I’ll admit that throughout my research on the dauntingly complex topic of the blockchain, I kept having Fox in Socks flashbacks. Yeah, it was a fave of my sons when they were toddlers. At one point in my life — thankfully long past — I’d read it so many times I could recite the whole thing from memory.
That said, I’m very happy with the response to this piece! (It went up yesterday at Backchannel.) People who are deeply immersed in the Bitcoin/blockchain stuff seem to view it as a fairly skeptical take, whereas people who are new to the topic are telling me they find it mind-blowing and surprisingly hopeful. So maybe I found a way to walk the ever-tricky line between hype and cynicism. (Or maybe I was just totally incoherent.)
Also: Kevin Kelly commented, “This is the best tech article this year (so far). Newsy, with context.” Kelly’s 1994 book Out of Control was one of the key texts that shaped my understanding of the future of the Internet 20 years ago, and his ideas and work have provided a steady source of inspiration ever since, so thanks — that means a lot to me.
What am I doing writing for Medium after being so vocal here about the importance of independent blogging and taking control back from corporate platforms? Good question. The answer’s pretty straightforward: Colleagues, reach, and income. It’s great to work with journalists of the caliber of those who run Backchannel and those who write for it. It’s nice to reach a wider audience (by 10 or 100x) than I reach these days from the Wordyard site. And we all need to pay our bills one way or another.
Yes, Medium is a platform, and a (somewhat pervious) silo. Still, as platforms go, it is, at the moment, uniquely good both for its terms, its design, and the care and thought that have gone into it. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty great, and it keeps getting better.
Don’t worry: The whole independent-Web, let’s-break-out-of-the-silos thing is still dearly important to me. I’ll keep writing about it as it continues to develop. But I’m also not going to be “all or nothing” about it. I’m giving myself some latitude to work in more traditional ways, which continues to have some advantages.
In any case, it’s kind of amusing to consider Medium as in any way “traditional,” isn’t it? I guess it depends which direction you’re coming to it from.