2 bankers-turned-CEOs who started a business after hours have figured out the best way to resolve any disagreement
- MarketSnacks is a daily finance newsletter for millennials.
- Cofounders and co-CEOs Nick Martell and Jack Kramer say they've learned that the best way to make business decisions is by gathering data.
- One way to do that is requesting reader feedback, which they did recently to resolve a disagreement between them.
The cofounders and co-CEOs launched MarketSnacks, the daily finance newsletter for millennials, in 2011. Since then, they've found a reliable strategy for resolving disagreements and making business decisions as efficiently as possible.
Nick Martell and Jack Kramer don't always agree.
Kramer calls it "I think versus I know," and the idea is not to guess what their readers want, but to confirm that they're right with concrete data.
This strategy recently came in handy, when Kramer believed MarketSnacks should summarize five business news story a day instead of four, or go into greater depth with the current four stories. Martell cited "email fatigue," arguing that readers wouldn't be inclined to open an email if they knew it would be relatively long.
To find out for certain what readers wanted, they placed a callout at the end of one of their week-in-review newsletters, asking readers to fill out a one-minute survey.
"The results were pretty unambiguous," Kramer said. While he declined to share exactly what those results were, he said they gave him and Martell a clear sense of how to proceed.
"We never want our readers to feel like they have to do extra work," Martell said, explaining why, in the past, they'd been hesitant to request reader feedback. "But we found that feedback is a gift. The more feedback you can get, the better you can sculpt the product to who your readers and your customers are."
The cofounders of MarketSnacks have made time-management a priority since launching their businessThe idea for MarketSnacks was hatched over beers in 2011, when Kramer and Martell were bankers in their early 20s.
"We knew from our personal experiences that financial news just wasn't working for our generation," Kramer said. "We had our mailboxes that were stuffed with The Wall Street Journal every day and we'd check our mailbox once a week and it would literally be packed with black-and-white paper - and we were just overwhelmed."
Their goal was to create a "one-stop place" for business and finance news. They started by writing an anonymous blog, which over time evolved into the email newsletter it is today.
Kramer and Martell are both currently enrolled in MBA programs, Kramer at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and Martell at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Still, they devote three hours a night to writing and editing their newsletter.
A near-obsession with time-management has been key to their success. One trick they use is to tack on something fun to an obligatory task in order to make it a habit.
"Whenever Jack and I jump on a phone call, the first thing we talk about is rarely business," Martell said. Instead, they'll start with a personal update to make sure they don't get overwhelmed.
Another helpful strategy is simply to "divide to conquer," Martell said. He and Kramer long ago delineated their roles in the business so they could "optimize without overlapping and wasting time." For example, Kramer tends to deal with the finances, while Martell is more suited to business development and relationship-building.
"You have to be OK giving up a leadership role to your partner," Martell said.So far, the cofounders have never missed a business day. When they graduate from their MBA programs this year, they'll finally be running the business full-time.
"Because we scaled a side hustle, our business is super efficient," Martell said. "It's caused us to really think about time-management as not something that's just nice to have. It's a need-to-have."