Medium in 2017: Developing a New Model for Media

By Robert Siegel, Tim Hsia, Matt Saucedo
2017 | Case No. SM280 | Length 18 pgs.

The Medium Corporation seeks to change how people author, consume and engage with content on the Internet. Founded by Ev Williams, co-founder of Blogger and Twitter, the company developed a digital publishing platform and set of social network tools that allow people to spend substantive time with weighty issues facing society, business and politics. Fighting the trend of quick engagement with short-form content on the Internet, Medium wrestles with how to deliver an experience that advances important topics with ease, flexibility, and meaning, while working to build a large and successful company. The challenges of building a successful digital media company, balancing tool development with content curation, and developing a successful monetization model are the core topics facing the firm’s leadership team. 

Also see SM247: Medium in 2015: A New Form of Networked Publishing.

Learning Objective

The goal of the case is to share with students a company that is looking to push boundaries and conventional wisdom of how ideas are curated and discussed on the modern Internet. The aspirations of the leadership team to increase the thoughtfulness and tone of online discussion and discovery are balanced with the realities of the environment of the digital content world. How a well-developed and experienced leadership team works to challenge conventional wisdom to achieve their vision is at the forefront of issues with which students must wrestle while considering the strategic options confronting the organization.
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