CAREER SPOTLIGHT: THE SKIMM FOUNDERS

Thank you to the moon and back for your thoughtful responses on yesterday’s post. Several of your comments and emails brought me to tears and I am so unbelievably grateful for this community of women who read here each day. It’s so nice to know you’re not alone when the going gets rough. Your words of encouragement are more inspiring than you know.

It’s fitting today that I get to share two very inspiring women with all of you. I’ve subscribed to The Skimm for close to a year now and it’s becoming part of my morning routine (right up there with walking Rory, getting Starbucks, and checking Shopbop’s new arrivals). In fact I often read it before I get out of bed in the morning. Not familiar? It’s a daily newsletter that provides updates on global current events in a fun, fresh, relatable tone of voice. My favorite part is that it provides context around each update so you’re not totally lost if you miss a day of news. Whether you’re a college student, a young professional, or a married mother of four, The Skimm a must-read for knowing what’s going on in the world (and what everyone’s talking about at dinner parties). It’s made me feel infinitely better informed in the time that I’ve been reading and I hope many of you will feel the same. I was particularly excited for this interview and I know you’ll enjoy learning more about The Skimm founders as much as I did!

the skimm founders

Names: Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin

Ages: Both 28

Titles: Co-founders and co-CEOs, The Skimm

How did The Skimm come to be? Have you always had a passion for covering the news?

Danielle: Carly and I both grew up as news junkies and we both love storytelling. We met in college during a study abroad program in Rome and wound up working together at NBC News after we graduated. We started as friends, then roommates, then [coworkers] discussing how the industry was changing and what was next. The career path that we’d worked so hard to get to just wasn’t the same as it was five or ten years ago.

the skimm headquarters nyc

So The Skimm was born out of those conversations as a current events guide for the 21st century. I love it! I start almost every morning reading The Skimm in bed. Dare I ask how early you wake up to be able to produce such current content?

Danielle: The question is really how late are we up!

Carly: It’s definitely an evolving process. We have a team that covers shifts all night. Thankfully now we have editorial support — our team is always touching up the newsletter before it goes out at 6 a.m.

the skimm founders

I imagine your schedule changes a lot based on what’s going on in the world.

Danielle: The only thing that’s consistent is how rigid we are with our schedule. We won’t take meetings before or after a certain time. We schedule meetings, networking, and TV appearances around when we need to be producing content.

Carly: The best and worst part is that every day is different. It keeps things interesting but it’s also really hard to plan. We’ve had a lot of fun putting together our team and finding people who were willing to take a risk and join a start-up.

 

How would you describe the work environment you’ve created?

Danielle: The office is very branded. Our first week in January, we were sitting on a turquoise tablecloth putting the office together. That was a team-building experience in and of itself. We created this space not just to house a team but to collaborate and be creative and have fun doing it.

Carly: It’s an open space, which makes it easier to collaborate. Our team literally plays musical chairs with their laptops depending on who’s coming to the office on any given day. Everyone is a team player — we’re all passionate about what we’re doing and we’re all here to get shit done.

the skimm press wall

What’s one pinch me moment you’ve had so far?

Danielle: Going on The Today Show was very surreal. I mean, we used to book the cars for the guests on the show! Being on the other side of it was just really sentimental and symbolic.

Carly: Or when Vanity Fair came to our apartment and totally transformed it for the photos.

Danielle: We like to celebrate the big days, even when we just started and were on a very tight budget. We went to a nice restaurant after Vanity Fair to split a glass of champagne and the only other person in the restaurant was Sarah Jessica Parker. We were like, it’s a sign! We had introduced ourselves to her a few months before and stopped her on the way out of the restaurant. Somehow she remembered us and said our business card was sitting in her closet! We were like, we’ve made it into SJP’s closet! And then as she was leaving, our credit card was declined. [Laughing] It was such a reality check.

 

That’s an awesome story. I love that you include your subscribers’ birthdays at the bottom of each newsletter. You have some pretty cool subscribers: SJP, Lena Dunham…

Danielle: We started doing it because Carly really likes to celebrate her half-birthday. We have this pen pal relationship with a lot of our readers. We get to see who’s waking up with our product every day.

Carly: People ask us for a print-out of the day their child was born. Not the New York Times but The Skimm! It’s pretty incredible.

the skimm office

I love that your team takes the time to do that! Little details like that make such a difference. What are some of your current goals?

Carly: We’re really focused on growth right now, both of our product and our team.

Danielle: A successful day for us is getting a lot done but also having a social life. You could put us in a room and we’d work all day.

 

Last question! If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, who would it be?

Danielle: Do they have to be alive?

Carly: Can we answer together?

[Whisper to one another and then count out on their fingers.]

Danielle: The pope. Oprah. Ronald Reagan. Bill Clinton.

Carly: Do they have to be real people? Let’s add Olivia Pope.

