#126 : CROSSOVER: No Limits x Skimm'd from The Couch

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Are you hiring with indeed you can post job in minutes set up screener questions than zero in on your shortlist of qualified candidates using an online dashboard get started today at indeed dot com slash podcast. That's indeed dot com slash podcast. Hey, everyone. It's me Rebecca, I'm currently on maternity leave. And while I'm away we picked out some of our earlier episodes from the no limits vaults that you can get caught up and enjoy while I'm off and just so you know, I prerecorded this. So I actually am spending time with my baby right now. I. I was twenty five at the time when we were talking about this originally to no it's twenty four and. I remember just like literally being like, okay. Now, a cliche I'm having a quarter life crisis. But I felt like time was running out, and it had this Buea gut instinct like this knob the career up supposed to beat it. It's an out of body experience on, but I really just like felt it. And so I think there there was no talking to us truly like we were going to sink or swim. But like there was no talking us. It felt like we have no money, which we really didn't. And we just quit our jobs, and we're going to start something. And I think that fear is actually what made us put in twenty plus hour days. Is that we didn't have a plan b from ABC? It's no limits. I'm Rebecca Jarvis. In each week. We're talking to the most bold and influential women laying at the top of their game trying to demystify success, and what it really takes to get there and all the trade offs. Whether you're looking for answers, or you just want to hear a good story. You're in the right place. Hey listeners. Welcome to the latest edition of no limits. This is Rebecca and this is a special episode. It's a crossover with the skimmed from the couch team, Carly's Aken and Daniel Weisberg. The two women quit their jobs as news producers and launched a newsletter in twenty twelve it was called the daily skim, and it became the fastest growing newsletter on the market since then they've built a media empire, which now includes their subscription app and video productions skim studios every day, they reach more than seven million people Danielle and Carly had us over to the skim headquarters in New York for the interview, and they take us back to the beginning when they were two girls in their mid twenties trying to build the skim from their couch. I really enjoyed this conversation, and it's an important one about finding that right co-founder that partner to build something with don't forget after this interview, you can head on over to skimmed from the couch where Danielle and Carly turned the tables. And interview me, okay. You're the skin founders, Danielle Weisberg and Carly's Aken. Carly's Aken and Daniel waste virg-. Welcome to no limits. Thank you so much for having us for excited. This is weird to be on the other side of the Baptist. Well, I'm really thrilled to be here at the skim. And we just did the skimmed from the couch podcast, which you as ask great questions. You guys are doing a great job with the podcast. Thank you for having me. Thank you for having us coming on our show excited. Yeah. Me too. Well, there's a lot to get you. So I to kind of go back to when you initially got started and U2. met in Rome on we did we? Know, startups are very competitive and one thing that we win hands down every time is the origin story. So we met in college in Rome, we randomly were there on the same study abroad trip. We went to different schools grew up in different cities and connected there. And then we went our separate ways after eating a lot of pasta, and it was going to say more pasta or July to- pasta for sure. And we reconnected when we were both working fulltime for NBC news after college, and we became friends is to people starting off in the industry and bounced around the same cities from DC and New York and wound up roommates twenty-five years olds in a very small apartment in New York City working at sea and trying to figure out how we could stay in this career that we loved when things were. Not good in the media industry after the recession. We started off being really cheaply ver-. We learned a lot. And then when we weren't sue cheap anymore. And we're starting to think about how do we really build a long term career for ourselves. Although we wanted it to be there. There just wasn't a clear path anymore. So in a lot of ways we felt like the idea to start our own company was a safer decision. Did you like your time and NBC or was it frustrating? I loved my time there, and I think we both felt that we we had amazing mentors who were both still in touch with all the time from like intern through fulltime jobs, an amazing co workers I personally like loved corporate America. Like, there's a lot of people you need like I can't wait till you were like 4._0._1._K. I didn't have that. I also do not have health insurance. The under there like freelance Ombrella, which is the way that you can. I think they changed it. But it was a way that to make it cheaper labor. Really? So I did not like that not having those things, but I liked being part of something bigger. I liked getting just up for work. I like seeing the talent. Like you like I liked. I just I loved being where all the magic happened. And I think the only time that I ever felt frustrated was really towards the end of my time. Which was you know, it's easy to to kind of look back in trying to like, you know, diagnose