Julia Beizer, Chief Digital Officer for Bloomberg Media, has a deep understanding of her product and its users. She began her career on the creative side, writing and producing content for The Washington Post’s early digital efforts. Beizer was inspired and energized by the digital revolution in journalism. She rose to Director of Product for the Post. She’s since served as Head of Product for HuffPost and Chief Product Officer for Bloomberg Media. She’s now Bloomberg Media’s Chief Digital Officer. She has also found time to share her knowledge as an adjunct professor at Columbia University. She spoke with us about where she sees product and product leaders moving in the digital future.
What was your pathway to product?
My pathway into product management was really a story about finding different routes to drive greater impact in a mission that matters to me – the creation and distribution of quality journalism. I started my career as a lifestyle journalist, covering things like where to get the best cupcakes in Washington, D.C. And while that’s phenomenal work to get to do in your twenties, it became clear from my vantage point at The Washington Post that we could reach more people with our journalism by leveraging new digital tools and story forms. And I saw that I personally could play a greater role for the practice of journalism by focusing on solving the problems of user experience, distribution and monetization. Now at Bloomberg Media, I get to do that work on a wider scale, serving global business leaders with the news and analysis they need to get ahead.
We see both product and digital titles in the market. What does the difference mean to you?
In non-tech industries, there’s a ton of fluidity between these two roles. A truly great product leader is energized by the craft of product – turning data into insight and turning insight into features that drive customer love and business value. Digital leadership roles are broader. They look across the digital landscape for new strategies for meeting, engaging and retaining customers – and bring together the right cross-functional teams across marketing, product, design, engineering, sales and (in my case) editorial to turn these ideas into reality.
What do you think most CEOs misunderstand about product or digital?
If you’re only looking for someone to “get stuff done,” you’re missing out on the value this kind of talent can bring. Hire product and digital leaders if you want thought partners in ideas to help shape and drive your revenue growth.
What’s in store for the future of the function?
It is my hope that, over the course of my career, the customer centricity inherent in digital and product roles become infused into every aspect of business. Digital is how we meet our customers in today’s world. Let’s make these experiences great.