Unless Your Name Is Tim Denning, Medium’s Changes Benefit You

How to capitalize on the chaos

Photo by Olga Bast on Unsplash

The only thing that stops the rich from getting richer and the poor from getting poorer?


It is a fact of nature that most resources collect in a few hands. This is called a Pareto distribution. You see it everywhere. Most people live in a handful of cities, most money accumulates with a few billionaires, and a few writers on Medium get most of the views.

Unless you are a big name here on Medium, you should be thrilled by the changes. Big disruptions are the only time when you have a window of opportunity to grow huge followings.

Pareto Distribution

A mathematical fact of the world. A statistical constant. A scary truth.

Also known in Mathematics circles as the “Matthew Principle” which states,

For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.

That a pretty grim statement on its face. There is a positive spin here. One that deeply benefits you (unless your name is Tim Denning).

The Silver Lining of Disruption

Another constant in the world is disaster and disruption. Things grow and grow, and as they do, the rich get richer. Until, finally, you have a collapse or a large disruption. That’s why the internet was so disastrous to old money. That’s why old people don’t like new things.

That’s also why you have a fighting chance with Medium’s new updates.

If you are trying to build a name for yourself on this platform, you know how hard that is. People are drawn to the clout of the big names. On Medium, like everywhere else in nature, very few make most of the money.

That’s why Medium’s updates are most likely in your favor.

Now is the time to be churning out content. You have a rare chance at hand to slip into the 1% of medium creators.

The Quickly-Closing Window

Medium has made the platform more “relational.” They have taken the emphasis off of curation, which prefers top performers, and placed it on followers and claps. If you clap something, your followers are more likely to see it. It’s a more community-based approach to distribution.

In the short term, this means disaster for existing power structures. The old way of doing things has been somewhat tossed out the window. Those who benefited from it are going to be tossed in the rip-tide for a moment. Things are up for grabs in the midst of the chaos.

That’s where you come in.

It’s your moment to quickly climb the ladder while the system has been destabilized. You could be like the US in the world after the destruction of WWII.

Stop complaining

To those of us that aren’t currently in the 1% of Medium creators, we need to stop complaining about these changes now. This is nothing but an insane waste of our time that we could be using to take our place at the top.

Yes, it is going to cause changes, and changes are painful and often result in chaos. Let the top writers complain about that. We have work to do. While the rest of the rabble is complaining about the riot unfolding, you need to use the distraction to take your place at the top. The window is closing fast — don’t waste it.

Medium is a good place that’s trying to help you

Every single system is going to eventually succumb to the Pareto distribution. It’s just a law of statistics. There are things you can do to combat it, but being mad about it is about as helpful as being mad at a hurricane. It is going to knock you out if you don’t understand it, whether you think it’s “fair” or not.

Most systems are too corrupt to do much about inequality. Even well-meaning actors can’t seem to do too much to stem the tide. “Too Big to Fail” sound familiar? Yeah, well, when they do, it will mean chaos (and opportunity) for the rest of us. I’m not saying it’s good or bad. It is just the nature of things.

All of that to say, Medium is one of the very few systems that I have ever seen that is doing as much as it is to tackle the very natural problem of inequality.

I’m not saying Medium is perfect or that we need to bow down and worship the platform, but we ought to be grateful for what we have here. We have a place to share ideas and get money for it. We have leadership that recognizes the problems of too much influence accruing near the top and is willing to shake things up to give newcomers and their ideas a chance to flourish. We need to recognize the difficulty of their task and praise them for even trying.

This is our moment. Let’s not let it slip away because of bitterness.

How to Take Advantage of the Chaos:

1. Submit to big publications

Because the new system is based more heavily on follower counts, it is more important than ever to get published in big publications. If you already have a relationship with them, you have an advantage. If you don’t, now is the time to start.

2. Create solid relationships with editors

The difference between your article getting rejected automatically and your article getting a thoughtful tweak by an editor that allows it to make the cut is all in the relationship you forge with these people.

Here are a few best practices

  • Read the submission guidelines very very closely
  • Leave private notes for the editor about anything they may be confused about
  • Thank them even if they reject you

3. Publish more often

Even if the pieces are shorter, it helps to publish more often, because people see your little profile picture with the numbered updates. Like it or not, the more you publish in the new system, the better.

4. Write things that matter to you

Now more than ever, good content is king. Clickbait matters less than it ever has. For us creatives, this is wonderful news. Trust your gut. Make something good. Have faith.

Unless you are a big name, you should be thrilled with the updates.

No system is perfect. If it was, then you would have no shot at getting in it. Be thankful that Medium is as imperfect as you are.

Keep writing things that matter to you.

This is our time.

Written by

Lost southern boy learning to be a storyteller in Los Angeles. Interested in writing together? taylorforeman.com

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