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Why Ev Williams and Reid Hoffman are fascinated by the “cerebral cortex” of the internet

Why Ev Williams and Reid Hoffman are fascinated by the “cerebral cortex” of the internet
[Photo: Christopher Schodt, courtesy of Masters Of Scale]

Remember when it was considered creepy to “follow” someone on the Internet? Medium CEO Ev Williams does, recalling the launch of Twitter, during a recent discussion with Reid Hoffman for the LinkedIn co-founder and chairman’s “Masters of Scale” podcast. While reminiscing over their personal journeys and the wild early days of the Web, they talk about their mutual interest in building an online “cerebral cortex,” where users “could spend a little bit more time polishing and expanding their thoughts before wheeling them out for the public,” according to Hoffman.

For Wiliams, Medium is his way of fulfilling that vision. He wants the platform, which has seen its share of pivots in the last few years, to help democratize the “ability to compete at a professional level” when it comes to publishing stories and ideas——without having to get a book deal or land a TED talk.

Williams also discusses one of his biggest regrets about his time at Twitter, that he didn’t ask for feedback: “If you’re not getting feedback, there’s probably some negative feedback that you could be getting. That probably would have helped me a lot. I wasn’t getting any, so I assumed everything was great.”

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