Happy Friday, Broadsheet readers. If you ask former NBC Universal exec Lauren Zalaznick, big change is afoot in the media industry. Read on to see why powerful people have a distorted sense of time and why eight hours of sleep might (thankfully) be better than seven after all. Enjoy your weekend and we’ll see you back here on Monday.
• The highest-paid woman in America is a CFO. Oracle exec Safra Catz, No. 13 on last year’s Fortune Most Powerful Women list, not only is the highest-paid female executive with a $44.3 million pay package, but she also is the highest-paid CFO across genders. The list of highly paid women is small, but growing: 60% of the top U.S. companies now have at least two women on their senior exec teams.
• American Apparel gets first female board member amid controversy. Colleen Brown, a former CEO at media firm Fisher Communications, will join the retailer’s board just as its ousted CEO goes under investigation for alleged sexual harassment. Brown has no deep retail experience to speak of, but she does bring is much needed diversity to a company that previously had no women on its board or in senior management positions. The struggling retailer has gotten in hot water more times than not for its racy ads and sexually confused messaging.
• Christine Lagarde: Financial markets “too upbeat” on Europe. The International Monetary Fund chief told investors betting on Europe to cool it on Friday. Lagarde said that the region’s high debt and high unemployment could very well create a “vicious cycle” hurting long-term growth.
IN THE HEADLINES
• Controversial “shortlists” for women board candidates in Britain get nixed. Lord Davies’ goal of getting 25% of FTSE 350 boards spots filled by women by next year is proving difficult to accomplish. Other British politicians proposed using “all-female shortlists” to give women a leg up in the boardroom election process, but this week the proposal was deemed “unlawful sex discrimination.”
• Pinterest employs more women than rivals but still fewer than you’d think. The online scrapbooking site revealed Thursday that 40% of its staff and 19% of its top positions are filled by women. A predominant number of Pinterest’s users are women, yet the privately held company has yet to achieve the same gender makeup on its staff. “We still have a lot of work ahead of us,” says software engineer Tracy Chou.
• Obama: Let’s not live out Scandal. Despite joining the creator of the NBC hit-show Scandal Shonda Rhimes for a fundraising dinner earlier this week, President Obama made it very clear that he hopes the sex-and-murder-packed drama in the show will stay on the small screen. “No offense, Scandal is a great show, but it’s not something that we necessarily want to be living out day in, day out,” says the President.
• MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski, design director of American brand the Row, is now chief executive of women’s wear for Hermès.
Lauren Zalaznick: A forest fire is about to hit the media industry
Every Friday, The Broadsheet features an exclusive interview with a woman from Fortune’s Most Powerful Women community. Today, we talk with Lauren Zalaznick, the former NBC Universal exec who built Bravo and other cable networks, about the future of her career and the media industry.
CF: Why did you recently decide to join Refinery29 (a fashion, beauty and lifestyle website) as an official advisor?
LZ: I have been drawn toward the intersection of not only great audience and content, but where audiences and content meet data and technology. Whether it’s the Shazam board that I joined officially as a director or Refinery29 which is a formalization of an advisory relationship, it’s because it is a business that is healthy, really growing like wildfire and really needs a supercharge or super focus around either high customer growth or high monetization growth.
The stuff I really love is bridging the gap between the new audiences and where they live and the content that still has to be pretty extraordinary to reach specific audiences and breakthrough.
CF: How do you help those companies achieve that?
LZ: What has come into play very recently is people looking for organizational strategy. Whether you are growing your company from 12 to 50 employees, or 50 to 250 or 250 to 1,000, the question is always how do you keep the window open for creativity, growth and monetization without an immediate change in culture and chokehold on growth. Organizing for growth is something that I think is a real experience that I love, and love to bring to new companies. It’s also an overlooked one. Everyone talks about strategy and your sphere of contacts and influences, but organizational growth is a basic necessity that is underserved and underutilized.
CF: So what does the future look like for you?