yourself with like, oh, I was feeling this this happened. But I think what was happening when I look back is that something like within me had other interests. And it was it was business. It was clearly entrepreneurialism and entrepreneurship, but I was trying to navigate my way. And there was no way to do that unless it was like purely aditorial. And so I think I think a lot has changed since we've left, and obviously the industries have dramatically changed. But that was really what was frustrating to me. You're living together and working together. So you're living in this tiny little apartment was that difficult at all. Because I I mean, I love all of the roommates. I've had over the years. But I think back, you know, not it didn't always work out. So we don't endorse starting company with your friends or with your roommate. We worked on different shows. So we hide drastically different hours. So we actually didn't see each other that much Carly had more normal hours and I had like late prime time hours. And so it was kind of this weird. Check each other. When Carly would be leaving for work. I would be just getting up, and it was kind of like, oh, you're doing it again. And then when I would get home credit would be going to bed, and it was like, oh, how is your day? And it was like, okay. You were this shack each day to keep pushing each other about this idea that we had. So who I had the idea who for said, let's get out of here in start our own company. I truly could tell you, honestly, I think like, I honestly, I think part of our partnership is great is that we constantly say we, but like from honest to God, I actually don't know. I remember a lot of stoop conversations. But even before that I remember when I lived in DC still Yaron New York used to text a lot about like this idea of. And we end like a phone. There was no idea TVD or whatever it was. But I think I'm like my point with that is that there is no magic moment in wasn't people are always like what was the Hommant. I'm like there wasn't one. It's not easy to quit your job. It's not easy to leave an industry that you've loved or leave. It's not like we were unhappy. So it was harder. And a lot of ways to be leaving these jobs that we had not only gotten our foot in the door, but moved up really quickly. So it was just kind of time that I think ultimately led us quitting and trying this. Well, and so you were twenty six when you created the sorry. She couldn't hear you twenty-five. I was okay. Okay. But, but but to some extent, I think about that. You know, it's when you start a company at at that stage. And this is something we talked about. On your podcast what you are giving up. Yes. You had this incredible job. And I'm sure family and friends said to you, wait, wait like why would you leave that job to do this? They think you're crazy. Right. But at the same time you recognize I'm still young. I can like worst case scenario this thing goes bust, but at least I tested the waters, and I could figure something else out. It's really funny because when I meet with, you know, people in their early mid twenties, and you see this hunger about them. And sometimes like you're on a give critical feedback as a manager. Sometimes you wanna be like sold out like so down. And when I think about that. I try hope I don't say that too much because I that was me most annoying thing for us to hear like, I remember, I mean, I I laugh at myself like we were I was twenty five at the time when we were talking about the originally to twenty four and. Until I remember just like literally being like, okay. I'm now a cliche I'm having a quarter life crisis. But I felt like time was running out. I just felt this like the ticking clock. And I was like I'm not doing the job. I'm supposed to be doing. And it had this really like gut and saying this is not the career. I'm supposed to be it. And that's why like a lot of times. Like, we said, it's an out of body experience. But I really just like felt it. And so I think there were there was no talking to us truly like we were going to sink or swim. But like there was no talking us. So you talk about the file that you had the TVD file, and that's really that'd my skin folder. My computer still says project TVD. That's awesome. How close to what's in that folder is the skim today. I don't actually know if we ever put anything in the folder. It was just like we need to meet actually, I yeah. I'm the I would say people always athlete. How do you divide and conquer clearly listened to mentor? You're also the archivists. Yes. So I actually have organized the folder for us over years to make sure that we have. And what I can tell you is. It's actually really similar idea. Like, our vision has gotten so much bigger. I mean, I remember like the first deck that we ever put together. Like we've surpassed also much of it. And we think so much bigger, but the mission around what we do the focus on the audience and how we really describe our value like we could read an today. Wow. And you reach now seven million plus subscribers. That's incredible. So you back at this point had saved collectively between the two of you four thousand dollars. Yeah. And I think that when you asked us earlier about being young and kind of like if this doesn't work out, then we'll find something else. I don't think that was my attitude. I mean, we were both terrify. Yeah. But I think in retrospect that makes total sense to me. Right. Like, yeah. I would have found something else at the time. It didn't feel. That way at all. It felt like