Here are the stories on Medium's new business model announced yesterday. Now here are my two cents...
What would I do if I were the owner of Medium and were free to be creative with new business models?
I'd merge with or acquire an ongoing news organization, or maybe two. Both well-known for excellent editorial, with fantastic writers and the ability to draw more. Medium would inherit their business model. And it would become the editorial system for the publication and it would also be the Letters to the Editor software.
I'd raise more money from the VC community to hire new editors, whose sole job it is to read what's posted on the service looking for people who are either talented writers, or people with extraordinary intelligence, insight or experience, who are writing about what they love, know and see. When such a writer is spotted their stories are promoted to the readers alongside the stories written by the pros. They are compensated either with stock or money (they would be encouraged to take stock).
In other words Medium becomes the farm system that drives, over time, a rapid expansion of news coverage, with much more first-person writing of news. News by the newsmakers. Sources go direct.
Now instead of facing the same hurdles that existing pubs face, without any of the advantages (Medium has no editorial voice, as far as I can tell none of the execs or devs are NBBs) they can tap into the natural way news is growing in the post-print news world. If you think about it, this is why Facebook and Twitter became the phenomenons that they are, without the advantages that Medium has (a real CMS with the ability to link and style).
Evan Williams says they have new reading technology coming. That's great but I'd insist that these tools work with open formats, so they can benefit the web at large. It would help spread the idea that Medium is not just standing behind writers, it's also an enthusiastic proponent of the open web. Right now it's a silo, everyone can see that, and it has to be limiting growth.
PS: I didn't realize that the new Medium has a paywall. So you can't read the story that Williams wrote. I was able to read it earlier. Not sure why I can't read it now.