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FEATURES

Filtering by Category: Business

Marc Lore

Mable Yiu

Photo courtesy of Jet.com

Photo courtesy of Jet.com

by Mable Yiu

Business innovator Marc Lore is the face of Jet.com, a new platform destined to revolutionize online shopping.

What gave you the idea to start Jet.com?

I realized that there was an enormous opportunity to create the next generation ecommerce marketplace that empowers consumers, retailers and brands through unprecedented transparency.

What makes Jet.com different from its competitors?

At the core of Jet is our Smart Cart technology. Our technology operates like a real-time trading system where prices drop as an order becomes more cost-efficient to ship. I believe we’ve found an equation where everyone wins. Customers can save by taking actions to lower costs and retailers can fulfill orders more profitably as a result.

I've read a lot of articles stating that Jet.com is aiming to "take on Amazon." Do you think there is a way to coexist, or could you call it "healthy competition?"

It’s hard to believe, but only 8% of total U.S. retail sales take place online right now. The e-commerce space is set to explode over the next decade and it’s not a winner-take-all market. There will be more than enough room for different brands to resonate. 

Do you have any advice for starting entrepreneurs? In your opinion, what are the most important things to consider when thinking about starting a new company?

First, you have to know exactly what your mission and values are — why your company exists and where you’re going, what the vision is. Second, you need to surround yourself with great people — investors, advisors and mentors — and share everything about your idea with them. They’ll help shape your strategy and business model in ways that will take the business farther than you ever could’ve yourself.

The Next Generation

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                                                  Peter Cuneo, Chairman of Valiant

                                                  Peter Cuneo, Chairman of Valiant

by Alexandra Fairweather

I recently had a chance to sit down with Peter Cuneo, the Chairman of Valiant, who is highly celebrated as the former CEO of Marvel who sold the company for $4.7 billion, and Jeremiah Schnee, the founder of the Wealth and Values Initiative (WVI) and CEO of Next Opportunity Group, known for advising CEOs of some of the most successful private mid-sized companies in industries ranging from aerospace & defense to retail – as well as the legacy families who own them. Cuneo and Schnee shared with me the need to teach the next generation how to become the world’s next great business leaders and how a program the WVI/Next Opportunity Group developed with Cornell University's Johnson School of Business, CKGSB, and US China Partners called iLEAD (Intergenerational Leadership Entrepreneurial Accelerated Development) is doing just that.

“Leadership and culture start at the top. In a legacy family, it is just the same,” explains Schnee. Hence, “in addition to incorporating leading business oriented Professors – iLEAD brings you together with wealth creators, such as Peter Cuneo – who are talking about how to create wealth – a big difference,” asserts Schnee.

iLEAD is a pioneering international exchange and leadership program for high-achieving young business leaders from American, Chinese and other international family enterprises. The idea behind iLEAD is to build a pre-eminent international business network with those who share common values, learn how to conduct business in China and in the U.S, globalize family enterprises, adopt strategies to sustain wealth over generations, grow as leaders, expand entrepreneurship, collaboration and leadership skills, and ultimately understand the relationship between wealth, values and family legacies.

“The economic reality is that the United States needs China and China needs the United States,” explains Cuneo, who decided to get involved with iLEAD to help cultivate the values of the next generation of great business leaders.

“Five years from now, the China economy will probably be the largest economy in the world and we need to sell products and services to each other,” asserts Cuneo.

Cuneo continues, “I’m a huge believer in the wisdom to be gained in understanding foreign cultures. In the worlds of the future, to be truly successful you need to be successful in multiple cultures… In learning a foreign culture, you begin to see that there are people on this earth that view situations differently…this is very important when you meet other people. Learn to be flexible, don’t assume, and learn what they mean when they say, ‘yes.’ This is an example of what you need to learn in different cultures.”

Considering the growing importance of the dynamic between China and the United States, Cuneo and Schnee are seeking to not only create a forum to develop cultural understandings between the two global powers, but to expand networks and develop incredible relationships for iLEAD participants.

