Loot From 120 Days on Medium

Dec 26, 2022
8 min

I started my Medium journey on August 23rd, 2022. In the first 90 days, I acquired approximately 4,644 reads and 39 followers with 28 stories. In the previous story of this series, I also mentioned that I plan to release “content that may change everything”. However, I have yet to release that content as I await important decisions from two entities.

So what happened in this 30-day period?

A Flashback

All I know is that — throughout this entire incident — the apartment complex lost three employees from management. So I’ve won… But at what cost?

Resolving “The Incident”

Here’s what happened. I signed a lease with no security deposit required. We gave the employees the first month of rent via check on the move-in date. Multiple parties mishandled the accounting of this exchange for a multitude of reasons. Regardless of other factors, the verdict was clear: I paid for the first month of rent. Therefore, the applied late fee was ILLEGAL.

Between October 31st and November 14th, an employee must have realized they had an additional check from us. Such that its failure to be applied — in addition to every other way this late fee incident was handled — led to multiple employees being fired. That’s not all, though: To take sole credit for the end result would be pompous.

There are at least six public accounts of other incidents with said employees. Such that I no longer feel guilty for defending myself from theft. The phrase “Don’t shoot the messenger“ is appropriate when the messenger has minor influence: Not when the “messenger” is paid to “just follow orders” and defraud others in the process.

I must add that the property management company continues to churn employees, regardless of my intervention with them. So I would NOT be surprised if there is a conflict between employees and upper management. In any case, I only discuss these incidents because they are relevant to this story’s time period. So what is going on now?

I received a notification regarding payment for certain utilities: A $10 water bill. A $10 trash service that I don’t use. Then, $7 more for… pest control? Of course, this charge refers to the spraying for cockroaches I dealt with at move-in: The ones that kept me up at night to create the “Uber Was Hacked” story. 

There wouldn’t be an issue if the pest control fee were a one-time charge. However, it’s marked as a recurring fee, even though that service has stopped: The pest control people haven’t sprayed in months! Not to mention that the service is not my legal responsibility.

Companies are known to pursue people over nickels and dimes: So I will have no mercy dealing with this $7 charge from them, especially when it’s recurring. Wave two is already prepared due to the last incident: Whether it’s executed depends on whether the property management company reasonably handles this incident.

The significance of this situation is that I may not be as productive on Medium if further action must be taken. Instead, I will spend time getting the money that was stolen from me back. And when Medium has yet to pay me, it’s more valuable to spend my time recovering my money anyways.

A Head Start

My growth for this 30-day period lies in stories I released right before the last period ended. These stories include “I released vaporware” (November 21), “The Pay Disparity of Programmers” (November 21), “I created a 25000 line proof of concept” (November 23), and most importantly, “I Placed a GPL License in my Take Home Interview Project” (November 23): A relatable and entertaining Wagie Woe.

Views, Reads, and Read Ratio of “I Placed a GPL License in my Take Home Interview Project”

Of the 2,300 views, 81% come from Medium’s distribution algorithm. That’s because this story maintains 3,521 minutes(58+ hours) of Member Reading Time. To put this in perspective, that’s 3 times more than the combined member reading time of “Uber Was Hacked” and “One Line to Debug Your CSS Issues”! So what is the significance of this story’s performance? People want to be entertained.

A Logical Conundrum

On November 25th, I published “Food Delivery Apps are Bound to Fail”: It has received less than 100 reads. While there are a host of factors in any story’s performance, I believe that the poor performance of this story is due to its analytical nature. I publish several stories that condense multiple periods of thought, and these stories consistently fail to perform.

The Theory of Relatability

The Theory of Relatability is not an official theory. However, I use the phrase to describe a phenomenon concerning content consumption, in which humans prefer content that relates to themselves (or their interests).

A key context of the Theory of Relatability is that various content requires a certain skill level to understand, so high-skill-level content remains less popular since fewer people understand — or relate to — it. In addition, content that requires more effort to create is more likely to contain incorrect statements, which people highlight since humans fixate on negatives. The result is that highly skilled audiences are both hard to reach and appease.

The Theory of Relatability is why “low-effort content” dominates all platforms. Keep in mind that “low-effort content” refers to content that objectively takes a low amount of effort to create. However, one could argue that “low-effort content” is only low-effort since there is a high demand for said content, such that there is a demand to make “creating low-effort content” a low-effort activity.

The Social Tradeoff

Humans are social animals, so stories and anecdotes are more significant — to an individual level — than logical assertions and data. However, logical assertions and data may be required to understand a story at its full capacity. So I would always include logical assertions before my stories so the reader could understand them fully: The problem is that this practice goes against a human’s natural preferences.

