Marketing, Tech, and Being an Accidental Entrepreneur With Lilach Bullock
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About our guest:
Key Take Aways:
Gautam Rishi (00:01.25)
Hello everyone, super excited today. You're gonna be joined by Leela Bullock, who is a master in marketing. She's got a really super interesting career we're gonna cover and how she got into tech, how she's got into marketing, some of the changes that are happening in today's industries. So yeah, super excited about today. My name's Gotham, CEO, co-founder of OneShot. Leela, with that, it'll be great for a quick introduction about yourself and then we can kind of get stuck into it.
Lilach Bullock (00:28.344)
Hi Gotham. So first of all, thank you so much for having me today. Really, really excited to be here. So how did I get started in my first business?
Gautam Rishi (00:37.238)
Yeah, how did you get started? Actually, even before that, what are you doing today? Like what do you call, like say you're a CMO, you're a consultant, you help startups. So how would you describe yourself and what you're doing today?
Lilach Bullock (00:52.876)
Yeah, so today I'm a fractional CMO. So I work with companies predominantly in the tech space but also other different industries and I help them with their marketing, so helping them grow and scale.
and a little bit of content creation as well. I do some done for you content as well. Before COVID, my background was very much agencies. So I've been running agencies specializing in PR and digital marketing, and was also doing a lot of professional speaking. So traveling all over the world, talking about social media, best practices, website conversion and digital selling. So that's kind of my background of where I am right now, very quickly.
Gautam Rishi (01:34.934)
And how did you start into this? So you were like, so you were, it sounded like you were in an agency, and then before that, how did you get into all of this? Like...
Lilach Bullock (01:45.132)
Yeah, so they were my agency. So how I started was quite unique in that, so it's nearly 19 years ago, because my daughter's about to turn 19, I can't believe it, I'm showing my age now as well. So I was a training manager before I had my daughter in London, and they wouldn't let me go part time. This was the day, back in the day, when they just were like, no. I think I asked for four days a week, and they still said no.
and it basically incentivized me to set up my own business. And back in the day, I used to be a legal secretary. My background is PA Secretarial. So I thought, I know, I'll become a virtual PA. Now this was when there was no virtual PA's. There was very, very few. There was not even 100 virtual PA's in the country. And also it was before social media, so nobody was outsourcing to India and places like that.
So it was very, very unique. And that's why I'm very focused on timing is integral to businesses, because I think timing plays a huge part of success. And it just, it was phenomenal. It grew crazy quick. I remember at one point I had five women working in my kitchen, and I was phoning 10 paging says, send more people, you know, cause I just couldn't cope with all the work. So I had the opposite problem that people had. I had a...
you know, staffing challenges. We then went and had offices, and it was very, very successful. I was then training other people how to become a virtual PA. So that entered into the training market. And I went to Downing Street for Best Mammoth of the Year. I had quite a lot of awards at that time, because it was so new and unique and novel. And I sold that business after two years. And with that money, I then decided to invest in a tool.
I was obsessed with tech and also trying to make them, you know, how to be the most effective and quickest. At this time, social media had just started and I was like, this is crazy. There's so much to do. There needs to be a tool to streamline it. Kind of like a social media marketing tool. Think Hoots, something like that. So I raised a lot of money to do that and that was just a, that was an epic fail. I had problems with the developers.
Lilach Bullock (04:06.992)
There were constant delays and my background at that point wasn't very technical. I just was an ideas person. Um, and it was so successful in terms of I had this big launch party. I remember I had it all sponsored. I had the founder from Ryanair come. I had like people from the apprentice come. It was like huge. And it was like set to be the next big thing. And I had to give people their money back because I couldn't get the tool off the ground and it was, am I allowed to swear on your show?
Gautam Rishi (04:34.534)
Oh yeah, I swear to god.
Lilach Bullock (04:36.004)
It was a bit of a shit show basically. But on the back of that, what it did do was it propelled me into the tech space and it really helped me understand what it's like to build a subscription model business. And I'm going back a long time now when there wasn't that many. And people kept asking me to do consulting for them whilst I was waiting for it to grow and to be built. And I kept saying, no, no. And then eventually...
we got to the stage where we'd have to go for the third round of investment. And I was totally burnt out by this point. I decided to give up on it and go down the consulting room. And that led me into setting up my first digital marketing agency. And then from that, I pivoted and started to focus a lot on online PR and set up a PR marketing agency. All through this stage, I was starting to become
I hate the word influencer because I think we're all influential, but perceived influencer and that catapulted. I was, well that was it. I was written up in Forbes as the 13th most social media power influencer back in 2013 and it totally transformed everything. It meant I could command a lot more money and everyone wanted me to be their influencer.
