One of my favorite essays of all time is by David Ramsey in Oxford American on Lil Wayne, called I Will Forever Remain Faithful. I’m used to movies, books, even songs making me tear up occasionally, but not essays, but this one does every time. It’s worth Googling the songs mentioned and quoted in the headings, it gives an interesting soundtrack to the writing and after listening the essay is worth re-reading. I miss that old Lil Wayne, too.

I don’t think I’ve said it publicly before, but Ramsey’s essay was actually the inspiration for my 1.0 Is the Loneliest Number which is one of the most popular pieces of writing I’ve published.

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.

and

As a fan of min­i­mal­ism, how­ever, I think that term is mis­ap­plied here. Min­i­mal­ism doesn’t fore­close ei­ther ex­pres­sive breadth or con­cep­tual depth.

and

To get his frack­ing per­mit on your ter­ri­tory, Mr. Williams (the multi­bil­lion­aire) needs to per­suade you (the writer) that a key con­sid­er­a­tion in your work (namely, how & where you of­fer it to read­ers) is a “waste of time.”

Matthew Butterick’s essay The billionaire’s typewriter has a fairly complete and scathing takedown of Medium’s rhetoric, promise for writers, and product offering. Hat tip: Edward Aten.

“For every McDonald’s you blow up, ‘they’ will build two. Instead of slapping a wad of Semtex between the Happy Meals and the plastic tray, work your way up through the ranks, take over the board of Directors and turn the company into an international laughing stock.”

Sounds nice in theory. But I knew corporations were more resilient than that. Sabotaging the system from inside was as much a pipe dream as changing it through politics and protest.

From Prada Revolutionaries: Confessions of a Recovering Solutionist.