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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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*Photos by Bekka Palmer