we have no money, which we really didn't. And we just quit our jobs, and we're going to start something. And I think that fear is actually what made us put in the twenty plus hour days was that we didn't have a plan B. And I think that's actually something I'm torn on now when I talked to young entrepreneurs who are like, oh, I'm just gonna start something. And I'm like well. But how how are you going to hear bills are like how you can pay rent? And it it always kind of kills me a little bit that that's my reaction now. But I do credit that as being a big reason why we were so hungry for those first two years because there was no fall back. It was like we will will this to be a success. And I think that's something that we tend to recognize in other entrepreneurs like one of our advisers, we talk about all the time that he will will his company into being. A success? And there is no doubt in my mind that even if everything in the business failed. He would just magically push that company in to a success. And I think that that's how we got it to even start. I think you raise a lot of really interesting and important points there one about this adviser that you bring up. So obviously advisors are really really important and useful finding the right advisors is really important and useful. I'm assuming some of that comes from when you're raising funds. And then the people who ultimately put money with you become your advisors, not necessarily actually really. Okay. So let's you're about how you've developed those people. So I think that there are so much that we didn't know, and that was like we've messed up, and you know, kind of all these sort of stories that we can kind of half laugh about now. But I think what we were really good at because and I'm sure you couldn't Nick appreciate from our journalism background. We're really good at networking like. We literally, you know, used to fighting interview subjects, and we're like this leads to that which leads to that person. And that kind of puzzle is actually very thrilling for us. So we before we really did anything we started creating a network. I mean, I remember like yesterday like we made a list of the companies that we admired that we felt were in. There was something similar about them like to us and like they ranged from the time daily candy to Oprah. Like, we were just like, you know, we really shot big. And we then made a list of who invested in those companies, and then we made a list of who's involved in those companies, and we I mean, we really built our network like from day one. We did not know a lot of people to help advance the company and we did a ton of called outreach. And we just figured out how to get in front of people. And I remember honestly, one of the best moments where I would truly be remember being like, I'm so proud of us was. It was like two three years, and we looked at that list. And we had met everyone on the list, including Oprah. And that was just I was like, wow, we like really crossed it off like I'm not. I mean the list of got bigger now emission. But it was I think that that helped us build a network of supporters and mentors that we could really go to for the most basic questions, and when you were cold reaching out to these people what was the pitch. What did you say to the that got even the door archivist? I remember. No. We used to say, I remember, it was quit our jobs to start a company, and would you mind used to our subject line would be like former NBC IRS start new business? Yeah. And we used to say like, dude like, you know, ten minutes to me in the next two weeks would love to tell you what we're doing. And then maybe sometimes like align why we thought they'd be interested, and how many times did you go back to people in order to get in front of them. So actually, I was thinking about this is not going to be the worst piece of advice. I have. But thinking about that when I was at NBC when I was at MSNBC, and I was trying to get a job there. Finally. And I was really both of us are very persistent about following up. And this guy told me that there's a fine line between following up and pushing it and that basically I crossed it. But I don't think that I actually learned from that. I think we still followed up a ton. What we did. Learn was to find advocates for that intro. Yes. So like we would still try to follow up. I think three to four times if we don't hear back. I mean, we still do that the people who haven't responded that are dream people. And I probably Email them like once every three months. Yeah. I like once a month like who are the people that like again stock. I'm yet. And then we would there. So one of our first investors we actually spent a year trying to reach and that was through all different connections. And he took a phone call with us. And then was like, okay. You know next. I'm not interested every time someone connect with us. It was like he's on interested. He's not interested. And I think it was from the third or fourth can. Action. He finally took a meeting and he wrote a check on the spot. And I think that was the biggest lesson that we had which is sometimes about showing that you won't give up other times. It's about getting an endorsement, and maybe you need more than one or two or three when you're just starting out. I think that's a great point. Because actually one of the things I think I did early in my career that I mean, I'm not sitting back in regretting it. But I think I missed took early on not wanting to bother people and then not getting in front of them