It’s tasteless to brag, but I need to set up the Dramatic Twist that comes about halfway through this post. So I beg indulgence.
Here’s the brag: betaworks, my professional home since 2012, has been just killing it (in the positive, non-ironic, Silicon Valley sense) lately. Launching new companies, like Dexter and Scale Model. Shipping new products, like the Poncho iOS app, Instapaper’s Instaparser, and Bloglovin’s Shop app. Growing like crazy, building new things, and winning the confidence of investors, as GIPHY, Digg, and Chartbeat have all done. Reaching profitability, like Bitly. Just plain winning, like DOTS. Getting acquired, like Blend by the music innovator ROLI. Creating a serialized podcast, The Intern. Publishing fascinating data science on everything from the network science of product launches to the effects of media coverage on 2016 election campaigns. And, not least, investing in terrific startups like Anchor, Unmute, Slash, Sochat, Howdy, Futurefly, Vrideo, Grape, Gimlet Media, Product Hunt, Parlio, and Medium, just to name a recent few.
The betaworks studio companies I’ve worked on most directly have been shipping new features at a blistering pace: Digg’s upgraded web and mobile interfaces, a Store, Digg Dialogs, and many excellent Originals, Explainers, Roundups, and Digests; Instapaper’s web, iOS and Android updates, notes and highlights, multitasking, picture-in-picture video playback, iPad redesign, InstaRank 2.0, Instaparser, Apple Watch app, speed reading, instant sync, tweet shots, and so on.
And on a personal note, betaworks is awesome. I’ve never been in a better, more enjoyable, more energizing, more functional professional environment. Excellent people, A+ talent, a culture that valorizes building and risk-taking, and a unifying mission to reinvent media.
Now comes the Dramatic Twist: I’m leaving betaworks.
Wut? you may be wondering. What, in light of that shameless set-up, could possibly drag me away from a dream job at betaworks?
As of this week, I’ve joined Medium, where I’ll be leading its content organization, developing new business opportunities, and growing Medium’s NYC presence.
In a sense, it’s a move within the family — betaworks is an investor in Medium, and Ev Williams is an investor in betaworks. But more importantly, John Borthwick and my other betaworks partners gave the move their blessing because they recognized that Medium is an incredible match for me, my interests, and my ambitions, as well as the operating muscles I’ve been working to build over the past few years.
I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of Medium. I’ve been an active Medium user since it first launched and have become increasingly fascinated/obsessed with it. Medium’s become the Internet’s best place for great writing and thoughtful conversation. It’s growing fast, scaling quickly, adding new capabilities briskly, and attracting an unmatched network of creators, thinkers, publishers, and the people who love them. And Medium is committed to things I care about, like freedom of expression, an open Internet, meaningful discourse, and excellence in product and infrastructure. I’ve known Ev Williams since we first worked together at Google, and have long thought it’d be fun to do something more directly with him. As I’ve gotten to know the Medium team, I’ve been hugely impressed with the level and diversity of talent, the sense of common purpose, and the bright culture of the company.
So: Medium. (Woo-hoo!)
Happily, I’ll continue to be affiliated with betaworks as a venture partner, and will continue to serve on the boards of Digg and Chartbeat. I want to say a very heartfelt thank-you to everyone at betaworks, particularly John Borthwick, whose faith, friendship, and mentorship have been invaluable to me, Joshua Auerbach, Sam Mandel, Paul Murphy, Brian Donohue, Gilad Lotan, Suman Deb Roy, Matt Hartman, Peter Rojas, Ana Rosenstein, James Cooper, Dominic Butchello, Maya Prohovnik, Saumya Manohar, jonchin, Lisa Zhang, Nicole Ranucci, Erin Glenn, Kuan Huang, Kyra Reppen, Giordano Contestabil, Mattias Bloglovin', Dan Carlberg, Patrick Moberg, Christian Calderon, Patrick Montague, Peter Margulies, Frank Jania, Aaron Kapor, Christian Rocha, Daniel Ilkovich, Michelle Monteleone, along with the Digg and Instapaper teams and their alumni, and everyone else I’ve had the good fortune to work with across the betaworks studio.
When I first arrived in 2012, betaworks’s website described the organization as “A New Medium Company,” which struck me as both clever and accurate. And it harmonizes well with the full legal name of my new home: A Medium Corporation.