How to, and How NOT to Communicate with a Business Contact in 2016

“What a strange title. This guy is going to teach me how to do something I’ve been doing my whole life?”

Yes. And you are going to disagree with many of my points thinking they don’t apply to you. If you are not a fan of differing opinions, we can part now as friends.

The truth is, like many of my posts, this will most likely end up being more like a rant than a blog post. The reason for that is because the idea for this post came to me after getting one too many phone calls from some random person asking me for help of some kind. A phone call. Not an email. Not a FB message. Not a tweet. Not a snap. A phone call. In the middle of the day. With no prior warning or request for a call. No calendar event. No previous discussion.

Slow down, Hillel. Pace yourself.

Here’s me laying out the topics I want to cover when it comes to business communication in 2016. But before that, this does NOT apply to family, close friends, or, as my father pointed out to me, pretty much anyone over 60. This isn’t a good thing or a bad thing. Not judging anyone. Just saying, apparently my parents and their acquaintances communicate differently than I do. When I expressed my frustration about getting a phone call to my father, he looked at me like I fell off of Mars.

Ok, now that we got that out of the way, the topics. Email. I want to talk about email. I want to talk about how to increase the chances of receiving a response to your email ask. I want to talk about email etiquette and what never, under any circumstances, to do.

The phone. As in that thing that rings. I want to talk about who it is ok to call.  When. How. What to do prior to that call. And how to increase the chances of making it an effective call. By the way, FB/Whatsapp calls, are they more like calls or more like messages? We’ll cover that too.

Then I want to cover messaging apps. Again, how to use them. When to use them. How to increase the chances of getting what you want out of that message. And of course, what NEVER to do in a messenger app.

Pretty sure there will be more topics covered in this post but those are the basics. Email, phone, messaging apps. So let’s begin, shall we?


As of now, and this might very well change, email is still the default communication tool for business. So many have tried to change that, including my own previous startup, Zula, and failed. Yes, I know Slack is wildly popular. Email is still the default.

What that means is, if you want to do business with someone or ask them for their help in a business context, don’t call them, don’t FB them, email them.


Let’s break this down for a second. The assumption is you are writing this email because you want the recipient to read it, correct? And assumption number two is that the person you are emailing gets anywhere between 10-100 emails a day. So then write that email accordingly.

Want something from the person you are emailing? Then say so! Clearly.

Let’s put it this way. If I have to respond to your email with the words “How can I help you?”, then you have failed at communicating properly.
Email is not the platform to express your most inner feelings and emotions. It is not the place to share your most meaningful experiences or your life story. Keep it short and to the point.

I know some people like to write long emails and I know some people can tolerate them. That’s fine. Others cannot. So if your email is long and does not state its purpose clearly, preferably in the subject, then take into account that many people will skim through it, others would delete it instantly.

If you want something from the recipient, then don’t bury it in a 300 word email. Say clearly what you want and then feel free to elaborate and explain the ask. But first, ask!

Things you need to take into account when writing an email in 2016:

  • Spam filters do their job well. Don’t write a spammy email.
  • The only thing better than spam filters are human filters. People will delete an email trying to sell them something.
  • People get a lot of email. Be considerate.
  • People like honesty. Say what you mean and mean what you say.


Why is it that when I hear the word “phone”, I shudder? Well, that is exactly the question we are going to answer.

Listen, I understand the power of voice. Trust me, I built a whole startup based on it. I get it. Voice is powerful and often times things get lost in text. Sometimes you just need to pick up the phone.

Now that we got that out of the way, let me say this as clearly as possible and with the full knowledge that some people will read this sentence, get offended and label me a pretentious snob. Do not, under (almost) any circumstances find my phone number somewhere online and call me about a business matter in the middle of the day without communicating digitally first and coordinating a phone call. Sounds harsh? I am just saying what many other people were afraid to tell you.

And no, calling someone randomly on Messenger or Whatsapp is no different. It is no more considerate.

Why Can’t I Call??

Before I answer the question of why a phone call without prior discussion is a big no no, let me describe to you a scenario I’ve found myself in countless times.

