Ilana Golan is a well-known growth strategist in Silicon Valley helping individuals, teams, and companies see unparalleled results.Selected top 40 women to watch in 2016 and Business Insider Silicon Valley Women of influence in 2017.An entrepreneur turned tech investor, Forbes Contributor & Public Speaker.Ilana is the inventor of M.A.S.T.E.R - #careerLeap in 60 days - the exclusive program that has been transforming thousands of lives and careers. Featured on Yahoo Finance, Market Watch, Fox, NBC, CBS, ABC, and more.She is a Board Director and General Partner at Homrun, the first of its kind network-based venture, accelerating the growth of Israeli companies in North America.Ilana is also an award-winning international keynote speaker on Leadership, Boosting Team Performance, and Owning Your Plan for Growth.Speaking events include Tech Crunch Disrupt, Western Digital Leadership Conference, Wix, Cleveland Leadership Summit, Inman Connect, Skolkovo Executive MBA Program, Haifa Economic Corporation, Technion World Tour, Rambam Women who Inspire and countless others.Ilana started her own company (acquired), grew another startup to $15M yearly revenue, and was part of an exit of $300M.She started her career as an F-16 flight simulator instructor and became the first woman to become a commander and in-charge of training of all F-16 pilots in Israel in the simulator. Ilana studied Hardware and Software Engineering in the Technion.View the profile
About the talk
Software engineer, fighter pilot and entrepreneur, Ilana explains how AI and You together can tell a compelling story that connects with your customers.
00:15 Ilana’s story
02:40 Know your audience
03:50 Personalize the experience
06:00 Differentiate yourself
So why should you and machines tell stories together? Let me go through my story. So when I was 18, this was my life. I was living and breathing F-16 fighter jets in the Israeli Air Force. I love learning about planes. I love flying, jets are amazing. And I love being part of something that was so much bigger than anything I experienced in life before. I actually became a flight instructor, F-16 flight instructor Super motivated to prove to everyone that I can do this just as good as the man pilots. I've worked day and night to improve myself and eventually it paid
off. I became the first woman to ever become a Commander in charge of all the training of all F-16 pilots in Israel. Thank you. It was a great success. Lots of press I was super proud, but these big successes don't come without some really big failures and I want to talk about some of them today. So here's the scenario the super senior general comes in he needs to go to training. So I'm the highest-rank. I'll give him the training. I check his profile. He hasn't done air to ground training in a long time meaning targeting a certain
target on the ground from the air. I create a mission and we executed together and I give him feedback. So far it's a typical day. But in the back of my mind I say to myself. Oh my goodness. This is supercritical. I need to make some good impressions here. But when the feedback is over, he gets up stands like this and says honey, you know who I am? I don't know if that happens to do when all your blood rushes to your brain and your ears and they feel like they are going to explode. I knew I screwed up, but why? And he continues, he says when you were about 6 years old I bombed a nuclear power plant in Iraq.
And for those who don't know to bomb the nuclear plant in Iraq all the way from Israel is still considered one of the most insane but successful missions ever accomplished by an Air Force. So missing the fact that he was there is a really big flop. Now he clearly knows air to ground in his sleep. Otherwise, he would never been chosen. Now it doesn't mean that he'll never make mistakes and it doesn't mean that the feedback wasn't relevant but it does mean that they should've said it differently.
