DANIELLE WEISBERG and CARLY ZAKIN have cracked the code to keeping the news short and sweet.
TheSkimm.com is your one-stop-shop news source for all you really need to know before leaving the house every morning. In an age of 24-hour news coverage, the millennial generation now finds itself suffering from TMI (too much information), a condition only aggravated by the multitude of news sources, blogs, journals, podcasts, etc., vying for a few free minutes of attention from our already jam-packed days. TheSkimm has so far proven an effective remedy to this rampant condition plaguing our generation. Fairweather publisher Eric Goodman interviewed the founders of theSkimm on the who, what, when, where, why, and how of their explosive new(s) start-up.
Why did you decide to start theSkimm?
We both grew up news geeks. We really had a love of storytelling from an early age. We pretty much always had our heads in books or were asking way too many questions. We met studying abroad in Rome, but didn’t put together our love of news and information until later. We reconnected when we were both working for NBC News, where we truly learned from the best in the business. But the ideas behind theSkimm really came from our friends—super smart, highly educated women leading busy social lives. They were short on time and would ask us (who were paid to know what was going on) to fll them in. We saw a void in the market place for news delivered toward this valuable demographic in a way that they respond to or that fits in with their routine.
Who is your primary audience and how are you growing it?
TheSkimm’s primary audience is women 22–34, educated, living in big cities, with money to spend. The great thing about theSkimm, though, is that it appeals to anyone short on time. We are popular with all diferent age groups who respond to it for different reasons—and 30 percent of our audience is men. We are doubling down on growth by working with partners and continuing to put down a great product each day.
Given the incessant flow of news today, how does theSkimm prioritize news articles?
TheSkimm gives weight to what is the big news of the day and what are the stories people are really talking about. We try for a good mix of both. The idea behind the newsletter is that you should be able to talk to someone no matter what industry they work in—so be it finance, education, politics, you have something to say.
What has been the biggest challenge in building theSkimm?
The hardest thing about starting theSkimm is that it’s our first business—so everything from quitting our jobs to launching to fundraising to finding an office to finding a lawyer has been a first for us.
What advice would you give other start-ups?
Make time to sleep. We ran on adrenaline alone for the first six months and it really wasn’t healthy.
What is your favorite part of NYC? Hidden go-to spots?
We love our neighborhood, the West Village. It feels like a true neighborhood in a city where that’s rare. Running along the West Side Highway is one of our favorite things to do in the city. We also love Tartine and Café Cluny.
What do you do in your spare time?
Sleep. And catch up with family and friends.