Jeremiah Schnee, CEO of Next Opportunity Group

Jeremiah Schnee, CEO of Next Opportunity Group

“Starting a new business is not about just understanding a culture, but having close relationships with others in other cultures. Despite what many young people in America think, you can’t do a deal only on the computer. We have become far too digitized in the United States, taking the place of personal relationships. Personal relationships at the end are still what matter in business,” explains Cuneo.

“The program prepares you for the future success of legacy businesses by immersing next generation leadership and wealth creators in real-world applications to foster international, intergenerational business opportunities and the transfer of values and knowledge,” explains Schnee.

iLEAD will offer incredible corporate visits with CEOs of premier companies ranging from Google to Alibaba, experiential learning such as lessons from a Broadway producer on how to present yourself as a CEO, as well as fantastic educational programs and internship experiences.

“The real winners in life in the future are going to be the people who have a real sense and are driven in the real world,” explains Cuneo.

iLEAD consists of two modules – one in the US and one in China:

US Module 1: Sunday June 7 – Wednesday June 17, 2015

China Module 2: Sunday July 12 – Wednesday July 22, 2015

Professional Masters Certificate:

All participants completing both modules in good standing will receive a Professional Masters Certificate from Cornell University and CKGSB.

To learn more and apply for the iLEAD, please reach out to Margaret Poswistilo at Next Opportunity Group.

Tel: +1 212-878-6644

Email: mposwistilo@nextoppgroup.com

http://nextoppgroup.com/ilead

 

Rise & Shine

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By Lisa Graham and Alexandra Fairweather

With their crowd- funded real estate investment company Fundrise, brothers Daniel and Ben Miller are revolutionizing real estate development and showcasing a model that very well may be the future of investing.

Growing up in the real estate world, Daniel and Ben Miller gravitated to- wards real estate as they watched their family’s company, Western Development Corporation, develop more than 20 million square feet of real estate in its 46-year history. We spoke with Daniel about how their company, Fundrise, is changing the business—and having a positive impact on communities.

Daniel and Ben started their careers as urban retail developers, focusing on building unique real estate projects in Washington, DC. “I love the development side,” explains Miller, who gets particularly excited about historic preservation projects. However, as they raised funds for their real estate deals, they noted that the traditional model of raising money from investment funds in New York City and abroad was antiquated, as many funds were not aware of the neighborhoods where the projects were, nor did they have a meaningful connectionto the project. In contrast, their friends and neighbors, who did understand their visionfor a particular neighborhood, did not have an economical process or feasible mechanism to allow them to invest.

“Real estate is one of the best investment classes there is,” explains Miller. Even though real estate has historically proven to be an extremely lucrative investment, and while private equity investment in real estate has grown in excess of $100 billion, the majority of real estate investments have been limited to a small, select number of institutional investors. Daniel and Ben set out to give everyone the opportunity to invest in real estate. “Fundrise allows people to invest,” he explains. Moreover, the democratic process “changes the dynamics of real estate and what can be built.”

ALTHOUGH THEY FACED SKEPTICS and challenges, spending a year working with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), they crowdfunded the first online equity offering for a real estate property, raising $325,000 from 175 individual investors in 2012. “We opened, in our view, to the broader population who historically has had no way to invest in commercial real estate. Over time, you can have people take part in shaping their communities,” explains Miller. Whereas the traditional process took months to raise capital, they were able to secure financing in hours. After their initial success, they kept successfully raising funds for their real estate properties and they had hundreds of people from across the country starting to reach out to the Miller brothers. “There’s a new generation of real estate developers who are more inclusive who can use technology who are viewing development in a more inclusive way,” remarks Miller. “It will be the norm. It will be creating an efficient and transparent way of making investments,” explains Miller. Currently, Fundrise has 22,000 people on the site and 10,000 non-accredited investors. Fundrise carefully reviews and selects the deals presented on their site and less than 5 percent of the applications received are accepted on the platform.

