Ben Thompson (writer)

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Ben Thompson, 2018

Ben Thompson is an American business, technology, and media analyst, who is based in Taiwan. He is the author of Stratechery, a subscription-based newsletter/podcast featuring commentary on tech and media news.[1] He is also the co-host of Exponent with James Allworth and Dithering with John Gruber, all podcasts focused on the same themes.[2]

Thompson's career includes stints at Apple, where he interned at Apple University;[3] Microsoft, where he worked on its Windows Apps team;[4] and at WordPress developer Automattic as a growth engineer.[5]

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.[6] He has stated his primary inspiration was John Gruber, author of the site Daring Fireball.[7]

As of April 2015, Thompson had more than 2,000 paying subscribers.[8] By 2017, Recode described Stratechery as having pioneered the paid newsletter business model.[9] The founders of Substack, a newsletter platform launched in 2018, called Thompson a major inspiration for their project.[9]

Thompson's undergraduate education was at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his graduate education at Northwestern University, where he received an MBA from the Kellogg School as well as an MEM from the McCormick School of Engineering.[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. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Juli Clover (May 6, 2013). "Jony Ive's iOS 7 Influence Will Be More Than Skin Deep". MacRumors. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Kara Swisher (April 16, 2014). "Ben Thompson's Stratechery Expands and Goes Freemium". Recode. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Mathew Ingram (February 2, 2015). "Ben Thompson: The one-man blog isn't dead, it's better than ever". Gigaom. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  9. ^ a b Kafka, Peter (16 October 2017). "Meet the startup that wants to help you build a subscription newsletter business overnight". Vox.
  10. ^ "Postmodern Computing Summit". Pixxa / Asymco. June 2014. Archived from the original on July 17, 2016. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  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]