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Ben Thompson (analyst)

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Ben Thompson
Thompson in 2016
Thompson in 2016
OccupationBusiness, technology, and media analyst
Alma mater

Ben Thompson is an American business, technology, and media analyst who lives in Taipei, where he founded Stratechery, a subscription-based newsletter/podcast featuring commentary on tech and media news.,[1] and cohosts tech podcasts Exponent with James Allworth and Dithering with John Gruber, respectively.[2]


Thompson's undergraduate education was at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and his graduate education at Northwestern University, where he received an Master of Business Administration from the Kellogg School as well as an Master of Engineering Management from the McCormick School of Engineering.[3]


Thompson's career includes stints at Apple, where he interned at Apple University;[4] Microsoft, where he worked on its Windows Apps team;[5] and at WordPress developer Automattic as a growth engineer.[6]

Thompson launched Stratechery as a blog while still a Microsoft employee, and in April 2014 devoted himself to the site full-time, operating on a "freemium" subscription model.[7] He has stated his primary inspiration was John Gruber, author of the site Daring Fireball.[8]

As of April 2015, Thompson had more than 2,000 paying subscribers.[9] By 2017, Recode described Stratechery as having pioneered the paid newsletter business model.[10] The founders of Substack, a newsletter platform launched in 2018, called Thompson a major inspiration for their project.[10]

Aggregation theory[edit]

Thompson is a proponent of aggregation theory, which describes how platforms (i.e. aggregators such as Google and Facebook) come to dominate the industries in which they compete in a systematic and predictable way. Aggregators have all three of the following characteristics: 1. direct relationship with users; 2. zero marginal costs for serving users; 3. and demand-driven multi-sided networks with decreasing acquisition costs.[11]


  1. ^ Felix Salmon (February 6, 2015). "The ingredients of a great newsletter". Fusion. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  2. ^ Jordan Novet (April 3, 2015). "10 tech podcasts you should listen to now". VentureBeat. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  3. ^ "Postmodern Computing Summit". Pixxa / Asymco. June 2014. Archived from the original on July 17, 2016. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  4. ^ Josh Horwitz (April 16, 2014). "Stratechery goes solo: Ben Thompson on Asia, Apple, and the shifting tides of online media". Tech in Asia. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  5. ^ Juli Clover (May 6, 2013). "Jony Ive's iOS 7 Influence Will Be More Than Skin Deep". MacRumors. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  6. ^ Jonathan Libov (October 5, 2013). "Rise of the prosumer analyst: How mobile is driving a new brand of business analysis". Gigaom. Retrieved March 2, 2017.
  7. ^ Kara Swisher (April 16, 2014). "Ben Thompson's Stratechery Expands and Goes Freemium". Recode. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  8. ^ Matthew Ingram (April 17, 2014). "Can a little-known blogger turn his site into a business by selling memberships? Ben Thompson is sure going to try". Gigaom. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  9. ^ Mathew Ingram (February 2, 2015). "Ben Thompson: The one-man blog isn't dead, it's better than ever". Gigaom. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  10. ^ a b Kafka, Peter (16 October 2017). "Meet the startup that wants to help you build a subscription newsletter business overnight". Vox.
  11. ^ Brandom, Russell (2 December 2020). "What does aggregation theory tell us about Google's antitrust case?". The Verge. The Verge. Retrieved 3 December 2020.

External links[edit]