Fundrise is currently active in 15 cities and is looking forward to becoming a national plat- form. “We see this taking a long time to roll out; a lot of infrastructure has to be built out. People have never invested in real estate and there is going to be a real shift. It is going to allow people in 5-10 years to feel very comfort- able with investing,” notes Miller. “Real estate exists in every community; it works in every market,” continues Miller. After their national rollout, their next focus will be Europe. “It is just a matter of resources and focus. You are going to see a lot of global capital flow through the platform,” explains Miller.

Prior to Fundrise, Ben and Daniel founded Popularise, a real estate crowdsourcing web- site that serves as a consumer marketing tool. “When we were doing our real estate developments, really building projects that impacted local areas, we realized we were deciding who to lease to, so we asked people online, to gauge consumer sentiment,” notes Miller. “Now, it’s a consumer marketing tool across the country,” whereby people have a say in how their com- munities are shaped and defined. Not surprisingly, local governments have also gravitated toward the Millers’ ventures, recognizing their potential to rejuvenate cities and towns as well as prompt innovation, fostering creative, distinct development projects in their cities.

“We have a unique opportunity; there is a much broader transformation happening with capital investment: We see how technology has entered the media and publishing world, but it has not entered the investment world, mostly because of regulation. We spent over half a million dollars on one deal so the public could invest in it, but with the JOBS Act, regulations are changing. We think we are going to see huge shifts in who can invest, which will allow for smaller investors. We want to be the largest and most innovative platform for financing real estate projects and make people feel that they can control and be a part of a development.”

New Heights

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A trip on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo may bethe ultimate adventure—and it’s a dream that is about to become a reality, reports Fairweather magazine’s publisher ERIC GOODMAN

I must tell you, just clicking on Virgin Galactic’s “Book Your Place in Space” link is a thrill. Imagine what the actual flight will be like!

Be a Pioneer

These days, real pioneering experiences are hard to come by. Whereas our ancestors braved incredible challenges to explore the planet and settle in destinations far from their comfort zones, our super-connected modern world sometimes feels a bit safe, no? Well, if you’ve got $250,000 to investin a unique experience, Virgin Galactic is probably the ultimate in guess-what-I-did- this-weekend adventures.

Join an Exclusive Club

More than 500 people have made space reservations to date, and a reservation not only gets future astronauts a spot on a Virgin Galactic space flight but also a visit to Space- port America in New Mexico to witness test flights of the space ship and carrier craft. (And the lodgings for future astronauts in southern New Mexico are top shelf—turn to page 16 to read “Space Hotel.”)

In addition, astronauts have trained on a centrifuge facility in Philadelphia and taken part in zero-gravity parabolic flights across the U.S. They have also been hosted by Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson at his private Necker Island in the Caribbean, game reserve in South Africa, chalet in the Swiss Alps, estate in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, the Ice Hotel in the Arctic, and Spaceport Sweden.

Future astronauts also get their own Virgin Galactic website, Space Book, a handy way to keep track of perks and pre-flight activities.

Ride in Style

Astronauts will ride in SpaceShipTwo, a 60-foot-long carbon-composite vehicle that will carry six passengers and two pilots. Its cabin size is similar to that of a Falcon 900 executive jet, but with ample room for astronauts to float in zero gravity, and two large windows per passenger—one on the side, one overhead—to savor the ultimate view.

SpaceShipTwo will be carried by WhiteKnightTwo, another carbon-compos- ite vehicle, which has a unique design resem- bling a double airplane. Innovative design will make reentry into earth’s atmosphere smoother and safer than has ever been possible in previous spaceflights.

To learn more about passenger opportunities and research opportunities aboard Space ShipTwo, visit virgingalactic.com.

Have You Untapped?

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IVY UNTAPPED, one of the fastest growing entrepreneurial social networks serving theIvy League start-up community, celebrated its official launch on November 19, 2013, with an invite-only reception at the Yale Club of New York. Founded by Alexandra Fairweather and Eric Goodman, publishers of the international luxury lifestyle publication Fairweather, Ivy Untapped provides an incubator-like network for Ivy League students and recent graduates to collaborate on new ideas and business ventures. Having only launched a year ago, members have already started collaborating and breaking ground on their new business ventures—everything ranging from fashion and technology to culinary.