as a result. And now looking backwards people who want to get in front of me, unfortunately, they have to be two nations, and they have to get, you know, I'll tell people if you don't get me on my phone, the first time don't even leave a message. Just try me back in two days because you're more likely to just grab me in that way. Then to get me. We it doesn't even necessarily have to do with interest. It just has to do with k. And in many cases, if you want to reach someone who's really busy and on your list of people to reach you just have to be aggressive about can you Asli calling them totally. I think that I actually the thing that kind of angers not angers news. That's the wrong word. The thing that I get annoyed about is when I don't see that like to now city or persistence and people, and so I actually make a rule like I don't usually respond to the first Email and someone asks for advice. I usually wait to see if they're going to follow up which part of that is still like try to be mindful of my time. So that I'm actually meeting with people that I think have that grit, and it's like a good filter. So I totally agree with that. So you kick off the company when one of you is twenty six the one is twenty five at what point was there? And. Oh my God. What are we doing moment? Hear more from the skims Danielle and Carly after a quick word from our sponsor when it comes to hiring. You don't have time to waste you need help getting to your shortlist of qualified candidates fast. That's why you need indeed dot com. Get started today at indeed dot com slash podcast. That's indeed dot com slash podcast. So you kick off the company when one of you is twenty six the twenty five at what point was there? And oh my God. What are we doing moment in a good way or bad way? Either. The next morning. I was so what was the moment of kickoff. Was it the first skim Email that went out? Yes. And how many people did it go out to invest the first mail? So we sent an blast Email to our holy network. We basically gather all these Email addresses. We had like fifty five hundred people we Email to please lineup. I believe the Versi Email went out to like four hundred people. And then we had a few articles come out about us that day. So I believe remember correctly. We ended the day at about eight hundred and I remember with those first articles we cause quite a debate on slate. I think it must have been a slow news day. And it was the first time we'd ever been on the other side and that was hard. And I don't think either one of us intimidated that that was going to be hard. And that was the first moment where I was like. Oh, wow. We started a company, and we kind of were just like, oh, we're going to right? But that was the first time, I realize we're. Business owner, and we put our names on this and swell 'cause I just remember we were going to launch an honestly. Yeah. Literally until the eleventh hour like we were lodging anonymously, and we we decided we don't we don't still don't have our names on the side. But we decided like for press like we will say who we are. And, you know, talk about our story. I'm very glad we did that. But I think as soon as we made the decision to not be anonymous. I mean, we're both really like interested people, we're both very private. And we were like, oh like what did reach two and sleet was basically critiquing the content and the two of is actually a debate. Why you should skin was one article in the next article is why you shouldn't skim. I think so we were like, okay, they're talking about us. And then I made a little bit of noise get, but that's the thing probably on the one hand being new to it. It was really hard. But on the other hand, it probably drove people to check you out. Yeah. I think it was also a great lesson to have on your first day business, which is you can't. This get out of the game. And so I think that was the first time where one of the things that I had to definitely overcome in my career early on was I would have a really really tough skin in the newsroom, right? Because when you're in the thick of it people yell, and so you kind of get used to being yelled at all the time and all the time all the time. It's just a big you'll that Doug all of you do. Yeah. All the time. And it's not pointed it just how it's the language, right? But then when I would have reviews, and it was out of that environment. I never knew how to take that feedback. So seeing it printed and having our names associated with it. I'm like, well, if they had called and yelled at me, I'd be like, okay. Bye. It was just kind of learning that I needed to toughen up in a different way. And that was the very beginning of that. And now, I look back, and I'm like thank God we that lesson day one actually remember when of because we had a few articles that came out about us. And one of the reporters said is there anything else that you want to add which is like a very standard thing and any interview? And so we started talking and as soon as we did that we were like that was wrong. You're never supposed to really answer that. And so the people like mess up and like say something they regret we didn't even say anything bad. But I remember we called like we called someone like a friend who's best friend worked in PR. And we were like, oh my God. We totally ruined the interview. Oh my God. What do we do what we do? And I just sick to my stomach and she was like, it's fine. You didn't say anything bad? And now you will next time. Don't you never have anything else to add? And I just remember