There I am, sitting in an important meeting, and my phone rings. I don’t recognize the number and automatically assume it’s something important enough to interrupt the meeting for. Perhaps a teacher from my kids’ schools? Maybe a relative whose contact got deleted from my phone. I’ll answer.

“Hi Hillel”, the voice on the other side says.

“Hi”, I reply.

“David recommended I speak to you. I’m looking for a job and I’m told you have a large network and might be able to help.”

At this point, I always have that dilemma. Do I politely respond explaining to the person that email is a better option to discuss this, especially since if I am going to help them, I’d need their resume and you can’t attach a file to a phone call? Or do I give in to my urge to tell them quite um, directly that it is not ok to call me mid day to ask me for a favor, while making sure to get in the question of how on earth they even got my number?

I usually choose the former and am nice about it.

That scenario happens to me, and many other people, several times a week. Yes, I can spend the time making sure my number does not appear anywhere online… or… I can have a little faith in humanity and assume people will come to their senses and understand that just because they found my number and **can** now call me, does not mean they **should**!

So why is calling someone in a business context in the middle of the day, or at any time for that matter, without previous communication, not ok?

A phone call is, in my opinion, a more intimate form of communication then email or messaging. I’m assuming that’s why you called, to communicate in a more personal manner. Except, you forgot one thing. I don’t know you. So personal communication with a stranger is a bit out of order. First; email me. Establish trust. Then we can jump on a call if we decide to do so.

Forget the philosophical/psychological aspects of a phone call. There are much more practical reasons not to call someone.

When I answer the phone, I need to stop what I’m doing. As long as we are speaking on the phone, I need to stop what I’m doing. Unlike email or messaging, you can’t multitask when talking on the phone. At least, not without sounding like you’re somewhere else and not paying attention to the conversation.

“Well, if we are talking, then you shouldn’t be multitasking anyway!” Ok, and there shouldn’t be wars or internet trolls in the world either but there are and people multitask. It’s a fact. Deal with it.

Calling someone is intrusive and without prior discussions, obnoxious. Again, if you’re over 60, apparently this doesn’t apply to you.

So then, when? 

On the flip side, often times I actually reply to an email with “Let’s jump on a call.” When? When the content of the email involves a very complex question/discussion and to reply, would require me to spend 10 minutes or more writing.

“How do I get users for my startup?”

“How do I gain more followers online?”

“How do I launch my startup?”

Really? Do you also email your doctor and ask them to teach you about medicine over email? Some things just cannot be answered by email. In fact, some things cannot be answered on the phone either and require a face to face. In any case, the underlying rule with all forms of communication is to think about the recipient and not only what you hope to get out of the email or phone call.

Messaging Apps

If you look at my home screen at any given time, you will see anywhere between 25%-75% of the screen populated by messaging apps. Messenger, Whatsapp, Slack, Instagram (Yes, it has messaging too), Linkedin (ditto), Snapchat, Wechat, Twitter, and Zula are on my home screen right now. Nine messaging apps on my home screen. Think about that for a second.

Just like email and the phone, messaging apps have their etiquette too. Of course, there is no rule book but there are certain things that just don’t work, like sending a FB message that requires me to scroll more than twice. Don’t. Just don’t.

Oh and voice messaging. I get it. It’s easier. I don’t care. I can always read. I can’t always listen.

With messaging apps, each platform has its own characteristics and what is done on Slack is not necessarily what is acceptable on Whatsapp or Snapchat, for that matter. Again, some will most definitely disagree with me when I say that I do not like business communication beyond a casual intro to be done on FB Messenger. I most definitely do not want someone sending me their resume for help with their job hunt on FB Messenger. Again, think of the recipient. What exactly am I supposed to do with that resume in FB Messenger? Email it to me!

Same goes for business discussions, especially if they are ongoing. Email or maybe Slack, not Messenger, definitely not Snapchat or Whatsapp.

The Actual Messaging in Messaging Apps

Due to the nature of most messaging apps, the communication there is somewhat casual. I read my Messenger in between meetings or during the occasional downtime. That means you should write your messages accordingly. Get to the point!

Honestly, long messages are annoying anywhere, even in email, but that annoyance is magnified when you are talking about a casual platform like Snapchat or Whatsapp. These platforms are built in a way that the communication there is snappy and immediate. Use them that way.

