Medium is brimming with amazing content. I’ve read stories that taught me something new, changed my mind, made me laugh out loud, and brought tears to my eye.
To celebrate Medium, I decided to make a list of the most recommended stories by year.
The first reason is that I want to revisit phenomenal stories written in the past. The algorithmic feed does a good job of resurfacing older stories, but it’s not 100% foolproof.
The second reason is I wanted to see if Medium changed over time. To do this, I looked at the 50 most recommended stories of every year.
If there’s enough interest in this list, I’ll continue to update it over time.
Without further ado, here’s the Medium Hall of Fame!
Here’s to a great year! It can only get better from here right? right??
1. Something is wrong on the internet
Something is wrong on the internet
I’m James Bridle. I’m a writer and artist concerned with technology and culture. I usually write on my own blog, but…
2. Our redesign of Medium’s Claps…and why they may not have chosen to do it this way.
Our redesign of Medium’s Claps…and why they may not have chosen to do it this way.
By now you’ve probably heard of or tried Medium’s new feedback metric, Claps . There’s already been a lot of good…
3. The Rock Test: A Hack for Men Who Don’t Want To Be Accused of Sexual Harassment
The Rock Test: A Hack for Men Who Don’t Want To Be Accused of Sexual Harassment
Are you a man confused on how to treat the women you work with? Do you feel like if you can’t say or do *anything* you…
4. How I (re)built the Medium clap effect — and what I got out of the experiment.
How I (re)built the Medium clap effect — and what I got out of the experiment.
Four years ago, I read a quote that would change my life forever.
5. NEO versus Ethereum: Why NEO might be 2018’s strongest cryptocurrency
NEO versus Ethereum: Why NEO might be 2018’s strongest cryptocurrency
NEO is a platform with a purpose. Can it compete with Ethereum? Or better yet, does it even need to?
6. Advice From A 19 Year Old Girl & Software Developer
Advice From A 19 Year Old Girl & Software Developer
Don’t worry, this won’t be one of the I wake up at 4AM every morning and go for a 20km run… -‘inspirational’ posts…
7. We fired our top talent. Best decision we ever made.
We fired our top talent. Best decision we ever made.
Our resident genius, our Dr. Jekyll, explosively completed his transformation into Mr. Hyde.
8. How I Hacked 40 Websites in 7 minutes
How I Hacked 40 Websites in 7 minutes
How I went from 0 knowledge to owning 35 databases in 7 minutes and how after a short break I proceed to total server…
9. DEAR PEOPLE WHO HATE CLAPPING
10. You fired your top talent. I hope you’re happy.
The year of Trump, Simone Biles, Pokemon Go, Zika, the Warriors’ bittersweet season, Lemonade, Brexit, scary clowns, and the end of Brangelina </3
1. 13 Things You Should Give Up If You Want To Be Successful
13 Things You Should Give Up If You Want To Be Successful
”Somebody once told me the definition of hell:
2. This Is Your Life in Silicon Valley
This Is Your Life in Silicon Valley
You wake up at 6:30 a.m. after an Ambien-induced sleep. It’s Friday. Last night at the Rosewood was pretty intense —…
4. What it’s like to be that fat person sitting next to you on the plane.
What it’s like to be that fat person sitting next to you on the plane.
Fat people are depicted on planes all the time: loud, obnoxious, oblivious. It couldn’t be further from my experience.
5. The Two Minutes It Takes To Read This Will Improve Your Writing Forever
The Two Minutes It Takes To Read This Will Improve Your Writing Forever
You’re busy, so I’ll keep this quick.
6. Design Better Forms
7. Fuck You Startup World
8. Get your Paytm KYC done, store up to Rs. 1 Lakh and avail other benefits
Get your Paytm KYC done, store up to Rs. 1 Lakh and avail other benefits
New RBI guidelines on pre-paid wallet instruments dated 11th Oct 2017 mandate all pre-paid wallet providers (like…
9. How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds — from a Magician and Google’s Design Ethicist
How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds — from a Magician and Google’s Design Ethicist
Estimated reading time: 12 minutes.
10. History tells us what may happen next with Brexit & Trump
This year was defined by the victory of same-sex marriage, the  Fight of the Century, Justin Trudeau, the Syrian Crisis, and Amy Schumer
1. The 37 Best Websites to Learn Something New
The 37 Best Websites to Learn Something New
There is absolutely no excuse for you not to master a new skill, expand your knowledge, or eventually boost your career…
2. Living and Dying on Airbnb
Living and Dying on Airbnb
My dad died in an Airbnb rental, and he’s not the only one. What can the company do to improve safety?
About 12 years ago, I co-founded a startup called Basecamp: A simple project collaboration tool that helps people make…
4. When I’m Gone
When I’m Gone
Death is always a surprise. No one expects it. Not even terminal patients think they are going to die in a day or two…
5. Why Product Thinking is the next big thing in UX Design
Why Product Thinking is the next big thing in UX Design
Life’s too short to build something nobody wants…
6. HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT IN 4 EASY STEPS
HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT IN 4 EASY STEPS
I’ve spent the past year losing 80 lbs and getting in shape. A lot of people have been asking me how I did it…
7. 7 Rejections
On June 26, 2008, our friend Michael Seibel introduced us to 7 prominent investors in Silicon Valley. We were…
8. Slack’s $2.8 Billion Dollar Secret Sauce
Slack’s $2.8 Billion Dollar Secret Sauce
How Slack stole a multi-billion dollar market by becoming everyone’s favorite sassy robot sidekick.
