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3 min read

Make Medium obvious.

This is not meant to be a pun relating to our former company name. It’s an acknowledgement that Medium is awesome — and it’s actually working — despite the fact that it is hard to understand. Our collective acknowledgment is that it feels like Medium is rolling downhill with the brakes on. It seems possible to remove a lot of friction, making us roll (and grow) much faster.

It’s Hard

We know that putting thoughts down on the page is hard. I hope that one day we can tackle making the writing process itself easier — or least the editing process — but we can accept that friction for now.

General

Our goal by the end of the day was to have high-level priorities for each product team — Writer Success, Discovery & Delivery, and Interaction. We made a fourth category, called “General.” It was for the stuff that fell in between or across teams. Giving a forum to talk about these issue was one of the reasons for having our big meeting. And the issue that came up in this category seemed to be some of the most resonant (if daunting) during the day.

Discovery & Delivery

The Discovery & Delivery team will be working to make Medium make sense from a consumption standpoint. One of the biggest things we can do in that respect is making the logged-in PRL be more comprehensible. That’s what the reverse-chron PRL project, already underway, is about.

Writer Success

When it comes to writing and publishing, again, we feel like a lot more clarity — and a lot less friction — is needed.

Interaction

Lastly, Interaction is going to make sense of interacting. Actually, they said: “Make an interactions action system.” Our feeling is that Notes are cool, but broken in many ways. Responses show promise, but there should be a clearer relationship to Notes. And recommends and paragraph-level likes are also interesting but need to be tied into a clearer, more cohesive system.

It’s Easy

Nothing on the list above is mind-blowing on its own. In fact, much of it is mundane. However, when you put it all together, you get:

We’re not done inventing

To be clear, none of the above should imply we’re not interested in game-changing ideas. At the company level, we are continuing to invest a lot of resources into ████████████████████. And each Medium product team will continue to ideate and think about how to experiment with new stuff. But there is a pendulum in any creation process, which swings from “flare” to “focus.” Given we’ve been trying lots of new things lately — and a lot of those things are working! — right now, for the next little while, it seems right to buckle down rather than blow things up.

What’s Next

Dustin is starting to tackle the site nav project immediately. Each team is defining and setting their own priorities with this new shared understand in mind. I’m very excited about the near future.

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Ev Williams

Ev Williams

CEO of Medium, partner at Obvious Ventures, co-founder of Twitter, aspiring motivational speaker 🤸‍♂️

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