Gautam Rishi (05:33.432)
Gautam Rishi (05:48.95)
Lilach Bullock (05:57.032)
I mean, I had IBM fly me out on a helicopter to Monaco. It was a very surreal and fun experience. I'm so, so grateful for it. And even now I still do bits of influencer campaigns, but they're far and few between. Now it's flying me out on helicopters anymore, or giving me free phones and things like that. But it was fun, plus it lasted. And it brought me into the whole speaking scene.
really helped me and also helped my clients as well because I could leverage my influence and get them featured in different publications and things like that. So yeah, that's a little bit about how I got around.
Gautam Rishi (06:36.182)
It's super interesting, like you started, like yeah, you were working full time, you had a kid and it didn't sound like you were trying to start a business to begin with. It was, you just had a child, you were actually trying to go like reduce the hours, like just to fit in everything.
Lilach Bullock (06:56.548)
Well, I was an accidental entrepreneur. I didn't know I was an entrepreneur. I have no qualifications at all apart from secretarial. And yet I've spoken at Oxford University and been asked to speak at Harvard. And those are my most proudest things because I think, I've always had a bit of a bee on my bonnet that I don't have any qualifications. And I think you're kind of put down, I think if you're not qualified. You know, I've...
Gautam Rishi (06:59.934)
Lilach Bullock (07:25.116)
coached and mentored so many women, particularly over the years, who don't also have qualifications. And we have this whole stigma, which is very sad. And it's even happening still today, which, you know, breaks my heart really. But yeah, no, I was totally accidental. I fell into it and was actually quite good at it.
Gautam Rishi (07:45.138)
That's, yeah, so you got, yeah, there's a couple of points here. One is, yeah, I think the emphasis on degrees and having a degree, it's still there today heavily, like 20 years ago, even 10 years ago, it was like on every single job. Like any entry level sales job must have a degree, must have a degree. And I just remember thinking, you don't need, I have a degree, but I was like, you don't need a degree to do any of this job at all.
Lilach Bullock (08:13.116)
Gautam Rishi (08:14.506)
But even more interesting, you kind of say you're an accidental entrepreneur, there's people who want to start their own business their whole life. I would say, before I started my own business, I'd been working in tech for 15, 20, I was just desperate, probably from a kid, to start my own business. But I didn't have an idea, I didn't know what to do, so I got, and then I was, every few years I'd get a pay rise, so I got comfortable with all of that.
Lilach Bullock (08:28.875)
Gautam Rishi (08:40.898)
I kind of got to, I don't know, was it maybe 35, 36? And I thought, I need to do this now. So I didn't necessarily have this like light bulb moment. So I'm interested with you going back.
Lilach Bullock (08:46.566)
Gautam Rishi (08:55.338)
You saw, did you see the problem or did you think, oh, I've got this skillset? Because I think those are two different things. It seems like the demand was there.
Lilach Bullock (09:02.728)
Yeah, so first of all, you know
Something which really goats me is people, you know, talk about how easy business is. There's a lot of people, particularly on LinkedIn, peddling, you know, how easy it is to start a business. So I, the truth of the matter is I could never ever have duplicated the success that I had today. It would just be impossible. And pretty much, I would say 90% of successful people today also couldn't, and they don't openly admit that, which really winds me up. So the truth is no, there was no, you know, the competition, there was no competition.
compare, you know, having 20 VAs in the country, if that, maybe even 10, to hundreds if not thousands today. You just can't compare the two. So it was purely accidental. It was purely on a skill set. I wanted to work from home. Back then that was huge because I wanted to be with my daughter.
And I just thought, well, let's see if I can leverage my PA services and do them virtually. And I was very, very good at putting myself out there. And I was strong in content initially as well. And I just, and I also, I've always had this motto, I've never been afraid to ask. And I still ask, you know, I always put myself out there, you know, I'm like, oh, you're so embarrassing. You know, I, I'm one of those people who just...
ask because if you don't ask you don't get. So for me it was purely a skill set and I really knew nothing about business, it wasn't strategic at all. And that just highlights timing. I honestly believe that timing is the number one reason why businesses succeed. None of this strategy bullshit and money and all of this, it really is time.
Gautam Rishi (10:34.659)
Gautam Rishi (10:54.822)
Yeah, yeah, I think we, say you've seen great products, great teams get built, but businesses fail because the demand isn't there from the market. It helps if you've got a great product and great team and if the timing's there, if you can get all of those ingredients together. And then obviously the business blew up and suddenly like, I would say, you know, there's probably a lot of people in your similar situation who have like, you know.
Lilach Bullock (11:03.676)
Gautam Rishi (11:25.602)
They couldn't get the flexy type of work lifestyle they were hoping for whilst they've just had a new child. And then they either have to not work, but you're kind of entrepreneurial enough, I guess, to have had an opportunity to say, okay, I need to start my own business. I'm going to... Yeah.
Lilach Bullock (11:39.212)
I had to work, so that was the thing. You know, I had to work. At the time, I was the main earner, so I had to work. And I think also, particularly for women, and this sounds very, very sexist, but I think I can get away with saying it, that there are...
