Substack: Most Interesting Consumer Startups of 2021 (Part 2)

This post is by Elad Gil from Elad Blog

This post is the first in a small series on the new wave of hyperinteresting consumer tech products that are most likely to have had society-level impact in 5 years. My first two posts are on Clubhouse and Substack [1]. Both are social network and media platforms of different types, and both have an opportunity to displace multiple existing services including Twitter. This post on Substack focuses on the creation of journalist-entrepreneurs[2] and the transition of the media world (at least in part) back to subscriptions. Another post on Clubhouse explains why it is the first new interesting social platform in a decade.


The other potentially transformative company of this era is Substack. Substack is changing the nature of journalism, reporting, blogging, podcasting, and content creation. Strikingly, it is turning a generation of content creators and journalists into business owners.

The news industry has had a tough two decades. The emergence of online channels and online advertising in the 1990s and 2000s disrupted the news industry in the following ways:

  • New channels to reach users/readers. Newspapers used to have local monopolies or oligopolies. This was changed by the Internet, where it was suddenly easy to use any news source from any geography. Later, social networks like Twitter and Facebook built massive audiences and drove more news distribution and interaction.

  • A change in cost structure. Newspapers & magazines had enormous costs associated with printing presses and the physical production and distribution of their content. Digital media emerged without these (Read more...)