Nicolas Martell and Jack Kramer have been working together for nearly six years, largely remotely.
- They are the cofounders and co-CEOs of MarketSnacks, a daily finance newsletter for millennials.
- MarketSnacks has always been a side hustle — first while they worked in banking, now while they’re in separate business schools.
- To keep their side hustle from taking over their lives, and to keep it moving quickly and scaling, they developed a system that hinges on two rules.
In nearly six years of writing MarketSnacks, Nicolas Martell and Jack Kramer have never missed a business day.
They’re cofounders and co-CEOs of the daily finance newsletter for millennials they created as a side job while working in banking in their early 20s — Martell at UBS, Kramer at CommerzBank AG.
During that time, Martell travelled internationally for his job for four years and now spends most of the week pursuing an MBA at Wharton in Philadelphia. Kramer had been working in Berlin and now is pursuing an MBA at the University of Michigan, and the two founders are rarely in the same time zone. Aside from TV appearances in New York City, they work almost entirely remotely.
While the cofounders don’t publicly share subscriber numbers, Martell says the newsletter reaches “six figures of eyeballs,” and that it’s been generating revenue for about three years, through syndication deals and promotions with brands such as Fidelity and Betterment.
With a team of only two, plus an intern who runs their social media, MarketSnacks requires up to three hours a night, Martell told Business Insider. To keep it from taking over their lives, they have had to be smart. “We created a system to be as efficient as possible so that we can write 750 words a night but still have balanced lives with our day jobs and our social lives but also scale the business,” he said.
This system is based on two rules: one operational, and one managerial.
1. They play to each other’s strengths
“On the operational side, we recognise that editing takes more time than writing, so we alternate who edits the content every day and we both write content every day,” Martell said. “We also realised that there is power in playing to each others’ strengths. When it comes to consumer goods companies like Nike, or Lululemon, or Chipotle, I tend to write about those because I know those areas well. And when it comes to industrial or energy stocks like Boeing or Exxon, Jack writes about those.”
2. They stick to the ‘one and done’ rule
“What Jack and I do is we have a policy of ‘one and done,'” Martell said. “If one of us disagrees, we don’t have an argument about it. We go with whatever the disagreer says. If Jack thinks a joke I put in isn’t funny, I’m not going to argue. We’re just going to take it out. If I say Jack should add a number here, he’s not going to argue that. We’ll put it in. And we found that lets us move really quickly on projects. Because stopping to argue about that just isn’t worth the time wasted.”
This approach stretches beyond producing their newsletter. When an opportunity arises — for instance, their first appearance on Cheddar that helped them launch into regular TV spots with brands like Nasdaq and CBS — they don’t stop to argue. “I’m a little more risk-oriented than Jack is,” Martell said. “He’s a little more conservative in his approach, and that’s great because there’s times when I’ll, for example, want to jump into something and Jack will want to take a more traditional route, and whichever one feels more strongly about it, we tend to back and go behind.”
Martell says that although people tend to expect serving as co-CEOs of MarketSnacks would lead to tension, it hasn’t so far. He credits their ability to work together seamlessly to their friendship, and to their both having played college sports (Kramer played football, Martell played lacrosse).
“I think we’re both very comfortable with knowing how teams have to work when they’re in either times of crisis or tensions — how you have to be accountable together,” he said.