What that also means is that sending a question via Messenger then disappearing for hours so the person responding is talking to a wall is not ok and moderately (not moderately) obnoxious behavior.

One Last Thing…

I think my point is clear, and even if it is not, here I am complaining about long messages in my 5 million word blog post. But the point is, be considerate of the recipient in all forms of communication.

If that is the guiding principle for all our communication, then I have one more thing I must beg of you to avoid. Ok, two more things.

If you are emailing, calling (don’t), or messaging someone to ask for a favor of any kind, for the love of God, do your research before. There is nothing quite as annoying as getting an email asking for help on something that is totally 100% irrelevant to what I do. Research before reaching out.

The second thing is, please, and I cannot stress this enough, do NOT add someone to a group, tag someone in a post, or opt someone in to get notifications of any kind without their consent.

This includes, but is not limited to, adding someone to a mass email thread with their address in the To field, tagging someone on a group tweet, adding someone to a FB group, tagging someone in a FB pic not of them, and on and on. I think you get the point.

Be considerate of the recipient.

Communicate responsibly. Bad communication can lead to disasters and communication done right can literally cultivate long lasting relationships and facilitate tremendous success.


Leading New ICT Tech and How It’s About to Rock Your World

If you’re in the technology industry like I am, you know how challenging it can be to stay up-to-date in our fast-changing niche.

Even the word technology has a different meaning today than it did a few years ago. It’s no longer just about our gadgets and computers. These days, technology touches almost every aspect of our lives.


Five Terms Startups Use Incorrectly on a Daily Basis and What They Really Mean

Well, this sure is a blog post long overdue. You see, in my line of work, which is a combination of CMO/Co Founder of a startup (ZCast), tech blogger (on this blog and many others like TechCrunch, Business Insider, The Next Web, Huffington Post, Venturebeat, The Street, Mashable, and GigaOM to name a few), startup advisor (working in an advisory role with some of Israel’s leading startups), and mentor at pretty much all of Israel’s accelerators, I see a LOT of startups. Like an obscene amount of startups.


The Ultimate Dictionary and Guide to Apple Keynotes 

Yesterday was the much anticipated Apple iPhone event. Yes, I am getting the iPhone 7 Plus, no I do not intend on talking about all the announcements and why, iPhone aside, all the other announcements almost put me to sleep.


You Have Not Droned Until You Have DJI Phantom’d

Let me just get this right out of the way, the DJI Phantom 4 is the best drone I’ve ever owned. Now to be clear, I’m not a professional droner (Is that a thing?) and I’ve only taken interest to this insanely fast growing industry in the past few years. If you want to buy one, go for it! If you do not, keep reading.


Huawei: Hard to Pronounce? If you Care about the Future, Start Practicing Now!

By: Hillel Fuld (@Hilzfuld)

I am writing these words on an Apple iPad on my way back from a Huawei event in Shanghai. No one disputes Apple’s superiority in certain areas such as tablets and other consumer technologies. However, even the mighty Apple, the most valuable company on earth realized long ago that me writing blog posts on the plane using their tablet is not where the growth is. Want to know where the future lays? One word: Enterprise.


Yes, Huawei is no laughing matter in the consumer space. The company, without the US market, is the number three largest phone manufacturer worldwide after Apple and Samsung. The Huawei P9 sets the standard for mobile devices in 2016. Simply put, it is phenomenal.  More on Huawei consumer technology here. But again, consumer? Meh.


Consumer < Enterprise


Huawei is single handedly dominating the mobile enterprise world and has been laying the infrastructure for our future connectivity around the globe for years now. You think your LTE is snappy? 5G is to LTE what LTE was to dial up, and that is a huge understatement.  The speeds speak for themselves.

If you are an American consumer, you’ve perhaps seen the Huawei logo enough times to recognize it if I showed it to you, but if I asked you to pronounce the name of the company? That is where the conversation ends. Here’s the thing, that is going to change fast.

Huawei, in many markets, like the one I am flying over right now, the Chinese monster of a market dominates the way BlackBerry once dominated the business world. One small difference? Huawei is learning from some of the casualties of the mobile market, like BlackBerry and Nokia, and the company is innovating faster than anything I’ve ever seen.