If only I'd known. And when I got over the humiliation and shock, I started digging a little deeper into this and I realized I really don't know my audience. It's actually the worst because I think I do. I have a profile it says the last few trainings that they've done but this is so shallow. I don't know anything about them as pilots, as humans, nothing and when I dug even deeper, you know, my audience was pilots, but all sorts of pilots. Some of them completely new. I would literally teach them everything about F-16s and walk them to their very
first flight and some of them were more experienced than I ever going to be. I really did not know my audience. The more I dug into this the more it became clear that this is critical not just for the feedback. This is critical for everything. I'm doing for how I pick what training to do. What am I going to look at? Obviously the feedback. I actually got the best commander award because I completely changed the whole training and education program for all pilots in Israel by personalizing the experience. It was critical. And
just food for thought for you guys. How well do you feel you really know your clients? How well do you really personalize that experience? Just food for thought. 10 years later. I'm an engineer, I'm called by a startup to start the operation here in the US. It's not going very well in Israel in Europe. And I have a chance to make it work. Oh my God, what a challenge. I move my family to the berry. I'm super excited and it's a different market. It's a different industry, but we know the drill. You learn the market, you need to learn to tell the story, get to know your audience. We were
selling to Enterprise. It was super important for me to have a reference. Without a reference who is going to talk to me? So I decided to aim high, Cisco HP Everybody knows them. I prepare really well for the meetings really really well. The meetings go amazingly.We made friends. I go celebrate this going to be a purchase order in a week or two. I'm sure. But you know, what a week or two moves and there's no money in the bank. Surprisingly I follow up to understand the one decided to go with the competition and the other one decided to go with a homegrown
solution because it's going to cost less. How on Earth did I manage to screw both of these up? I don't know when was the last time you went a roller coaster. But this was one of the biggest roller coasters I had for a long time. My stomach was aching. I couldn't sleep at night. I didn't need to lay off people just because I screwed up. It really doesn't get much worse. But why, what happened? So I followed up with the team, and they explained - no. The meeting was great, but we went to the manager and he said to put a purchase order and he said wait. I wasn't at the meeting so
did you evaluate the competition? Can we create our own? We have a few spare engineers? And although I told the great story. I did not differentiate myself. I did not give them the tools to explain to their manager to the competition to the homegrown solution to themselves. Why I am different why I am better. We tend to do this. We're like the competition I'm going to build better relationship. I'm going to be more professional but you know what they might be okay, and if there's just okay or good enough they will take business
away. I had to differentiate myself. So I went back to the drawing board. I had to figure out what does winning mean for these groups. How does my product cause them to win and spell exactly what kind of ROI return-on-investment I can provide in 3 6 12 months. That was the tool they need they need spoon-feeding why I am different. And once I did that I started winning in customer experience and I started winning again and again and again. A year later you know from barely surviving we were
2,5 million a year later at 5 couple years later it's 15 millions in yearly revenue. We are clearly differentiating. But customer experience and relevant content was super key. So as you can see data always played a big role in my life. But capturing it, analyzing it, putting it to the relevant content in place was always so time-consuming and hard. So I decided to create Stiya. Stiya stands for Stories in Your Attic. I wanted to bring those stories or tucked away somewhere back in your brain in the attic to be in
your pocket captured automatically, looking beautiful, searchable, shareable. Think of it as storytelling through automation in AI. Putting all the really relevant content in front of you. Now Stiya actually started from something completely different from a personal problem that I had in a completely different industry and I wonder if this happens to you. If I go to San Francisco for a day take a couple of pictures, walk around have lunch, espresso. Have a great day.
But a weekend later a friend would say hey Ilana do you have a place in San Francisco to recommend? I'd say yeah yeah yeah here. Here are the photos from Coit Tower. What else can I share? I don't remember the names of the restaurants that special place where exactly did we walk. So my story is not really working out. Now, even if I find the details, what do I do? I send an e-mail and they look at the map. Something was broken. So I created Stiya, Stiya learns the user.
It would capture the experiences completely automatically, created a map, names of places photos, notes, basically create a story for you. Now travelers, bloggers, families. Yeah, of course, they took over but what surprised me is that I started seeing more and more agents on our platform. And the agents would basically create a branded story of the house hunting experience they had with a client. So they would take those 4 or 6 whatever houses that you guys are showing and basically create, they would capture automatically on their mobile and they would create a layer of personalization.
Adding a few more photos, adding the note from the client, the videos they took from the school or the neighborhood. And they would send the summary, a branded summary of the experience to the client. Now I have to admit that. This is a business model that was very weird to me because I'm not from this industry. But what it did do is bring memories of the two stories that I decided to share with you. The story with a general in the Air Force and the story with a startup because in both
cases. The name of the game was relevance. In both cases, I had to learn the audience and adjust my story to that audience. And this was exactly what the agents were doing. They were taking Stiya and adjusting their story to their clients. And I loved it. I really love it. So I really want to make it better for your needs. So, let machines tell your story they can do a pretty good job at it, and thank you. We would love to have you as a part of the Stiya story as well. So if you want to join our waitlist and catch me in the corridors, tell me what you think, and if you want to be involved in any
Buy this talk
Access to all the recordings of the event
Buy this video
With ConferenceCast.tv, you get access to our library of the world's best conference talks.