Steem Basic Income
Steem Basic Income is a social experiment to bring a basic income to as many Steemians as possible. Members join by sponsoring others into the program. Steem Basic Income is delivered through providing regular upvotes to member content.
Welcome to @steembasicincome's fourth member interview!
To provide more interaction within Steem Basic Income (SBI), we are continuing our interviews with prominent members of SBI!
We hope to bring a greater sense of community, get to know our members, and gain a better understanding of why Steemians are choosing to be a part of SBI.
I was lucky enough to interview @improv, a long time member of both Steemit and SBI. He was sponsored into SBI almost a month after SBI started, so I figured he might have some good ideas on what SBI does and can do for people when it comes to sustainability.
Brendan (i.e. @improv) works to build community with theatre and film. He's a big fan of all the things he did at theatre camp when he was a kid, and he cultivates that playfulness within the companies he joins as well as Steemit.com as @improv!. He’s written sketch comedy for Daily Fiber Films and Second City Hollywood. He's led workshops for 4-H, First Stage Milwaukee, Seattle Children's Theatre, Youth Theatre Northwest, and We Make Movies. He is a CSzLA improviser, BookPALS reader, award-nominated Hollywood Fringe actor and writer, founder of Ray Burley Productions, feminist, communist, and Wisconsin farm kid. Brendan has a B.A. in Drama from the University of Washington. Favorite roles include D in Polaroid Stories, Eric in Top Decking, Jes in Jes and Lora, and Dogwood in Four Tree Plays.
Kipswolfe (K): We're both doing the freewrites at @freewritehouse on Steemit. Besides freewriting, how long have you actually been on the Steem platform?
Improv (I): Just over a year... June 2017, yeah? I started by believing I was going to run an RPG. No response to my very first post, unsurprisingly, and then I started to see how other people were doing RPGs on here and realized, as much as I liked the idea of that as a format. It was a bit too clunky. Lots of exposition and very little interaction which is fine, and I've participated in a couple, but it's not enough to draw me passionately to run my own.
K: Yeah, I can understand that. I've tried a RPG once or twice online and I always ended up [just] chatting to people.
I: Chatting is great. But, yeah, there's something about being in the room with folks that really makes it a game, you know? So, I started freewriting, started my second or third post, I think -- it's all on the blockchain, so if I'm misremembering, forgive and/or correct me. Then @mariannewest asked if she could do it too.
K: Oh! So you gave her the idea to do @freewritehouse? Or were you the one to start it?
I: She had a larger appetite for committing to all the hard work of organizing. It's absolutely only successful because of the work she's put in and the people she's gathered to help. I merely have continued to do it and lend a hand when I can, but I burned out of organizing a few years ago from film/theatre production things. I still do some, and love the projects I'm involved with, but yeah, [I] would much rather contribute without leadership responsibilities for the time being. [Also] I am the record holder for most consecutive days free-writing on Steemit.
K: Oh, wow. Looks like I have a long ways to catch up.
I: So, you've only been around for a bit! Looks like you're finding your place easy-peasy, though. That's heartening.
K: Thanks to some really great contests. And some really great people.
I: I know my first several months I felt incredibly alone. It wasn't bad. I just would write a freewrite and do it for myself, and if no one saw it, no big deal, maybe enter a contest, yeah, but knowing that folks really can find a community to be a part of quickly here -- I think that will make all the difference in retaining enthusiastic, talented folks.
I know winning one of @Papa-Pepper's contests early and trying to get folks on Steemit because of it really helped me commit.
K: It can be difficult, but Discord helps a great deal for people to become involved. You just have to take advantage of what's out there and look for what's being offered. So, is that most of what you write on Steemit? Freewriting?
I: Once [Steemit has] greater critical mass geographically, I think that'll help as well. Finding people in your town to connect with and do projects with. That'll be awesome. The first thing I tried to organize was a live open mic. I had big dreams for it, but it withered. Maybe someday.
I started doing something a while back called Open Source Interactive Stories (#osis). I let it die, but it's still out there on the blockchain, waiting for me or anyone else to pick up a thread. The idea is based a little on Choose Your Own Adventure novels.
One of the reasons I think it's perfect for the platform is that folks could upvote the threads that they had done and liked, and elements that don't fit can be forgotten.
So, that was an early project. I've also been posting episodes of [my comedy horror script] Gentle Werewolf here.
K: So, how did you learn about Steem Basic Income (SBI) anyway?
I: Oh, hm. I... don't know?
K: Did someone sponsor you?
I: Looking at the spreadsheet that SBI put out a while ago (so not the actually blockchain) my handle first appears on 12/19 as a sponsee of @sneakyninja.
