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Ev Williams: There's Nothing Weird About Medium Being Part Platform, Part Publisher (Video)

The next best thing to being at #CodeMedia.

Asa Mathat
Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Ev Williams insists Medium can have its platform cake and be a publisher too.

No matter how many different ways Kara Swisher asked about the complexity of the new media company’s model, Williams wouldn’t budge during an onstage interview at the Code/Media conference at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, Calif., on Wednesday.

“Medium, the product, is a publishing platform, straight up,” said Williams, who’s also the co-founder of Twitter and Blogger. But, on the side, Medium will continue to hire and pay journalists and writers to see if there’s a long-term home for that type of content on the platform.

“We don’t know if it will work,” he admitted.

Williams contended that Medium can simply take responsibility for the stuff it produces, while not censoring anything else that is published on the platform.

On the topic of business models, Williams said Medium currently brings in some revenue from brands such as BMW paying to publish content on the platform. In the future, Medium could explore advertising and services revenue streams, he said.

Williams had other interesting stuff to say, from what Wall Street doesn’t get about Twitter to how we tech journalists focus on the wrong metrics.

Earlier: There might not be an entrepreneur as influential as Ev Williams when it comes to creating Internet services that upend content distribution.

Williams is best known, of course, as the co-founder and former CEO of Twitter, but he also founded Blogger, a blog publishing tool that he sold to Google in 2003.

Now he’s CEO of Medium, which raised $25 million in early 2014, and is part platform and part publisher. Medium hosts a ton of content from outsiders, but also has hired in-house journalists such as Steven Levy to write articles specifically to be published on Medium. What does it want to be when it grows up?

We’re about to find out at the Code/Media conference, where Kara Swisher will be grilling Williams on this and more, including: Why Williams doesn’t “give a shit” about the monthly active user metric that Wall Street uses to evaluate social networks; the calls for a new CEO at Twitter; and other juicy stuff that Williams won’t want to discuss, but Swisher will convince him to.

Here are some video highlights, followed by the liveblog:

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