You have to have a really strong need because entrepreneurship, running a business, is so hard. It really, really is much, much harder than being employed, I think. To have the resilience and the grit and the constant up and down stress, it really is a rollercoaster ride. I think you have to have such huge hunger and really a huge need because I've seen from people who don't have that big need, they just don't work as hard.
And I think that's also what propelled me. I think I had multiple things. I had a B in my bonnet that I was the only person, I come from a very middle-class Jewish background where it's rare not to be educated, very, very rare. So I was the only person in my whole friend group, in my whole family that didn't have a degree. And also I hated saying I was a secretary, because again, everyone I knew was professional. So I had this big drive to break that.
stigma and stereotype out of it. And then financially I desperately needed the money and also I was a lot younger then, although it's difficult bringing up a baby at the same time.
Gautam Rishi (13:06.902)
So we we've had our second child like two weeks ago and yeah I just don't know how anyone does it like this the first I feel okay And then I just it was 24 7 it's exhausting and especially for yeah I can't speak on behalf of all women, but like the feeding the getting up There's a lot more on the mother of the day, and it's just it's physical We're going through it now so I can see literally my wife is exhausted 24 7
Lilach Bullock (13:11.047)
Gautam Rishi (13:35.074)
So I came into London to get away from all of this. I guess before you kind of then moving on now, so a super interest there, like very admirable. You sold that business and then you kind of thought, okay, now it sounds like your next product is stuff that's being, like you were just ahead of your time on the next one. Yeah, it seems like you were probably five to 10 years ahead.
Lilach Bullock (13:40.188)
Lilach Bullock (13:59.036)
I was totally ahead of my time. Yeah.
Yes, I was. And the tool didn't work. I came up with a spec of Hootsuite before they did. I raised a lot of money and I had seven investors. It was really...
Gautam Rishi (14:12.76)
Lilach Bullock (14:19.992)
and gutted it didn't work out. And it was a high risk. I mean, we also invested money into it as well. So, you know, I'm one of those people, you know, it drives me mad when people are trying to raise investment, but then they won't invest themselves as well. So I also took the risk, I also took the gamble. But as I said earlier, it did lead me into the whole digital marketing arena. And that's when I created the agency. And, you know, we managed to have amazing clients, even Hootsui, I was managing their.
content and we have some really big clients which today would be a challenge to acquire for a new, relatively new agency. So again, I was very strategic though, I became very, very strategic. I remember going to a networking event and
I found very quickly that the local, you know, the B&Is and all of that, as great as they are, they just weren't the right thing for my target audience. I wanted to go after bigger companies. And I felt, so I was very strategic and I invested in very high-end networking. I remember I paid like £200, £300 once to go to this lunch because I found out the marketing director of Hootsuite was there.
and I wanted to meet him and I said to the organiser, I'd love to meet them, I'm a huge fan, I'd really love to work with them. And they introduced me and we ended up having lunch together and they became a client. So I was very strategic when I wanted to be. And again, it's the whole thing of not being afraid to ask and putting myself out there. And I leveraged the fact that I was a woman.
when in that space there wasn't so many women doing what I was doing at that time.
Gautam Rishi (16:09.858)
Yeah, I think you've kind of gone through that process of like, with just a lot of entrepreneurs, just self-starting and its resilience and the ability to like not give up. And I think like you said, a lot of people don't necessarily have that in them. Like they can get, you know, I see a lot of people in our circles, they have, they've worked for great companies. So when they go to raise funding, the VCs will just give them, oh, you've worked for
Lilach Bullock (16:25.945)
Gautam Rishi (16:37.386)
Revolut for five years or Google for 10 years. Oh, here's like five million in seed funding and they just get given this money. But I think because it's sometimes, and some of those people are incredibly successful and they've built great companies, but a lot of them I see, they've kind of relied heavily on that background. They get given the money and you see their businesses and they've never really had that resilience built into them. They've been part of great companies before. They're incredibly smart people, but the fundamentals of entrepreneurship is.
It's just really hard and you're going to fail nine days out of ten, if not like 363 days out of 365. And that, they don't teach you anyway.
Lilach Bullock (17:13.456)
Lilach Bullock (17:17.76)
No they don't and it's a great shame. I mean we actually ended up home educating my daughter in England because I was frustrated with the system. When we moved to Israel she did go to a private school here but yeah I don't know why they don't teach it but also I do have and this is a little bit controversial because a lot of people believe that entrepreneurship can be taught.
But actually, I'm not sure if it can. I believe there's something ingrained inside you to have this. You've got to be able to take risks. And the bigger the risk, the bigger the payoff, or the bigger the epic fail, as I've also experienced. And I mean, I think there's a lot of mindset things. You've really got to grow resilience and grit. And we saw during COVID, because I was doing a lot of coaching during COVID, because I had to pivot my business a lot. And the amount of people who just simply just don't have
what it takes to run a business. And I think a lot of that is mindset.