being like, wow, we really don't know anything anymore. And you're learning. I mean every day you're learning, right? Your voice, and the voice of the skiff newsletter has been so much a part of its success. So much of a part of its identity your no longer twenty six and twenty five years old. So has that would you say, that's evolved. Is that something that's really important to you to the identity of the brand stood the voices. Not my voice. It's not curly's voice. It's a voice in identity that we created together. And the identity is always evolving, and as this female millennial generation grows up. That's something that we want to consistently look at and reevaluate. So we're looking to grow with this generation as they move through different life stages. So do you see yourselves than remaining a a source of content and a touch point for women, you know, in college just out of college, or do you kind of see that audience growing with you as you grow in your lives? I don't think. Mutually exclusive. So we have products that I think are great for people when they graduate college like the newsletter. I think is the perfect way to opt in. I think our social channels offer that when we think about creating products and really diving into more of a membership driven philosophy which is where the company is going. We certainly think about following this audience as we grow and counter different challenges at our core. What we do is we connect the dots. Where people we make it easier to live smarter. And in the beginning that was how do you keep up with what's going on in the world? And we think about it as how do you continue to do that over your life as decisions get more complicated? And you never get more time. How do you think about your role and responsibility? This is something that comes up a lot in my world as well around fake news and accuracy and. Is that something that is a conversation? That's happening here where the responsibility is really clear in this moment. I think that obviously EMMY any company that in the new space like I can't think of one that we wouldn't have had a conversation about, you know, the trends in the conversation topics that we've all seen in zeitgeist over the last few years for us, you know, from day one we made a decision having come from a background in breaking news and coming from alive control room that we we were to no interest in being in breaking news. We didn't ever needed to be. I we need it to be right. And I think if you had asked us really until you know, I would say until the the last election. What what we thought about what we did? We would say it's a privilege. We would say, you know, we really like refilling avoid I think that what we saw in two thousand sixteen and a carryovers from the midterms this year is that we. Haven't incredible ability to activate this audience and truly reach a politically diverse audience. And there are really not a lot of places that can say that. So in two thousand sixteen we got over one hundred thousand people registered to vote and in two thousand eighteen for the midterms we got over two hundred thousand people to actually show up in vote. We know that what we do is a responsibility. And I think we take that incredibly seriously, which is we've always from day one and still really rigorous back. Checking in really have always put your unlisted integrity. I when you look back. What do you wish you knew when you started the company, you know, I love this question because I think the answer is that it was the biggest blessing that we didn't know how hard it would be. So everything that has come up is kind of like a surprise and not necessarily delight. But the learning experience I think that if we had known how hard it would be. I think we would have been. Potentially too scared to try. So I think it was great that we didn't have any previous baggage. We couldn't say oh this time. You know? This is what last time. This is what went wrong, it was kind of this naievety in this fresh thinking at a time when so many of the media companies that we started off with had completely different perspectives. I feel like we may not have stayed true to our vision. If we had done it before because we probably would have been like, oh, well, you know, what are we going to win this blowing out? What are your eyes? To do that. When you get that kind of pressure as I'm sure you do how do you handle it when something is antithetical to your mission statement, but it might be coming from a respected source or somebody who has clout because their investors in the business. I think we handle it two ways. One is from. We were never the hot thing when we were fundraising. So the people who are around the table now are all people that really believed in the two of us when we were starting and believed in the vision that we had so they didn't invest in us because they thought that we would be, you know, fantastic creating the most amount of video content. They believed in us because we knew who are audience wise, and we had a very specific focus, and we knew what we wanted to mean to them. So I think that there's a respect there. And I feel very lucky that at times the fundraising process, especially in the beginning dragged out what it less. Us with is people that have an unshakable belief in the company. I think the second way is by having advisers who play devil's advocate. So our advisers are from people who are in different parts of the media industry or tech industry, and they do have different philosophies, and I think we really