As co-CEOs, Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg are a team — and they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Zakin and Weisberg discussed how they benefit from jointly running their newsletter TheSkimm, which they founded in 2012, at Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit Tuesday in Laguna Niguel, California.
“We came into this as equal partners as we could possibly be, and we were really aligned from day one,” said Zakin. She noted that she and Weisberg have similar skills sets — both were network producers before they started their company — so they don’t have a clear method of delineating responsibility and jurisdiction. But both agree that only heightens their synchronization.
“Almost six years in, I’m so thankful we have this model because I think it would be completely isolating to go through this alone,” said Weisberg. “We go through the day making so many decisions. The one thing I never have to think about is ‘can I trust my partner?”
The only red line they drew with their investors, said Zakin, is that investors never ask one of them to solely assume responsibility for the company.
The two acknowledged that their joint arrangement doesn’t necessarily work for everyone; Zakin noted that they studied co-CEO partnerships and spoke with people who had jointly run companies when they were first launching their venture.
Zakin and Weisberg were friends and roommates before founding The Skimm, which summarizes the biggest domestic and global news events in a conversational tone aimed at millennials. It now has a readership of 6 million. But the brand has encountered criticism, with some arguing that the newsletter waters down important events and assuming its readers have no prior knowledge.
When asked about this criticism on Tuesday, Zakin and Weisberg defended their model, noting that the criticism came after the election, and it was rarely mention that they partnered with Rock The Vote and helped register over 100,000 people, and highlighting the newsletter’s credibility.
“We are a company that celebrates getting informed and as long as you are getting your news from something that is trustworthy we are going to celebrate that,” said Weisberg.