Danielle Weisberg & Carly Zakin - Rocking the Vote with theSkimm

September 13, 2016 - Danielle Weisberg & Carly Zakin 09/13/2016 Views: 6,976

Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin, founders of theSkimm, explain how they built their daily newsletter service and talk about their Skimm the Vote campaign to register voters. (5:18)

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Please welcome Danielle Weisbergand Carly Zakin!

-♪ -(cheering and applause)

Welcome. There you go.

Thank you so much. Thank you.

Welcome to the show.

-Thank you. This is exciting.-Welcome to the show.

This is very exciting.This is more exciting for me.

-No. -I don't know about that.-I don't think

you guys understand. I am sucha huge fan of theSkimm.

-Thank you. -For those...so, for those who don't know,

I mean, I-I guessI would summarize it.

But you could do a better job.What is theSkimm, really?

So, theSkimm is a company thatmakes it easier to be smarter.

That's what we do. Uh, we've gota product that helps you wake up

and feel informed every day.It's a daily newsletter.

First thing in your inbox andlets you know what's going on

-in the world.It really-it really is amazing.

Congrat-Congratulationson everything you've done.

I mean, you-you were bothworking at MSNBC, weren't you?

-NBC. Yeah, NBC News. -Yeah.-Yeah, and-and then you...

and then you just decidedone day... What was it, 2012?

Yeah, we quit our jobs.

Uh, it was terrifying.

We totally blacked outwhen we quit.

Uh, and we had saved up...

You were also drinking heavilyat the time.

-Yeah. -Exactly. Well, you haveto, like... -Of course.

-...actually quit your job.-Of course. Yes.

Um, and we saved up about $3,000between the two of us.

-Wow. -We also were roommatesat the time, we should say.

-DANIELLE: Yeah. -So, we livenot too far from here, and, uh,

we quit our jobs and justsent out an e-mail

from our living room couch.

So you just woke up and said,

"We're now going to sendeverybody an e-mail

-telling them about the news."-Yes. Well...

That's a really skimmed versionof what happened, but, uh,

our friends are very smartand went to great schools,

and care about the worldaround them,

-but they never watchwhat we produce ever. -Yes.

And every day, we'd say,"What happened today?

What's going on in the world?"

And, in effect,we were skimming for them

for yearswithout calling it that.

And once we realizedmore and more

as people were talking about...

At that time it was a new termto us-- millennial.

We didn't knowwe wer millennials... -Uh-huh.

-...and we literal...-It sneaks up on you.

-Nobody knows. Yeah.-It does. -It does, yeah.

-As you age. It's like, "Oh."-Yes. -We had no idea.

Uh, we Googled, literally,"women 20s to 30s,"

discovered the word"millennial,"

discovered the economic powerbehind it,

realized the businessopportunity in front of us,

and then, we quit.

Here's what I've beenfascinated by is,

why was theresuch a need for this?

Why were so many young females,

young millennial femalesin America

not engaging in the news?

I think we founda few different motivations

of why we took off

and why there wasreal traction around it.

I think for some,they were so busy

-around their specificindustry... -Yeah.

...that they were really,really well-versed

in whatever industrythey were in,

but didn't necessarilyhave the time,

and sometimes the interestoutside of that.

And in many ways,we would go to family dinners

or dinnerswith groups of friends,

and we would see who drops outof conversation when.

And the themes that we sawwere there were some people

who weren't as well-roundedbecause of time

-and sometimes interest.-Mm-hmm.

Some people just did...never felt that the news

was engaging for them,and some people felt that

the news was actually something

that didn't make them feel goodabout themselves,

either because it was depressingor because...

if they weren't well-versedon a topic, you...

if you're reading a newspaperyou'd have to go to A-7

to find outthe context on Syria.

Whereas with theSkimm,we're doing it

in very bite-sized information

that's donein a very conversational way.

What you've also donereally well for me is

you've found a way

to grow fromjust being "the news"

and just talkingabout the news of the day,

to creating this media company.

Because I rememberwhen I first started out

reading theSkimm, it wasjust bite-sized information,

-it was jokes, it was fun,and it still is that, -Yeah.

it's really light,but then you had Skimm Ahead,

and then you-youstarted initiatives

where you were going,we'll go into your calendar

for the Olympics-- for instance,you had an amazing calendar,

where you kept people in touchwith what was happening,

-Thank you. -so people knewwhat to watch and so on.

And now what's even morefantastic is you've got

Skimm the Vote, and that'sreally, really exciting.

Yeah. Thank you so much.So we launched

our No Excuses campaignthis week.

There are no excusesnot to register,

-and not to get out thereand vote. -Definitely.

That's what our campaignis all about.

We've already registered 25,000people through our partnership

-with Rock the Vote.-That's phenomenal.

-(whooping, applause)-How... what...

It's-it's interesting thatyou've gone with "no excuses"

because, like, what arethe excuses people have?

-Like, what do people... You-youtalk to so many... -Yeah.

Three and a half millionactive readers

of your-of your newsletter...What do people say

when they say,"Oh, I'm not registered"

-or "Oh, I'm not gonna vote."-You know...

-What-what are the excuses?-"I don't like the choices."

"I don't knowif I'm registered."

"I don't know how to register."

My favorite, though,is that "it takes too long."

Um, it takes about,on average, 15 minutes to vote.

And we all spend about an houreach day on Facebook, so...

-Put some thought behind that.-Cut that down a little bit

-and go vote. -Yeah.-So we should get Facebook

-to register people to vote.-Yes. -Yes.

-I think we've stumbled ona genius thing here. -We have.

I think if Facebook would liketo partner with us on that...

-Yes, Facebook, we're readyfor you. -This is genius, yeah.

Just put it in people's feedand then make it like a...

make it likeone of those little polls

-that you just do by yourself,like, uh... -Yeah, "who wins?"

You know, which are you--A, a voter or B, unregister...

-And then people justregister to vote. -Yeah. -Yeah.

-Change relationship status.-This is genius.

We've just thought a newFa-Facebook-Skimm-

-Trevor Dai-Daily Show companyname. -We fixed the country.

-Done. -We'll work on the name,we'll work on the name.

-But I think we've gotsomething going here. -Yeah.

Thank you so muchfor everything. Amazing,

amazing effort,you got to get out there.

To register to vote, get infoand issues on the candidates

and to sign up forthe Daily Skimm newsletter,

just go to theSkimm.com/vote.

I promise youyou will not regret it.

Uh, Danielle Weisbergand Carly Zakin, everybody.