Creating Conversation

and using publications to help do it

Edward Lichty
Published in
2 min readMay 21, 2015


We’ve been pretty excited about how Medium is evolving beyond a place for long-form, polished magazine-type stories (although we still love those for sure). Publishing a story on Medium can be the beginning of a rich conversation, as we see from the following examples:

  1. Ev responding to Chris Dixon about open vs. closed systems (and then Julien Genestoux, John Borthwick and John Lilly joining in).
  2. Paul Cantor taking issue with the result of Casey Johnston’s epic bracket to determine the greatest Kanye song of all time (@Paul I’m with you btw).
  3. Adam Nagourney responding to Steven Johnson’s post about the California drought (which was itself a response to Adam’s story in the New York Times).
  4. Alexis Goldstein responding to Sec. of Education Arne Duncan’s essay about technology in the classroom.

We think these types of conversations are great, and we’d like to see more of them on Medium.

The product team has been increasingly focused on developing network features in the last few months. Now, you’ll also see some changes in the content that we publish as we explore different ways to encourage people to join conversations.

Publications on Medium — those we own, as well those published by others — are still important. Not only can they publish great stories and cultivate great writers, but they can start, lead and participate in big, exciting conversations. However, just because we call them “publications” doesn’t mean that they need to adhere to the conventions of traditional periodicals. In fact, we’d be selling ourselves short if they did.

We’ve always seen our publishing activities as a laboratory for experimentation intended to drive the Medium platform forward. So, as we look to drive more conversations, expect to see us try a lot of new things — in terms of what we publish, how often we publish and the form in which we publish them.

We don’t know what the end result will look like but we know it’s going to take us somewhere genuinely new and exciting.