Medium has a new head of product, while the startup behind the defunct texting app Talkshow appears to be done for good.
Talkshow Industries was led by Michael Sippey, who’d spent two years as vice president of product at Twitter. The company’s first product was the Talkshow app, which allowed you to follow other users’ text message conversations.
The app was shut down at the end of 2016 (“We don’t see it getting big enough to have the impact we had hoped for,” the company said at the time), but in a new Medium post, Sippey writes that Talkshow Industries didn’t close its doors — it was working on a new podcast product called Episode.
As part of the testing process, Sippey says he started talking to Medium CEO Ev Williams (who previously co-founded and served as CEO at Twitter), which in turn led to a conversation “about where Medium is headed, and how I could help.”
Now Medium has acquired Talkshow Industries. It sounds like a straightforward talent acquisition, with Sippey joining Medium as head of product and Episode getting shut down.
It seems like this is a critical time for Medium as well, with the company laying off 50 employees and closing two offices at the beginning of this year, then launching a paid subscription program.
“I’ve also been lucky enough to advise and consult with Medium over the past few years, so joining this team and being given the chance to work on this product almost feels like a homecoming,” Sippey says. “But it’s the uncharted territory that’s exciting: the opportunity that Medium has to build and evolve a new model of funding for original writing is both compelling and important. I am ready to dive into this work head first.”