Six Questions with Nothing But Gold Founder Nicole Lapin
“Even CEOs who came on the show would confide in me that they didn't know what QE2 was.”
Roughly two weeks ago, Nicole Lapin announced that she was going to start her own multimedia production company, Nothing But Gold. Created as a platform to develop and host television shows and to create digital/print content for major media outlets, Lapin has referred to Nothing But Gold as her “most exciting chapter yet.”
“I was very entrepreneurial at CNBC,” Lapin told Benzinga during our Q&A this week. “I revamped the show when I got there. Before I came on, there were no guests on ‘Worldwide Exchange.' But I knew what that there could be and then some. So [I] asked everyone myself to appear live starting at 5:00 a.m. – what was the worst they could say? No? But, they didn't!”
However, it wasn't just about having great guests. “It was breaking news and unique perspectives from CEOs and politicians,” she said. “I would book cars and pull tape – I did all jobs to make that show and the rest of my on-air and online contributions great. I was already self-sufficient and, for all intents and purposes, in charge.”
While it might sound like a big change to go from being a reporter to being an entrepreneur, Lapin says otherwise. “The switch isn't as vast as you think,” she insists. “I never slept then and still don't...but neither does money!”
When did you decide to start a company and go out on your own?
Nicole Lapin: With the stock market tanking again and the economy looking like it's on its next leg down, I felt compelled by the need to provide financial reporting and tools for a younger generation that is often intimidated by such topics. There was an enormous void in democratizing the complex information I was reporting on everyday and I felt an intense urgency to fill that void in a more meaningful way.
Is this something that you've always wanted – to run your own multimedia production company? Or was this dream inspired more recently?
Nicole Lapin: To be totally honest, no. For the better part of the last decade my sole focus was my career as a broadcast journalist. After making the jump to CNBC from CNN it was blatantly obvious that there is a huge constituent of young women that are spitting images of my former self and absolutely no voice or source for them to turn to on these topics.
Long-term, what do you hope to accomplish with Nothing But Gold?
Nicole Lapin: If we weren't focused long-term and constantly analyzing the big picture we wouldn't have been able to recognize the opportunity that we did. However, right now we are rolling our sleeves up and sweating the small stuff. News and information for my generation is platform agnostic and financial news specifically is virtually non-existent. It's time to make it sexy, make it fun, and have it make sense.
Switching gears, tell us about your charity, Lost Girls.
Nicole Lapin: Lost Girls is going to provide young women – in New York City, to start – with career advice and gently-worn workplace attire. I got the idea from my own experience with trying to donate my worn but still perfectly good work clothes to another charity; they wouldn't accept smaller sizes and more modern fits. Young women need these kinds of resources, too. I'll never forget wearing my one power suit to death when I first entered the broadcast industry. I want to reach my former self who could have used help kickstarting their career. In this economy, young women are even more marginalized now than I was building my career. I want to help.
If a new, struggling graduate came to you right now, what would you tell her? What are some of the key things that she should know in this tough job market?
Nicole Lapin: Well, we're hiring at Nothing But Gold, so send your resume our way! But if that's not your thing, I would say know your worth and remember your entrepreneurial spirit. If your parents yell at you for being on Facebook or Twitter all the time, approach some companies running social media campaigns. There's money to be made there, so get creative and realize your skills are coveted by corporate America.
You're also working on a book, Decoding The Wall Street Journal. Can you tell us about some of the more intimidating money-related topics you plan to tackle and decode?
Nicole Lapin: Wall Street is a language like any other. My goal with Decoding the Wall Street Journal is similar to Rosetta Stone (NYSE: RST): I'm not here to teach people the history of the securities market, but I will demystify the idea that a “stock,” “equity,” and “security” are essentially the same thing, although you will hear them used interchangeably in the financial press.
This isn't just for Main Street; even CEOs who came on the show would confide in me that they didn't know what QE2 was, for example. This book aims to stop the smiling and nodding on both Wall Street and Main Street.
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