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My Medium experiment

Here are the final two pieces I published on Medium this month:

8 simple ways to get the most out of today. A guide to living well in the pandemic. (Hint: I don't take self-help pieces seriously.)

Your 401(k) hates you. The way we all save for retirement in America needs serious reform - for our own benefit, for the planet, and for a more equitable society.

So what's the outcome?

I'm predisposed to like Medium. I worked there in 2016, I know the team well, and I know they're doing everything for the right reasons. I also deeply respect Ev. But I pre-date its current Partner Program strategy. I've written pieces about the startup ecosystem that have made me hundreds of dollars each on its network, but that was several years ago, and I wasn't sure what its current dynamics were.

Each piece on Medium received roughly the same viewers that I would get on my blog. There was a small Medium network boost, but it generally accounted for 10-20% of readers, and I didn't notice a meaningful follower increase over time (which would, if I kept it up, snowball my readership). I made about $10 from partner program revenue.

It's a really beautiful interface to write in (and always has been), which is both a help and a hindrance: it discourages bloggy content, and encourages longer-form pieces, which are more time consuming to produce. I suspect if I lowered the volume and went for a handful of higher-quality pieces a month, I would do better on the network. That stands to reason: I've always thought of Medium as a magazine that anyone can contribute to, which is a concept that lends itself to a certain kind of content.

My plan, then, is this. I'm returning to posting in this space. If I write something long-form that I'd like to be compensated for, which I plan to do a few times a month, I reserve the right to post it on Medium (although I may also experiment with other platforms and my own experiments, as well as returning to the Unlock decentralized paywall).

I've added an anonymous feedback form to my website, which will stay online. You can always leave me feedback and let me know what you're interested in. You can also always just email me. I'd love this to be more of a conversation. I'm also thinking about how to build community into the site itself (and, spoiler alert, any site itself) - stay tuned.

To everyone who shared feedback over the last few weeks, including the folks who complained about not being able to get through the Medium paywall, thank you. And thank you, as always, for reading. It means a lot.

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Twitter: @benwerd

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