Big data, 5G, automotive, virtual reality, and global connectivity are just some terms I heard thrown around over the past few days from the leading Huawei execs. This company isn’t playing around and while the US market has traditionally been strangely suspicious of Huawei, the company has basically said “No US? No problem. They’ll come begging when they realize that Huawei technology is running through the veins of all the leading technologies American consumers and businesses are using.”


The group of key opinion leaders Huawei brought to Shanghai

Will Huawei have the brand recognition that Apple is so well known for? Nope. Does it matter? Absolutely not. If anything, the opposite is true. Apple, through its recent partnerships with IBM and others clearly realizes that it has to start making a dent not only in people’s pockets but in the enterprise world as well, because that is the future.


Also? The iPhone 7 is a few weeks away and the leading rumor of what we expect to see in Apple’s next flagship? Dual lenses for better pictures. Where have I seen that again? Oh yes yes, the Huawei P9 in my pocket.

Listen, we all talk about the connected car, autonomous vehicles, and other technological dreams that are slowly becoming a reality but let me ask you a question…

When your autonomous connected car senses an obstacle on the road and notifies the system to brake, would you prefer that that communication take place over existing 4G/LTE technology that still causes your kids’ Barney videos on YouTube to buffer or would rather it take place over blistering fast 5G technology of which Huawei is the provider? Yea, that’s what I thought.


You might not yet know how to pronounce Huawei or know quite what to make of this company, but if you are interested in what’s coming and what will shape our future, then repeat after me:



The Only Thing Instagram Stories Killed for Me is… Instagram

Instagram stories, Snapchat, yada yada. So much has been said about Zuck’s repetitive and systematic ripping off of Snapchat so I will not be adding to that echo chamber. Before I talk about how the launch of Instagram Stories affected my personal usage of both platforms, I would like to talk a little bit about the phenomenon of copying. It sucks. No, really. Speaking as someone who has been plagiarized and blatantly copied, it royally bites.


What is the iTech Show and Why is Microsoft Israel R&D Sponsoring it?

It’s been a while, I find myself spending more and more time on platforms like Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube, and less time blogging. It’s a sore topic, so don’t get me started. I will just say this. I wouldn’t say blogging has been replaced and I most definitely intend on continuing to write here since everything good that has happened to me professionally happened because of this blog, but… I will say that storytelling, as in letting people really get to know you as a person or as a company, is a whole lot easier on these other platforms than it is via blogging.


4 Ways Huawei Will Change the Way You Think About Technology


The older we get, the more set in our ways we become. Or maybe that’s just me.

I’ve been a tech-lover for as long as I can remember. The tech milestones we’ve all celebrated on social media are permanently etched on my brain. (remember Google Glass?)

But being set in your ways doesn’t just apply to your favorite Starbucks drink and whether you like your toilet paper to hang over or under.

It also applies to tech (and how you use it).

Today I’d like to share 4 ways Huawei changed the way I think about tech – and how that affects my life.

Before I get into the nitty-gritty details, I’d like to take a moment for full disclosure.

I was invited to a VIP tour of Huawei Technologies in Shenzhen last month. I accepted. As a result, I experienced a week’s worth of tech fantasies that would make any geek drool.

For me, visiting Huawei Technologies was like visiting Disney World.

Huawei asked me to share my thoughts with the world. These are my own words based on my own experience. This is not a sponsored article. This is all me!

Now that we got that out of the way…

I know it’s rare to get an inside look at Huawei, and how the company does business.


(I took this pic inside the offices on the Huawei campus in Shenzhen)

I toured the headquarters. I attended a slew of executive briefings. I spoke with many employees. I visited the manufacturing center. It was all very open and inviting.

I stood in an air-conditioned server room that purred like a kitten. I learned about the future of IoT. And I played with some insanely cool video conferencing and surveillance tech.

Like I said… it was like Disney World for a tech-lover like me.


(@2morrowknight, @tomfgoodwin@24K, @petershankman, and me)

I came away from it all with a different view of the company than I had before.

I could write for days about my experiences there, but for this post, let’s focus on the tech.

I’m talking about the juicy, mouth-watering, innovative, forward-thinking tech that we all love.

