Discussing Steemit With Managing Director Elizabeth Powell | EP#122


Hey everyone, I’m Scott Cunningham aka @scottcbusiness and today we’re here with Elizabeth Powell who is actually if
you’d like to introduce yourself to everyone you can go ahead and do that
sure happy to be here awesome awesome happy to have you yeah
so the managing director what does that entail or what does that position
entail like what do you what are the main things that you do at Steemit for
for your role so as Managing Director basically my my core job description
would be managing the day-to-day operations of Steemit Inc. and following
the road map that we put in place earlier last fall so my role really is
just to manage the business grow revenue reduce costs manage the team and
everything dealing with the financials of the organization
awesome awesome so when did you first get into blockchain and cryptocurrency
so I think you wanted me to tell yeah yeah and I want to dive into that as
well yeah that’ll help segue into how I got to where I am today so born and
raised in Texas have been in Austin for over 20 years seen it grow like crazy
got a journalism degree and worked primarily in the advertising business
the majority of my career I begin becoming more interested in
cryptocurrency a few years ago just mainly following news stories and just
reading about it just from a general interest and I works downtown in Austin
and bumped into some cement employees who were wearing Steemit shirts and I just
struck up a conversation with them learned more about Steemit was really
interested I’ve never heard of it before and simply asked if they were hiring
head of communications they were and so the rest is history so I became
head of communications my original job task was to build the communications
team and so we did that for a couple months and then sadly when the market
crashed we had to unfortunately layoff 70% of our staff and so it was really
during that time where myself and the existing core team members really
stepped up to the plate alongside with Ned Scott’s leadership he founded Steemit
and Steem created a roadmap to move into survival mode how can we get through
this just insane market time that we’re in how can we survive because we weren’t
generating any revenue basically all Steemit did was pay for and supplement
the development of the blockchain as well as Steemit.com and we were also
fronting the cost for any of our other adapts to run off of the Steem
blockchain so our Amazon Web Services bills were astronomical and you know not
bringing in any money and having a huge outlay of cash every month we needed to
make some drastic changes so at that point the board decided for Ned to move
on as executive chairman of the board and to put me in charge as Managing
Director and so I work with them on a weekly basis just making sure that we’re
getting everything done that we need to do in order to survive and so it’s been
a little over six months since that change happened and we’ve made a lot of
progress and things are looking really really good
for the foreseeable future awesome yeah that’s uh that’s definitely
a really great overview for sure so can you explain a little bit about what
Steem and Steemit is just for someone who’s maybe never heard of it before
maybe this is the first time tuning in just like a little brief summary as
brief as you can be really calm is the first decentralized social media app
rewards its content curators and content developers developers via cryptocurrency
and we built our own blockchain and have our own currency Steem and so when
people come on to Steemit comments very much it’s like a reddit style blogging
platform and you can be rewarded via app boats and again just good curation of
content via Steem currency that’s as far as I can get it yeah fair enough yeah
it’s a bit of a mouthful but um you know people can learn more on my channel and
an elsewhere about Steem but for today we’re going to be really diving into where
Steem is headed and Steemit rather so can you give us a current update on
where Steem and ink is and where it’s kind of going we’ve done many important
things to improve the cost structure mainly focusing on our Amazon Web
service pills at OBS and that included implementing rocks DB which basically is
taking all of the data onto more of a server side or Ram if you will versus
everything being stored on the blockchain so that has dramatically
reduced our cost from December we had two hundred thousand an database bills
alone today we’re hovering closer to forty thousand so a huge decrease that
has yeah we’ve really just kudos to the engineering team because that was not
easy to implement that’s actually a Facebook product rocks DB as we call it
Mira and it was the support really was difficult because of its blockchain
technology it had never really been done before and so whereas other projects
offset their costs their hosts cost to either the developers themselves are
paying for those fees or the end users whereas we were absorbing all of that so
by making this change we’re no longer seeing
those types of bills and then we also have implemented our advertising
programs so prior to this like I mentioned before Steeming Inc did not
generate any revenue whatsoever a lot of people think that Steemit Inc actually
pays also out and Steem to all the curators but we don’t that’s all in the
blockchain and so the ad program began it’s really picked up I would say the
last month and so we’ve been experimenting with a few different
things and one of that one of the things that we were doing we’re managing it
primarily in-house and that it’s a lot of work you basically in order to be
super profitable and successful would need to build a huge team of add ups
advertising sales reps analytics you know for recording and so we’ve recently