[Editor's Note: The Daily Sneak (formerly @sneakyninja, now @thedailysneak, is an ongoing curation initiative also run by @josephsavage. Curators get paid SBD, and curated authors get upvoted, resteemed, and sponsored for SBI. Check it out!]
K: You've been an SBI member for a while now.
I: Since nearly the beginning, yes.
K: What do you think of it as it currently stands?
I: What do I think of it, hm? Well, my first thought is always that I have faith in the good intentions of management. That may sound like a cop-out, but good intentions are so important in an environment ravaged by "profit-maximization" intentions that don't care about their social impact.
My second thought is that they have historically fantastic returns.
My third thought is that they've been talking about what my major worry has been which is sustainability, so they're aware of the potential problems.
And my fourth thought is that I cannot be 100% certain that STEEM itself will thrive -- heck, cryptocurrency may turn out to be nothing. This, at least, has had a positive impact in exactly the way Joseph [Savage, founder of SBI] has described it potentially having in his video -- namely that, even if my content doesn't reach the whales who can give it $1 upvotes, because I am getting the pennies from SBI, making my content still feels worthwhile, and for my minnow/redfish followers who upvote me before SBI does, it's giving them relatively giant curation returns (A hint for other redfish/minnows: you can get double your vote value in curation rewards by up-voting large holders of SBI units before SBI does... [at] ~14 minutes)
K: How's [SBI] treated you all this time?
I: SBI has treated me well, but I do have the fairly laissez-faire attitude about it that I describe above financially. Once Joseph and I had to go back and forth a bit because a big purchase of SBI that I made got missed. After all, it's all done manually, and people make mistakes, but because of the blockchain being the blockchain, and because of the tools he's provided that make it easy to check your status, we cleared that up quickly, and he was super responsive. He's kind, patient, and attentive.
K: That's awesome. Customer service is huge.
I: I confess, I'm waiting a bit before I buy a bunch more to see how automation and the new system changes things. It's had such a fantastic ROI (Return Of Investment) up to now that I can't imagine that lasting. I am still giving it away as prizes though at a rate of a dozen a week or so, depending on the amount of participation in my Punday Monday which I have also been doing since almost the beginning although it wasn't until season 2 that I started giving out SBI as prizes.
Boy, do I ever think SBI as prizes are the best possible prizes in this atmosphere!
They help you grow your prize pool for future prizes and they are valuable prizes in and of themselves, and they encourage good behavior on Steemit, namely regular posting, but no incentive for posting more than weekly.
K: Do you think participation has increased since you started using SBI as contest prizes? [From what you said,] I guess that mean yes.
I: Oh yes. I mean, a big part of it is the contest round-up that SBI does. I check it myself for contests. But also because [SBI] has enough value (which my vote doesn't) that people want them.
Which brings us to another fantastic point everybody just wants sustainability -- in life, I mean, and, [well,] maybe not everybody, but most people.
People love SBI because it promises long term sustainability. Flashy big-money is what we think we want. The crypto world is full of people who want Lambos, but you talk to folks about what they'd do with lottery winnings, and for the most part, what they want to do with it is create financial security for themselves. They'll take it over 30 years or they'll invest it in a trust. They'll buy a house. -- I'm getting a bit worked up. I don't know that SBI can solve this for us long-term. I hope/wish it can/could, but I think we all need to look at each other and what most of need. We need to lambast the folks who openly desire to get rich no matter the cost. We need to work together for our common good and help each other up, and not give our time and our pittances to the already-rich who use it make themselves richer.
My neighbors yell at each other, not because they're bad people, but because they have financial insecurity Hopelessness is a spiral. Being poor is exhausting. Tired people get cranky. They yell. It escalates.
K: So, since you've mentioned whether SBI can solve the sustainability process for us long-term, how do you see the evolution of SBI?
I: I have hopes, certainly.
K: How do you think SBI could evolve to accomplish your desire for sustainability?
I: Boy, howdy, I don't know that it can. On the one hand, we've seen that financial instruments have incredible power to move money from the hands of the many middle-income or poor to the few very wealthy.
K: What [does] sustainability mean to you?
I: Well, as far as personal finances go, it means folks have a roof over their heads, access to healthcare, and healthy food to eat. It means that, even if things go all wrong -- that catastrophes hit them or that just everyday issues drag them down -- they won't have to worry about surviving. Making that threshold something no one falls below sustainable -- that means we have the freedom to explore big ideas and to do the work that needs to be done to make each other happy.