10. I sat down with a millionaire who operates 10 businesses while sailing around the world with his family
In 2014, we got Ellen’s Oscar selfie, the Ice Bucket Challenge, Ebola, Pharrell’s hat, a vanished airliner, Kim Kardashian’s behind, and Frozen
1. Machine Learning is Fun!
2. 10 Tricks to Appear Smart During Meetings
10 Tricks to Appear Smart During Meetings
Here are my ten favorite tricks for quickly appearing smart during meetings.
3. Today I Learned Something about My Boyfriend That No Girl Should Ever Have to Discover
4. How quitting my corporate job for my startup dream f*cked my life up
How quitting my corporate job for my startup dream f*cked my life up
Finally the SMS arrived:
5. Sex Is Sex. But Money Is Money.
Sex Is Sex. But Money Is Money.
Escorts make $100 a hand job — but entrepreneurs like me? We make $5,000 a night. How I hacked the new economy of the…
6. How to Be Polite
7. 7 Rules for Creating Gorgeous UI (Part 1)
8. 7 Things You Need to Stop Doing to Be More Productive, Backed by Science
7 Things You Need To Stop Doing To Be More Productive, Backed By Science
Work Hard, Work Smart
9. Stock photos that don’t suck
Stock photos that don’t suck
A list of places to find the best free stock photos Finding great stock photos is a pain.
10. The Crossroads of Should and Must
The top topics of 2013 include Pope Francis, Harlem Shake, the Boston Marathon bombings, the royal baby, the Snowden Leaks, and Miley Cyrus
1. Dear Guy Who Just Made My Burrito:
Dear Guy Who Just Made My Burrito:
Have you ever been to Earth? On Earth, we use the word “burrito” to describe a tortilla filled with things you eat.
2. The Evolution of a Software Engineer
3. ABC: Always Be Coding
4. McDonald’s Theory
I use a trick with co-workers when we’re trying to decide where to eat for lunch and no one has any ideas.
5. Transitional Interfaces
Designers love to sweat the details. Much time is spent pixel-fucking buttons, form styles, setting type, & getting…
6. The Boy Whose Brain Could Unlock Autism
The Boy Whose Brain Could Unlock Autism
Autism changed Henry Markram’s family. Now his Intense World theory could transform our understanding of the…
7. A Manager’s Manifesto
8. Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was Learning How to Code
Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was Learning How to Code
And what I’ve learned from teaching others
9. A Product Manager’s Job
10. Creative People Say No
When it all started…
1. Welcome to Medium
2. Formula for Entrepreneurial Success
3. What I Learned Building Medium (So Far)
What I Learned Building Medium (So Far)
As of November 2012 We’re now eight months into building Medium, having started in earnest in February of this year.
4. The Spark File
The Spark File
Looking back at all the tools and techniques that I've developed over the years as a writer, it occurs to me that most…
5. Twitter Bootstrap
6. The only metric that matters
The only metric that matters
I’ve been lucky to be part of the early growth of several really interesting and now important networks including…
7. (tie) Why I love Twitter and barely tolerate Facebook
Why I love Twitter and barely tolerate Facebook
For the past decade, I’ve tried every new social media product to come along but I find myself returning to the two…
7. (tie) The importance of selling your vision
The importance of selling your vision
As the founder of Digg it was my job to drive the product vision through design, development, and finally into the…
7. (tie) The abundance of slowness
The abundance of slowness
Learning to value smart work over hard work requires a paradigm shift, but pays dividends.
10. Being Obvious
Great ideas are Obvious in retrospect. The Obvious Corporation is more of a philosophy than a company or product.
How Medium evolved over time
To look at how Medium changed over the years, I compiled the 50 most recommended stories of every year from 2013 to 2016.
Most popular topics
Stories about tech, entrepreneurship, design, and life lessons/self improvement have consistently dominated. It’s pretty interesting to see the rise of stories about politics in 2016, and the gradual decline of stories about culture and humor.
However, tags aren’t always an accurate way of categorizing stories. This is just a casual look into what some of the most popular are on Medium over the years.
Average length in minutes
The average length of highly recommended stories hovers around 7 minutes. That hasn’t changed over Medium’s lifespan. 2014 was a bit of an anomaly though…maybe everyone just felt like waxing poetic that year.
How many stories are part of a publication?
Most of the top stories are in a publication, and that number has increased year over year. No surprises there — publications expose your stories to massive audiences. Writers piggyback on these audiences to help their stories go viral. Expect the number of top stories added to publications to keep rising.
The top publications are pretty diverse, with Other being the largest category every year. It’s pretty interesting to see the rise of The Mission and Free Code Camp in recent years. The Startup has also been a consistent performer, showing up every year except 2015.
This article is updated as of January 2017. My lists for 2012 and 2013 might not be 100% accurate since Medium didn’t have the “Top Stories” page back then. If you find any mistakes, please let me know.
How I found the 50 most recommended stories of every year
On September 10 2014, Medium added the “Top Stories” page. I searched through all the “Top Stories” pages for every date up to the present and compiled all the stories into a list.
Between May 2013 and September 2014, Medium had a “Top 100” stories page for every month. I compiled all the stories in those pages into my list as well.
It was pretty hard to find the most recommended stories before May 2013. I looked through popular collections, frontpage picks, and publication archives to find the earliest top stories.
Shout out to Dave Schools’ article from 2015, which gave me the idea to do this in the first place.