use them to push us and to say like, hey, here's you know, what we've been thinking. And also there's two of us. And so we try to stay away from a group think mentality, and I think that that's where advisors really come in. Also, add that we look at the advice of our advisors. We look at let's say market tread market data, and like, those are all data points. I think for me like what I always think about is. No one's ever built the skin before. So we have the most experience building at that's far. And so at the end of the day like I think it's just a good kind of reset for us to remember that that, you know, there's no there's no grass. Book recipe book about how to do this or an instruction manual, and if it was easy, everyone would do it. And so I think you know, we use those data points. But I think we also we have a cheer north about what our mission is. And I think that's also really easy to come back to and how does the skin make money, and where in the trajectory of the skim did that become because for so many companies it's about subscribers, and how many people are looking at your content wearing the trajectory was it. Okay. We've got we've got the eyeballs now. Now, we need to monetize this. So. Like literally week one. We had advertisers reaching out to us. We did not know how to have those conversations nor do we have the bandwidth to have those conversations. So we said no unbeknown said no now did that hurt a little bit. I don't think he knew what you're doing. Okay. I don't I don't think I've read disturb what we were doing what we did. Find out what you were doing was actually creating market scarcity. We were making ourselves hard to GATT and people wanted to meet with us. So it was a very good thing that we did not we when we raise our first round of funding. Our first investors gave us the advice. They said focus on growth, and it's a very Silicon Valley piece of advice probably from the soda Silicon Valley. But they said focus on growth don't think about the revenue that we focused on growth, we really quickly achieved scale in the millions of our daily readers. And then we were able to think about how do we want to integrate brands into the experience that it felt native to reading? The scam. It felt like it was a brand enhancer and that it was a value out to our audience. So we started opening the door to working with brands a few years ago, but what we knew really early on. And even you know, when you ask like is if you looked at your early materials, what would be the same or what would change we knew early on that we were not going to be a solely advertising based company we knew you're gonna have diversified revenue. We knew subscription would be part of it. And we knew advertising would be a component of it. And so we're really proud that we've from day one we're able to diversify revenue so today. Yes, we have a great advertising business, but we have an incredible premium subscription business. We have a great commerce affiliated business, and we also do content licensing and so that diversified revenue. I think has been a huge differentiator for us. Honestly in the marketing, and it's an interesting point coming from your background seeing a business like NBC that really does run on that ad revenue. Was that part of what made you say? We shouldn't do. This all ad revenue, or you know, because a lot of companies that launched around the same time as you really spent almost everything on at revenue, and they based a lot of their business around Facebook and being active on social media, and then getting advertisers to get involved. I think it was a few different things that went into that the first and you brought up Facebook Saul start there. I think that when you look at the types of content that did well on Facebook when they first you know, when publishers really I started going there. It was freaking news, which we one hundred percent knew we didn't want to do because we knew the resources that you need to do that. Well, and do it responsibly. And we didn't feel like there was a void in the market there. So we knew we were going to do that. So it was like, okay. If we're not going to create the mass amounts of content that are so timely that they're going to keep up there than we're not going to try it the other thing that did really well on Facebook video. And I think honestly that was just we grew up as video producers. And we know what goes into it do it. Well. And. We didn't see it as being a huge part of our audiences daily routine. So the idea when you know video started becoming a thing of of kind of doing this well produced video and that everyone was going to be on their phones watching it. I think that obviously it's trending that way. But we weren't there yet and as a startup you have to make decisions about where you're gonna focus and that wasn't even hard decision. It just didn't fit in with our philosophy. We looked at how we wake up every day. We look at what we really use and shack every day, and it is our phone, but it's much more Email tax message, calendars and audio and those are all of the distribution mechanisms that we've pretty much gone big. And so your co founders and co CEO's a very important relationship. Also, the fact that you're legitimate friends. How do you manage it? When you have a really sick. NCAA disagreement about your shared, baby. You know, we get us like all the time even by friends, they're like to still get along. Like, you know, and we're like this is, you know, we're like, of course, I think that we we've