Gautam Rishi (18:17.394)
Yeah, yeah, and I agree. I think like, I've thought about this, I was, I think entrepreneurs have it from an early age and typically, you know, they've not, they've not come from huge amounts of money. They've not probably been the top sports people and stuff. They're probably all a little bit weird, but they've, they've tried entrepreneurial things as far as their brain can go back. Like I think, I don't know, like for me, I was
Lilach Bullock (18:39.609)
Gautam Rishi (18:44.886)
Obviously we're doing all the standard stuff, paper rounds, washing cars. Yeah, you've got to do a paper round. That's like the number one. But I think, I think, and I didn't do that because my parents told me to do it. I did it because I didn't have any money and I wanted to do something to like get some pocket, I didn't have lots of pocket money or anything. And then as I got older, as I probably turned 15, we were.
Lilach Bullock (18:48.284)
I don't know if I found it. No, I don't think so. I've been walking since I was 12.
Gautam Rishi (19:09.846)
I don't know how legal this is, but we're tripping Playstations and things like that. So those sorts of things are making extra money. Working at golf courses, you just learn these things. I see a lot of people now, they're like, oh, I'm trying to get my kids into this thing. And they'll encourage them to do one small thing, their kids don't want to do it. And they're like, they're going to be an entrepreneur when they're older. Probably not. Probably not because I can see they haven't got it in them. They haven't got that burning desire deep down.
Lilach Bullock (19:14.222)
Lilach Bullock (19:34.3)
Yeah, yeah, I know.
Gautam Rishi (19:40.21)
that I think you get as a child. You get it really early in your life and either you have it or you don't. Not saying you can't be successful if you don't have it. There's lots of people are incredibly successful because lots of people have come from really good backgrounds and are incredibly successful. They're normally incredibly smart. Nice. So I guess now coming onto like now super interesting coming onto the content side of your career then. So you kind of went into
Lilach Bullock (19:49.56)
Gautam Rishi (20:10.006)
You were an influencer before influencers were kind of, especially on like professional networking, you know, I think Facebook was starting to get more popular, Instagram was coming out. The influencers, you were already, you were kind of ahead of that, it sounds like now. So how did that happen? What were you doing? Were you just posting more? Were you creating content? I've only started doing it in the last six months. I'm fascinated by people who are doing this like.
Lilach Bullock (20:20.121)
Gautam Rishi (20:39.222)
five, ten years ago.
Lilach Bullock (20:40.696)
So yeah, so the whole influencer, I mean Forbes catapulted it. And it was Twitter really. You know, I had over 100,000 followers on Twitter, which was seen as very influential back then. Now it's not so much. There was a handful of us. And also because I was in the UK and I was a female, I was at the time, I was the most influential in the social media space in the UK.
including male and female. So that, most of the influencers were in America. So I was the only one in the UK at that time. So that was pretty huge as well. So it was very unique. You know what, the truth is, I don't know what I was doing. I think I just, I was producing content. I had a blog, my website drove a lot of traffic back then.
So I've always produced, you know, I've had a blog for years. Even when I had my virtual PA business, I did little blogs. And back then, I remember they were 300 words, which is nothing, you know. But I've always been obsessed with content and being different to everybody else. And it was much easier to differentiate yourself then. Today, it's so hard to differentiate yourself. And I think, I don't think anybody's withing at it, to be quite honest. And also today, a lot of it is gamed.
You know, there's all these pods, everyone likes comments, etc. So now there's a lot of gaming, whereas back then, it wasn't as sophisticated, but there was, there was such, there was few of us, so it was much easier to stand out as well.
Gautam Rishi (22:17.218)
Yeah, it sounds like, I think throughout your background, I think it sounds like you've done the fundamentals really well, which is like, it's not about gaming the system, it's not about coming up with this trillion dollar idea, it's about having a good idea and executing on it.
Lilach Bullock (22:33.795)
Gautam Rishi (22:33.922)
doing content that you feel passionate about, that you feel like you have an experience and expertise about. How, what were you posting on Twitter to get to 100,000 followers? Was that just business stuff? What were you, what was, like, how do you, what were you?
Lilach Bullock (22:48.044)
Yeah, well, back in the day, I was using it as a traffic machine. So I can remember Twitter would drive like 600,000 visits a month to my website. It was insane. You just couldn't get that today. And I'll be really honest, I was hardly engaging. I mean, I was doing everything that they say not to do. I was literally just, I was posting like four, six, eight tweets an hour. And it was recurring, recurring. But because then there were less people posting content.
And also the content I was posting was really high value. You know, it wasn't just crappy stuff. It was really high value. And it was educating people and it was teaching them. But now everyone's doing it. So you can't compare the two. And it just highlights how strategies have to change quite quickly. And also everybody said, I remember at the time, everyone was like, oh no, you mustn't do that.