In addition to the online platform, where members create profile pages, interact and track the latest updates of their fellow peer start-ups, members also gather monthly at the New York headquarters to attend Ivy Untapped Innovation Sessions, intimate roundtables where select members present their latest venture or business idea to a targeted pool of peers. Presentations are routinely followed by constructive feedback, and at times, heated debate over business plan viability, among other issues: nothing a few baked baskets of macaroons and freshly brewed coffee can’t settle.

How do you hope your recent Ivy Untapped presentation about self- branding may have inspired participants?

I would hope that my presentation inspired others to really leverage their personal, unique brand to fuel innovation in their field, no matter what that field might be. When I decided to leave my well-paying gig as an associate with a Park Avenue litigation firm, some mentors warned that I’d face more challenges than I could ever imagine. As a female attorney of color navigating the technology, new media and entertainment industries, I can’t say that they were wrong. However, not having an automatic seat at the table has become one of my greatest assets. My “otherness” immediately creates intrigue among my target audience, and I have learned to use that to my advantage. It has become the cornerstone of my entire brand in that my approach to business and the law is equally atypical. It is always my goal to help others use their individuality in the same way.

To learn more about Ivy Untapped, visit untapped.me.

The Brand of You

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By Evan Hughes

We caught up with Delisha Grant, attorney and expert on self-branding, for some tips on building your personal brand.

For someone just getting started, what is the best way to start identifying what their “brand” is?

It is important to consider three key components: Talent—What are you insanely good at? Passion—What would get you out of bed in the morning even if you were not paid to do it? Unique identifiers—What characteristic(s) separate you from the pack and would make people stop and take notice? The multimedia age that we live in is really a blessing and a curse. Technology and new media have made it much easier to gain access to a target demographic, but at the same time, the market is almost always flooded with other brands competing for the same target audience’s attention. Cutting through noise and establishing your niche takes immense dedication and consistency. It is not an overnight process. I have found that those who can settle into the area where talent, passion, and uniqueness intersect are much more likely to stay the course and build a sustainable brand.

Is blogging still of interest to recent grads?

I think blogging is here to stay. It is a great way to pique (and keep) public interest and have a “voice” on the Internet. But, blogging only brings benefit when it’s done correctly. If the purpose of blogging is to grow a brand and expand its audience, new posts must be frequent—once per week at minimum. I haven’t even mastered this yet, but I have seen it work for others. Those who are intrigued by your content will crave more of it, and the moment they realize that you blog sporadically is the moment they will inevitably stop being very attentive. It is worth noting that once your blog is established and has a substantial following, the frequency is a lot less important. Also of importance—what blogging was 10 years ago is very different from what it is today. Gone are the days when blog posts had to be several paragraphs to be taken seriously. It is no secret that our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. I think this is partially why micro-blogging sites like Tumblr have become so popular. Brevity rules the day. This doesn’t mean that lengthy blog posts are a no-go (I’m still a fan of well-written articles that look more like an op-ed piece than a twitter update). It just means that the content must be pretty informative and/or inspiring if you want people to keep reading beyond the first 250 words. Lastly, blogging creates a very unique opportunity to significantly expand your audience overnight. Video isn’t the only thing that can go viral. There are countless stories of bloggers whose popularity skyrocketed by way of one post landing in front of the right set of eyes. You never know when your content may be shared by the right person or picked up by a major media outlet and result in thou- sands or even millions of new readers flocking to your blog.

What role can/should video play in branding yourself?

Video is incredibly important in branding yourself, and probably the component that people are slowest to adopt. Appearing on camera can create a level of unwanted vulnerability that can be avoided in other branding elements like blogging. However, this is precisely why video is so effective. It reveals the person behind the brand, or confirms that the person and the brand are really one and the same. This is some- thing audiences seem to be more and more interested in. It makes you “human” and gives your personality and quirks an opportunity to shine through. When done correctly, it can lead to viewers falling in love with you as a person and supporting your associated brand(s) for that reason alone. Social media also makes “guerrilla” style videography completely acceptable. Who says you need an expensive camera and an experienced editor to connect with current and prospective fans through this medium? Just get started, even if it means taping on your smartphone. If you generate a significant following, a media partner may come along and foot the bill for a more sophisticated setup.