LZ: In my heart of hearts, I just can’t get enough of this thing called media. What propelled me to leave the best job in media [referring to her 12-year stint at NBC Universal] was to be able to dive into and check myself to see if I have a preference for small businesses. The first ten years of my career, I was absolutely not drawn to any sort of traditional job. The next 15 [were with] a big, huge media company with NBCU, but every day of my life for all those years it was amazing to me that I got a paycheck every two weeks. I have no judgment that a startup is better or worse than a big company. In choosing the next path, it is more about who I will get a real kick out of working with rather than what environment I want.
CF: What do you see for the future of the media industry?
LZ: The challenge is that the great media companies today are going to remain the great media companies of the future, but they are going to be joined by the emerging great media companies of today. The great middle is what is going to suffer the most.
If you look at post-World War II, that was wave one with the ride of the private media company, meaning the rise of broadcast. Then 30 years later you see wave two with as the rise of programmatic and distribution cable. Now, about 30 years later again, we are seeing the rise of wave three. Every so often there is a forest fire and the greatest trees stands and the middle is wiped out. Then, a thousand different species erupt from the forest floor. That is how I see the media ecosystem right now.
CF: Speaking of all the new small media players, why did you decide to launch you own weekly newsletter?
LZ: LZSunday Paper grew out of NBCU where I initiated a council of women from many different industries like banking, retail, beauty, media, finance and digital for a conversation about how to tackle the changing landscape and the changing audiences through… marketing and advertising to women. When I left NBC Universal, it was important to me to keep that dialogue going with this, in my view, to expand the community of women in business outside of the corporate guardrails and bring in a little pop culture, high culture, fascination and humor to it. In the past year I have been working on [the newsletter], it continues to evolve thematically and features of the newsletter have changed but the main point is to keep a very consistent and open dialogue with a very tight, smart and engaged group of business people.
CF: What does the newsletter add to the ever-growing media landscape?
LZ: I’m not a journalist, so I am not going to report as a primary source person. It is about offering a different lens. If you look at majorities, you are going to get majority stories. If the majority of CEOs of banks are men and the top of business you going to write about the decision makers and influencers in banking, you are going to write about those men. That’s not underserved. Everyone needs to know what is happening at the tops of their industry. What is underserved is not so much reportage on what these women are doing in these industries, but the different voices that emerge around very popular stories… If you want to see how the other half thinks, this is a pretty good window into that.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Powerful people have a distorted sense of time. Having control over your life can have a big impact on your perception of time, according to a new study out of UC Berkeley. People in power often think they have more time to complete task because they feel like they are in better control of their time. The result is a group of unstressed powerful people thinking they have more time to do things then they actually do.
• So now we only need 7 hours of sleep? Not so fast. To the chagrin of sleep lovers like myself, the Wall Street Journal came out with a story earlier this week that argued we might need less sleep than the oft-recited 8-hour figure. Thankfully, our friends over at Real Simple took a look at the science and discovered there’s no “magic” number when it comes to sleep. Ideal sleep targets are personal, so keep on hitting that snooze button if need be.
• England’s most powerful woman is now a “photobomber.” Queen Elizabeth II appears to be a lot more tech savvy than you might think. The royal smiled in the background of a photo that two Australian tourists were taking in Glasgow, Scotland. It’s worth checking out just to bring a smile to your face.
ON MY RADAR
Ivanka Trump talks motherhood and family legacy
Yes, you’re smart, but can you manage time?
Here’s what happens when you type “Why am” into Goggle
Hillary Clinton: I’ll have to ‘work on my expectations’ of the media
The Fifty Shades of Grey trailer will make you want to read the books
|From my perspective, the chief lesson of the 2014 tour for 2016 is that it is very hard to write a book about being Secretary of State for a press audience that is primarily interested in whether you will be president.|
|-- Anne-Marie Slaughter, president of the New America Foundation, weighs in for Politico on whether or not Hillary Clinton's extensive media tour was worth it.|