So how can I separate a story and its logical assertions without compromising the reader’s understanding of the story?

It’s extremely rare for people to read 100% of any document, let alone a writer’s entire oeuvre. So it’s inevitable for someone to take what you say out of context. When it comes to controversial topics, this is especially true since humans — who don’t like to read content they disagree with — may react to a controversial statement by clicking off the page. This results in the reader placing significance on a body of text that lacks context, so the author’s point is lost in favor of the reader’s misunderstanding.

The above assertion doesn’t answer the question at hand. However, it’s essential to understand because it suggests that separating a story from its logical assertion has little effect on a reader’s understanding of the story: Since the reader already selectively reads text, splitting that text into multiple documents is annoying at worst. Otherwise, splitting a full text into multiple documents allows the author to target a specific audience for each document.

There exist multiple benefits to separating a story from its logical assertions using multiple documents. This practice is also supported on the internet since you can reference (link) the document of a logical assertion within multiple stories or vice-versa. Say you wish to write for a specific target audience with a focused purpose: You can create a story optimized for entertainment (readers from Medium’s Algorithm) and an article optimized for information (readers from Google Search).

So What?

I need to change the way I write and distribute stories. Hence the experimental format of “The Incorrect Perception of Human Effort (In Startups)”.

I Released Disgo

Work continued on Disgo from November 23rd to December 6th. I also published multiple stories discussing “What is Disgo?” Most important is validating the above theory by comparing the stories “Implementing The Fieldalignment Bundle in Go” and “Rapper Destroys Google Software Engineer in API Development”.

Views, Reads, and Read Ratio of “Implementing The Fieldalignment Bundle in Go”
Views, Reads, and Read Ratio of “Rapper Destroys Google Software Engineer in API Development”

As you can see, the “dramatic” story has maintained many more views.

If I’m being honest, the story itself is not that dramatic. All I do is compare two Go Discord API Wrappers objectively while also providing an introduction to both maintainers: One of which happens to work at Google. However, one of the maintainers read this story, then took offense to it, and this led to a situation that may be discussed in a future story.

Most importantly, the story was shared as soon as emotional value was attributed to it: Multiple members from the Google Engineer’s API Wrapper community would bolster the story’s position within the Medium algorithm through comments and shares in outrage. Others would relate to the credentialism discussed in the story’s conclusion and support it. All this resulted in more read time without any marketing effort on my part.

In contrast, the “Fieldalignment Bundle” article is informational and straightforward: The described technique is irrelevant unless you create applications in the Go programming language AND are at a level where memory optimizations are justified. You require a higher skill level than 99% of the population to meet this criterion. Based on the Theory of Relatability, it should be no surprise why this story performed worse.

I promoted the “Fieldalignment Bundle” myself. In contrast, other people promoted the “Arikawa vs. Disgo” story entirely. Thus, the dramatic nature of that story resulted in more organic marketing than any informational content I have ever created. I cannot argue for creators to intentionally create “dramatic” content, although it does happen. However, actions speak louder than words: It’s pretty clear what the people want.

My Interview Experience

Nothing is more relatable in a first-world country than the job-interview process. NEETs aside, most people have participated on one side of the table in the job market. Those that haven’t are hungry for an edge, and what’s a better way to learn than reviewing other people’s interviews.

I discuss the optics of releasing your interviews in “How I Wasted 6 Months Releasing Disgo”. Some aspects of that story are a joke. Others are real. It’s true that interviewers don’t enjoy having their actions displayed in public (even if I were to say nothing bad about them). On the other hand, candidates are fed up with the inane dance they must do to get a job. 

Everyone has their own opinion on this type of story, depending on which role you participate in. But it doesn’t matter what you think because you click it anyways. Then I get paid. 

Views, Reads, and Read Ratio of “My ClickUp Interview Experience” and “My Chainlink Interview Experience”

Half of these views come from a post on Reddit (that the poster deleted). No effort is required on my part to promote this content. No need to deal with moderators either.

Loot From 120 Days on Medium

Let’s analyze the results from this period and compare them to the aggregate.

Views from November 24th — December 24 (2022)

The Last 30 Days

What did I gain from posting 10 stories and 0 responses on Medium in the last 30 days?

  • 6,930 views (2,827 reads).
  • $0 earned.

The Aggregate

What did I gain from posting 38 stories and 12 responses on Medium in 120 days?

  • 17,700 views (7,500 reads).
  • 62 out of 100 followers (required for a Medium Partnership).
  • $0 earned.

At the current rate, it will take me 74 more days to become eligible for a Medium Partnership: A month earlier than the last estimated rate. I may be able to release more content in order to achieve this goal faster. So after 120 days on Medium, I am reminded (for the fourth time) that I have the potential to make money on Medium.

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