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