going to have to do something related to, you know that degree where I got, I got an English degree a long time ago and I’ve never wanted to be a teacher and it was never a desire of mine. And I think it prepared me to do. Well, like you put, you know, pretty much anything you want to do, it’s not like you’re not pitching home.
Shama Hyder 27:18
It’s something I tell college students all the time by the way your high school students because I get so many messages from students, leaders, writing leaders, young professionals. And I always tell them I said guys, it puts so much pressure on themselves to choose the right major like it’s not about the right major. What I tell students all the time is take a communication course, like, make sure that when you get out of college, you are a solid communicator, you may not be the best communicator in the world, but you are a solid communicator, because no matter what the job requires it forever. Absolutely, no matter what you’re doing, and until take a finance course, know your numbers, because I think so many times when we’re students, you got to shy away you’re like, oh I suck at math, so I don’t, and I’m totally guilty I would always say like oh I’m not great at math, and then they got, you know, I may not be great at math, fine, you know maybe algebra isn’t my thing, but that doesn’t mean that’s not an excuse for not understanding the numbers that guide my company and understanding financials and being able to ask smart questions. Same thing on the communication side, there are students and I’m not you know I don’t really like public speaking about public speaking, it’s about being able to convey your ideas, and if you are going to work in any professional capacity, you have to be able to express yourself in a way that connects with other human beings. And one of the things I’ve played with an idea of my lately and I’m saying this I haven’t even, you know, like the first time I’ve said it out loud, publicly, is I’ve almost thought about doing a course that teaches young professionals and maybe older professionals, how to send business emails, because I’m shocked at the level of people don’t know how to write a business email, and I teach that to my employees my younger employees all the time, and I realized nobody in school teaches that, like why don’t we have a class that teaches how to the art of sending a business email, especially when so much of our communication is done through through the written word.
Mike Malatesta 29:19
So let’s talk about that what is the, you got my attention now what is the appropriate business email, it was,
Shama Hyder 29:28
it’s so contextual right yeah but I have people who write, who say business emails, and they won’t use punctuation because they think it’s like texting it’s like there’s an email etiquette.
Shama Hyder 29:43
um, you know, I I taught a another young friend of mine, not an employee. But, a young professional starting her translation business. And, you know, she said I see this like BCC, what is BCC for. Okay, when do you blind carbon copy someone right what is that. That’s not a feature most people use no understand, or even how to convey lots of information in an email writing a two page email is not smart, you like, what is the action you want people to take what something do you know when, when is it appropriate to use email versus
getting on the phone
Mike Malatesta 30:27
Okay, so if you don’t mind, I have a couple of personal pet peeves I’m going to ask you about and see what you think about them. Okay, number one subject line. How do you how do you feel about subject lines number two reply to all. Number three, how you begin an email in terms of how you address a person. And lastly, how you end, those four things through the email subject is first point that’s where you’re at.
yeah yeah, through the whole thing right,
hard to please. Yeah.
Mike Malatesta 31:09
And the reply was, Yes.
Shama Hyder 31:13
So, reply all. Your people are CC, it’s either a because they need to be see seed, for whatever reason, but so often it’s a passive aggressive move. And it’s such a bad use of them. Right. Yeah, because it’s like, I want you to know that I want this person to know what’s happening, right. Um, so I think there’s like all these kind of political things that vendors, play sometimes subject lines, interestingly, you know, it is something that I probably am most guilty of, as well, which is vague subject lines or continuing a chain without clarifying what that email is about. I actually had a professor in high school or teacher in high school and he was amazing because every subject line would be like, you know, um, was so clear. So for example, I don’t want to give away his name in case he doesn’t want me to share it but let’s say, let’s call it let’s say his last name was Mark All right, he has subject line would say, Mark says hello to Shama recommends, you know, these resources for show and I would like you like these, but they’re so great because they’re so easy to find a lot, and, and it’s something that I wish that I was even better at they took the time to tweak the subject line each time you think it makes a difference. What else, how you should address someone, you know, I think that’s very contextual, if you are writing to your colleague or friend, I think it’s fine to say, Hey, Mike. Yeah, totally acceptable. I do think sometimes we struggle because it’s like I want to be polite, but then you end up with a lot of like I hope you’re doing well. Yeah, necessary right. Yeah, and so you end up with some sort of filler stuff, but you know, again, very, there’s just certain things that are so subjective that I think make it difficult, like some people will get an I didn’t even know this was a thing, but I recently heard that some people get really annoyed when you send them your calendar invite, because it’s like, Oh, you want me to choose something that’s convenient for you and it’s like, no I was hoping we do something that was convenient for the both of us, but rather than go back and forth right to me it seems like an efficient time saver. But it’s interesting that some people felt like that was disrespectful or felt like anyways, there was a huge debate on LinkedIn about this which I thought was, was interesting.
