The Power of Highlighting and Building the Right Kind of Startup


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 30, 2023

3 min read


The Power of Highlighting and Building the Right Kind of Startup


In the digital age, users have access to an abundance of information, and it can be challenging for content creators to capture their attention. Two key aspects come into play: the use of highlighting in Medium posts and the debate of product versus distribution in building a startup. While seemingly unrelated, these topics share common points that shed light on effective strategies for engaging users and driving success.

Highlighting: Adding Value and Stimulating Debate

Highlighting is a feature in Medium that allows readers to showcase the sections of a post they found most engaging and worthwhile. It serves multiple purposes, acting as a social cue for the author and other readers, helping the author identify what worked in their article, and fostering debate and social cohesion around the content. By highlighting, users not only express their appreciation but also contribute to the overall conversation.

This feature is a testament to Medium's unique selling proposition, setting it apart from other interactive blogging platforms. The ability to highlight adds an interactive element that enhances the reading experience and encourages users to actively engage with the content they consume.

Building the Right Kind of Startup: Product versus Distribution

The age-old debate of product versus distribution in building a startup has been a topic of discussion in entrepreneurial circles. Different approaches have yielded success for various companies, and understanding the nuances can be crucial for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Product First, Audience Second:

The Apple way exemplifies the approach of prioritizing product development. By building something exceptional and captivating, Apple creates a demand that surpasses traditional marketing efforts. The focus is on creating a product that people are willing to go to great lengths to acquire, relying on its inherent value to fuel growth.

Audience First, Product Second:

On the other hand, some startups prioritize audience acquisition before perfecting their product. Instagram influencers turning into fashion moguls embody this approach. They leverage their existing audience to gain traction and embed distribution into their product. This strategy relies on capturing attention first and then offering a compelling product to monetize.

Symbiotic Growth:

A concept that transcends the product versus distribution debate is symbiotic growth. In this approach, the value proposition of the product and its distribution channel are intertwined. One cannot thrive without the other. Ecosia, the search engine that plants trees, exemplifies this idea. By championing an environmental cause, they not only gained users but also made them advocates. The awareness spread through user advocacy, creating a strong connection between the product and its distribution.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Align product growth with a noble cause: By associating your product with a higher purpose, you tap into word-of-mouth marketing and create a powerful narrative around your brand.
  • 2. Make users your advertisers: Strive to create a product that compels users to share their positive experiences with others. This organic promotion can be more effective than traditional advertising methods.
  • 3. Engage the community in product evolution: Allow your user base to have a say in shaping your product through feedback loops, open forums, and beta testing. This involvement creates a sense of ownership and fosters loyalty.


Highlighting in Medium posts and the product versus distribution debate may seem unrelated at first glance. However, they offer valuable insights into engaging users and building successful startups. By understanding the power of social cues, noble causes, and community involvement, entrepreneurs can craft products that resonate with users and create a network effect. The key is to prioritize value creation and user satisfaction, as they are the driving forces behind sustainable growth in the digital landscape.

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