Today's Renaissance Man

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Fairweather magazine publisher Eric Goodman sat down with William Chang to discuss the genesis of his foodie and restaurant interests—including his favorite dishes at his restaurants—and the dish on his latest venture, the hot southern- cuisine belle of the West Village, Birds & Bubbles.

WHEN NOT ALLOCATING INSTITUTIONAL capital, William Chang runs his two Manhattan-based restaurants, Spasso and the more recently launched Birds & Bubbles.

Did I mention that he also runs the high-end men’s shoe line Cobbler Union? Here, Chang shares some thoughts on his many varied endeavors.

What is your earliest memory of incredible food?

My first memory of incredible food was on a trip to Asia when I was seven years old. It wasn’t so much a single dish that really had an impact on me, but rather being exposed to a variety of dishes that I had previously eaten in New York that now I was eating in Asia. The preparation of these dishes was a lot punchier in terms of ingredients and flavors, and that experience really helped me to appreciate the difference between good and great food.

What was it like growing up? Did you cook at home?

My palate is very much like my mother’s—while she grew up in India, she immigrated to the U.S. and tried all sorts of different food andhighly encouraged my sister and me to do the same (though as a child, sometimes we weren’t very amenable to this). As a child attending elementary school, it was difficult. I didn’t want to be the outsider with a greasy lunch bag. I was sent to kindergarten with sushi and curry when all I wanted was a PB&J sandwich and chocolate milk. In retrospect, I’m very grateful for this period, and it’s now inconceivable to think I once preferred deli meat over tri tip. I actually did not cook much growing up. I wanted to, but I wasn’t allowed. Instead, I spent a lot of time helping with prep. As I got older, I spent less and less time at home, as well as the kitchen. Ironically, now whenever I’m home, my folks ask me to cook.

Have your traveling experiences influenced your views on food?

Whenever I travel, I try to make an effort to try local cuisine, and I’m always on the hunt for new ingredients and new restaurants, even if it’s in our own backyard. For example, on my most recent trip to LA, my friend’s mother, Won na, introduced me to Buddha’s hand, a lemony type of citrus with a beautiful smell, which I plan to play around with and see what I can do with it.

What is your favorite cuisine?

Probably my favorite is whatever my mother happens to be cooking that day! But in all seriousness, that’s a tough question. If I hadto pick one, I’d have to say American, only because the cuisine now incorporates so many of the methods and ingredients found in other cuisines and because it is such an inclusive cuisine, you have a lot more flavor profiles to work with.

What makes a great restaurant?

Devotion and team work. A restaurant is about more than serving a good meal. It’s about serving up a great experience, and that only comes through with a team that can work together and puts the diner first.

How and when did you know that you wanted to develop restaurants?

It wasn’t until 2008. At the time, I had saved up some cash and had hired a chef to teach me how to cook. Again, never having been taught,I wanted to really start from the basics and learn from the ground up. I really got into it and had considered leaving finance altogether to pursue a career in the culinary arts, but at the end of the day it was tough for me to really leave my first love (finance), so at the end of the day, this was literally my way of having my cake and eating it too.

Please tell us about your restaurants, including your latest new restaurant venture. What makes your restaurants so special?

Spasso is an Italian restaurant located in the heart of the West Village. It’s an intimate space that is home to some of the best Italian food that the city has to offer, and whose Chef, Ed Carew and co-managing partner, Kareem NeJame work extremely hard to give diners a memorable dining experience. It has gained somewhat of a reputation as a great place for a date, given the solid beverage program, menu, and friendly staff. The menu is always evolving and incorporates an excellent mix of traditional and modern Italian dishes.

Birds & Bubbles is much more than fried chicken and champagne, though obviously there will be both! It’s a great place to satisfy your cravings for southern food—with bold flavor and playful twists on traditional dishes. I find it great because the food is savory and flavorful without weighing you down. It’s a unique space, as it’s subterranean, but it gives us access to a beautiful space with an outdoor garden, which I absolutely love.

