Our January Member Of The Month, Claire Kimball, is the founder of The Squiz, a free weekday email podcast with a uniquely Australian take on the news headlines. The Squiz is your shortcut to being informed, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Published each weekday at 6am, it’s designed to fit into your morning routine – perfect for the commute, the gym or with your morning coffee. The Squiz Today podcast also happened to be named one of the best Australian podcasts of 2018 by Apple.
Women are at the core of The Squiz. When Claire and her team sit down to write Squiz Today, they have time-poor, information-hungry women in mind. Claire is giving the Australian media landscape a radical shake-up and hitting inboxes near you. She joins us today for a Q&A that will leave you feeling motivated for 2019 and with some practical tips to start making progress on your big idea.
What are you reading at the moment? News. Newspapers, online sites, magazines. Always news.
What is something that people are surprised to learn about you? That I learned piano for more than a decade but can barely read music. I did the formal exams and everything. I have a good ear…
Who is the most remarkable woman you’ve ever met? Corny (sorry, not sorry), but my mum. She died from motor neurone disease and faced it with a strength of character that was typical of how she lived.
What is a quote/motto you live by? ‘The world is run by those who show up.’ (And given The Squiz is a fledgling business: ‘Never have I worked so hard for so little’…)
Why did you join Future Women? It’s the intersection of support, practical information and journalism for ambitious women. Just brilliant.
You left a successful career at Woolworths as Director of Corporate and Public Affairs to found The Squiz. What inspired you to take the leap into the unknown? Our world is changing so quickly. I had an idea about how to provide busy people with factual and engaging information about what’s going on around them. I’d worked hard for 18 years before I decided to jump – I did that so I’d have choices, and The Squiz was something I wanted to try.
Tell us about the early days of The Squiz. Once you had the idea, how did you progress it beyond just being an idea in your head? By taking very practical steps to put the idea into action. Most of it was finding the people to get me through the setup – a good accountant, lawyer, tech agency. What I didn’t want was a lot of advice on the idea itself – beyond a small group of trusted advisers I had to block out a lot of ‘well-meaning advice’ and have the courage of conviction.
Your career has been varied and spans multiple industries. What have been the essential skills that have helped you transition seamlessly between roles? Every transition was bumpy, truth be told. The skills I deployed most often (and to varying degrees of success) was a sense of humour, resilience, and a curiosity for what would happen tomorrow.
The Squiz involves early morning podcast recordings and a constant pulse on the latest news. How do you manage your daily routine, keep your business goals on track and find downtime for yourself? It’s the email drafting that takes the time – I’m not a natural writer so I sweat every edition. But once I have a draft done in the evening and a few hours of sleep under my belt, I’m up-and-at-‘em by 3.30am to review the news again, record the podcast with the brilliant Kate Watson, and get the email out. The Squiz is getting pretty much all of me at the moment – there’s not a lot of downtime. But truth be told, that’s just how I do it. I’ve not been very balanced in my approach to work in any job I’ve had.
What was the biggest challenge that you didn’t anticipate when you founded The Squiz? The tech side. There are so many charlatans out there. When you find good tech advice you hold on tight and don’t let go.
You have one piece of advice to give for young, ambitious women. What is it? Work hard. There’s no replacement for hard work.
Congratulations on the ‘Squiz Today’ being identified by Apple as one of the best podcasts of 2018. Tell us what this means for The Squiz and what we can expect from you in 2019. Speaking of hard work… When Kate and I started the podcast 160+ episodes ago, we had no idea what we could make of it. But we did it every weekday and we continue to work on it and build our audience. So it was really nice to get a nod from Apple for the effort we made over the year. As for 2019, we’re going keep providing smart, busy people with a shortcut to being informed about the news. You should totally sign up – it’s free.
If you weren’t slaying as founder of The Squiz, what would you be doing? I’d probably be in a good corporate job that I didn’t really want. I’d certainly be drinking better wine, having more overseas holidays and doing a lot more internet shopping. But I’ve learned to embrace austerity and can bore you stupid with my money-saving suggestions.
The future for women is… What we make it.
We can lift each other up by… Treating others the way we want to be treated.
I’m most fulfilled when… I’m cooking dinner for friends.