These Women Changed How You Read News


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You’ve seen Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin everywhere. In fact, they probably show up in your email every morning–they’re the voices behind theSkimm, a newsletter that skims everything that’s going on in the world so you don’t have to. Since its inception, it’s taken the world by storm (and this is only the beginning–can you imagine what they’ll be up to next?).

What the final push that prompted you to quit your jobs at NBC to start theSkimm?

Quitting our jobs was the scariest thing we’ve ever done. Neither of us is really a big risk taker and we had worked so hard to get our jobs in the first place that it was truly an out of body experience. But we truly believed in our idea and saw a void in the marketplace for news that our friends really connected with. Also, we were at the right point in our lives to take a leap of faith. As roommates in our 20s, there wouldn’t be another open chance for us to start something without having big responsibilities.

What makes theSkimm appeal to Millennials?

We are at a point in technology and culture where there is so much information out there. You really need a filter to get through it all. theSkimm acts as a filter for the millennial generation but does so in two distinct ways. 1) The heart oftheSkimm is the voice we’ve created. It sounds like the news being brought to you by your friend, sitting next to you on the couch. 2) We deliver the news in a way that fits in with the routine of our target audience. The first thing our friends do in the morning is wake up, check your phone, check email. We wanted to fit into that behavior.
Why do you think it is important for women to keep up with the news? What can women do to make sure they are fluent in world affairs?
We think that knowing about the world around you is an important and basic responsibility. It’s part of being a good citizen and helps broaden your understanding of the world, outside of just your day to day. Also, the news can have a direct impact on your daily life — from what you’re paying, to where you’re able to go, and who is making decisions for you or your neighborhood. theSkimm recognizes that all of these things are important but that people are busy — and it’s hard to keep up with all the news out there. Smart Girls can work theSkimm into their routine to keep up with everything.
What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs?
Take a coding class. We didn’t do this and tell everyone we know how important it is. You don’t have to be the best coder out there but it’s so valuable to understand the decisions that go into building something.

The biggest supporters of theSkimm appear to be Millennial females. How do you also target different demographics, for example older people or males?

Moms and guys both love theSkimm as well. Although we market to women, theSkimm is for everyone who is busy. And we definitely don’t believe news is gender specific.

What can females do to make themselves superstars in the business world? What do you find is most important?

Networking is really important for anyone looking to get exposure to mentors and to learn a new field. It’s important to feel comfortable introducing yourself and asking for things like — hi, can I buy you coffee and ask you some questions? It’s a skill that you should practice.

theSkimm keeps a blog all about the lessons you both have learned about startup life. What has the response been about this? (Do you find it helps your business, to people reach out to you for advice, etc.)

Our blog has been a great thing for our audience to see another side of theSkimm. It’s a behind the scenes of sorts.

As co-founders who are also close friends, how do you maintain both a healthy professional and personal relationship?

We were friends, then roommates, then business partners. We had a foundation before we did this and definitely didn’t just jump into it. We know what triggers the other and don’t go there. We also keep a lot of wine on hand.

What is the most important aspect of theSkimm life?
Being engaged in the world around you while on the go.

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Quincy Bulin

Editor in Chief of Spire & Co. Regular consumer of breakfast tacos and podcasts. I lived all around the north until I realized that all along, I was meant to be in the south.