I’m starting a Substack but that doesn’t mean I think Substack is “disrupting” Medium.

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Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

I’ve been a reader (avid) and a writer (more sporadically) on Medium since 2016. When I first discovered it, I was stoked that a platform like Medium existed where the belief behind the platform is that “words matter” and its promise was “to help you find the right audience for whatever you have to say”. It was perfect for someone like me (yes, an avid reader and sporadic writer). Over the years though, Medium has always felt like a teenager growing into its own and figuring out who they want to grow up to be.

While I’ve been thinking about this topic for awhile, the impetus to finally get this post finished was Medium announcing a few days ago that they were launching a new set of publishing tools to make Medium more expressive. I think this is a move in the right direction but definitely not enough and hopefully not too little too late. …


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Photo by James Pond on Unsplash

When new ventures succeed in a market dominated by formidable competition, we call them underdog victories — David vs. Goliath stories. As time passes, it becomes easier and easier to forget that these stories could just have easily turned out to be cautionary tales.

So, what sets Davids apart from their less successful counterparts?

Here are three organizations who have successfully challenged well-entrenched leaders to become the new market leader in their industry.

Wikipedia

Eclipsed Encarta by Microsoft, to win 97% of the world’s traffic to online encyclopedias


A bundling service may be the only way to save this industry

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Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

Pre-internet, the business model for the news industry was straightforward. Journalists wanted to reach as may readers as possible, and advertisers wanted to reach as many potential customers as possible.

The alignment — reach as many [readers and potential customers] as possible — was obvious, and profitable for the publishers in particular.

— Ben Thompson, Stratechery

However, even though the Internet has given publishers theoretical access to all the millions of eyeballs on the Internet, it has also set their readers loose. …


Industry buzz and a highly engaged user base don’t always guarantee success

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iStock/Getty

Most startups fail because there was no market need (42% of them, actually). But what about the rest? We need only look at three once-promising startups to understand that industry buzz and a highly engaged user base don’t necessarily guarantee success.

Yik Yak (2013–2017)

Fatal flaw: Changing the core identity of the product


Where are on-demand food companies like JustEat, GrubHub and DoorDash headed?

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Just today, I saw an advertisement for 5 different food delivery mobile apps — 3 on social media, 1 in my email inbox and 1 on a billboard next to the bus terminal. There’s a veritable war going on amongst food delivery startups for consumer attention and wallets.

I was curious — what’s actually happening in the on-demand food space and what does the future look like for these startups?

How It All Started

In 1995, World Wide Waiter (now Waiter.com) was founded and considered to be one of the first online food ordering services available. …


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This summer, I’ve been working on getting pre-launch buzz for a real estate startup. This lead to lots of Googling about what kinds of strategies other disruptive companies have used to get their first users. A number of stories I found were surprising, resourceful and at the very least, interesting. Here are just a few that kept me inspired.

Airbnb’s Strategy: Localization is king.

About

Serene Chen

Curious about people & organizations | Growth, design & tech enthusiast | Coffee (sometimes) snob | Opinions are my own

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