Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin are ready for a new platform. "We've had a ton of people asking us, 'What's next?'" explains Weisberg, 29, cofounder of theSkimm, the current-events-based e-newsletter with over a million subscribers.
The answer is Skimm Ahead, an iPhone subscription service that takes users' calendars to a new level. Launching in mid-April, it'll keep you in the know about when events like political conventions, TV premieres, and, of course, Adele concert sale dates are happening by syncing with your calendar.
Skimm Ahead was inspired in no small part by "Skimmbassador" brand ambassadors. After hearing feedback like "It's so great that you prepare me for today, but it's not helpful to know the State of the Union is on tonight, because I'm already booked" again and again, Weisberg and Zakin realized what a natural fit a calendar app was with their mission of keeping Millennials up to speed on current events in real time. "This opens up a door that completely changes our business," says Zakin, 29.
We nabbed some time on Weisberg and Zakin's calendars to get the scoop on their new venture—here, everything you need to know.
Marie Claire: What inspired you to start Skimm Ahead?
Danielle Weisberg: Creating theSkimm put us in this amazing position as a company, to have this really captive audience that loves the voice, who feel like they're part of a community, and we had a ton of people asking us, "What's next?" When we started theSkimm, the goal was really to align with the routine the target audience, and so we started looking for the routine we wanted to tackle next. The answer was in the palm of our hands: we're all obsessed with our calendars. So we created a service to makes it easier to be smarter while using your calendar.
MC: You've spoken about creating this community with Skimmbassadors and your passionate readership. How does the app expand that community?
Carly Zakin: The Skimmbassadors have been our focus group for over two years now. So when we think about building a new product, the key to our strategy is calling upon Skimmbassadors and communicating with them. A key part of our strategy is bringing on our Skimmbassadors as a PR team of sorts.
The answer was in the palm of our hands: we're all obsessed with our calendars. So we created a service to makes it easier to be smarter while using your calendar.
DW: Over the past two years, they've told us what they like and what they don't like. We want to help people free up their time to make it easier to know what's going on in the world. That's a thread we heard again and again.
MC: How are you curating the events the app features?
DW: It's the same approach we took to the app—we want you to be able to go to any work or social event and talk to anyone about anything. The newsletter gets you smarter about what happened yesterday and tells you what you need to know about today. Skimm Ahead makes it easier to be smarter about the future. We want it to be events and information that we know you want to know about. I think our audience knows that we're never going to try to be annoying or give them too much. We really feel confident applying our culture to a whole new platform. The app will sync directly with your iPhone and its iOS calendar.
MC: What's the most exciting part about Skimm Ahead for you?
CZ: Skimm Ahead opens up a door to us that completely changes our business and lets us start to grow the company that we know we are. It's a huge moment for us, and I'm excited to see that moment come to fruition. I'm excited for the team, and I'm excited to actually have the calendar.
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