New York Magazine

The Skimm Brains

Seven million people wake up to their newsletter, and their voice, every morning.
Co-founders Carly Zakin …

IN EARLY SEPTEMBER, THE WHOLE STAFF of the Skimm, a current-events newsletter aimed at millennial women, gathered on gray couches for an all-hands meeting. Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg, the Skimm’s CEOs and founders, were dressed in the TV-ready sheaths they’d put on for a Today show appearance that morning to promote their No Excuses votermobilization campaign—rings and bracelets and greenroom curls all aglint. “Eye of the Tiger” was playing on the company sound system. “We accidentally wore red and blue to show our bipartisanship,” joked Zakin, clutching a sheet of talking points. In the back, a staffer lifted up an iPhone to take a photo as if the bosses were celebrities. Both are 32. Weisberg, who was in GOP-outreach crimson paired with snakeskin heels, has blonde hair, blue eyes, and a big, orthodonist-advertising smile. Zakin, wearing Democratic navy blue, with black grommets around a slit, has brown hair and brown eyes and a competing bright-white grin.

The all-hands meeting proceeded like a Harvard Business Review case study in managing millennials. Zakin and Weisberg traded turns with sororal ease (pledge leaders, not sisters), announcing new hires—the group spontaneously cheered for the exciting news that they would soon be getting their first data engineer—and “very lovely Skimmversaries” for people who were celebrating a year, or two or three, of working at the company. Managers (from the finance group, which they called Team Sunshine, and Cash Money, the ad-sales team) then fulsomely praised their employees for everyone to hear: “Alex is a true unicorn and has built up our RP and advertiser practice from the ground up as largely a one-woman show. I just know how hard you work, how much you care about Cash Money and also the brand!” Zakin and Weisberg led the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to a Rachel, popped a bottle of Champagne to celebrate the No Excuses launch, and introduced, to cheers, K.J., the employee leading the campaign. There was a PowerPoint, full of stats on how few female millennials actually vote and concluding with a promotional video featuring a whiplash-inducing assemblage of Tyra Banks, Marco Rubio, Issa Rae, Madeleine Albright, Ted Cruz, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Newt Gingrich, seated happily in the Skimm’s offices.

By any measure, the Skimm, founded in 2012, is an insane success. The newsletter is a Frankensteining of clear, sober-minded news aggregation with a tone imitating the way young women supposedly talk to one another. It has grown by more than

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from New York Magazine

New York Magazine2 min read
From the Cut: Copenhagen Invasion
WHEN THE DICTIONARY catches up to the Ganni girls, a group of them will be a charm (like finches), or maybe a flamboyance (like flamingos). When they stalk the streets of Soho, heads turn. They are leopard spotted, tiger striped, and flower dappled,
New York Magazine4 min read
The File: Timothée Chalamet
HE MIGHT BE JUST 23, but Timothée Chalamet is already an Oscar-nominated leading man, a social-media phenomenon, and, perhaps most surprisingly, a fashion icon. This awards season, only two years after Call Me by Your Name and Lady Bird, he stars aga
New York Magazine4 min readPolitics
3. Among the Witches
IT’S HARD TO BE WORRIED when you don’t really like the guy.” That’s what one senior Republican Senate aide had to say when I asked how concerned conservatives are about Donald Trump’s fate. The truth is Trump fatigue is a condition that knows no par