I remember going to conferences and speaking at them and everyone would say the opposite of what I would say. And I'd say, no, absolutely not, try it. And I'm a great believer in testing and experimenting and going against what everyone says to do. Because particularly today, and I think this is probably one key takeaway that your audience should get from this, is that what everyone else is saying, do the exact opposite, because it's the only way, A, you can stand out.
And B, you can test and experiment because everyone else is too scared and following the pack. And this way you can see if it can work and how effective it can be as well.
Gautam Rishi (24:19.674)
Yeah, I love it. Yeah, because I think we as a company, we're growing and we are, what do we do? Do we do what everyone else is doing? Because that seems to be working, that seems like you need to do it, but then everyone else is doing it and then everyone else is coming up is also doing it and so everyone gets saturated and bored and doesn't... yeah.
Lilach Bullock (24:38.764)
Yeah, totally. And also, you don't know behind the scenes if it's working for them. Like, you know, things are hard now. You know, it's not an easy period. And I've had so many conversations with people behind the scenes, from other influencers to big agencies to smaller companies as well. And everyone is struggling. And a lot of people have said it's harder now than it was during COVID. So the reality is you have to think of the numbers. If you think about it realistically, probably...
80 to 90% of businesses are not doing as well as they would like to be doing. So that means you're following the majority of people who actually are not succeeding as well as they could be. So even more so to stand out and do things differently.
Gautam Rishi (25:24.19)
Yeah, yeah, that's a good way of putting it. It's like, who are the companies doing well? What are they doing? And they probably bet the other way. They probably bet the other way in the last few years than everyone else. And this is why tons of companies are making layoffs, right? Because they've kind of followed what everyone else has done. They've had tons of potential VC money that's been flying in and now it's not working because companies aren't spending anymore. Now, like...
Lilach Bullock (25:39.012)
Lilach Bullock (25:48.007)
Gautam Rishi (25:54.102)
Coming on to the present and the future now. This is what I'd love to get your thoughts on. I guess as an entrepreneur, as a business owner, just a general kind of exec who's been doing this a long time as well. What, it sounds like you were ahead, you started a virtual PA business back in the day, you then tried to build your own product, so you were kind of ahead of it, and then you...
You were ahead of the game, you got some great coverage with Twitter and content that's driving great traffic. But like you've just said, the rules have all changed. Everything's changed. Everyone's trying to do everything. So what next in the next couple of years? And like AI has just started, everyone's going crazy, the marketing playbook's ripped out, so if you read everything, the whole world is gonna change, robots are gonna take our jobs, everything like that.
Lilach Bullock (26:36.856)
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Lilach Bullock (26:47.085)
Gautam Rishi (26:49.462)
What are you, what's your bet? You kind of like, what are you thinking is gonna happen to everything in the next few years? What do you think is gonna be the successful, what the successful people do, what companies do?
Lilach Bullock (27:02.66)
So this is an amazing question. It's very interesting because every year, periodically throughout the year, I get approached from like...
BBC and places like that to give my trends. And the truth is that it's really, really hard to make predictions right now because things are evolving so quickly and changing quite dramatically. So I think it would be impossible and anybody who predicts in the next couple of years is ridiculous because you just don't know right now. But I think it's, we can definitely look for the next six to 12 months. I think that would be more of a fair assumption and more realistic. So we've seen a huge...
shifts and changes with AI, just in three months. In the last three to four months, when it first came out, everyone was panicking and worried, particularly with ChatGVT 4, because it's so, so powerful, and head and shoulders above ChatGVT. So we're seeing some massive shifts with people panicking and worried, particularly...
in our space and particularly for writers because you know it's so strong. So on one hand we have people saying oh it's never going to replace jobs because it still needs the human touch which I do agree with but I also think you can manipulate chat gbt4 to be much more human. The thing that you can't manipulate it to be is judgmental. It can't make the right judgments which I think is still very you know it needs the human to make that.
But what we are now starting to see, particularly in the last month, is people are totally overwhelmed with it all and very frustrated. And there's literally thousands and thousands and thousands of tools every day, hundreds of new tools coming into the marketplace. So people are actually totally overwhelmed and now are AI fatigued as well. It's like brain dump. There's so much to learn and do. But actually what's happening is it's turning off a lot of people and they're just sticking with one or two tools.
Lilach Bullock (29:01.24)
So it's very interesting to see how things are going to evolve. I do think, I mean, for example, my podcast, you know, I'll edit it using ChatGVT4 now, I won't, I used to have a writer art, you know, rewrite it myself. Whereas I can just plug in the transcript and do it that way. So I think it's definitely valuable and it's very helpful. I do think we're going to see a lot of jobs go, particularly writers. And I think people.
who are writers and saying no, are very naive to that, because I do think it's going to happen. I think the whole predictions of it's gonna happen so, so quickly, I think we're gonna slow it down because of this influx of all the tools and saturating the marketplace. So I think for now, most jobs are safe, but I think in the future, as a lot of tools get weedled out.
because they can't survive because there's just so many. I think then we'll see a change. And likewise, you know, the job market is crap right now. I've never seen anything like this in 19 years. What we saw during COVID was people loving working from home and deciding, oh, I'm going to start my own business. Many of them are struggling and haven't been able to maintain it. So I was starting to look back for work or doing part-time or contract work.
