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Medium goes large – to a $400m valuation

Medium, the blogging platform created by Ev Williams, has just take on a big new chunk of investment:

Medium, the publishing platform hatched by Twitter co-founder Ev Williams, has raised $57 million in a round led by Andreessen Horowitz.
It’s the three-year-old company’s second funding round, and people familiar with Medium say it places a $400 million pre-money valuation on the startup.

Those figures alone are interesting (but then, a bet on the guy who co-founded both Blogger and Twitter doesn’t seem like a bad bet, does it?). But just as interesting are the figures quotes on content creators and users:

Content creators:

Williams and Medium are famously averse to talking about metrics, so the only one you’ll find there is that 20,000 people are creating Medium posts each week; Doyle tells Re/code that that number is up 4x in the last year.

Users:

In May, Medium said it was attracting 25 million unique visitors a month.

That puts Medium squarely back in the old model of a “superuser” community, where the 90/9/1 rule of “lurkers/occasional posters/superusers” applies. Not a surprise, pehaps, given that Medium is at its best with long form content, and only a proportion of people are ever motivated enough to write long form.

The interesting bit is that, by riding on top of Twitter’s social graph, AND creating an internal social graph derived from that, Medium is making it much easier for new or occasional writers to find audiences.

My own experience is that putting a post on Medium brings me less traffic than a post here – but this blog has been going well over a decade and I have an established audience. Medium’s social features are far more useful to an emereging writer looking to find some readers.

It’s going to be very interesting to watch how this develops – and how they monetise.

Vale, Movable Type: a big move for this blog

If you’re reading this, I’ve pulled off a technical challenge I’ve been putting off for years – literally years – now. This blog is now running on WordPress, rather than Movable Type.

It’s not been an easy move – and I’ll outline the process in another post – but it’s now complete, and this site is living on a new host, running new software in the background. And I’m excited to get blogging with the new setup.

Here’s why I moved.

Movable Type: big in Japan

Movable Type, contrary to popular belief, is not dead. It’s alive, well and still being developed by Six Apart – which is now a Japanese company. However, in the English-language world it’s largely being targeted at the corporate and professional market, with a price tag to match:

Movable Type price

So, I’m not moving because it’s dead. But I am partially moving because I don’t want to pay more than £300 every couple of years for a new version of the software. The advantages MT offers don’t outweigh the price difference between free and £300.

The need to experiment

I’m also moving because my web host was getting more and more grumpy about me running it on their servers, and I came to the conclusion that if I was going to go to the bother of shifting hosts, I might as well shift platforms as well. Because, as alive as MT might be, it’s not well-supported. Try finding themes for it. Or new plugins. Or even other web services that support talking to its API. They’re becoming vanishingly rare.

Increasingly, being tied to MT was stopping me experimenting with new tools, and I don’t like that feeling. Part of the joy of blogging for me has always been in the experimental aspects of it – playing with new pieces of software, and figuring out how they might help me publish better. To keep that feeling, I needed to move on from the comfy familiarity of a blog platform I’d been using for over a decade.

Five years ago, much of my working life centered around MT. No more. I have no clients using it, and a whole bunch of them working on WordPress. I really need to understand it much more deeply than I do – which is why my most-used blog needs to be on it. If nothing else, that will force me to explore its quirks and advantages.

And I’m just one of many sites making the move.

My Ghost-ly future

That, incidentally, is why I’m on WordPress rather than the platform I suspect I’ll move to next – Ghost. Ghost is still very young, and needs some more development before I can switch. But I value this time getting to know WordPress, too.

So, there we are. New One Man & His Blog, living in WordPress and hosted on WPEngine.

What do you think?