Quite frankly, this reads like a load of BS to cover up the fact that they're firing a bunch of people. They've been living high off of 100+ million in VC dough while conveniently ignoring the fact that the content industry is insanely hard to make money in.
Even though Medium wasn't covered in banner ads, it was still just a bunch of people trying to sell you things....themselves. Content marketing and clickbait is not something users will ever pay for. The amount of wannabe thought-leaders writing 3 paragraph "listicles" filled with generic advice and business jargon was growing to near-Linkedin levels.
Ultimately, Medium will fail because good content requires people with valuable insights to spend many hours planning, researching, and crafting that content. Very few people will do that for free.
I agree Medium is losing quality with a lot of link-bait of late, but it is still the best platform of its type. This is still the place where you find thoughtful and light articles to read. Ultimately Medium needs to start subscriptions and then pay the writers. This is a hard one to crack, but if anyone can, it is Medium.
I think this is a brave move by Ev Williams. It will be interesting to see what they do next.
i liked the part where he seemed to only recently discover that ads are for businesses not people. better late than never?
Upon further reflection, it’s clear that the broken system is ad-driven media on the internet. It simply doesn’t serve people. In fact, it’s not designed to. The vast majority of articles, videos, and other “content” we all consume on a daily basis is paid for — directly or indirectly — by corporations who are funding it in order to advance their goals. And it is measured, amplified, and rewarded based on its ability to do that. Period. As a result, we get…well, what we get. And it’s getting worse.
haha yes! Same paragraph stood out to me. Kudos to them for trying to go against this—people are just so used to news being free, will be tough to strike a balance.
I'm sure the 50 people who are now jobless are happy the company tried to go against this too.
Does this also mean those clips they've been putting in between TV shows for the last 70 years are just corporate messages meant to sell me things?
Oh no, where will I go to read 19 year olds pontificating about human nature and designers learning to code now?
Like a frog being boiled. Slowly got caught up in quantity > quality, growing aggressively and in the end finding yourself in a position you never intended to be in.
I think it is a hard decision to fire a large part of your staff, but if you want to change the focus of your company, sometimes you need new people to do so.
Payment models for journalism is hard. Two Dutch startups are pretty successful in this: Blendle.com is aggregating the best articles from major newspapers and magazines and selling them on a piece by piece basis. De Correspondent is a €6 a month subscription to quality online journalism. They have a pretty big following and are the first ones to really crack the "online magazine" model.
I think The Information is also making a good job with the monthly subscription: https://www.theinformation.com
We decided we needed to take a different — and bolder — approach to this problem. We believe people who write and share ideas should be rewarded on their ability to enlighten and inform, not simply their ability to attract a few seconds of attention. We believe there are millions of thinking people who want to deepen their understanding of the world and are dissatisfied with what they get from traditional news and their social feeds. We believe that a better system — one that serves people — is possible. In fact, it’s imperative. So, we are shifting our resources and attention to defining a new model for writers and creators to be rewarded, based on the value they’re creating for people. And toward building a transformational product for curious humans who want to get smarter about the world every day.
Love these two paragraphs, stroke the egos of your users (as if Medium users massive egos actually need stroking) and tell them how enlightened and important they are so they forget you just fired a third of your workforce, shut down two offices and haven't the slightest clue on how to run your company in a functional way.
Reader, writer, ponderer, father.
Shame he didn't ponder up a business model so 50 people wouldn't be out of work.
The cracks are forming, Medium is the canary in the coal mine. If you work at Twitter it's time to update your CV.
I guess this was quite obvious since main point of creating content online is revenue on some point. (for most of publishers)
So it is only matter of time when ads will arrive. Or some sbuscription methods (which are less likely to generate revenue IMHO)