Mike Malatesta 33:50
Yeah, putting something on someone else’s calendar by sending them an invite sort of thing. Yeah,
Shama Hyder 33:55
this was even actually more more exclusive than that, that I think is a total low note right like giving someone a calendar invite date and sign up for work, right, but this was more like let’s say you and I are trying to connect for a meeting, and I say my please choose a time that works for you, and I send you my calendar link, and you’re like, Well, I guess I’ll just pick something that’s, you know that works for you rather than you ask me what works well for you and sort of go back and forth, to me, I thought, super efficient but there are people out there who feel like that is not that, as respectful as just going back and forth,
Mike Malatesta 34:33
right. Okay. Okay, good. Well, I thank you for sharing that. One of my so like to start, you know, depends on
my sample and I think. So I am a
Mike Malatesta 34:46
big believer in hey hi thing besides my name, Because when you just put a mic. It’s almost like your mic
Mike Malatesta 34:58
my still tell me what I have to do, but at least you’re. Yeah, right. Yes, yes yes yes
Shama Hyder 35:08
yes it’s kind of like when you go to brands. And, you know, they, a lot of times we find Americans very disrespectful because we’ll say, we’ll just say like hey buddy, can you show me we’re like where the Eiffel Tower is or whatever, but really the right way to do it is to say what is your weight because then when they say Bonjour, they’ve given you permission, and now you may ask them the question, yeah. So culturally right versus here like in the US were very like, Hey, can you tell me if I’m on, you know, and it’s like wait, I didn’t give you permission to ask me that. Yeah, good point, certain things are funny because they are, they are cultural as well.
Mike Malatesta 35:48
So before we started recording you mentioned that you moved to Texas when you were nine, what was what brought you to Texas, tell me about, tell me about your life, you know, up to the point of magnet school, let’s say. So,
Shama Hyder 36:03
I moved to Texas when I was nine with my family, my family moved here from India, we were both my parents were both blue collar workers, immigrants, you know it’s it’s a story is all this time, better, better life for the kids hopefully more opportunities in their specific case, there was some elements of political asylum since my family is considered a minority, and my grandfather on my father’s side was very active in politics. So we often meet as a meet as a target, in some ways, again it was very, it’s too young to know all the nuances, but there was definitely a sense of more safety, security and opportunities on these, on these golden shores, if you will. And so yeah, so we moved from New York version of
snow in my life.
Shama Hyder 36:58
I loved it. It was so amazing, and mind blowing everything I like never seen snow when you see snow for your first time it really is special. And then we, you know, my family lived there for a short amount of time, my parents, especially my mother was not as thrilled about the cold as the kids were because it’s much harder when you’re an adult I guess to go through, you know, snow and not having grown up with it so we quickly moved to Texas, which promised warmer weather. And then that became home so I still consider myself very much a Texan, and you know we’re that Texas pride is, is there even though I’m settled in Miami now I still very much consider myself a Texan.
Mike Malatesta 37:48
Okay. And it’s so my, my sister and her husband and family live in the Dallas area, and they all went all their kids went to a&m, but my brother and my Now heat up. I don’t know what he is but married to one of my nieces went to UT. So there’s a, there’s a rivalry there, you would say, right, yeah. Okay, yeah, yeah,
Shama Hyder 38:13
big fight was into the football I could tell you more about that. Okay, fair enough. I walk into the football is. I know very little about the sports. Okay, no, no this because I refer to it as the sports,
Mike Malatesta 38:30
the sport. That is a dead giveaway, you’re right. Yes. And you probably did it intentionally as well. This is my way of saying, I don’t want to I don’t I don’t know anything about and nor do I care. Yes, yes this is okay. So you make the switch to communications. And what did that do to his timeframe to get out. You said you wanted to get out in two years I’m wondering what that did to it if it changed it at all or you just were able to do the work and get it done on
Shama Hyder 39:02
it I ended up actually. I had a health challenge one of the semesters and so taking two years, and I did my bachelor’s in three years and I ended up staying there for two more and doing my master’s,
oh, five years.
