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Medium’s CEO Says Corporate Interests Are to Blame for Listicles

okay no… not listicles… but online content in general… and he’s not wrong…


If you’ve missed the news, the writing platform medium has dismissed a good chunk of its employees and its CEO explained the move in an article posted to the site.


It feels like your normal executive letter after layoffs but a part of it stuck out to me…

It simply doesn’t serve people. In fact, it’s not designed to. The vast majority of articles, videos, and other “content” we all consume on a daily basis is paid for — directly or indirectly — by corporations who are funding it in order to advance their goals. And it is measured, amplified, and rewarded based on its ability to do that. Period. As a result, we get…well, what we get. And it’s getting worse.


You know what…
He really isn’t wrong…
If you’re going to disagree with anything it’s going to be his tone.


The reality of our world is that for quite a long time now content was and is funded mostly through advertising. The medium has changed over time, going from TV to desktop to mobile, and advertising has remained the primary funder regardless.

There are no real alternatives to funding any kind of creative content that does not already exist inside that system. Think of a movie… to produce a movie as an artist and get your money back you must work inside the Hollywood production and / or distribution system. There are no real alternatives.

Selling tickets to an online only movie never caught on with consumers, direct to Amazon movies require marketing (which no independent group can afford), and as much as people love looking fashionable by “supporting local artists and indie films” they simply do not provide large enough revenue streams to consistently fund art.

Working inside the current system is the only way to survive  currently as a creator. And while it’s really easy to blame those evil faceless corporations as the root of the problem… that just isn’t true is it. This is a cultural issue, a societal issue, and it is one I feel we’ve begun to address… it’s just not happening very quickly.


That is reality.
I hate it.
And you should too.


And we can go on and on for literally thousands of pages on the topic… but that’s not something we’re going to do today.


Instead let’s just look at the positive… and that’s that medium is going to try to create a better system to fund content creators. Hopefully, they will succeed.

Another possible bright spot is that Google is also probably going to come out with a new system to help fund content creators this year as well. We have some things to look forward too…

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