I’d love to know who is on that list, and how you define “making it.”
Of the people that responded to you, my friends Roz and Jack are better writers than any of the self-help gruel, sex confessional titillations or tortured self-flagellation of the most popular social media icons on this site.
And neither one of the are “making it” unless they decided to live somewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, where making $100–200 per month would allow them to live like royalty.
Also, an OB (original bloggers), I’ve been writing on Medium since the end of 2015, and every problem you mention has been here since the beginning; even then, people were longing for the good old days when the site started and there was a sense of equal opportunity for all writers.
It’s only gotten worse since they introduced the paywall system.
In the old days, I was relatively anonymous, but occasionally wrote articles that drew hundreds of readers and fans.
With the new system, I am almost completely anonymous, and the number of times my writing has been curated or featured has dropped off to zero.
You are not alone in your isolation.
Welcome to our club of misfits and rebels.
By the way, if you want the chance to see if your ideas have value, try writing on quora, where knowing something (as opposed to being known) means something.