The Zen of Everything

Medium’s “Project Zen” is the latest moniker to capitalize on a meditative state.

Nancy Friedman
6 min readMay 17, 2023


How are you feeling right now? As in right now, reading this sentence on your screen?

Medium, the platform that permits me (for a fee) to publish that sentence, hopes you’re having a “zen-like reading experience” thanks to some behind-the-scenes improvements on the site.

Six stones precariously stacked at an angle, against a background of a shoreline
“Five Black Rocks,” one of the first images I saw when I searched for “zen” on Unsplash. Am I the only one who sees six rocks? Who’s holding her breath, waiting for the tower to topple? Not very zen of me, I know. (Photo: Colton Sturgeon)

“We’ve heard your feedback,” begins the May newsletter emailed to Medium writers and also posted on the Medium blog:

Over the last few years, we’ve made changes that added more to story pages. … But sometimes less is more, especially on the story page, and we’ve heard your feedback: simplify, simplify, simplify! We’re excited to announce big changes that will help readers (and writers) refocus on reading. Internally, our nickname for this work is Project Zen because that’s our goal: a zen-like reading experience.

So I’m curious: Are you having a zen-like reading experience? Can you describe zen-like? What does zen-like even mean?

Asking enigmatic questions is a zen-like thing to do, isn’t it? Here are more questions to ponder as you sit in the lotus position with your eyes closed: What does zen mean in brand names like Urban Zen, Zenify



Nancy Friedman

Writer, name developer, brand consultant, idea-ist, ex-journalist. @fritinancy on Mastodon, Instagram, Bluesky, Threads, and elsewhere.