Danielle Weisberg
Carly Zakin

Danielle Weisberg & Carly Zakin

Cofounders of theSkimm

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON June 13, 2016

Discussion

Danielle Weisberg
Danielle Weisberg@dmweisberg · Co-founder, theSkimm
We're Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin, Co-founders of theSkimm, a company that makes it easier to be smarter. So much happening around SkimmHQ these days -- we're so excited to be here and to answer your questions. Ready, go!
Hunter Walk
Hunter Walk@hunterwalk · Partner, Homebrew
With so many great investors now supporting The Skimm, why has Homebrew remained your favorite of the group?
Carly Zakin
Carly Zakin@carly_zakin · theSkimm
@hunterwalk mostly because we really like their twitter icons:)
Carly Zakin
Carly Zakin@carly_zakin · theSkimm
@hunterwalk also because they yell at people for us on twitter
Hunter Walk
Hunter Walk@hunterwalk · Partner, Homebrew
@carly_zakin can take the boy out of NY, but can't take the NY out of the boy....
Danielle Weisberg
Danielle Weisberg@dmweisberg · Co-founder, theSkimm
@hunterwalk and because they join our product hunt live chats #support
Ben Tossell
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
Hey! Thanks for joining us today :) I recently read your TechCrunch chat around growing an 'obsessive community' (loved it!) - and naturally it really interests me for Product Hunt :) What are the biggest things you have learnt while growing your community? What would you do differently if you had to do it again? What are the biggest challenges/obstacles that you have had to overcome and how did you figure it out? For others, the video is here:
Danielle Weisberg
Danielle Weisberg@dmweisberg · Co-founder, theSkimm
@bentossell One of the biggest things we learned while growing our community is the value of our story. there are a lot of things that differentiate our company - our focus on routines or demographic, our customer service, etc. a lot of people in the beginning connected to the fact that we started it from our couch with no business background and grew it from there. that was surprising since we thought it was something people would think to hide.
Capri Galaska
Capri Galaska@caprihiggins · Co-Founder @anchorxyz
Hello, Danielle and Carly! I was reading your Forbes "30 under 30" article from last year that 20% of your >1M subscribers are men. Do you have any plans to broaden your target market in the future or keep focused on female young professionals? If so, what is your theory on altering your original target market and if not how do you keep focused as different users come on board?
Carly Zakin
Carly Zakin@carly_zakin · theSkimm
@caprihiggins Hey, thanks for submitting! Big fans of Anchor:) When we started we got asked all the time why we were focusing on such a niche market (women) which made us laugh. We do not believe news is gender specific in any way but we know our audience focus and are grateful to have our growing male following!
Andrew Ettinger
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
How do you respond to people who say theSkimm is written for women? As a daily(ish) reader, I usually say:
Danielle Weisberg
Danielle Weisberg@dmweisberg · Co-founder, theSkimm
@andrewett We love our male skimm'rs! and we have a lot! we do not think news is gender specific and we definitely target busy people on the go. but we have a clear marketing plan and an influential demo to focus on
Ben Tossell
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
If you both had to swap lives with Tech CEOs/Founders for a week, who would you pick and why?
Carly Zakin
Carly Zakin@carly_zakin · theSkimm
@bentossell ooh love this question!! I would love to swap lives with Elon Musk for a week but then I think i'd be too scared and ask theSkimm to take me back
COSTAS ANDRIOPOULOS
COSTAS ANDRIOPOULOS@candriopoulos · https://medium.com/strictly-curious
Hello Danielle and Carly, thanks for taking our questions. 1. Where do you look for emerging trends (e.g. sources, events, websites, etc.) and 2. What kind of tools do you use to find interesting content?
Danielle Weisberg
Danielle Weisberg@dmweisberg · Co-founder, theSkimm
@candriopoulos Hi Costas! We don't use a lot of tools to find articles. we scroll through a lot during the day and are reading constantly. we've used social tools to figure out what's trending bc that can be a ton of info to go through
Michelle Gifford
Michelle Gifford@santinagifford
HYPOTHETICAL SITUATION: if you were not co-founders of the skimm and joined the team after the skimm was founded, what job would you want at Skimm HQ and why? (also LOVE THE SKIMM SO MUCH and am obsessed with the fb group. how much posting in there is too much?!???) -xoxoxo baltimore skimmbassador
Danielle Weisberg
Danielle Weisberg@dmweisberg · Co-founder, theSkimm
@santinagifford hmmmmm stuffed panda skimm'r because all he has to do is watch
Carly Zakin
Carly Zakin@carly_zakin · theSkimm
@santinagifford LOVE this one. I would want our product skimm'r Dheerja's job because she gets to build all our new products.
Andrew Ettinger
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
What was the hardest part in monetizing theSkimm?
Danielle Weisberg
Danielle Weisberg@dmweisberg · Co-founder, theSkimm
@andrewett Deciding when to turn on the monetize button. we knew we were building something really valuable and wanted to maintain quality even as we let in sponsors
Carly Zakin
Carly Zakin@carly_zakin · theSkimm
@andrewett creating examples of our inventory to show brands what we meant by saying they could sponsor natively
Sydney Liu
Sydney Liu@sydney_liu_sl · Co-Founder of Commaful.com