moved on to a third-party ad network that is managing most of that for us we
still do direct sells which is a huge part of the revenue this month is our
best month yet we had a couple of really big deals come through so the great
thing is is we’re able to now do case studies and use studies to show people
like this advertising on Steem and Comm really does bring the value because the
click-through rates are astronomical I was very surprised like people actually
click on ads they do I’ve seen our CPM triple just in the last few days so I
feel like when there’s news stories about crypto especially big ones you
know like a facebook announcement our traffic automatically increases because
our SEO is so great so not many really are the only social media project out
there built on top of a blockchain we’re the only blockchain project out
there that provides the type of open source resources for developers to build
their own projects on to the blockchain so we really are unique and different
and we’ve been around for over three years so sorry I’ve got some sirens in
the background yeah it’s not – yeah okay good
so that’s where we are currently the we since we’ve moved really now away from
survive mode I see us now on more of us thrive mode so we’re doing things to
continue to build an ad program to make it a better user experience again this
was all very new and we’re kind of putting it together with a very small
team but I think we’re going to continue to improve the ad program and then we’re
moving on to bigger projects things that people are have been very patiently
waiting for such as smart media tokens SM T’s and community so we will continue
to make the overall user experience just that much better we’re going to bring
communities like a rabbit style to Steem accom but it’s the first and only
community-based social app with financial tools so that communities can
come here and fundraise or I mean the opportunities are limitless and so it
really is the first and only of its kind so I’m very excited to move forward onto
those projects I feel like we’ve got costs down to where they’re pretty much
going to stay we’ll continue to find ways if we can but I feel like we have
things under control and are looking to the for to the future to just continue
to make it even better yeah Wow yeah you guys like 200,000
40,000 is is is is nothing short of an insane achievement so um yeah that’s
that’s amazing you guys have definitely got a lot a lot going on and you know
you’ve really risen out of the the ashes so to speak for sure and I’m sure you
guys will continue just climbing up so where do you feel that Steemit fits in
with other decentralized applications or you know how does how does Steemit
differ from other adapts and and how does it set itself apart from you know
the traditional legacy platforms so Steem again I think it’s because we are
the first platform to chain like this as far as social media and then we just
gained so much notoriety you know when the market was going like crazy everyone
was just flooding to Steemit calm and so we’ve maintained that user base it’s
not as much as it was you know when we’re in a bull market situation and
getting a lot of press and PR out there but as far as yeah where we rank
we’re number one as far as gaps go and compared to other legacy platforms I
assume you’re talking like a Facebook or yeah I guess just like how do you or how
like for someone who might not know as much about Steemit like how do you guys
differ from legacy platforms like what really makes you guys unique compared to
to something like Facebook we don’t store any user data so we don’t maintain
any profiles any personal information we don’t do Kay oh I see it truly is
decentralized in every sense of the term so I think that is a huge unique selling
point for Steemit com is that you really are and you hold your keys we
don’t maintain your passwords we don’t maintain your keys so put them out put
them in a safe don’t lose them but that’s what really sets us apart is we
truly believe in keeping this you know it’s all for the users it’s we don’t we
don’t want any of your information we would never sell any information things
like that so I think that’s what really sets us apart and then when communities
come online that is again again just a huge really neat opportunity for people
to build and moderate their own communities whatever your interests are
mean everyone is welcome here we want as many people as possible we want people
to succeed and enjoy you know all the things that come on with
online communities online communities have been around since the beginning of
the internet I mean that’s how it started I was actually in college when
the internet was invented and remember you know those yahoo chat groups or
whatever it was called but it was all community based and I remember thinking
what is this and you would find interest for every single type of thing so being
able to offer financial tools just goes beyond I think the opportunities yeah
yeah a hundred percent agree and I’m sure you know with the Facebook
blockchain popping up I’m sure a lot of people are going to start looking
elsewhere and probably stumble upon Steem and Steemit yeah for sure I
definitely think it’s going to happen I mean in an ideal world at least so where
do you see Steemit going in the next six months in the next year or so yeah I
see us continuing to improve and enhance the advertising program because it’s not
a hundred percent perfect yet and just want to make sure again that our users
have the best experience possible along with that includes just improving the
overall onboarding process for users Steemit and Steem and blockchain it’s
something just cryptocurrency is still a very new concept and people have a hard
time grasping you know what does it mean and how do I use Steem and even just