Mike Malatesta 39:21
Oh great, congratulations. Okay and then you get out, you’ve got your Bachelor’s you got your masters social media is, is becoming a thing. How do you end up at the White House. What’s the trip. Yeah,
Shama Hyder 39:39
so, you know, I think, part of it’s funny because I think entrepreneurship is so much sexier, like young entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship in general is so much sexier now than it was when I was doing it which was like 10 years ago there’s not that long 1012 Whatever. Many years ago, and there just weren’t many of us, right, so, like shows like Shark Tank and you know I think entrepreneurship these days, perhaps, to the detriment of the overall profession and industry is way more glamorized than it is. Sure. When I was starting out I found myself with all these opportunities. Being a young entrepreneur again before I feel like it was less common less. I didn’t know many people doing what I was at 20 to 23, I think today you see that a lot more people following that, that kind of footprint so I did, I found myself at the White House and once at the United Nations. It was, you know, we, building a company and growing as quickly as we did with media we grew 400% In her first year, so I did find myself in the middle of a lot of media attention and and community support, which, by the way I super appreciate it, you know there’s nothing more encouraging. I think just someone who is working so hard and building up a business, then the community, or someone on the outside saying like, congratulations. Yeah. And, and I, so, so yeah so I think there were some great opportunities I got to work with the State Department, I went to either right during the revolution. Like literally, the same year, same timeframe is that, and got to go in to mentor young Egyptian entrepreneurs. So, being an entrepreneur, opened up a lot of doors for me and allowed me to travel, meet people, share it and especially with what I was doing digital which was just so fascinating and so early. Yeah, I mean I think that’s,
Mike Malatesta 41:50
you know it, it brought about a lot of opportunities, and that attention was that something you went after or was it something that found you early on
Shama Hyder 42:00
both. Okay, well, because i. So, what, what we do in PR, right. It’s always been very important for me to walk the talk by figuring out how can I tell companies and brands that they need to be doing this if we’re not doing it like that didn’t add up to me, read so I’m just like how can I have a blog, how can I not be doing the very things that I’m in, I know, I know this is what gets you clients I know this is how you build the brand, so why wouldn’t I do that for myself.
Mike Malatesta 42:34
Right. Makes sense.
Shama Hyder 42:36
So, so it was both certain things about me, and then certain things, um, you know I proactively wanted opportunities to position us position or brand, because here’s the thing, I never, I never felt any qualms about putting ours out there because I no one, you know, I’ve spent a lot of time, honing the craft very honing my craft, I’m very very good at what I do. I say this with no problem because there’s tears, there’s tons of things I’m terrible at. But the thing I’ve invested time and patience and learning in. I’m very good at, so one, I feel like if I don’t share that I’m doing a disservice somehow um you know I, I hear it when clients are like oh my god I wish I’d found you guys, you know, I’m like yeah I wish we’d done a better job, you know, being out there. And I love that and you know, when they started. Totally candid with you, Mike. When I started, he
was a lot about me,
Shama Hyder 43:39
which I think in 22 was fair so I’ll give myself a little slack, but looking back I feel like it was about what I wanted to build and what,
What I wanted to do my career.
