WTF, I work for someone else now?!

Today is my first day of working for someone else since 2009… now I work for Medium!

Ariel Meadow Stallings
3 min readFeb 27, 2023
Photo taken by my 13yo son Tavi.

My 14 years focused on running a small business have been truly remarkable. My company started as a semi-failed book promotional project that somehow grew into a small empire. (Trivia: my business name, Offbeat Empire LLC, started as a joke about my day job at Microsoft, aka the Evil Empire.)

It’s been such a treat to focus full-time on this publishing company, managing a team of almost 20 amazing editors, web developers, and sales folks over the years.

There was a point, however, when I realized that I’d hit my own glass ceiling.

As a committed bootstrapper who never took on venture capital or even business loans, my “big bets” could only be as large as my cash flow allowed… and at a certain point, I maxed out what I could do on my own.

I worked on lots of small interesting creative projects (art books, dance courses, membership programs), but I felt limited.

Then fall of 2022, Medium showed up with a job that felt made for me. I started in February 2023 as the Director of Publisher Growth, working closely with the product team at Medium, and then going out in the field talking to folks like me — independent publishers who are curating the best writing in their chosen niches.

[Update October 2023: I’ve moved into a Product Manager role, which means I’ll be working more on the strategic side of things. I’m still running the Boost Nomination Pilot so not much will change there. As always, my focus will be working with my fellow indie publishers to help Medium build great publication tools.]

I’ll be working to support Medium’s increased focus on publishers on their platform, which you can read more about here.

I’m beyond excited about this. I first started blogging 22 years ago, and have spent decades riding the waves of content creation, publishing strategy, and content management system shenanigans. But I’ve always been on the outside of the platforms — analyzing the algorithms, grumbling about clickbait CTAs, lobbing content into google to see what would stick. In my conversations with the smarties at Medium, it’s been thrilling to apply my years of braining about digital publishing to doing work from inside a platform.

As for the Offbeat Empire’s publications like Offbeat Wed? It will keep on keepin’ on, with several trusted folks I’ve worked with for years (thanks Suki & Yelahneb & Sam!) keeping the sausage factory churning, while I roll up my sleeves and get to work on this new era of my career.

Let’s do this!

PS: I hope it goes without saying that my essays on Medium (which tend toward the offbeat and unusual, as you might expect from my background) in no way reflect the opinions of my employer. I’m just a weirdo writing about my weird stuff… who also happens to be a publishing industry professional doing professional stuff. I contain multitudes, and so do you!



Ariel Meadow Stallings

I'm a product manager at Medium, but I'm also a whole-ass person living my life: author, publisher, dancer, Seattleite, mom, and just a human humanning.