I think what really sets these two restaurants apart from their peers is the lengths at which they get to know their diners and their preferences. Service is a huge point of pride. I’ve always loved a sense of community and found establishments in the city to have a very short ‘institutional memory’. I’ve found high turnover in the staff to be a challenge which we have faced successfully. High turnover inevitably puts a cap on the quality of experience you can hope to give your diners.

How do you go about designing a menu?

It’s really less of a science and much more of an art. It’s a blend of anticipating what favors people might be amenable to and seeing if you can push the boundaries a little bit and figure out what will leave people pleasantly surprised and wanting to come back for more.

You are involved in other ventures in fashion as well as work in finance. Do you see a connection among all of your projects and ventures?

I definitely do. They’re all expressions of beauty. I love helping to create things that cause people to stop and reconsider their own sense of what they know to be good and what they think they enjoy, and forcing their tastes to evolve a little bit.

Do you enjoy cooking? Or prefer eating?

I secretly enjoy cooking a little bit more. It keeps me humble, curious, and creative.

Where is your favorite place to go in NYC?

Union Square. There’s a ton of great energy and it’s a great open space to get way and do some thinking.

What is your favorite dish at one of your restaurants? What is your favorite dessert?

Spasso: Butcher’s-cut steak for two; Birds and Bubbles: Fried chicken; Favorite dessert: a glass of Laphroaig 18 and creme brûlée.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Stay humble. And ask questions.

Power Meals

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Fairweather publisher Eric Goodman hada chance to get the scoop from Gherardo Guarducci, the restaurateur behind Sant Ambroeus and Casa Lever, on growing up in Prato, Italy, building restaurants that embody La Dolce Vita, and Casa Lever’s $50 million Andy Warhol collection.

Eric Goodman: What is your earliest memory of incredible food?

Gherardo Guarducci: Eating fresh-caught anchovies and mackerel from fishermen who brought the catch to our home in Forte dei Marmi.

EG: What was it like growing up in Prato, Italy?

GG: Prato is five miles north of Florence and it distinguishes itself by having a very strong entrepreneurial spirit and culture—business and trade is in the air. Growing up here has inspired me to become more successful and challenge myself, setting goals to help better my career.

EG: What’s your favorite cuisine other than Italian?

GG: Hands down it is Japanese. There are many similarities between Japanese and Italian cuisine. First and foremost, the great respect for a rich tradition and the raw ingredients.

EG: Did you enjoy working in your family’s textile trading business? It appears that everyone that works at Sant Ambroeus seems like one big family. Have you applied any lessons from your own family business to creating this family-like environment in your restaurants?

GG: Prato’s textile industry is grounded on family values and spirit. Everyone knows which family owns which business and each comes with colorful qualities. It was always important to me to recreate the family environment at our restaurants. Work is always much more enjoy- able when surrounded by family.

EG: How and when did you know that you wanted to develop restaurants?

GG: Restaurants are the only venues I knowof that require one to be comfortable leading people, creating experiences that are unique to all the senses, and be willing to change quickly. One must also be savvy with finances, marketing, and management and have a very supple ego.

EG: Casa Lever is celebrating its fifth year. What makes Casa Lever so special?

GG: We set out to create one of the city’s best Italian restaurants in a world class ambiance of iconic art and architecture. I think we are there, but still working as hard on it as if it were 2009.

EG: Please tell us about the incredible Warhol collection.

GG: All the Andy Warhol portraits in Casa Lever are courtesy of private collections. We feel extremely lucky to have such a strong relationship with Aby Rosen and are thrilled he has chosen Casa Lever to display so many of his Warhol portraits. The Andy Warhol portraits at Casa Lever create a unique and distinctive atmosphere for diners. There are only a few places in the world where diners can enjoy a meal alongside an outstanding and significant art collection and we are pleased to have the opportunity to offer this exclusive experience to our guests. The collection is a great point of conversation for diners and it help draws a diverse crowd to the restaurant, including businessmen, politicians, fashion designers, artists, tourists, etc. Just a few months ago, Aby Rosen expanded his collection and was kind enough to display them at Casa Lever, expanding our collection from 19 to 32 painting valued at over $50 million. The collection now consists of such celebrated names as Alfred Hitchcock, Dolly Parton, Jerry Hall, and Giorgio Armani.