We're seeing lots of people being laid off and a lot of them are thinking, oh, I'm gonna start a business. So I think in the next 12 to 18 months, we're gonna see a lot of these people who started their businesses because of situations go back into the job market once that picks up. And I think the market for small businesses will get better again. I think right now it's at its peak, it's bursting, but it's bursting to be popped and a lot of people are gonna go back into the work environment.
So those are kind of my predictions.
Gautam Rishi (31:00.192)
Yeah, it's interesting. Yeah, I think you're right. I don't think anyone can make a prediction. Even six, I mean, think about it, the beginning of this year, January, the general public didn't even know about chap GPT, like GPT-4 wasn't even out at the beginning of this year.
Lilach Bullock (31:07.206)
Gautam Rishi (31:18.678)
GPT-3 was being used. We were lucky enough we were using it, and our developers were using it, but the quality wasn't anywhere near what it is now. And then, I don't know, last month, how old was my dad? 77, 78, he's sending me these new chat GPT apps on itinerary traveling when you're on holiday, and it's quite cool, you type in where you're going, and it gives you an item. And then you just start thinking like everyone is using it now. Everyone knows the name GPT, like anyone.
Lilach Bullock (31:36.54)
Thanks for watching.
Lilach Bullock (31:40.653)
I'm going to leave. Bye.
Gautam Rishi (31:48.414)
And every app, every company is using it, but no one knows how it's gonna play out. There's a ton of companies that have got funding from it. And we speak to VCs all the time, and the first thing they say is defensibility, right? Because there's gonna be so many companies doing this. Why can't companies just copy what you're doing in three months and six months from now? You lose everything you've built a business around can be copied within days, within weeks, within months.
Lilach Bullock (32:13.472)
Gautam Rishi (32:16.406)
where before I think you had like a defensible moat around your business, you had customers, I don't think that exists anymore. So you might see companies that, we just had a million, two million ARR and it's like phenomenal numbers, but then you'll see that their churn is through the roof and then suddenly they're like a million or half, you know, just as quick as they came up. I think you'll see that in the next 12, 18 months. Yeah, interesting, the kind of the rise of the solopreneur has come up, but again, that's gonna, yeah.
Lilach Bullock (32:33.779)
to my wife.
Gautam Rishi (32:45.138)
It's channel and then everyone loves the idea of work. And when our office is, everything you read, everyone's come back into the office now. Back into the office.
Lilach Bullock (32:52.16)
Yeah, everything's coming back. But yeah, so I think that's the only reason that will keep people to keep their businesses running is the flexibility and freedom. But from what I'm seeing is most people who are solo entrepreneurs, they can earn more working in the company than for themselves. So they're opting to side for it just because of the flexibility and freedom.
Gautam Rishi (33:15.15)
Yeah, I think as we're talking now, I'm kind of like, okay, so the perfect model would be the security of employment with that solopreneur. So if you can get that hybrid, like, hey, I want my full-time security. And so I also want to kind of do my little side projects, side households at the same time, and would be a good, and I want to work from home, I'll come in for like one meal a month when you're doing pizza.
Lilach Bullock (33:28.388)
Lilach Bullock (33:38.072)
Yeah, I also think that it's very interesting talking about, you know, people going back to work and the whole hybrid model. And I think...
I think it's a shame in a way. I always predicted that companies would go back and also I think the hybrid model is going to disappear soon as well. And if you look at new jobs which are being open, the majority of them, both in England and in Israel, want you in there. So what they're doing is anybody new, they're wanting you to come on site. And I think eventually they filter out the hybrid and the remote.
Gautam Rishi (34:14.354)
Yeah, it's going. I can say us as a company, when we were starting out we didn't have any money, we didn't have any customers, so we were remote just because we physically couldn't afford offices. But now as we hire and we're starting to build a team in London, we do find, especially if you, I find personally, if you have like graduate, you know, young people who've not got any experience in the workplace, having that office environment.
Lilach Bullock (34:23.339)
Gautam Rishi (34:41.854)
I believe is really valuable, like having mentors, having people you can talk to. Again, I'm not saying you can't create that remotely, but you have to really invest in your remote organization to make sure people don't miss out on that. And I know all the banks and you know, you probably know this space well, all the banks are getting everyone back in because they're like, we can't like train our interns, um, this way, remote.
Lilach Bullock (35:06.936)
Yeah, it's very interesting. I mean, I've been remote now for nearly 19 years. When I had offices, it was for a very short period. I think it was for a year, 18 months. And I think it really depends on the talent that you hire.
and I think there's a massive trust thing. I personally get more done from home because I'm a bit chatty. So I've got no one to chat with here. So, you know, when I was at work in offices, I would spend hours chatting away. And also this was before social media and even emails, you know, you'd have to walk around to meet people, you know, to give people things and things like that. So I would just, yeah, any excuse to chat.
