As a product person, Julia Beizer sees light where others may see darkness, taking nascent if not nonexistent technologies to audiences. Her influence—from her Washington Post days where over the course of a decade she had her hand in, and guided, some of the publication’s most transformative moments, to her time at HuffPost, where she led the company’s product and design—can be seen across a bevy of media companies.
Beizer is now the chief product officer at Bloomberg Media, overseeing a team that shapes the company’s digital experiences and cuts through a variety of platforms and services.
“I like working with people and I miss that a lot,” Beizer said during an early April chat. Beizer set up shop by a window in her Bedford-Stuyvesant brownstone, putting her in a position to juggle, as many do these days, work and kids. Her 6-year-old and 8-year-old (and Jack, her Weimaraner mutt) romp through the apartment during the conversation. “There are some silver linings. It’s been great getting to spend time with my kids. They’re awesome. We have a lot of fun around here.”
As part of our How I Keep Myself Balanced series, Beizer allowed us into her home—via a Zoom chat—to talk about how she’s managing her team, and herself, during these times. If you’re a media executive and would like to participate, drop us a line.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Adweek: So how does your day start?
Julia Beizer: It starts by going for a run, between 6:30 and 7. Then I come back and get the kids fed, get them to their morning Zoom meetings with the class, and then set them up for their morning assignments. They are new to computers, so I’ve taught them all about tabs. Like we line up all their assignments and tabs, which is awesome. And then my husband and I get on calls all day.
And then you and [your husband] just kind of tag team throughout the day with the kids?
That’s right, depending on who’s got a break in the day. And we have had kids walk into our calls for the last two weeks, and everyone’s been very understanding about that.
What TV shows are you all watching?
Not a lot. I watched a few episodes of Love is Blind because everyone was watching it. I couldn’t get super into it. I would say at the end of the day we are watching a lot of humor: Seth Meyers, Jimmy Fallon, Steven Colbert. We just run through the clips on YouTube from our Roku. You gotta laugh at the end of the day.
You mentioned you watch TV through your Roku and YouTube. What other streaming services are you using these days?
Well, with two children, a lot of Disney+, and a lot of Netflix.
You do any cooking?
Oh, I’m cooking all the time. I don’t cook as much as I like to, just given a job, two kids and all that. So I’m cooking a lot of soup, which is my favorite thing to cook. White corn tortilla soup; kale and white bean soup; clam chowder; French onion soup.
So you like soup.
Also a lot of baking. I made the rainbow sprinkle cake from the Times that’s been stalking me on Instagram. Finally crossed that one off the list. Made some chocolate banana bread this weekend and chocolate chip cookies.
What games do you play with the kids?
We started a 500-piece puzzle this weekend. It’s still on the dining room table, unfinished. So we’re working through that. We’ve got the kids signed up for Facebook Messenger for kids, which is a cute little service that has allowed them to stay in contact with their friends. We gave them more recess and they made up some plays the other day. And so we watched their plays.
Do the kids do video conferencing with their friends often?
They have a morning meeting for both of their classes, so they get to see their friends. And we set up some virtual play dates, which have been pretty cute.
And I’ll tell you this, this is interesting. My son got his Facebook Messenger live and it’s on his little Kindle Fire tablet. And he got to talk to his best friend who he just adores, and he finally gets to talk to him on this video chat software through Facebook Messenger for kids and they hang up. And like six hours later, we’re at dinner and my son, you can see him kind of being distracted and looking around, he’s like, ‘Mom, dad, can I call Elia again?’
I thought, wow, man, six hours, that’s all it took to get him addicted to his phone in the way we are with ours. There’s something irreversible here, that I’m not going to place a value judgment on it, but we’re definitely going to have to figure out how to manage.
But I will tell you, I think they would be going crazy if they couldn’t talk to their friends, and they spent a lot of time messaging their, um, aunts and uncles down in D.C. and I think that’s been really cool for them. So, of all the times in history, some of the streaming and communication technology has really made this a lot easier.
How else are you keeping balanced?
A lot of the times I’m really focused on the weekend and decompressing and hanging out with the kids. I just finished A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which was our book club pick that I was late on reading for the meeting, but I finally finished. I’m about to pick up The Splendid and the Vile, which is the new Erik Larson book.
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