Hey everyone,

We are making some changes — here are three updates that cover everything you need to know:

Ali Mese
Ali Mese
Mar 21 · 7 min read

1. We’re Rebranding The Startup to Start it up.

The rebranding move is the first major pivot in our 7-year history.

Times are changing.

From their little desk in their little rooms from the middle of nowhere, creators are taking over the world.

Some creators run widely profitable writing businesses, while others are busy building their empires through newsletters, podcasts, self-published books, online courses, or Youtube/TikTok/Clubhouse channels.

Text, audio, images, video — whatever format they use to create content, these individual entrepreneurs continue to build trust with their niches. It’s no wonder that news like “X company acquired Y newsletter for $7-figure” keeps popping up.

The rise of the creator economy (and the upcoming generation of individual entrepreneurs it empowers) proves that you don’t need a company or an army of employees to be a business.

With Start it up, we now prioritize stories that help today’s creators get smarter at building their thing.

We are moving away from traditional ways of building a business. Big business/corporate, leadership, hiring and data stories no longer have a place here.

We will still accept stories that target technology startups, but they won’t be at the center of our focus anymore for one fundamental reason:

Because building a tech startup is no longer the primary way to build a business.

Individual creators are taking over, without needing an office space or a hefty marketing budget. From their little desk in their little room from the middle of nowhere, they are creating content and products that generate more business than by those companies with an army of employees.

We want to promote the spirit of starting it up hence Start it up.

We want to bring the “individual” to the center of our focus.

Small is the new big.

2. Rebranding means revisiting our publishing strategy.

  • Topics we now accept: We used to list a number of topics (e.g., startups, technology, etc.) and filter submissions based on whether they covered one of those themes. We won’t be doing this anymore. The only criteria we now look for is whether the answer to the following question a big YES: Does this draft help individual entrepreneurs/creators get smarter at building their thing? Self-help for creators, informative essays, first-hand lessons — no matter what form our stories take, we want our audience to walk away with eye-opening insights. So before submitting your draft, ask yourself the same question and see if your answer is a big YES.
  • Raising the bar and cutting down the number of stories we publish per day: From the very early days, we imagined The Startup as a home where emerging talent could feel welcome. Helping as many new and emerging writers as possible was great but it overwhelmed and confused our readers. Some days, we found ourselves publishing over 50 (and not fully relevant) stories, just to help a few more authors. With the new Start it up, we’ll gradually go down to publishing ~5-10 articles per day. Our Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth will be working closely with those who put quality over quantity.
  • We’ll help you maximize your reach: As Medium’s official partner, we’ll work hard to maximize the curation and distribution of our stories. Our initial data analysis also shows that cutting down the number of daily stories has already boosted the average traffic an individual article gets in Start it up. Our readership is approaching 10 million monthly readers. And with lower daily volume will come the opportunity to expose fewer high-quality stories to a massive audience. We are also kicking off a few other distribution channels such as our weekly newsletter.

3. We now offer three homes for quality stories:

Start it up + Curious + Geek Culture

How to understand which publication your story fits into:

If your story helps…

  • … entrepreneurs get smarter at building their thing, your draft belongs to Start it up — submission form is at the end of this post.
  • … people find out what others have figured out, your draft belongs to our self-help publication Curioussubmission guidelines here.
  • … tech-savvy folks stay on top of technology, programming and design topics, your draft belongs to our technical publication Geek Culturesubmission guidelines here.

Six tips to increase your chances of becoming one of our writers:

  1. Don’t skimp on the intro — You know what they say: first impressions are everything. We receive a lot of submissions that begin with a couple of lines and quickly cut to: X tips for doing Y better. Instead of rushing, get creative with your introduction. Drop us into the action; paint a vivid picture of a real-life example; come up with an attention-grabbing way to introduce us to your story, be it a shocking research finding or a little-known statistic.
  2. Do the research — Not infrequently, we receive stories that include assertion after assertion with zero authoritative sources or research. Unless you’re Elon Musk, you’ll need something to hang your hat on. On second thought, we’d probably ask Musk for links to sources, too. Because even the best writers back their facts up with references — be it published research or expert opinion. Include links to sources that support the factual assertions in your writing.
  3. Master the headline — We can help you tweak this part, but the stories that immediately grab our attention already have strong headlines and subheads. Consider the stories that draw you in — do their headlines sound like clickbait-y advertisements? (The Secret to This Productivity Hack Will Shock You!) Or, are they thoughtful, high-quality propositions that leave you deeply curious for more. (Productivity Is About Prioritizing, Not About Time Management). I’m guessing the latter.
  4. Don’t transplant ideas — Again, we allow and even encourage you to rely on other publications to support your facts. But we do not accept the transplanting of another writer’s ideas entirely. (Also, it violates Medium’s rules against plagiarism.) Simply rewording doesn’t cut the mustard, either.
  5. Ask yourself: why? Why should the reader spend the time it takes (typically 5–10 minutes) to read your story? Will it add value to their lives? Will it entertain them? Could it change their way of thinking? It’s good practice to consider the “why” before you sit down to write anything.
  6. Avoid self-promotion and aggressive call-to-actions throughout and at the bottom of your stories. Talking about your business is OK but don’t let it turn your audience off.

Our resources that can help answer some of your questions:

What we prioritize

  • Unpublished draft submissions only: we do not accept already published stories.
  • Stories behind Medium’s paywall: Medium’s Partner Program allows writers to make money off their writing. We know how difficult it is to make a living as a writer and we fully support this program. As part of our efforts to help as many writers as possible, we prioritize publishing stories behind the paywall over free stories. To join the program: the Medium Partner Program link on https://medium.com/creators page.

Timings: the 36-hour rule

  • We’re doing our best to help every talented writer reach our audience, but we do receive a ton of submissions every day. Let’s make a deal so we don’t waste your time: if we don’t get back to you within 36 hours (from the moment you submit), please consider your story not accepted this time. Don’t let this discourage you from submitting your future drafts, though.

“I’m an approved writer who got published in The Startup in the past but my recent submissions don’t seem to get accepted. How long does it take?”

  • Our 36-hour rule applies to every single submission. So if we don’t get back to you within 36 hours (from the moment you submit), please consider your story not accepted this time.

Please fill out the form below:

**We reserve the right to edit photographs and copy where necessary**

Thank you in advance.


The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Join The Startup’s +800K followers.

Ali Mese

Written by

Ali Mese

Founder/Owner: Start it up + Curious + Geek Culture. I also write essays that help you get smarter at building your thing https://GrowthSupply.com

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +800K followers.

Ali Mese

Written by

Ali Mese

Founder/Owner: Start it up + Curious + Geek Culture. I also write essays that help you get smarter at building your thing https://GrowthSupply.com

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +800K followers.

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