creating an account or buying Steemit’s not as simple as it should be and so I
hope once we get Essen teased in communities I’ve been running
that will automatically improve the onboarding process the sign-up process
then again there are simple things that we can do to again improve the overall
user experience so I think if we improve all of that get all the tools in place
that will improve retention and so retention right now is a key focus
because people you know have a hard time getting their account up and running or
you know there’s there’s a bit bot issue going on and so getting your content
even seen if you’re you know you’re not a huge holder of Steem
is difficult so improving all of the things that just need to be done in
order to retain people keep good people good content curators around and
attracting big influencers I mean I think that’s who was it and deal I’ve
got PewDiePie and you saw just the amount of news media that they got I
mean one one influencer can do a whole lot so I think correcting some of the
issues that we have will then make that part so much easier to get those big
influencers to start using Steemit’s yeah yeah for sure and and I think I
mean like having really looked at the lino Network and you know the D live I
wouldn’t even really consider it a blockchain so it’s really unfortunate
that PewDiePie decided to go with D live and not a not Steem but um you know
hopefully as more people become more aware
– what Steem is and learn more about it they’ll realize that there’s so much
more benefit to being on Steem versus like I want to see a pseudo blockchain
for D live because you know it’s it’s it’s completely controlled by them and
you know among other things but yes so so what is the current user base sighs
look and how is it growing you know just like day to day or week to week yeah I
would say our current it fluctuates between 45 to 65 thousand which you know
we have over a million accounts a lot of those are probably fake accounts but you
know back when again the market was different I would say that user base was
more like 250,000 so we’ve seen a huge drop in active daily users so the plan
is just to again I think once we do a lot of these things I just talked about
we will retain and get back the people that may have left for whatever reason
but the usual but it’s small it needs to get bigger and that’ll also help with
ads again I don’t I don’t want people and eyeballs and folks joining seamen
just for ads that’s not the intent all we want people to come here and enjoy
the experience and just have a great social presence and enjoy
good content I mean that’s what it’s all about and be rewarded for that is
important so yeah yeah no totally agree and yeah like I think with everything
coming out and you know all the all the awareness that blockchain is going to be
getting over the next little while especially social media on blockchain I
I’m sure the user base will will be growing significantly over the path for
the next little while so where are we going to see Steemit at a you know like
what events are we going to see them at and like cryptocurrency conferences
different things like that where are we going to see you guys next I wish so just
you know part of all of where we are today is is still not really incurring
additional costs that are needed and so right now the only thing I can honestly
confirm would be a presence at Steem best we are going to we will continue to
sponsor Steem fest it’s a it’s a wonderful event I don’t know if you’ve
been but it’s in Bangkok this year which is a little bit far for me to travel but
we’ll get there there’s projects and things here in Austin that I have
attended but really we’re being very mindful of any cost that aren’t 100%
necessary so if something were to come up and you know if in New York where
Andrew can go he does the same thing so we’re just trying to be mindful of cost
so yeah that’s really the plan for this year yeah no that makes sense I’m sure
you know as as you guys start to thrive again we’ll see you more and more you
know at different conferences and different events for sure so for for
people who don’t know where can they go to learn more about Steemit Steemit
calm there’s a menu there’s you can learn about the company there’s an about
section that also outlines our mission vision and values which we follow every
day and we will continue to follow those until we
all of our goals and milestones so yes Seemit amd also follow @Andrarchy he’s
head of communications does the blog which is at @steemitblog and then he
also has an @steem-marketing where you can get all of our updates go to
those two accounts I mean we are on Twitter I mean that’s the thing we need
to tell our story and get our messages out to as many people as possible so
that we can encourage them to come on over to Steemit calm absolutely
absolutely and I’ll add those at the bottom of the
screen there during that part of the video but yes so that that’s those are
all the questions I had is there anything else that you’d like to say to
the audience before we end this off just that you know we have a amazing
community and I talk about this a lot on shows and that we could not be where we
are today if it weren’t for community members like yourself that are behind
the project continue to promote and push it and push for greatness and just stick
together so I really just want to again say thank you to everyone out there all
the Steem Ian’s and to you Scott for helping us out with these videos yeah
it’s my pleasure and and thank you so much for coming on and you know giving
everyone a little bit of an inside scoop on what Steemit’s up to so thank you
again so much and everyone make sure to go and check out Steemit and leave
your feedback in the comments below great thank you so much thanks

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