The New York Times is obsessed with Substack. A few months ago, it published Why We’re Freaking Out About Substack. Recently, they published Substack’s Growth Spurt Brings Growing Pains.


They’re right to be obsessed. Substack might replace them.


Today I’ll explain why that might happen. And since the lessons are applicable to all creator economy companies, we will also get a glimpse of the future of video, audio, streaming, and other creator economy verticals.


To do all of that, we need to start with yet another competitor to Substack and The New York Times: Medium.


In Platforms and Aggregators, I explained what aggregators are: companies like Google, Facebook, Youtube, Twitch… They all have the same thing in common: they aggregate supply and demand in one place, which they own, and make it really easy for demand to find supply.


Medium is trying to become the aggregator of articles.


Why are they trying to do that? Because aggregators can become massive: tens of billions of dollars in value, sometimes hundreds of billions or even trillions. About 70% of the value created by tech comes from companies like aggregators, fueled by network effects. The more supply they host, the more demand comes to see it. The more demand is there, the more suppliers come to find new demand for what they have to offer.


So what has been Medium’s strategy to become an aggregator?


The first step was a tool to easily publish online. Before Medium, it was really hard to do. Your articles either looked like crap, or it took too long to set up something like...


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