always been aligned around what success looks like for us personally and for the business, and you constantly do check ins around that at different stages or phases of the company. I mean, when you raise money, especially venture money, which we've done now a few times, you are committing in a different way, a renewed commitment to the company's trajectory and the stakes around that. And so we always had these very I think healthy, check ins and conversations to make sure we're still in the same page. I think we both have gone through a lot of ups and downs personally in the last few years. And I think we both feel that there is literally no way we could have done this without the other. And there is no skin without the both of us. And I think that were. Very protective of that relationship. And I think that, you know, our family, we're so a family. I mean, like our families know Joe there now, and like I think that that's it's something really unique to us. And I do think like the interesting thing is when people come to us for advice a lot it's a lot of times for co-founder relationship. And I would say almost all the time. I'm like, I don't think you should work with this person. Or I'm like that does not sound good. And what are the what are the signs that you should work with someone and the signs you should not work? Let's you and you shouldn't work with somebody. Okay. I recently gave you advice to someone who tally. I asked the person. I said do you at hundred percent tra- hundred ten percent trust your co founder, and they didn't answer. And they're like I can't answer that. And I was like that just tells you everything I think one day, I don't know if you get this. But a warning signal for me is when you're leaving your job to start something together. And you're not equal partners. And from the gecko when people say that I'm like, well, you're already evaluating each other differently. There's also small things we'll go to conferences or events where we know that there's a co founder. Yeah. Cove hundred do behind the company, and we'll see a name tag in its founder. And I'm like that's a signal that you you are putting yourself for whatever reason in front of the other person on his on a partnership. And I mean, we're crazy about it. Like, we will not do heloc appearances without the other. We will not do radio show. Like this talk visit out the other. And you know, it's early important to divide and conquer some definitely a proponent of that. But I think we are very protective. Like, those words means something like co-founder means something co CEO does mean something, and I think we've always been really clear with our board, and our investors about what our red lines are so important I've seen so many of those relationships that didn't work out because there wasn't clarity. At the end of the day running a business is so hard and tiring. The thing that like should not be stressful part is your co founder if that's what's giving you the drama and the headaches and this leafless nights like something's off. Yup. An- and ultimately, not just your co founder, but your employees. That's always going to be. I think number one when it comes to building a company, how do you guys differentiate between the people who should be working for this game in those you should not. Well, I think it's an answer. We've learned a lot about and it's probably been different things at different times. I think one big change is when we started we were looking for all around athletes. That's the termi would ask people like how are you an all around athlete and some for them. Right. Citizenry Sean there, Jim. Like, I can't do anything about her. We actually have a lot of athletes. So I guess it works. We we were looking for people that could be good at one thing. But most of all could pitch in and would pick up an area of the business that they had no exposure to and just try it. Yeah. And I think that that was the way we hired for a really long time. I think now we are at the size where we're looking for people that are more specialists, which is a great thing because the company is at the point where we need someone. That's really great at this specific type of marketing or really great at, you know, this specific type of data analysis, but it also gives some of our earlier team members people to learn from, and I think that that's been something that we really aspire to built in our culture, which is professional development opportunities. And I think that's something that is really hard for start up to be able to do in the beginning. So that's something that we're focused on now. Just gonna say, I I think for me like, I'm the guest all of those things, but I'm always looking for the people that will roll up their sleeves. Yeah. And we'll get it. We'll we'll do it. We'll get in it. And I think there been so many times that there's warning signals of someone who want to take a job here for very much their own reason. And we're very hands on the ios for about are worse. And we're learning how to scale ourselves in that. But we are were hiring a team like you need to be able to roll up your sleeves usually sit on the floor of your laptop and like gets done. When like when stuff is intense. I think that's also we've made changes in our hiring process that I think have been helpful there. So when we look at executive or senior roles, we'd like to have employees who are more entry level also being that process, and it's really telling how someone will treat the two of us. But then when we're not in the room, and