In truth, Medium’s main product is not a publishing platform, but the promotion of a publishing platform. This promotion brings readers and writers onto the site. This, in turn, generates the usage data that’s valuable to advertisers. Boiled down, Medium is simply marketing in the service of more marketing. It is not a “place for ideas.” It is a place for advertisers. It is, therefore, utterly superfluous.
“But what about all the writing on Medium?” The measure of superfluity is not the writing on Medium. Rather, it’s what Medium adds to the writing. Recall the question from above: how does Medium improve the Internet? I haven’t seen a single story on Medium that couldn’t exist equally well elsewhere. Nor evidence that Medium’s editing and publishing tools are a manifest improvement over what you can do with other tools.
In sum—still superfluous.