TheSkimm co-founder Carly Zakin on encouraging millennial women to vote

We are all works in progress. Even the successful women you see owning it on Instagram faced stumbling blocks along the way and continue to work hard to stay at the top of their game. In this series, we’re sitting down with the people who inspire us to find out: How’d they do it? And what is success really like? This is “Getting There.”

Every morning, millions of subscribers wake up to theSkimm, a daily newsletter that summarizes the most important topics of the day into a concise list. Since its development in 2012, the newsletter has grown exponentially.

Steered by co-founders Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg, the newsletter has also developed several election-related initiatives aimed at getting millennial women to turn out to vote.

Zakin spoke to TMRW about what the journey has been like so far and what she expects for the future.

For more like this, follow TMRW on Instagram at @tmrwxtoday.

TMRW: Where did the idea for theSkimm come from? What was the starting point?

Carly Zakin: My co-founder Danielle (Weisberg) and I actually used to work at NBC. We loved what we did, and we lived and breathed news, but we saw our friends were not engaging with and interacting with what we were actually producing, and that there is a way to reach them. We also saw that — and it’s funny to say this now, because this was in 2012 — but at the time we thought there was so much noise. Today, that’s obviously amplified. But at the time it just felt so noisy and there was just so much to kind of clear through the weeds every day.

What we wanted to do was really simplify that and make it easier to get up to speed and know what was going on, and really that’s how our mission was born. We say we make it easier to live smarter. We wanted to meet our audience where she is. We knew the way to get her was first thing in the morning, in her inbox, and so we started the daily Skimm, an email that was meant to be a part of her daily routine. And obviously it took off like wildfire.

Related: “This was my opportunity to connect and I had nothing to lose.”

How do you decide what to feature in the newsletter?

Danielle and I used to swap stories where we would be at a group dinner with family or friends and we’d see who dropped out of conversations when. The idea was that in an era of hyperpersonalizatoin, we never wanted to close off ourselves or our friends with one type of story, whether it’s international or sports or financial or political news.

It’s always the best part of our day and our teams’ day to select the stories. We ask “What’s the most important thing going on today, and what’s coming up tomorrow?” Nobody should ever feel caught off-guard about something that’s going on.


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