Don’t post this on Medium.

Dave Winer:

If Medium were more humble, or if they had competition, I would relax about it. But I remember how much RSS suffered for being dominated by Google. And Google was a huge company and could have afforded to run Google Reader forever at a loss. Medium is a startup, a well-funded one for sure, but they could easily pivot and leave all the stories poorly served, or not served at all. I’m sure their user license doesn’t require them to store your writing perpetually, or even until next week.

I wrote something similar last year.

The Platform Is the Message

There’s no doubt about it: The blogging/writing platform founded by Blogger and Twitter entrepreneur Evan Williams, Medium, is beautiful. Lots of great writers like the late great David Carr used it and wrote about it:

Because it is such a pleasure to work with, Medium has become something of a fetish object for writers. In the last year, Medium has published the biographer Walter Isaacson, the author Emily Gould, the journalist Ben Smith, the entrepreneur Elon Musk and many, many others.

The focus on typography, on the reading experience, is unparalleled in the online publishing space.

Not that I’ve done much research to the alternatives: I prefer to go at it my own. I want to own the experience, and I’ve been doing that in some incarnation or the other since 2001, with my first blog that I cobbled together using Dreamweaver MX, back before it was Adobe Dreamweaver. (Now we’re using a self-hosted incarnation of WordPress, thank you very much.)

My reasons for doing so are equal parts stubbornness, curiosity, and mistrust of others. I think it’s fun to experiment with new storytelling media. And I’m really picky… so being in control of everything is the only thing I’ll accept.

What if I had invested my time and resources into a writing platform that went bankrupt? What if they decided to sell ads next to my work without compensating me?

And we’re back to Medium and this fantastic piece about the platform that was published on a non-publishing-platform website by Matthew Butterick.

[…] Medium pays for only a small frac­tion of its sto­ries. The rest are sub­mit­ted—for free—by writ­ers like you. Af­ter a long time be­ing elu­sive about its busi­ness model, Medium re­vealed that it plans to make money by—sur­prise!—sell­ing ad­ver­tis­ing. This means dis­play­ing ads, but also col­lect­ing and sell­ing data about read­ers and writ­ers. So Medium will ex­tract rev­enue from every story, whether it paid for that story or not. (By the way, will that rev­enue be shared with writ­ers? Um, no.)

So there you go. My stubbornness/curiosity/mistrust of others seems well-advised after all.

Especially when you put it this way:

In truth, Medium’s main prod­uct is not a pub­lish­ing plat­form, but the pro­mo­tion of a pub­lish­ing plat­form. This pro­mo­tion brings read­ers and writ­ers onto the site. This, in turn, gen­er­ates the us­age data that’s valuable to advertisers. Boiled down, Medium is sim­ply mar­ket­ing in the ser­vice of more mar­ket­ing. It is not a “place for ideas.” It is a place for advertisers. It is, there­fore, ut­terly superfluous.

Read the full piece here: The Billionaire’s Typewriter.

Full disclosure: I have a Medium account but haven’t found a use for it yet.

Via {daring fireball}.

On That Jony Ive Piece You’ve Already Read

This piece deserves all the attention it’s been getting this week. It’s full of amazing bits of prose like:

Ive’s career sometimes suggests the movements of a man who, engrossed in a furrowed, deferential conversation, somehow backs onto a throne.


I asked Jeff Williams, the senior vice-president, if the Apple Watch seemed more purely Ive’s than previous company products. After a silence of twenty-five seconds, during which Apple made fifty thousand dollars in profit, he said, “Yes.”

And this part resonates with me a lot. We do need more people who care about what they do.

We were in the fast lane of I-280, in squinting low sunshine. When I asked for examples of design carelessness, Ive cranked the conversation back to Apple. He has the discipline to avoid most indiscretions, but not always the facility to disguise the effort. “At the risk of sounding terribly sentimental, I do think one of the things that just compel us is that we have this sense that, in some way, by caring, we’re actually serving humanity,” he said. “People might think it’s a stupid belief, but it’s a goal—it’s a contribution that we can hope we can make, in some small way, to culture.”

Read it here {new yorker}.

A Short Story

I do this every time. I buy way too many groceries at Trader Joe’s and struggle the whole way home.

“Getting salad stuff at tjs want anything else??” I texted my girlfriend from 30th Street Station on my way home from work.

“Smart water. And strawberries.”

It’s only a half mile. But when you’re carrying an empty stainless steel coffee Thermos, 15″ MacBook Air, 2 cans of chickpeas, 12 ounces of almonds, 3 apples, 2 bananas, 2 jars of marinara sauce, Smart Water for the girlfriend, a block of Parmesan cheese, and a respectable assortment of produce—it feels like a lot.

I struck up a conversation with the checkout girl. Part since I once had that same job, ringing up annoyed twentysomethings for an hour, and part because I was in an outgoing mood. And part because she was kind of cute.

We chatted about the usual stuff as I placed things into my beige canvas bag and she ran a green box of frozen veggie burgers past the sparkly red barcode beam. We discussed the quality of our days with the obligatory lack of depth; debated the amount of calories in a box of Sublime Ice Cream Sandwiches; and avoided talking about the weather, a testament to our conversational aptitude.

Now regretting my Smart Water generosity and the two jars of marinara sauce, I grabbed a brown paper bag and tossed in a few things from the conveyor belt. Better to be balanced with two bags for the walk home, I figured. I’m not sure she saw me grab the extra bag.

When the receipt cut itself free from the tiny roll of paper, A., Mandy said with what I presume was earnest sincerity, “thanks for remembering to bring your own bag.” She then placed a yellow no. 2 pencil and little pink raffle ticket on the wooden counter. “You know what to do with this, I’m sure.”

I scribbled my first name and phone number on the ticket and grabbed the canvas bag,—then—while avoiding eye contact—the paper bag. I dropped the raffle ticket in the wood box with the little window on the front, wondering when she noticed I had taken the extra non-reusable bag, and if she was regretting any of her decisions.