I mean, you ask what sustainable means to me, but I don't think you mean you want the definition of sustainable, right? As far as what SBI being sustainable means, practically, I think I don't have as good a notion of what's possible as Joseph does. He's been purchasing delegations with the STEEM rather than simply accumulating it. I think he's done the math to figure out that, at current delegation prices and current reward pool distributions, that's returning more money to SBI users than just powering up over the long haul. I expect the economics of STEEM will change at some point, as more users use more of the pool and the rate of inflation goes down. But we'll see. I trust them to keep an eye on it, and I trust us to keep asking them for clarification so we can help advise if we see problems coming.
As far as permaculture goes... well, I don't pursue it, but there's a neat thing that gets said in those circles, about trying to find the point where the smallest change will have the biggest positive impact.
I love that, as we strive for sustainability, what small changes, relatively, can have the biggest impact. For my wife and I, I think it was getting rid of our car. Cars are expensive. Not everyone can get rid of their cars. I mean, lots of folks live in rural areas, but for us, living in a big city, there was no place we needed to get to on a daily basis that we couldn't bus or bike to. And for longer trips where we need a car, we just rent one. Still cheaper than paying for insurance every month.
K: Do you think that the SBI vote is going to increase?
I: I can't imagine that the current ROI is sustainable. I just expect it to remain good enough even after the changes.
K: Why so?
I: It's so ridiculously good right now. There's plenty of room for it to go down and still be an incredible return. As long as SBI returns better than inflation (and STEEM doesn't tank for good), I'll consider that both sustainable as an investment, and hope that SBI can find a way to make that sustainable for the program, i.e. something that doesn't result in ever smaller SP holdings for SBI.
If the things that I hope will be true turn out to be true, then SBI will become a major factor in pushing STEEM itself upwards in value, until, perhaps, it winds up out of reach of any but those who are still holders of STEEM. At which point, it truly will become what Joseph imagined, where we use our newfound wealth to sponsor new users into the program. Ultimately, altruistic individual owners of financial instruments are not the way we'll solve global poverty, but so long as we don't have a proletarian revolution on the horizon, we might as well try with these kinds of programs.
K: How can you use SBI to further your goals of being sustainable? I mean, is it going to take a lot of STEEM/money put into the system? Do you think it will be able to help keep a family afloat one day?
I: Will/could it ever sustain a family? At current ROI, yes, absolutely. I talked to Joseph back when he was first talking about automation and published ROI. If that had held steady (and it has, but who knows how long?) then using a significant chunk of our current life savings to buy SBI would have led us to have a weekly income we could have lived meagerly off of. Enough to be sustainable. He cautioned me that the math would probably change with automation, so I'm still holding off to see what the result of that is. Currently [as of November 15, 2018], $1 (USD) makes [approximately] $0.01/week so $50,000 makes $500/week. That's enough to live on. But this cannot be sustainable. After all, at that rate, in a year I could invest that $500/week so that I'm getting $750/week for the second year and $1100 the third year and $1600+ the fourth and it starts to get crazy when you double things every 3 years. You get to millions of dollars a year pretty dang soon, and no financial instrument does that. So, no, I don't think these current rates are sustainable. But I do hope they find sustainability and then I can use them to find financial stability!
My wife and I were talking about whether now was the time to buy more STEEM and the answer is, "who knows?"
K: Interesting. I think everything with cryptocurrency is up in the air at the moment
@kipswolfe is the author of two LGBT romances along with a few published short stories. She has been in the book business now for about 7 years, having served as a reviewer for Nightscape Press magazine to a acquiring editor for Morrigan Press (both businesses now defunct) to editor, proofreader, book layout editor for Shared Worlds once a year under Jeff and Ann VanderMeer. Currently on Steemit, she takes part in #freewrite as well as numerous other contests.
If you want to get involved, or to increase the share of basic income that you receive, enrollment is pretty straightforward:
Just send 1 STEEM to @steembasicincome. Include the name of a Steemian to sponsor in the transaction memo (preceded by @). You and the person you sponsor will each receive 1 share in the program. You can sponsor any active Steemian, it does not have to be a current member.
If you're unclear, please check out our full transaction memo guidelines and then let us know if you have any questions.
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SBI Writer's Group Needs Your Help
A few spots are available for interested writers to join the SBI writer's group.
You do not already have to be a member of Steem Basic Income to take up this opportunity, but a basic working knowledge of SBI would help.
Here are previous interviews created by members of the SBI writers group.
Participating writers receive payment in SBI units, along with a writing credit on articles and updates published on @steembasicincome account. Bonuses in STEEM/SBD are available for quality work that requires minimal editing.
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