Hi Jessica, thank you for sharing this!
Personally I am still on the fence about Medium’s membership. I enjoy and value the platform for reading as well as writing (in the niche tech subject of Elm and more broadly front-end tech and UX). The focus on the long form delivers a nice user experience, both as a witter and reader. 5 bucks a month is a good deal in comparison to many other ad-supported platforms, that sometimes charge way more.
That alone may be enough to become a paying member.
Furthermore, Ev’s mission and drive for an authentic platform is worthy of support, and I am tempted to put my money where my mouth is.
At the same time, your points are quite valid. It feels like this launch could have been handled way better, with much more involvement from the engaged community of readers and writers on Medium. Today Medium is great, but I am not so sure Ev will be able to continue to develop it in the right direction without actively involving its community.
It reminds me of Shell (the company), and its old decide-announce-defend policy. Shell abandoned it in the 90s (after the Brent-Spar debacle) for a dialogue-decide-deliver policy. (More about that on https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/dad-model-stakeholder-engagement-decide-announce-defend-ogilvie)
Medium and its active community need each other.
Ev would be wise to engage the community before launching major new features like series and membership.
Your post makes a good case for that. And the fact that you can voice this on Medium, and get the response that you did, prove that Medium is worth it.
PS: thanks also for sharing that you did become a member. Your post + the opportunity to post my long form response here, just convinced me too. Medium needs to learn, but this desert of ads, they deserve the benefit of the doubt and our support for their cause.