TheSkimm: Meet The Women Who Are Helping You Not Sound Clueless at Work
1:46 pm, March 8th | by Meredith Lepore
Zakin and Weisberg started this company because they saw their smart and very well educated friends not knowing what was going on in the news. It was their handicap. Zakin and Weisberg then came up with the idea of a daily newsletter startup designed to tell subscribers everything they need to know in the morning, specifically targeted at young women. theSkimm shows up in your inbox every morning around 6:00 AM. In it are a few major news stories, with content spanning from sports to tech and politics. Weisberg and Zakin frame the news in a conversational way and re-write the highlights in chunks like “The Story” “The What” and “The Why” so it’s easy to digest. Did I mention these women are in their 20′s and are also roommates? The coworkers that live together….make really awesome products that make our lives easier. We were lucky enough to sit down and chat with the women behind TheSkimm.
The idea for theSkimm comes from personal experiences. As two friends who grew up loving the news and went on to make it their career, our job was to be in the know. We had always been the go to source for our family and friends — some of the smartest, most ambitious women we know who would come to us with basic questions. Between balancing their careers, social lives, families, etc., there’s not a lot of time left to sit down and read the paper but these women still needed smart information through quick delivery. Cue theSkimm.
We had been friends for a long time as well as colleagues in the news industry, and had subsequently been the go-to resources for our friends and family who, like we all do, would say ‘I haven’t had time to look at the paper all day. Tell me what happened.’ We were both looking into how to take the next step in our careers and at the same time realized our friends, who were highly educated and successful, were not getting news in a way they related to or looked forward to getting.
What is your goal with TheSkimm? Why do you think so many people are using it?
Our goal is to foster a generation with an awareness based in news. We think it’s catching on (knock on wood) because we’ve created a voice that people want to wake up to and get their news from. News can be digestible and personal, without being dumbed down. Many of our subscribers say reading theSkimm is like having their snarky and smart best friend sitting on the couch next to them.
The decision to actually start it. We loved our former careers and wouldn’t have left if we hadn’t had such a huge passion for what we were about to start. Having an idea and jumping into the life of an entrepreneur are
two very different things. Giving up a paycheck, office, career path, etc. was terrifying but we are so proud and thankful that we decided to make the jump.
Ha, we get this question all the time. People love to ask us if we hate each other yet. The answer is, ‘no.’ We eased into it. We were long time friends. Then roommates. Then co-founders. We both know what triggers the other. Wine helps. There is no way we would have gotten as far as we have, and as quickly, if we didn’t live together.
There is no typical day. Each day is a mix of running around, putting out fires and balancing the editorial and business side. That’s what makes it so fun…and exhausting.
There are a ton. We are very open about the fact that we started theSkimm without any traditional tech or business experience. This has been a huge experience in trial by fire and learning on our feet. We
would have benefitted by knowing how to use Excel (as much as we hate it) and some basic coding knowledge. We’ve done a pretty good job of finding great people to help us but the learning curve was definitely there.
It’s tough, to be honest. We try to check out on the weekends. You have to. It’s not healthy for you or your business to be on all the time. It’s a mistake we made in the first few months and it is really hard to correct. We are very aware that the only way our business will succeed is with hard work, but also with founders who have lives.
There are so many great female businesses out there. It’s a great time to be in tech and media in general and as young women in the biz, we are very thankful to have fantastic female advisors who have done it all. We really appreciate their knowledge and time as women who have been there, done that, and succeeded.
Photo: Sophie Elgor