The underlying value proposition by any sort of blogging engine (Posthaven, Medium, Svbtle, et al) is limited to a network, ease of use, and a good design. For most tech people, ease of use is a non-factor (you can extol 'distractions-free design', but you can put vim or Byword in full-screen mode) -- and I think the way people are reading is shifting away from individual sites and towards external services to the extent that design isn't a huge factor (everything looks the same in NewsBlur or Instapaper.)
This leaves the network/audience, which is a much more interesting concept: Svbtle is clearly going for a more curated approach (though the value of that curation is arguable), whereas Medium's trying a bunch of stuff at once (collections, editor's feed, etc.)
I can't help thinking that the winner of this nouveau publishing spectrum isn't going to be a hosting service, but a linking service. You might never get Patrick McKenzie to blog on your platform (because why would he?) but you can always link to his material.
I dislike Medium consciously, but not for the reasons you present. I dislike the site because I don't think its prominence here in HN was progressive, but rather very sudden (one month it was nothing special, and the next one it was always on the main page).
That tells me that either Medium is the website to end all websites, a site so popular that it took news sites by storm and whose news cannot be ignored, or that their marketing team is artificially pushing their content in HN to gain views. The fact that they have a main page article discussing how awesome the site is doesn't help either.
Of course, I have no evidence whatsoever of this, but that's how it feels for me. So as suggested by a fellow HN commenter, I just ignore everything from them.
I have no idea how HN's ranking works, but I wish there was some sort of diminishing return bias against a given top-level URL.
The problem I have with Medium is the posts typically lack depth, they are more "sound bites" than articles.
Some good, some, eh, but propensity of solo-source gets old.
EDIT: I should have said, this is only the last 100 posts!
EDIT: increasing the number gives a bad request error. :-/
urllib2.HTTPError: HTTP Error 400: Bad Request
File "C:\Python27\lib\urllib2.py", line 527, in http_error_default raise HTTPError(req.get_full_url(), code, msg, hdrs, fp)
...wow, 1,000 submissions for a less-than 1 year startup is crazy.
NB: If you want to get more than 100, you need to use the start=0,100,200... parameter which works up to a maximum of 900 with limit=100.
I found it makes things simple and beautiful for me.
I think it's more due to a 3 second loading delay when you are forced to stare at a blank page with no activity indicators.
It's possible you're right, but I would personally guess in the other direction. I think Tumblr is the most successful example of an approach that focuses on the internal ecosystem more (posts can certainly contain links, but linking outward isn't the focus). Tumblr tends to cover smaller things (1/2-paragraph posts, photos), but that model of an internally focused platform seems like it has room to expand. Whereas the link-based model already competes with a million existing ways to organize links, with varying mixes of voting, curation, and algorithms: Reddit, HN, Twitter, Slashdot, Prismatic, BoingBoing, etc.
If you're still looking for simplicity (minus the network) you might give http://postagon.com a shot.
That would be quite the coincidence.
I think the next best blogging platform will be one that does what WordPress used to do. I have my eyes on Ghost, which claims to be a minimalistic blogging system that you have full control over.
It's interesting you mention a linking service. I am actually working somewhat of a linking/sharing/status service that will put salience on the conversation instead of the publishing.