Shama Hyder 43:52
Now, in my 30s, it’s much more about my team, and how do I empower them, how do they feel coming to work every day. I spend so much of my time thinking about how I can make things better for them, Because one thing that clicked for me. Now let’s see clicked because it’s not like I never heard it before, but like Jim Rohn used to say, Jim Rohn, used to be the mentor to Tony Robbins, by the way, he always used to say, just because you heard it doesn’t mean you think so, I can hear you know that you’re, you’re only as good as your team, and I heard, but really getting that, for reasons, where it is that if they’re empowered they’re happy, they’re, you know, They’re doing a great job. Your clients are served right everything works better when your team is happy. So I spend a lot of my time thinking about ways to make my team happy, and give them that space to do their best work. I also made this. This is part of being 22. I thought that everybody wanted what I want. And that is such a big mistake I still see entrepreneurs make that all the day, all the time, so I tried to motivate people by the things that would motivate me. But that’s not how it works, you know like, People are different do worse than look at how many opinions on calendar invites and emails and whatever it is. And so part of also becoming a leader has been thinking about what motivates this person. What is to them not just what’s important to me. But what’s important to them. In, how can I help them get closer to it,
Mike Malatesta 45:45
smart because you’re right this, and even when it comes down to the message right that you can have the same message to everyone, but you can’t deliver it the same way to everyone because everyone hears and interprets messages and words and facial expressions and all differently so if you really want to align your team, you, you have to have a, this is my opinion, I’d like to know what you think about it, so you have to have a message, but the way you deliver it to each person may not be unified. Right. Would you agree with that. Absolutely, yeah. You know I think repetition is a responsibility. Yeah. And we’re How did you come to realize that, did, did, did you have a mentor that that talked to you about it I mean, you mentioned Jim Rohn, who and I followed him, you know, I know he passed away a while ago but I read all this stuff, I listened to his tapes, I that’s I’m dating myself I listen to his tapes. But how did you come to realize that was there. Was there an intervention or polyphony or or what, because sometimes that just never happens and the entrepreneur or business leader or whatever, I’m thinking, you know, under the best thing that ever came about and everybody every you know I’m doing everything I should be doing and everyone else on the team is like oh God. There he or she goes again you know that kind of thing.
Shama Hyder 47:09
Yeah, that’s a good that’s a good question too and I don’t know if it was a moment, I think, as your team grows as any business grows. In order for that growth to happen, you change how you approach things. So for me, I’m very committed to growth, and what people mystique about growth often is that it’s not linear. There’s a lot of, you know, two steps forward, one step back sort of thing, but it’s also something that I think, you know, it’s uncomfortable. It’s not something that you wake up one day and you’re like, you know, I think I’m just worried. The good thing. Well I was, I was so focused on my lens of the world. I didn’t feel like I had all the answers and so for me it’s always been a search for. And I, you know the things that, that sort of worried me sometimes are like what you can’t know what you don’t know. And so, the best I can do is surround myself with really smart people smarter than me
Shama Hyder 48:27
just hope I have enough humility and patience and practice both those things, to listen. Okay, to those people smarter than me. Anything you by the way is dead or alive, you know, I, my husband and I watch Jim Roans clips, video clips on YouTube all the time, they’ve gotten to the audio clips there and again I feel like the more you immerse yourself with those people that those voices with with that type of content. You can’t help but become the best version of yourself, whatever that is
Mike Malatesta 49:03
why I appreciate you bringing him up because many people listening may be familiar with Jim Rohn, that’s our o h n is how you spell his last name, but it’s definitely, He is definitely worth a look. His books, His audio his videos. The guy was. I remember about someone some kid came to his door and was selling something door to door and he didn’t have the $5 or whatever, to pay the kid and this was at a time when he was sort of down on his life and he, he decided at that moment that that was never going to happen again. He was always going to have, you know, a couple of $100 in his pocket. He didn’t know where he was going to get it and he didn’t know how, but he just that experience embarrassed him and he, and he said I can’t I can’t go through life like this and it inspired him to do some of the work he ended up doing, I remember that story stuck with me, sticks with me, even to this day,
Shama Hyder 49:59
I had not heard that story, Mike, I do recall hearing on one interview where he says you know usually have this great kid. Tony Robbins who’s running around fixing stuff for me but he’s not here today.
Mike Malatesta 50:13
Oh, great. Yeah, this kid is really tall kid, Tony Robbins who’s helping me out around the house
Shama Hyder 50:22
right yeah we’re just like, to me it’s like a historical flip but I remember that too. So yeah, I think you know you surround yourself, the look, output is always a measure of input. And that’s true for what we eat. That’s true for what we consume, for who we surround ourselves with. So, I feel like so many people try to tweak the output without putting enough thought or effort into the input.
Mike Malatesta 50:55
Well, yeah, of course, like you said, you know, it’s hard to grow, that’s a lot easier not to grow, because you need inputs to grow, and it’s a lot easier. It’s easy to say, I don’t want any more inputs, I’m just gonna, I don’t want to I don’t want the uncomfortableness of actually growing, because, you know, that means more is expected of me or whatever. So to ask you about a couple of things you you talked about in videos that I watched if that’s okay. You were you were talking earlier about how sort of glamorous, maybe in quotes, entrepreneur ism is now from Shark Tank and you know just, it’s just sort of got a sexiness to it that when I started as an entrepreneur, we didn’t even call ourselves that because nobody called themselves that you were just a business owner at the time, or for one or the other. And so one of the things that you said in one of your videos which I, which I love that if you want to be successful or you want to be a successful entrepreneurs, you have to love solving problems, because that’s what it’s all about can you tell us more about how you think about the love of solving problems.