Gautam Rishi (35:53.191)
I'm thinking like that could be a new chat GPT tool, like a chatty co-colleague or something, a colleague so that you can just, when you're bored and remote, you can just start chatting to chat GPT, like what's the latest sports results and what's on TV and stuff.
Lilach Bullock (36:03.384)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. No.
Lilach Bullock (36:10.undefined)
I think the economy needs people to work in offices as much as I think it's a shame, because I always said, look, you can't have all these empty offices and it also affects the whole eco from the restaurants, the coffee shops, the travel, it affects so much. So I always predicted that it would come back. And everyone was like, no, it won't, look, we're all getting on. I'm like, trust me, it will. And lo and behold, it is. And I think it is an economy thing. The economy needs.
Gautam Rishi (36:42.25)
I know you're obviously originally from London, now living out in kind of Israel near Tel Aviv and I think Israel's got probably one of the best vibrant tech communities like outside of Silicon Valley. I think in my opinion you've got a certain place in India but I think Tel Aviv has just got so many great startups coming out like week daily. I think the number of unicorns from Tel Aviv is per capita is just insane. It's almost up there with Silicon Valley levels.
Lilach Bullock (36:45.638)
Lilach Bullock (37:00.131)
Lilach Bullock (37:08.964)
Well, per capita we have more than Silicon Valley actually. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Gautam Rishi (37:12.178)
Yeah, yeah. I didn't know that, but yeah, it doesn't surprise me. Like it's brilliant and they've got, they've created that environment. But again, they've invested, I've got a friend who works there and he said like all the startups basically do like these free lunch spreads every day. They're literally just paying for their employees to come back in. The great catering companies, the beer taps, everything to get them back in. And yeah, do you think that will start disappearing a bit again? Just like, actually, we just want you in and you're not going to get beer and pizza.
Lilach Bullock (37:29.093)
Oh yeah yeah, yeah yeah.
Gautam Rishi (37:41.258)
day with really nice sandwiches. We just want you to work.
Lilach Bullock (37:45.212)
Well, already all the tech companies are doing on-site now. There's very few hybrid now we're seeing in Israel. You look, you know, there's been huge layoffs here, far more layoffs here than in the UK. And that's because it's predominantly tech seen in Israel. So it's been hit really hard and it's a great shame. It's a tough market right now. It's tough for people who are small businesses and it's tough for people who are looking for work. And I think...
Gautam Rishi (37:48.951)
Lilach Bullock (38:15.72)
My only bit of advice or wisdom for this is, you know, everything changes. Nothing lasts forever. And I think, you know, you just have to wait out this time and just do the very best you can. And remember that it will get easier in time. But right now, I think it's... Nobody is immune. And something that we've definitely seen in the tech space, which...
drive me crazy because I build up these amazing connections and networks is the churn. The churn is so, so high. To stay in a job for more than two years in the tech space is good and rare.
Gautam Rishi (38:51.674)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Two years was the minimum. Now it's like, okay, that's almost looking like, yeah, not many people are hitting those numbers anymore compared to what they used to be.
Lilach Bullock (38:58.756)
Yeah, yeah, so there's no security now. And I think, and that's what we're seeing on LinkedIn, and that's why LinkedIn has now just, is bursting, is because so many people are realizing that they need to build their own personal brand as well. So on LinkedIn, you're competing with small businesses, people who are employed, people who are looking for jobs, and people who wanna build their personal brand. So it's just, it's just bursting. And I think we need to create something else.
because it's just so noisy and saturated.
Gautam Rishi (39:30.578)
Yeah, kind of brings you home. Everything's been amazing. Kind of like final couple of questions, final question. And I think you've got a really interesting viewpoint because you've started your own business, you've gone down that kind of investor route, got VC money and that didn't work out. You've got your own business. Yeah, you've kind of got a few different viewpoints of this and right now the market isn't great.
Lilach Bullock (39:36.29)
Gautam Rishi (39:57.886)
job seekers, for companies selling, there's layoffs happening all the time. You've kind of touched on it. It's temporary. It will improve. Things will get better. I don't think anyone's got a magic ball and no one's saying it's three months or six months. It's nine months. Nobody knows. If they say they do, they're lying. What are the kind of fundamental things, if you've been laid off, if you feel you're going to get laid off or you're struggling to sell?
product or whatever it is you're doing. Times are tough. What would you recommend to do? Is there something that you know from your experience going through hard times, good times that you've served you well during these kind of challenging times?
Lilach Bullock (40:40.141)
Lilach Bullock (40:43.472)
So I think first of all, put yourself out there because I think you'll find it reassuring and refreshing to know that you're not alone and unique in this, that nobody's immune to it. I think social media, you have to be very, very careful. There's a lot of people saying how amazing and wonderful things are, which can be very disheartening and make you feel like a bit of a failure. I think depending on your personal financial situation.
