There’s a new platform in town and everyone is dying to get onboard. It’s called Medium.
But newsflash: Medium launched last summer.
Founded by Twitter founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone, the collaborative publishing tool was officially unveiled in August 2012. But suddenly, it’s everywhere. And all the cool kids are publishing on it.
Originally dubbed a “Pinterest-style content hub” by Wired, the platform is now better known as a “better place to read and write things that matter.” And that it is. They say 8 out of 10 read the headline but only 2 out of 10 read the content on the web; typically, I fall into this statistic. The eight out of ten, that is.
My track record for reading Medium content? Ten out of ten. The content is just so good – I always find the time to read every last word. And I’m not alone. “More people read a single Medium post than everything else combined,” says Medium user Cliff Watson.
But great content isn’t the only thing Medium knows a thing or two about. They also demonstrate a flawless execution of the perfect launch and delivery of great content; regardless of whether it was a year in the making.
1. Perfection Doesn’t Happen Overnight
Truth? When I sat down to write this post, I actually thought Medium had only just launched. For me, it seemed that one day I went on Twitter and there it was. Writers I admire were telling amazing stories on it; stories that inspire (by @dohertyjf) and stories featuring companies I love (by @clayhebert).
To learn it had launched a year ago? I was shocked.
Here’s the thing. Sometimes, startups get so caught up on the idea of the perfect launch, that it becomes easy to push back and delay. ‘Let’s add one more feature’ or ‘let’s make sure both iPhone and Android platforms are available.’ There are many excuses; some valid and others not.
My advice? Shipped is better than perfect. To a certain degree, of course. No one is perfect out of the gate. And neither is your product. By allowing it time to breathe, below the radar, with a soft launch, you can really give it the opportunity to grow into something amazing.
Just like Medium.
2. Secret Handshakes are Still Cool
Everyone loves exclusivity.
In some ways, Medium is kind of like that old boys club with a secret handshake or an exclusive key. While some (myself included) might expect to simply need an email invite from an existing user to get started, this isn’t exactly the case. The quickest way to get started on Medium, is to be invited to comment on an existing Medium user’s draft. It can be a suggestion, a remark, or a spelling or grammar fix. If the user likes their comment and accepts it; you’re in. If they don’t, tough luck.
Another good example of embracing exclusivity? Professional content sharing site Quibb. The platform is still invite only, still only accepting 45% of member applications despite having launched last summer as well. And it works. One look at their roster and the list is impressive.
People want to be a part of something cool – both Medium and Quibb recognize this and it’s one of the reasons some of the web’s most impressive producers of content are users.
3. Powerful Images are Everything
We’re all guilty of it. Need an image? Do a Google image search to get it done. The internet is flooded with stock images – it’s too easy to take the easy route. Medium itself is visually stunning but its images simply add to it’s already sexy design. Users, for the most part, understand the power of high res, unique, images to accompany their post.
And it adds to the experience. A feature the founders were adamant about when designing the platform for both web and mobile efficiency. “When you write on Medium, you’ll know that your words and pictures will look great on any device; they’ll automatically adjust to the latest technology and even get better over time,” says Medium.
So whether you’re launching on mobile, designing for social sharing, or still not quite sure how your product will change the world – take a page from Medium. Be cool, have patience, and design a beautiful product.
Are you on Medium? What should we add to this list? Got a great story I should read? Tweet us @Onboardly or leave a comment below!