Shama Hyder 52:06
Yes. Ah, it’s, I’m glad that you brought that up, and it’s so on point because when people ask me like should I be an entrepreneur. At night, my genuine question
is, like, you know, almost, T is that
Shama Hyder 52:27
you’re fixing things all the time. I mean, it can be anything
Shama Hyder 52:32
know, of getting through. And boy, anything from small thing like hey this web page is down today I’m making this up right for big thing of like maybe an employee is going through a tough time and you’ve got to coach them through whatever’s happening in their life or you know, however, you can’t. So it’s things like that where I think every day something new is an, to me, a real entrepreneur like this is how I know someone’s a real entrepreneur is they’re finding stuff to break just so they can fix it. Right, marketing should break sales. Sales should read operations, all the time, because that’s how you’re growing, and then you go and fix it.
Mike Malatesta 53:18
I love it. Yeah, it makes sense. Thank you. And then one other thing you were talking about that I’m interested in is the, you were talking about praising by but kind of no it’s easy to have an idea, but you really need to pitch the execution, and not the idea. And I wondered if you could talk a little bit more about that.
Shama Hyder 53:40
Look ideas are a dime a dozen, read so many good ideas I mean, I keep a whole notebook full of them like I have a notebook full of ideas. And my point my career, it’s, I have to say no to a lot more things than I have to say yes to. And so part of this is also knowing what are you saying yes to what are you saying no to what’s, what’s that look like it’s gonna look different for everybody. So yeah, I think, again, like entrepreneurship, ideas are glorified, right, oh it’s an idea would be not, there’s nothing we as human beings love more than potential which is why I know very little about the sports.
Shama Hyder 54:23
even if they don’t want to because they love it they do love seeing potential and yeah so I think that it’s easy to be excited by the idea to unless you can execute that all these things being mirror learning how to be you know, teams together, and your role changes because it’s very different when you are asleep, or you’ve got two people, then we’ve got a team of 10 people when you got a team of 40 people when you got a team of 400 Yeah, sure, well always changing.
Mike Malatesta 54:54
And when you think you said in that video, something like, you know, if you ask your friends if they like the idea they’re gonna say yes because, you know, they don’t want to hurt your feelings or whatever. But wait, but what you need to ask him is would you buy the idea today, or something like that and that was really really great. I was,
Shama Hyder 55:14
you know, you have to ask people to put money where their mouth is. So you can say, I’m starting this company, and friends are gonna see, that’s a great idea because they’re friends right if they told you that was terrible and every idea was terrible, they wouldn’t be your friend
Mike Malatesta 55:31
right now for long. Yeah,
Shama Hyder 55:32
yeah, they’re your friend. But then, oh that’s great, I’m taking orders right now. How do you like. And then, if you get crickets. You have your answer, versus one other friend of mine who said that she was gonna start baking and she’s an amazing Baker. And my response to her was, that’s amazing. Can I please order a dozen of those cookies. Like, I was like, so I was like, This is awesome. You’re a great baker, you already really good at this thing. So, and I, you know, you know you have a great idea when you have people who are like I’m ready to be a customer where do I sign up.
Mike Malatesta 56:12
Got it. Yeah, you’re right that I love that the way you think about that’s really good. And like I said before, I like those little shortcuts that you do because you talk about all different kinds of things so it’s kind of interesting how you just go from topic to topic you talk about writing and how people talk about getting motivated by discipline or something like that, which I thought was great. If you’re disciplined to write the motivation and the inspiration come.
Shama Hyder 56:42
Inspiration is for amateurs, the professionals can’t survive on that stuff they need discipline, right.
Mike Malatesta 56:50
So tell me how Zen meanie which by the way, I didn’t say but that’s a great name I don’t know how you came up with it, maybe you can share that but that’s a great name. Um, how do you how do companies, break sale sales pre sales team and the sales team break the operations team.
