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45. Kate Lee

Director of content, Medium

The Blogger Svengali

At Medium, Blogger and Twitter cofounder Ev Williams's latest startup, Kate Lee is using her skills as a former literary agent to rethink online publishing—while wooing old-world talent into using it. Lee's keys to success:

Kate Lee

Bloggers feel pressure to produce. "We don't want people to ever have to do that," Lee says. Medium is both a content-creation tool (like WordPress) and a host for it (like the Awl), so no one writer is on the hook.

Medium's home page has Posts (a timeline of all stories as they go live) and Collections (which arranges posts in groups such as Good Reads or Guilty Pleasures). "The goal is to allow the best quality content to surface, not just the newest," Lee says.

Medium tracks how long readers stay and whether they scrolled to the end. The data helps writers understand what readers love.

"Everyone on Medium owns their own material," says Lee. Her ultimate dream: "if Medium started spawning book deals," a development that would bring her career full circle.

[Image: Flickr user Horia Varlan]