Tim, thank you for your perspective — which, by the way, I totally understand. I grew up on a farm in Nebraska. Literally, the middle of the cornfields. I moved to the city early in life (not early enough for my tastes), but my father would never do so. He wouldn’t give up the freedom and the space and the ability to have total control of his domain. And it would be a tragedy if he had to — or if I couldn’t take my sons and visit him on that farm.
Living in the city, I don’t have the freedom or control of my space my dad does. It’s way more expensive. I have to contend with neighbors and crowds. If I wanted to add a giant solar array to my property like my dad did — well, even if there was room (which there’s not), I’d have to deal with what neighbors and the city thought about it.
But there are advantages of city dwelling. I have easy access to many things my dad doesn’t. I can take advantages of shared infrastructure, like transportation and garbage. Most importantly: There are people. I get to interact with tons of smart, interesting, creative people who are moving the world forward on a variety of fronts. This is why certain types of people have migrated to cities over generations. And it’s why ideas and culture that effect everyone are, disproportionately, created in cities (even per capita).
There are also generally greater economic opportunities in cities. It’s more competitive, to be sure, and it costs more to live for this reason. But those last two are where the analogy breaks down. There will be greater economic opportunities on Medium, but it costs less. And the competition is the same either way — it’s everyone who makes anything that is vying for people’s attention.
Medium’s aim is to create a great digital city, where it’s more convenient to interact with other creators and thinkers, where there’s a large audience for all types of content, and where it’s easier for them to find you (and maybe even pay you). We think it’s going to be a winning proposition for most people, but that doesn’t mean it is for everyone.
As my dad said about San Francisco one time: “It’s nice here. If you could only do something about all the people.” Sometimes I know exactly what he means. That’s why I still like to visit the farm.