If you can afford to take some time out and re-study or retrain or pivot, go for it. If you can't and money is an issue, then you're going to have to work 10 times more than everybody else in your competition and space. I would do things quite ruthlessly and strategically like hijack marketing, study your competitors, see what they're doing, see who they're working with.
and really just put yourself out there. If there's any joint ventures or opportunities you can do with other people as well, and embrace it and be proud of yourself because I'm a genuine believer that if you can get through the hard times and you can get, then you can really grow and scale a business. Because so many people are very good. Like, take me for example, like, you know, I had huge success, it was easy.
You know, the timing was incredible, so it was super, super easy. So if you can copy that and create a successful business or get a great job or whatever during hard times, then you're never, ever going to have to worry ever, ever again. Because this will happen at some point in our careers.
Gautam Rishi (42:24.882)
Yeah, I think that's super sound advice. Like, yeah, social media, so much noise, so many people, you know, they're so desperate to try and build their personal brand, they're creating content for likes. And so it's not necessarily like for helping people, it's I want more engagement, I want to increase my audience. But yet people are listening to those people. And I think I have like huge mental health ramifications to it as well if you start hearing that noise.
Lilach Bullock (42:46.768)
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Lilach Bullock (42:55.308)
Yeah, I mean, I'm at the stage now where I think social media is more damaging than good, actually. And it's such a stupid BS game. It's like, you can't say, I do XXX, this is how much it costs, come by from me. Instead, you have to give this whole spiel of like, giving advice and tips and this, that and the other, in the hope that someone, and God forbid you put a link, that will just drop your flow, you know, your reach. It's just, it's a pathetic game. And it's exhausting.
Gautam Rishi (43:23.423)
Lilach Bullock (43:25.802)
I would love to come up with something which takes away this whole game element because everyone's selling and not enough for buying and it's just a game and sometimes you win and sometimes it can totally deflate you.
Gautam Rishi (43:43.29)
Yeah, and then that's how the system breaks, right? I think if you look at, you know this, like the state of SEO, like Google just like, if you mention the SEO word more times, you would rank higher on the page and then you would just go on and every article you would read would be utter junk because people have just gained it for SEO and now like actually it should be gained for high quality, legitimate content, proven content. And I think yeah, social media will end up.
Lilach Bullock (44:01.082)
Gautam Rishi (44:12.222)
And it's a long way off from that, but yeah, I think right now it's a pretty dire situation going on because there's just so much crap out there.
Lilach Bullock (44:17.124)
Yeah, yeah. Well, I do predict that LinkedIn will adopt what Facebook is doing and become pay to play because Facebook, it's really hard to get reach now. Facebook fan pages are pretty dead unless you're doing ads.
And LinkedIn, you know, it's so saturated. It's literally waiting to burst and the reach is down and only a few select people gain from it. Everyone else has to battle around. So yeah, I think that will eventually become pay to play quite quickly.
Gautam Rishi (44:50.858)
Yeah, I think they've already started for these sponsored posts and that started recently and then I think they've changed the algorithm and it's just going to keep happening. I've read a good article that if people have solely relied on that as their one channel, they're going to struggle. Like it's again, if you haven't diversified your channels, yeah, it's a mistake. So they look at other channels, invest in them.
Lilach Bullock (44:56.472)
Lilach Bullock (45:12.064)
Yeah, yeah, totally.
Gautam Rishi (45:19.938)
They're all good. And perfect, no, appreciate it. I guess if anyone wants to get into it, really appreciate it, Chad. So much good info there, especially in sound advice from someone who's been there as well, versus some kind of made up stuff on the internet. If anyone wants to get in touch or chat with you, I guess connect with you on LinkedIn.
Lilach Bullock (45:19.962)
Lilach Bullock (45:34.848)
Lilach Bullock (45:41.06)
Yeah, so I'm on LinkedIn, also my website, which is www.lilakhbalik.com, Twitter, Facebook. You can just, in fact, there's very few people can say this. This is my brand, but you can literally put my name into Google. I'm the only Lilaq Balik in the world. So there we go. Yeah.
Gautam Rishi (45:58.574)
Amazing. Apart from Sandra Bullock, I don't know another Bullock. I think if you turn mine in, my family might love it. It's an Indian name. I think you get random Indian gods or something. I'm way low down on this. I've got gods that come on the block. Exactly. Leela, thank you so much for your time today.
Lilach Bullock (46:04.21)
Lilach Bullock (46:11.636)
Oh well there you go, that's a pretty good ride. God, there you go, you're top of the ramp there. Ha ha ha!
Gautam Rishi (46:24.786)
Yeah, I've really enjoyed the chat. I think there's a few points here I think people should listen to and hit home about. And yeah, and just crack on, I think. But thank you so much for your time and we'll speak to you soon.
Lilach Bullock (46:37.555)
Thank you for having me.