Is Medium About to Implode?

Asking for a friend

Alex Rowe
5 min readMar 31, 2021


Photo by nine koepfer on Unsplash

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Medium is having a bad month. Last week, it came out that buyout packages were offered to the entire ~80 person editorial staff, who were responsible for running and producing its flagship publications and also commissioning freelance writers to bolster their content.

I’ve had the pleasure of doing some work with OneZero in the past on a few different occasions, and it was a great experience. These were smart, excellent people with a knack for both writing and tech who knew what they were doing. And now, just a couple of years after a massive budget infusion, and in spite of continually growing paid subscriber numbers…they’re being shoved towards the proverbial door.

Oh sure, the cryptic statement from Medium founder Ev Williams might not seem like it’s forcing these talented folks to seek other employment…but tellingly, it offers no clear alternative to a surprisingly generous contract buyout.

Many professional journalists wrote investigative stories about the situation, but I think the most illuminating of the bunch is this one from Casey Newton, for The Verge:

It’s absolutely worth a read, and gives some clearer insight into the nightmare state of Medium’s algorithm (something I’ve speculated about for a while), and probes into the reasons why the company is pivoting business models for the fourth time in a half decade.

This latest shift also unfortunately comes right on the heels of Medium employees attempting to unionize and missing the mark by a frustrating single vote. The folks at Vice think this new move is at least somewhat related to Ev Williams feeling threatened by that, and it’s hard to argue against the timing.



Alex Rowe

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