4 Ways Huawei Will Change the Way You Think About Technology

(Click to Tweet)

1. New ICT (information and communications technology)

Stop for a moment and imagine what it would be like if everyone in the world could connect to each other.

A better connected world means more opportunities, faster growing economies and a better life for all.

Innovative ICT affects every aspect of our lives. Imagine an entirely new ICT ecosystem. Imagine a life that seems like a scene out of a futuristic movie.

Huawei is on a mission to make that a reality. How?

By focusing on:

  1. Broadband Infrastructure
  2. Advancements in Cloud Tech
  3. IoT
  4. Big Data Analytics
  5. Data Centers

Digital technology is shaping our future – which is quickly becoming our now.

These new developments will affect all of us, regardless of what industry we’re in.

The applications in our everyday lives are endless.

For example, we could build safer cities. As we all know, public safety is more of an issue now than ever before.

According to Huawei:

Cities today need effective public safety solutions for incident prevention, emergency response, and evidence collection.

See it in action here –

– We could also use this tech to help protect natural resources.

– Use emerging IoT tech and open cloud platforms to develop, grow and maintain reliable energy. Imagine distributing electricity to anyone, anywhere at any time.

– Make much-needed upgrades in the education, banking and medical industries. (and create specialized solutions for countless other verticals)

– Big businesses could become more agile and able to respond quickly to change. It would make it easier to perform like a fast, lean startup rather than a slow-moving giant.

I could go on and on.

Our world is changing rapidly, and there is nothing that gets me more excited about the possibilities than ICT.

Read more about this by downloading this PDF – Huawei ICT Insights (issue 17)

2. 5G Technology

Holy Batman! Ready or not, here it comes.

I live in the United States. We have some of the best 4G networks in the world, which is a good and bad thing.

It’s good because we can access what we want, when we want, wherever we want. There are no restrictions and very few delays.

It’s bad because that digital luxury is turning us into spoiled brats when it comes to connectivity.

Many of us even have backup connections in the rare case that our primary connection fails.

When it comes to our Internet connection, we don’t mess around.

So as an American, learning about 5G technology at Huawei made me feel like a kid on Christmas morning.

Obviously Huawei is not the only company working on and testing 5G technology. Verizon, AT&T and many other tech giants are exploring this tech too.

Huawei has invested heavily in 5G, and their vision for how it will enhance our lives is inspiring.


What is 5G?

Think about all the devices that are connected to the Internet (between 6 and 7 billion).

You think that’s a lot? It isn’t. 99% of machines in the world today are not connected. But that’s changing fast.

Think about this from an IoT perspective. According to CNBC, there will be around 21 billion connected devices by 2020.

Okay, that’s insane.

How is our existing 4G network going to increase speed (which we want) while still being able to manage all those connected devices?

That’s where 5G comes in.

5G is the 5th generation of mobile technology.

How will this affect your life?

Imagine your Internet speed increasing by about 50%.

Sound good?

You’ll be able to download a whole movie faster than most web pages load today.

And what about 5G-enabled driverless cars? Yep, those fit into the equation too.

According to Huawei:

The combination of holographic imaging, augmented reality, driverless cars, smart factory, intelligent agriculture, smart logistics along with 5G’s ultra-high throughput, ultra-low latency and massive connections will stimulate an astonishing transformation of the way we live our lives, and even inspire the creation of new business models and industries.

Back in May, Huawei completed the first phase of key 5G technology tests as part of a series of field trials.

My question is, won’t our demand increase with 5G?

Won’t we want more resolution, more pixels, more augmented/virtual reality and more data in everything?

And what about global standardization?

Not to mention, building a 5G infrastructure seems like a daunting task.

We’ll see how it all plays out. I can’t wait!

As Huawei puts it, 5G will lead the human race into the era of “everything on mobile.

Just think, kids born today will never know what it’s like to wait for a video to buffer. That’s nuts!

According to Huawei’s rotating CEO Guo Ping, there are some things we should do before 5G arrives. You can read that interview here.

If you’d like, you can also download Huawei’s white paper on 5G security.

For now, we’ll just have to be happy with 4.5G technology which is coming this year!