EG: Do you enjoy cooking?

GG: I have always had a passion for cooking, but I really enjoy grilling fish and meats.

EG: Where is your favorite place to go in NYC?

GG: Masa at Time Warner Center.

EG: What is your favorite dish that is served at one of your restaurants? What is your favorite dessert?

GG: The trennette al pesto at Casa Lever—our pesto and tomato sauce takes me back to my childhood. My favorite dessert is the Millefoglie.

Please pass the Skimm

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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.

Becoming Visible

Mira Dayal

PHOTOGRAPHER, ACTOR AND BILLBOARD ARTIST JOSH LEHRER ILLUMINATES BROADWAY FROM ALL ANGLES.

JOSH LEHRER is lighting up Broadway. A renowned photographer, known for capturing the theater’s magic by shooting images of the faces of actors backstage, Lehrer has also designed some of the most memorable billboards of the Great White Way.

“Anytime we create art for a crowded landscape, we ask ourselves, ‘how do we get the public to pause and grasp the information?’” asks Josh.

He is animated by the challenge of capturing—if for only a heartbeat—the gaze of the passerby in the visually over-stimulated Times Square. His formula is simple: Trust the viewer and don’t tell the whole story.

An accomplished actor, Josh has worked with renowned directors like Robert Wilson, Andrei Serban and Julie Taymor. He was also the executive director of the Atlantic Theater Company.

THE BOSTON native began his career produc- ing still photography at Showtime. He decided at the age of 40 to change it up and enroll in New York’s International Center of Photography.

While in school, he worked on a series of imagery called Back Stage, where he captured Broadway and regional actors as they prepared for their turn in the limelight. The series reignited his love of the theater and the wonderful portrait opportunities that actors present.

Around the same time, he landed his first billboard ad for fedging fashion label, WDNY, which caught the eye of entertainment advertising giant, SpotCo. In the end, not only did the billboards pay for his tuition, but they also grabbed the attention of agents looking for fresh blood in the billboard and celebrity portrait world.

Of all the advertising campaigns and billboards, Josh is most proud of the work he did for Hair. He was so taken by the actors’ energy in the show he had seen the night before, that he came to the shoot the following day with the idea of capturing the cast mid-leap.

His other Billboard credits include the Broadway hits Kinky Boots, La Cage, Three Penny Opera, Chicago, Passion and Hurley Burley.
 

“My love of theater predates anything else,” says Josh.
 

Josh lists Tina Brown and Ethan Hawke as among his many favorite portrait subjects. Hawke, he explains, has the courage to be honest in front of the lens. “Everything in the acting profession teaches honesty and truth in the moment,” says Josh. “It is very difcult for many trained actors to surrender to the implied artifce of still photography. Ethan can do it always.”

Brown, he says, recognizes a photographer as one who wields signifcant power over the article, ad campaign or portrait, and how the viewer sees the subject.

“When I arrived at her house there was a spread, crab salad, and she had researched me; she knew my work! She said ‘this must be important if they sent Josh Lehrer.’ She knew how to make me do my very best.”

Josh moves ever forward while at the same time following in the footsteps of his photographic idols: Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange and Mary Bow White.

DESPITE HIS thriving business in the rarifed world of Broadway, his mantra is that society is only as strong as its weakest members.

So in 2008 Josh set out to bring to surface the lives of one of the city’s fastest-growing homeless populations: transgendered youth. With that focus, his art project, Becoming Visible, was born.

The result was a series of portraits of homeless teenage transvestites that has been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide, including at the Robert Miller Gallery in Manhattan.

In the series, for which he received the Photo Philanthropy Award, he asks the viewer to pause in a sea of visual stimulation and see the world through the eyes of society’s castofs.

“We, as a society are as sick as our weakest members,” he said. “I want to illuminate the segments of society that we are sometimes not aware of.” 

Bravo, Josh, Bravo!