they're in a meeting with people that are at a junior level. They treat them in one of our core values is you know, if you have if you have a great idea, it doesn't matter who it's from. And it certainly doesn't matter. What level the person that? It's from so really living that day to day is what we look for. What's the toughest lesson? You've had to learn along the way hiring. I think it's always hiring. And it's always the same lesson. Which is listen to your got every time, and it is every time. I don't listen to it. It turns out. I was right. Okay. I'm the worst advice you received along the way. So we have we have good answers for this thought about it off. Yes. One piece of advice that we got very very early on when we were thinking about how we find the business was to get rich boyfriends. No, yes. Yes. Right. Wait who told you this? I you're not gonna tell you. But it was somebody who is going to finance the business. No. Yeah. They were looking to invest. Oh my gosh. You're right. Yes. Yes. And and what did you say, I think we didn't respond? Yeah. I don't think we knew how to respond, and it was also very serious. This was not like a, you know joke. Mine we were I think one of the things people don't realize is like when you are a CEO like you reported to aboard and your salary has to be determined by the board, and we had never had to negotiate ourselves before. And that was really hard to to fight for yourself, especially because there's two of us, and it's a different conversation. And we were really struggling with how to do it. And we went to someone that we really looked up to and they're very well intentioned. But what they said was well, I usually say my wife needs a house, so you should say I need a house or my significant other needs to house, and I was like, I don't understand. I don't eat a house, and he's a, but you need a house, and I was like, no, no, I I live in an apartment don't eat a house, and I really like did not understand. And he goes, you're not understanding what I'm saying. The board will not want you to have an unhappy like life. So you need a house. Your significant other is very unhappy. They don't have a house. And so literally we said I need to move apartments. And I it was not why any like we got our compensation or had that discussion. But I think that it was a really really old school jarring thing to hear that we would only be deserving of compensation increase if we could kind of. A significant other as a as a tool much to get it. And that would be the only reason. But it's also what's shocking to me about that advice? It's antiethical actually, I mean even just on its face. But you guys did you said you needed to move apartments and that worked we didn't. They like that. No, okay. In my experience. If you look at every negotiating one, oh one every everything around negotiating a salary. The thing. You don't do is tell an employer, and I get it. This is a little different. But you don't tell an employer I need this raise for myself. Personally. You talk about the value that you yourself bring to the table. And that's why you are worth phthalates that it was the approach that we took which was hairs market data around. What we've done word. I think that the advice that we were given which is why I say, it's the worst advice came from a very old school way of thinking that we have all read too much about in recent years, and it was you know, very much like happy wife happy life. And I it was it was jarring. I just remember being on the phone and like just putting the phone down. I mean, what what I don't wanna house, but I'm so confused. Well, it's just shocking to even think I mean, yes, I don't think I'm ignorant or naive to what may have happened or still does happen. But that's like shocking to hear I would never expect that to work in a negotiation to your point, though, about the wealthy significant others, you did rack up a lot of Tredegar debt. We did. And I did get married, but that was not I would be hind my collecting the or connecting things. But, but it is it is something that I think for a lot of listeners right now that whole idea of taking on debt. I mean for the most part that is not something that anybody would or should be or is advocating for credit card debt as it. So high interest we also don't advocate for that. But I do think for us. It was the way that we could start the business and could afford to quit our jobs, and you know, it took us a long time to pay that off. And it's not something that we feel was the best decision. But I don't think we would have been able to start the business had we not done that. All right. So ten years from today. What is the skim a very big company, a very big company and the most imprinted brand for this generation of? Email millennial. Thank you so much to both of you, the great conversation, vein keel. I hope you enjoyed that conversation with the skins Daniel Weisberg and Carly's Aken. Remember, you can head on over to skim from the couch for the crossover episode where they interview me. And finally a shout out to our team here that helps make this happen each week. My producer Taylor done editor Brittany Martinez. Research assistant lane win and the ABC radio teen Elizabeth Russo. Josh Cohen, Andrew kelp and Steve Jones. Are you hiring with indeed you can post a job in minutes set up screener questions than zero in on your shortlist of qualified candidates using an online dashboard get started today at indeed dot com slash podcast. That's indeed dot com slash podcast.

Coming up next