An Inside Look at Medium's San Francisco Offices With CEO Ev Williams

THR_Ev Williams_CChavarri?a_The_Hollywood_Reporter_Ev_Williams_Hi_Res_28 - H 2016
Carlos Chavarria

THR_Ev Williams_CChavarri?a_The_Hollywood_Reporter_Ev_Williams_Hi_Res_28 - H 2016

The publishing platform run by the Twitter co-founder is home to Bill Simmons' website The Ringer.

Ev Williams, 44, always has been drawn to the energy of downtown San Francisco. It's where he located his first startup, Blogger, in 2002 long before it was cool to start a tech startup in downtown. So when looking for a home for publishing platform Medium, which has a reported valuation of more than $550 million, Williams was sold on the landmark building in the Financial District where it now operates. "I also like the convenience," the Twitter co-founder says of its proximity to BART and MUNI lines. "I take public transportation to the office, and I always encourage other people to do so as well."

Conveniently, Medium is less than one mile down Market Street from Twitter, where Williams, the social network's co-founder and former CEO, remains a board member. He says he usually walks to board meetings, "unless I'm late, and then I will hop on the BART and save about five minutes."

Ev Williams

Inside the minimalist Medium offices, where the fridge often is stocked with drinks and other snacks, Williams has commandeered a conference room that now also serves as his office, a move he says makes it "more efficient for scheduling and so people could more easily find me." He says the space, which has a giant sliding glass door that he keeps open, actually has made him more available. "Even though I always tell people they can stop by, when I had a smaller door people were less likely to than when I have the bigger door."  

The startup, which hosts Bill Simmons’ website The Ringer as well as such media properties as The Awl and Pacific Standard on its platform, is decorated with a piece of art from frequent collaborators JR and Jose Parla. And its offices are filled with Medium's analog counterpart: books. On the credenza in Williams’ conference room is A Year With Swollen Appendices, a diary of English musician Brian Eno, which the CEO says he likes to flip through for its "little bits of wisdom." One he always remembers: "When it doubt, tidy up." Williams explains: "I don't even remember the context of that, but I think, when you're kind of disheveled and there's a lot going on, it's actually very calming to just tidy up." 

See more interior and workspace photos of Medium offices in San Francisco below.

A version of this story first appeared in the July 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.