Tue 10 Jan 2017 4:26PM

Forget Twitter, Let’s Buy Medium

NS Nathan Schneider Public Seen by 113

A new provocation from Robert Benjamin on the new announcement from Ev Williams: "Forget Twitter, Let’s Buy Medium."


Suresh Fernando Tue 10 Jan 2017 4:36PM

This is a lot more realistic as the funds necessary to drive this transaction will be within our reach. There are also a couple of other factors that make this worth exploring:
1. Evan Williams is already aligned from a values perspective, it seems.
2. The content on Medium contains, for the most part, more intellectual property than a tweet. Therefore content creators have more at stake... and are more likely to feel like/want to be owners.

A shared ownership structure could/would make sense.

@ntnsndr ... are you connected to Robert Benjamin?

I'm in if you want to arrange a call or some process.


Nathan Schneider Tue 10 Jan 2017 6:46PM

Of course I'm connected with him; he's founder of Member's Media, which was featured at the first Platform Cooperativism conference.


Aaron McHale Tue 10 Jan 2017 8:18PM

Interesting idea, although let's also not loose sight of the problem facing Twitter, that it could be sold and forced to make changes that wouldn't benefit it's user base.

Now, that's not to say I disagree with this idea, definitely sounds worth exploring as if it's more realistic, we may indeed be better of perusing it. It could even start a bigger movement within Twitter to do something similar, but let's just not loose focus of the primary goal.


Danny Spitzberg Tue 10 Jan 2017 9:23PM

Quick poll - who here currently writes on Medium? I encourage anyone who actively uses the platform to join this super-supportive, always-lovely, free and informal writers collective, https://medium.com/pomqa.

And if we do end up committing to agitating, education, and organizing... it'll be great to have more voices in concert.


Nathan Schneider Wed 11 Jan 2017 2:51AM

Write for medium if it becomes a co-op. In the meantime, write for ioo.coop! :)


John Rhoads Thu 12 Jan 2017 11:21PM

Indeed! ioo.medium.com (ioo.fb.com, ioo.twitter.com etc.)


Radu Seserman Wed 11 Jan 2017 3:29AM

I will pitch whatever I can to help with the purchase.
I wonder if there is a document to detail how the co-op to be will function. From my limited experience it seems that is more difficult to create and preserve a democratic community than to raise funds.


Josef Davies-Coates Wed 11 Jan 2017 10:48AM

Who are the "rock-star attorneys, consultants, and strategists who have experience structuring scalable platform cooperatives." the piece mentions?

Also, in the UK this just happened - a small new authors co-op:


Also the previous founders of http://www.contributoria.com/ which was a great experiment in co-creating and funding independent journalism are planning a new venture http://publish.org/ and have some interest in the co-op model...




Nathan Schneider Wed 11 Jan 2017 4:01PM

Thanks for the news @josefdaviescoates! And exciting to hear about Publish.

I imagine he's thinking of folks like Jason Wiener, who worked with him on his bylaws.


Suresh Fernando Wed 11 Jan 2017 5:21PM

It seems to me that the essence of the Platform Acquisition Co-Op conversation is the ACQUISITION part.

The hypotheses are:
1. The world would be a better place if there were more tech platforms that were co-operatively owned.
2. The path to accelerate this process is to ACQUIRE existing assets

There are a lot of great co-op start ups doing amazing things... but a discussion on what is being built organically is tangential to this particular strategy.

The necessary conditions to move forward with the Platform Acquisition model are:
1. Platforms of small enough financial value (market cap) to allow us to pay off existing owners (if necessary). The transfer of ownership requires a transfer of financial capital
2. The Platform needs to have leaders that are values aligned since you need their buy in to realistically get a deal done. It makes no sense to pursue 'hostile takeovers'. Medium seems to have a values aligned leader.
3. The Platform needs to be under financial pressure. There needs to be an internal motivation to sell

Twitter fails on condition 1 & 2... at least it certainly fails on condition 1... and we have no reason to think it doesn't fail on condition 2. It satisfies condition 3.

Medium seems to satisfy all three conditions...


Manuela Bosch Thu 12 Jan 2017 2:55PM

Regarding point 2...
I see a possiblity, especially if there is point 3. given - a need for change - to work with some of the leaders at twitter in form of applying group-change-processes to change their attitude and objectives.


John Rhoads Thu 12 Jan 2017 11:11PM

This is a worthy idea as was twitter, yet I would like to see an effort in seeking out these companies/startups before the fact and not after the fact. This way, if one becomes successful, its success would be an example to those other "after the fact" efforts such as buying twitter/medium etc. Buying Twitter or Medium will only be that much easier if we can set a precedent and feel that precedent will most likely come from an entity that had the coop form from the beginning. Where are those "unborn" examples?


Radu Seserman Fri 13 Jan 2017 3:43AM

Starting with a smaller Platform Co-op has the big advantage that managing mishaps are less costly and easier to correct.
I expect most people on this discussion have more programming skills than investment money. But "money is stacked labor". That is a good thing, especially in the tech world where most of the capital investment is for labor(programming) not equipment or real estate. There are plenty of small tech start-ups. One idea I have is to replicate Uber. It would give us a lot of visibility and financial ammunition to support more creative co-ops, which generally cannot support themselves. There are already several taxi coops (Denver, Philly, Newark NJ) that work on Uber like applications. Can we unify these efforts, make a more robust application and then make it available through out USA, Canada and the rest of the world?

Not sure if this post belongs to a different tread. Please fell free to move it.


Alvaro Solache Fri 13 Jan 2017 12:08AM

Hello All.
We should not forget to agree in WHY we do this and WHY we think

"The world would be a better place if there were more tech platforms that were co-operatively owned"

Why?? I have my own opinion but would like to hear you before.

I really think that beeing able to agree in this point would give us a Kick off supepower.


Radu Seserman Fri 13 Jan 2017 3:15AM

It would limit the concentration of power in fewer hands and will set communities on a more economically sustainable path.


Radu Seserman Fri 13 Jan 2017 3:17AM

If Medium is in difficulty now, what are the plans to change after the purchase to make it a viable co-op?


Amelia Rose Khan Sun 15 Jan 2017 9:18PM

I think if people want to pursue Medium they can but if others still want to look for ways to buy Twitter that is fine too. I don't see why both can't happen if there are enough people for both.