3. GCI (Global Connectivity Index)

One thing I’ve written about a few times is how Huawei taught me to think more globally.

For me, life is technology and vice versa. You can’t have one without the other.

When I think about life, work, love and our existence from that perspective – I quickly realize that we can’t leave anyone behind.

And when I say “anyone” – I mean developing countries.

I believe everyone on our planet has a right to connect to the Internet.

We all deserve the gift of connectivity and the opportunity to build relationships as a result.

But not all countries are progressing at the same rate.

That’s where the Global Connectivity Index becomes relevant.

In a nutshell, my friend Julia and her team at Huawei devote much of their time to collecting intense data from around the world.

They then use this data and analytics to compile a report that explains how we are all progressing globally in this digital era.

I wrote about the Global Connectivity Index in detail last week. You can learn more by clicking over to that post at Global Connectivity and the Digital Economy: A Comparative Analysis.

You can also download and read the 94 page 2016 Global Connectivity Index Report for yourself.

See where your country ranks by clicking over to their interactive Global Connectivity site.

Here is the breakdown:

huawei global connectivity index ranking

I know what you’re thinking, and I agree. It’s fascinating to view your own country from a global connectivity perspective!

4. Huawei P9 Phone

True. You don’t have to travel all the way to China to experience the P9 – but it’s still definitely worthy of being in my top 4.

When I arrived at my hotel in Hong Kong, the concierge handed me a pretty P9, all set for unboxing.

Huawei is the world’s 3rd largest smartphone manufacturer. (Huawei bumped Microsoft out of that spot last summer)

And now I understand why.

There are a lot of people in China – and just like here in America, almost all of them have a phone in their pockets.

It makes sense that Huawei would produce an irresistible phone, and they’ve done it with the P9.

I’m typically an iOS girl, but I haven’t been able to put my P9 since I received it.

This blog post is not a P9 phone review, but the awesomeness of the camera cannot be understated.

Let me explain.

The P9 has a dual camera system (co-engineered with Leica).

For someone like me who doesn’t own any fancy camera equipment, it feels like I’m carrying around a DSLR lens.

The way the dual camera works is simple. For every pic you snap, the camera takes 2 pictures – 1 is color and the other is black and white.

These 2 pictures are then layered on top of each other to enhance the contrast and light.

The result is the best smartphone pic you’ve ever taken. Seriously. If you get your hands on this phone, try it. You’ll never use Instagram filters again.

The P9 allows you to be as much in control of your phone’s camera features as you’d like.

In other words, it allows you to have professional control, but only if you want it. With one tap you can control the aperture and other settings.

It also allows you to control the focus and depth of field of the photo after it’s taken.

This is one of the first pictures I took with the P9 – and that was before I learned about any of the features. I l-o-v-e this camera!


no filter, no Photoshop, no adjustments and no skills. 🙂


again…no filter, no Photoshop, no adjustments and no skills. 🙂

If you want to read about all the technical specs on the P9 camera, just click over to How to Use the Huawei P9’s Superb Dual-Lens Camera.


(This is Cipher. He works at Huawei, and he taught me all about the P9.)

Final Thoughts

Before I visited the Huawei campus in Shenzhen last month, I had a completely different opinion of the company.

It was a subtle reminder that you can’t always believe what you hear. And sometimes, you just have to see it for yourself.

I feel blessed that I was given that opportunity.

Thank you, Huawei for all the innovation and inspiration. Technology will pave the road for the future of humanity.

It’s a great time to be alive!

If you’d like to continue the conversation, tweet me at @adamsconsulting.

Thank you for reading my article!


The Next 50 People to Follow on Snapchat for Some Ridiculously Great Snaps

It is time! By now, I have upped my Snapchat game… We have all upped our Snapchat game! Snapchat right now has so much in common with the early days of Twitter, it’s ridiculous! There is the active community that is in love with the platform, and then there is the normal folks who “Just don’t get it.” But they will!


50 Consistently Interesting People to Follow on Snapchat

If you haven’t heard about Snapchat by now, I have one question for you, that rock you’ve been living under, is it comfy? No, but seriously, what is happening right now with Snapchat is a combination of Facebook is 2009 and Twitter 2007. In other words, it is all anyone will talk about.