It happened on Medium: October roundup

October’s most-read stories, most-highlighted sentences, and updates for writers


In the three months I’ve worked at Medium, I’ve answered the question “what’s your favorite part of your new job?” too many times to count. And every time, without fail, I’ve quickly answered “the people”. Whether I’m referring to the ridiculously kind and talented colleagues here at the ol’ Medium ranch, or our eagle-eyed curators, or our dedicated publication editors, or the incredible community members giving further substance and context in comments, I am endlessly impressed by the people that make this whole thing run.

And what work it is! Every day, we work to make Medium better — a better place to share stories, to discover new ideas, and to connect with other curious humans. A lot happens behind the scenes (and in front of the scenes) to make all of this possible.

So, we’re trying something new. Every month, to give you a window into what’s happening at Medium, we’ll share key stats, noteworthy stories, company updates, and more. Let us know what you think: What else would you like to see here? What are you curious about? How can we make Medium better?

Amy Widdowson, VP of Communications, and the team at Medium

Medium by the numbers

In October 2023…

  • You published 1.1 million new stories.
  • You added 83,600 stories to publications.
  • You started 613,000 new (unpublished) drafts. (If you were looking for a sign to publish that draft, this is it!)

October’s most-highlighted sentences

“People don’t decide their futures. They decide their habits and their habits decide their future.” — Akshad Singi, “4 Unsexy One-Minute Habits That Save Me 30+ Hours Every Week” in Better Humans

“Manage your energy, not your time. If you do that, time works itself out.” — Kim Witten, PhD, “Stop Trying to Manage Your Time

“People who are consistently disciplined keep their eyes off the prize and on the process.” — Nick Wignall, “To Be More Disciplined, Stop These 4 Bad Habits

“If you want to not marry the wrong person, stop focusing on ‘finding’ the right partner and instead, start ‘being’ the right partner.” — May Pang, “Statistically, You Will Marry the Wrong Person. Here’s Why.” in Better Humans

“When you don’t have a vision of the future, it’s easier to look back.” — Arnold Schwarzenegger, “Don’t Look Back.

Community and product updates

  • We made updates to the Medium Partner Program in order to prevent fraud and respond to AI-generated content. We’re also hard at work on expanding to support more countries. Read the full update from Buster Benson. Questions? Thoughts? Leave a response here.
  • We put writers in control of the paywall: Instead of a metered system of “three free reads,” writers can now decide whether their stories are paywalled or free for everyone.
  • We said no to allowing AI companies to train their large language models on Medium stories. Read more here.

The 10 most-read stories in October

  1. A personal, non-partisan perspective on the Israel-Hamas War” by Isaac Saul, Executive Editor at Tangle News
  2. Was Rust Worth It?” by Jarrod Overson, software developer and entrepreneur
  3. Hey designers, they’re gaslighting you” by Sara Wachter-Boettcher, leadership coach, strategist, and author of Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech
  4. The Secrets of Retirement No One Tells You” by Kim Kelly Stamp, essayist
  5. Data engineering at Meta: High-Level Overview of the Internal Tech Stack” by Analytics at Meta
  6. Beware of the Big Tech ‘Bubble’” by Carlos Arguelles, Senior Staff Engineer at Google
  7. What was the hardest thing about quitting my job at Google?” by Cassie Kozyrkov, former Chief Decision Scientist at Google
  8. Oumuamua: Natural or Artificial?” by Jason Wright, Steven Desch, and Sean Raymond, Professors of Astronomy and Physics
  9. Kubernetes and Kernel Panics” by Kyle Anderson, engineer at Netflix, in the Netflix Technology Blog
  10. Thoughts on Israel and Gaza” by Barack Obama, 44th U.S. President

Most popular stories from the Medium archive

Some Medium stories continue to resonate with readers loonnnng after they’re originally published. Year after year, you return to these ultra-evergreen stories to read, share, and learn. Here are a few vintage hits from October:

An advanced guide to writing prompts for Midjourney” by Lars Nielsen in (Originally published in September 2022)

Providing a set of supporting prompt keywords associated with ‘styles’ can create different outputs… Here are some of the keywords and sub-types based on the artform/design/artist/ genre you might want to choose as styles.

The Anatomy of an Amazon 6-Pager” by Jesse Freeman, Sr. Director of Technical Marketing at Akamai and creator of the Pixel Vision 8, in The Writing Cooperative. (Originally published in July 2020)

I worked at Amazon for five years, leaving days before receiving the coveted yellow badge. Most people don’t make it past the first year. It’s an intense work environment, and the company revolves around specific leadership principles that provide a strict framework for how you interact with your co-workers. Because of this distinct culture, Amazon is unlike any company I’ve ever seen.

Average Manager vs. Great Manager” by Julie Zhuo, Former Product Design VP at Facebook and author of The Making of a Manager. (Originally published in August 2015)

Original comic by Julie Zhuo (average manage above, great manager below)

Author spotlights

We recently interviewed psychology professor Catherine Sanderson about how she uses Medium to share complex research ideas with an audience that includes people beyond just academia. Here’s why Professor Sanderson writes on Medium:

My intention with my writing on Medium is to give people tools they can use in their lives, so the comments I like most are the ones like, “I’m going to start a gratitude practice,” “I’m going to get a dog,” or “I’m going to take a risk.” I like the ones where people say they’re going to do something.

Plus, we interviewed longtime Medium writer and former Apple exec Jean-Louis Gassée about his publication, Monday Note, a destination for wisdom about leadership and business. Gassée shared this advice for writers:

What I like about Medium is that the most difficult part of Medium is the writing part. The rest is easy. I can focus on the hard part, which is to figure out what I think I think and put it in words. Lastly: Don’t question yourself, let the readers question you.

Your spookiest stories

Back in September, we invited you to share your original ghost stories and add the topic GhostStories23. A month and change later, nearly 100 of you have published spooky tales about everything from mysterious doppelgangers to fictional curses. Yes, we’re a few weeks past spooky season, but you can browse all of the stories here.

For more notable stories, writers, and publications, head over to “What We’re Reading” and browse our Staff Picks.

What have you been reading lately? What would you like to see in next month’s roundup? Let us know in the responses.