 

Keep up with The Skimm:

Sign up for the newsletter  //  Facebook  //  Instagram  //  Pinterest  //  Twitter

*Photos by Bekka Palmer

37 thoughts on “CAREER SPOTLIGHT: THE SKIMM FOUNDERS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Dang…did you take today off??? Well… You deserve it but I was looking forward to my daily dose of Skimm. My husband makes me read it to him before we do anything. Thanks…from Washington,N.C. What to sY to your best friends asks where the ‘Scamm’ is …oops!

  2. i LOVE The Skimm! there is so much in the social media world i *don’t* care about. but The Skimm? i tell everyone! i went to an early morning exercise class and a girl was wearing a Skimm life t-shirt. i had to restrain myself from going over and begging to know how she got it. no one wants to be jumped at 7am. Great work cool gals – i am hooked for life!

  3. Heard about The Skimm from my daughter.
    I stopped reading newspapers and looking forward to your way of catching up on the news of the day.

  4. TheSkimm has become a must-read for my commute to school. Now thinking about it, I think I subscribed to it thanks to you! You mentioned it in a blog post once upon a time. 🙂 It’s nice to know more about the awesome and inspiring women behind the newsletter. What cool ladies!

  5. how cool – i’ve just subscribed. this is why i love your blog, you don’t just put the same stuff as everyone else, you have such a variety and actually have such a unique offering. i always learn about new things here!!

  6. I’ve been loving your content this week Mackenzie – this post was super useful – I’d heard of the Skimm but wasn’t sure what it was all about. I’ll definitely be checking it out after reading this. Thanks for the hint and keep up the awesome posts!

  7. I love the Skimm. It’s the first thing I read every single morning. Ok not weekends… P.s. ladies can you make a weekend edition?? Anyways, I’m a news freak and would scour papers like NYT, WSJ, and philadelphia papers everyday so subscribing to Skimm gave me hours back in my life. I really loved reading about two women who have literally re-shaped my day!

  8. Thanks for sharing this! I struggle on my current events now that I’m not in school and this seems like a great way to get bite sized information.

  9. I just recently started subscribing to the Skimm, and like you, it’s the first thing I read when I wake up! I love that’s so geared towards our generation and it’s a great way to stay in the know!

  10. What an insightful interview Mackenzie! I’ve been a loyal Skimm’er for over a year and a half and am delighted to see all of the coverage and exposure they have been getting. I really look up to those two, (as a 26 year old woman, contemplating my next career move!) and to you as well Mackenzie for being entrepreneurs in your own right! I hope these two helped lift your spirits after your post yesterday and remind you to keep up the great work on your own path!

  11. I started reading the Skimm last year after I read your post about it so thank you!! I love starting my day, before I even get out of bed, reading the Skimm (like you!) It was great to see the two amazing women behind the brand!

  12. I’ve never read The Skimm but it sounds right up my alley! I try to read the New York Times as often as possible but sometimes feel like it’s a never ending game of catch up so this sounds so refreshing! What an inspirational story.

  13. This is a great post! I already love your Career Spotlight posts, and this one just nailed it for me. I haven’t heard of The Skimm before this, and I just now signed up for their newsletter. I already read NPR and NYT for my news, but they can be dry and like you said, if you miss a day you might miss some important backstory. Their writing style feels very current, which I like. I’m excited!

  14. I love the Skimm! I read it every morning and it is definitely one of my favorite parts of my routine. I want to stay up to date on the news, but I’ve always struggled with reading articles and watching news programs on TV. The Skimm makes staying up to date so easy! I loved seeing the faces behind the emails.

    – Kelsey
    http://kelseydefined.wordpress.com/

  15. I’ve been a subscriber to The Skimm for a few months now and love reading it first thing with my coffee. I love how the news is presented in small paragraphs and is straight to the point. I don’t have the patience to read a whole long article on one event.

    Ashley
    All That Glitters

  16. My second day in a row leaving a comment! I LOVE The Skimm, I read it every morning and it is insane how much more informed I feel. I’ve actually found myself explaining current events to my friends…because somehow I now know about current events. I think part of being a “grown up” is knowing at least a LITTLE about politics and the world, and now I actually know context when I read longer newspaper pieces. Anyway, these two are great. I’m always available for a job, guys!

  17. Sold….and I subscribed! Can’t wait to start “skimming”. Miss DD, I.love.these.post…by far my favorite! As for yesterday’s post, my computer went web-crazy on me as I went to comment. I simply wanted to say, I raise my glass to you…onward and upward right back at ya! You are an inspiration to all DD readers.

    Cheers from SC –

  18. YES! I was SO looking forward to this post when you tweeted about it the other day! And you did not disappoint. I absolutely LOVE The Skimm and love Carly and Danielle even more. What great questions you asked! And I think it’s so great that they added Olivia Pope to their dinner, I for sure agree with that addition!

  19. Such a great feature! I’ve been a subscriber of The Skimm for a around a year and love it . It’s such a great way to stay current on events and in a way that’s easy to understand!