Medium—the publication platform used by many to get thoughts out when Twitter won’t do—is looking to retool itself by cutting 50 jobs in the business area of its operations. The approach comes after the company reflected on its performance over the previous year and decided that continuing with that route would be riskier than making a change in operation.
CEO Evan Williams noted that 2016 was Medium’s best year as content published and readers spiked from 2015. While that would point to what Medium has been doing worked, there is still a belief that a change is needed. In a blog post Williams wrote, “The problem, as we saw it, was that the incentives driving the creation and spread of content were not serving the people consuming it or creating it — or society as a whole.”
Williams elaborated further in saying that broken system that wasn’t providing incentives for content was ad-driven media online. “Upon further reflection, it’s clear that the broken system is ad-driven media on the internet,” he wrote. “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.”
The alternative Williams says is rewarding people “on their ability to enlighten and inform” instead of a writer’s ability to draw attention for a short while. While it wasn’t stated exactly what that looks like—when a company either ‘streamlines’ or ends a service there is usually some uncertainty about the next step or the future—it is where the cutting of jobs comes in.
In freeing up a third of its workforce, cutting executives, and closing two east coast offices—New York and D.C—Medium could have the resources to grow and invest while also rewarding writers for their work which in turns means better content for readers to take in on the platform.