Hi Danielle and Carly! Huge fan of theSkimm. I get the email every day and read it every couple of days. Gives me the dose of knowledge I need. Also part of the campus Skimmbassador program :) Couple of questions: 1. When did you start noticing that your newsletter was 'viral' before the skimbassador program? Were people just forwarding the email? Telling their friends? What did the organic sharing process look like and why do you think it worked so well for you? 2. What lessons would give you somebody trying to build an online community? theSkimm is not an obvious product that a community would form around yet you've built one of the best communities online around it! What did you learn from it? Thanks so much! Sydney Liu https://commaful.com
neeharika sinha
neeharika sinha@neeeharika · Google, Threadchannel
Hello Danielle and Carly. Great to meet you here. I am a Skimm'bassador and love the community you have created. I have 2 questions for you 1) What is the hiring and growth strategy of Skimm? I would love to be a part of the Skimm family? 2) How did the transition from newsletter to App happen? Has the funding from 21st century made you wan to grow your product in different verticals? Thanks!
Carly Zakin
Carly Zakin@carly_zakin · theSkimm
@neeeharika SKIMMBASSADOR!!!! hayyyy...thank you for being a part of that community! 1. We are looking for people with hustle. We like to say that if we gave you a laptop, a couch, and a phone you could grow this business and we hire people we believe can do that. We are hiring a ton right now. check out openings at theskimm.com/jobs. 2. We never thought about let's create an app. we thought about how do we integrate ourselves into a diff routine and from there Skimm Ahead was born.
Sarim Haq
Sarim Haq@sarim_haq · AI Whisperer
Hey Carly and Danielle! I was wondering, what was one of your most successful growth hack during the initial days of the Skimm?
Carly Zakin
Carly Zakin@carly_zakin · theSkimm
@sarim_haq literally just acting like a human and responding to emails to each user and saying hi please share
Jacqueline von Tesmar
Jacqueline von Tesmar@jacqvon · Community at Product Hunt ⚡️
Where is one place you want to visit that you haven't been before?
Carly Zakin
Carly Zakin@carly_zakin · theSkimm
@jacqvon Japan!!!!! Danielle just said Greece
Emily Hodgins
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
If you could give one piece of advice to a young women looking to start her own business, what would it be?
Carly Zakin
Carly Zakin@carly_zakin · theSkimm
@ems_hodge man or woman...NETWORK. learn how to do it. there is no better skill you can have
Danielle Weisberg
Danielle Weisberg@dmweisberg · Co-founder, theSkimm
@ems_hodge take a vacation before you start it. and hold on to those memories
neeharika sinha
neeharika sinha@neeeharika · Google, Threadchannel
How did Skimm meet Homebrew? I love what you are doing with Snapchat stories. Are there more initiatives such as a day with a Skimm employee coming up?
Carly Zakin
Carly Zakin@carly_zakin · theSkimm
@neeeharika ah thanks for watching Snapchat! Yes we want to bring back our employee days. We met HB back in 2013 through an early angel investor of ours Rich Greenfield. We were going to come to SF to meet but we figured they like most of the valley wouldnt get theSkimm. Then we did one more call and decided it was worth going. Best first date we ever had. Signed term sheet about a week later
neeharika sinha
neeharika sinha@neeeharika · Google, Threadchannel
@carly_zakin Would love to do a skimmbassador takeover if that is on the cards :) Snapchat takeover
Danielle Weisberg
Danielle Weisberg@dmweisberg · Co-founder, theSkimm
It was a one day trip to SF. We had lunch with them. They asked if we could tell the other person's lunch order. Easy.
Carly Zakin
Carly Zakin@carly_zakin · theSkimm
@neeeharika oooh interesting idea!
Carly Zakin
Carly Zakin@carly_zakin · theSkimm
@neeeharika will keep under advisement:)
Caroline Ciaramitaro
Caroline Ciaramitaro@caroline_ciaramitaro
How did you decide on the name? Were there ever other ideas you considered?
Danielle Weisberg
Danielle Weisberg@dmweisberg · Co-founder, theSkimm
@caroline_ciaramitaro We came up with a whole lot of bad, industry specific terms. In the end we we went with something that described our first product really well. We wanted the 'm' for a little something extra.
Andrew Ettinger
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
What's the future of theSkimm? If email dies like so many people in this industry seem to want, what are other mediums for delivery you've considered?
Carly Zakin
Carly Zakin@carly_zakin · theSkimm
@andrewett well we don't forsee email dying anytime soon but never say never. we are hugely interested in the routines we all share--calendars, commutes etc.
Danielle Weisberg
Danielle Weisberg@dmweisberg · Co-founder, theSkimm
@andrewett People have always said email is dead. It's apparently had more than nine lives.
Andrew Ettinger
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
Theoharis Dimarhos
Theoharis Dimarhos@theo_dimarhos · Marketing+Biz Dev at AngelouEconomics
Hey ladies, thanks for doing this. What are the 3 things that you did about growth that worked? How about 3 that didn't?
Carly Zakin
Carly Zakin@carly_zakin · theSkimm
@theo_dimarhos 1. literally asking people to sign up 2. turning that into a brand ambassador community 3. actually working to get to know our SBs and fostering that into a program What didnt work: 1. trying to make SB community too small and focused (ie college specific), taking every blog opportunity that came our way 3. not learning to say no
Thomas Stöcklein
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
Hi Danielle & Carly, Great to have you on ProductHunt! When creating theSkimm were you influenced or inspired by @jason's Inside.com newsletter 'The Daily Brief'?
Thomas Stöcklein
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
Congrats on your recent $8M Series B! What's your long-term vision and roadmap for taking theSkimm to the next level via video content, a bigger subscriber base, corporate partnerships, etc.?
Carly Zakin
Carly Zakin@carly_zakin · theSkimm
@tomstocklein well if i tell you, i have to kill you
Emily Hodgins
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt