Shama Hyder – CEO and Founder of The Marketing Zen Group

[quote style=”boxed”]Read. But, not just books within your industry. The best ideas come from cross-pollination and by finding what works in different fields and then applying it to yours.[/quote]

Shama Hyder is a Web and TV personality, bestselling author, international speaker and award winning CEO of The Marketing Zen Group, a global online marketing company.  Shama has been dubbed the “master millennial of the universe” and “an online marketing shaman” by Fast

Shama is the author of the bestselling book, The Zen of Social Marketing and is a frequently quoted social media expert. She has been featured by Business Week, Dallas Morning News, Entrepreneur, Fast company, Inc., The New York Times, The Huffington Post, the Wall Street Journal and hundreds of blogs and social media outlets. She’s also an accomplished international speaker and hosts her own Web TV show, Shama.TV. The show addresses new media marketing topics, trends, people and relevant perspectives. She also hosts Tech Zen with Shama and Socially Sound with Shama on CW 33.

Shama formed The Marketing Zen Group in 2009. Since then, the company has grown to 25 employees and has clients that range from publicly held, Fortune 1,000 companies to privately held small businesses and non-profits. Since its start in 2009, the company has grown at an average rate of 400%.

Shama holds a Masters degree in organizational communication from the University of Texas at Austin and prides herself on being a constant learner. In 2009, Business Week honored her as one of the Top 25 under 25 Entrepreneurs in North America. In 2010, Shama won the prestigious Technology Titan Emerging Company CEO award. In 2011, Entrepreneur Magazine featured her as one of 4 Super Sonic Youth, dubbing her a “Zen Master of Marketing.”

When not working with her clients or shooting her shows, Shama travels the world speaking about business, entrepreneurship and technology. The second edition of her bestselling book, The Zen of Social Media Marketing was released in March.

What are you working on right now?

The second edition of my book, The Zen of Social Media Marketing, was just released!

Where did the idea for The Marketing Zen Group come from?

I studied social media in graduate school. This was when Twitter had 2,000 users, not the 200 million that it has today. Upon graduation, I realized that social media had huge implications for the business world. The corporate world just wasn’t ready to hear it at that time, so I started The Marketing Zen Group. Within 2 years, we went from just me to 25 people. Today, we serve as a full service web marketing firm that works with companies around the world.

What does your typical day look like?

There is no typical day, but I enjoy that. Some days, I speak in a different city or country. Other days, I am in the studio shooting various media segments. Every day, regardless of my location, I work with the team at The Marketing Zen Group. Since we are a virtual company, my location doesn’t deter me from joining in.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Ninety-nine percent of the ideas I have, I don’t bring to life. The 1% that I feel are actually viable (given my schedule and current project load), I implement systematically. I like getting feedback from people I trust before jumping in.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

Technology enabling goodness. I’ve always believed that people will do the right thing if the right thing is made easy enough to do. It is so much easier to make a difference today. And, I love that so many companies are enabling that through technology.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I’ve never had a full-time “job.”

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

To listen to our marketplace sooner. Our clients didn’t just want an agency to consult with them. They wanted the option to outsource–to have our recommendations implemented and measured. Once we offered that by becoming a one stop marketing shop for our clients, it was a huge shift. I wish we had done it sooner.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Read. But, not just books within your industry. The best ideas come from cross-pollination and by finding what works in different fields and then applying it to yours.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

The Web still needs an easy way to share huge files via cloud computing. There are services like Dropbox, but they don’t make sense for agencies with multiple clients who need multiple logins. Amazon S3 is great, but wasn’t meant for multiple users. If someone can make file sharing easy with no size limit for the agency level user, they will have tons of clients. I’ll be first in line!

Tell us a secret.

My nickname in 9th grade was “The History Channel.”

What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?

  • Skype – The Internet was cool, but Skype made it so much cooler. I love being able to speak with clients in the Netherlands and see my mom easily connect with her sister in Mumbai.
  • Basecamp – An excellent project management system for a global team.
  • WordPress – Our favorite open source platform for building websites. It is so user friendly.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. You have to know how to differentiate yourself in order to succeed. This book drove that home for me.

Three songs on your playlist?

1) Run by George Strait

2) Holding On and Letting Go by Ross Cooperman

3) For the First Time by The Script

When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?

The last time I spoke to my husband. He is always making me laugh!

Who is your hero?

Every human being who is here striving to do better each day. I believe in learning from every individual who crosses your path.

What sums up how you feel about being an entrepreneur?

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

– Theodore Roosevelt, “Citizenship in a Republic”

Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

What is your favorite movie?

It’s a tie between Grease with John Travolta and Amazing Grace.


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