Shama Hyder 57:09
So yeah, I’ll answer both parts of your question. So first I word the book is that of social media marketing. Yeah, and the name of the book and the title and all of it was this idea that if you think of marketing, like you do in the offline world and applied to the digital doesn’t work, it’s not, when people tried to do these calls like they did offline, you know, does it work like it’s not, it’s not the same. You can’t just take what you’ve done offline and plastered online, there are different rules of platforms in the game to be able to
Shama Hyder 57:45
So to me that felt like the xendoo to do everything. Go blow up people how where they are, how they want to be, you know catered to, and then go with that. So that’s where design media came and part of what I like to think is our ethos is, how do we make, you know these things that tend to be a thorny kind of issue for so many companies marketing and sales, Zen as possible. So that’s, that’s our philosophy and our and our ethos as well. And you know what we do is, it’s really simple in the big scheme of front runners in the industry and what that looks like is for companies to be even invited to the table you have to know who they are, like, think about Salesforce, IBM, all these companies, they have brands, they are known and because they’re known, they grow faster, it’s like, it’s a lot of what we do is we get brands known we help create that gravitas around them in their industry, so they can get stars
within their given industry. Okay.
Mike Malatesta 58:51
Well, that’s very cool. That makes sense from a rock stars I love it, building a brand, so where we’re speaking of your brand, where do you go from here I mean you’re speaking globally you’re doing, you know you’re helping companies, you know, break sales and do all the things you just about and you’re writing and you’re, you know, recognized for all of these things to go into the White House, maybe we’ll go there again United Nations what’s, what’s, what’s,
Shama Hyder 59:22
what’s next is finding more ways to serve the people that I feel like only I can serve in the best and highest way that I know possible. And I know that sounds broad, but here’s what I mean, I am now a mom to two kids. No one else can be there but mom but me right there’s sort of those. That’s my role. My team. And they said, You know I spent a lot, thinking about how can I make things better for them every day. What can I do, what does that look like. I’m the boss that they got a position do to make things that are easier that we just overall you know your place to work, that’s my goal, our clients, our audience globally, what is it that only I can share, or to my lens to my expertise. What is that role that I can fulfill and how do I show up in my best way of doing that so you’ll notice it’s not dominated platform next door I want to know it’s it’s more about doing the things that I know the other pieces will follow that sort of, where, where my mindset and my youth. Right now, very wise.
Mike Malatesta 1:01:02
Not only your employee is their boss, your children, not either, so you’ve got the same sort of obligation and responsibility, and opportunity and opportunity there.
Shama Hyder 1:01:16
And yeah I were young, and a daughter, I have a three month old daughter, and a 21 month old little boy,
Mike Malatesta 1:01:27
Shama Hyder 1:01:28
thank you and you know my, my son, bless his heart, he comes by all his, his qualities, good and bad, honest, so it is, which is fun to see as a parent, right, all your flaws personified in this little person.
Mike Malatesta 1:01:50
Well, show me it’s been so much fun to talk with you and learn about you and hear your experiences, and give you the opportunity to share stuff I’ve learned a ton. Listening to you you’re you’re wise beyond your, your years and you’ve done some phenomenal work and I’m very glad that you chose to be on the podcast today.
Shama Hyder 1:02:10
Thank you, Mike. Thanks for inviting me, and hopefully, your listeners, got some value out of it.
Mike Malatesta 1:02:17
The recording has stopped. Okay, well thank you so much.
Shama Hyder 1:02:23
I don’t like it. Thanks for being willing to pause it for a second while I ran the phone down.
Mike Malatesta 1:02:28
Oh yeah, I hope that works out great. I’m sure
Shama Hyder 1:02:31
it’s something he has worked, he was on the seventh by the way I ordered this studio console for him from Europe and it’s taken forever to get here. And they’ve been trying to get in touch and deliver it and the salesperson has been trying to help so he finally said, looking at call you in the next 20 minutes and I was like, All right, I gotta, I gotta make sure someone answered this call
Mike Malatesta 1:02:53
is your is your husband a musician or something or what he produces music on the side. He is also an entrepreneur. Oh, great music on the side. All right, wonderful. Well thanks again for doing this I wish. Oh, when, when it, when it drops and if there’s anything in the meantime, and I wish you tremendous. You’re very fun to talk to and I enjoyed this a lot.
Shama Hyder 1:03:20
I appreciate it, and, and congrats on your, on your podcasting theme I think they’re both rock solid.
Mike Malatesta 1:03:26
Thank you. Thanks a lot. Okay. Have a good evening.