The Greatest Trick Steemit Ever Pulled Was Convincing The World It Didn't Exist
Firstly let me make clear that, this is not a rage quit. I have never seen any point in rage quitting anything. Nor is this a whining post about whatever system being unfair or rigged or blah, blah, blah.
What this is, is a critique; it is an analysis of exactly where I believe Steemit has gone wrong; and why it doesn't have a million plus users and a Steem price over $1. The answer is quite glaringly obvious to anyone who thinks about it for a second, or has been in business before.
The reason can be summed up in one simple sentence; Steemit failed to tell enough people of its existence.
It is not rocket science, you can have the greatest idea in the world, but if you don't tell anyone about it, no one will ever get to experience it.
The Tale Of The Genie And The Rotten Apple
Back around the end of the last century and the beginning of this one; a certain computer company was about to go bust. Unfortunately for them, their computers were around twice the cost of most other machines, and they had serious compatibility and power issues.
They decided to have one last throw of the dice to try and save their company. However they would move away from computers and move into what they saw, as a developing market; Mp3 players.
As you have no doubt realised, that company was Apple Macintosh, and as well as dropping the Macintosh from their name, they went hell for leather on the ipod. Which in itself was not that innovative, there had been other Mp3 players that looked, and worked in a similar way, that predated the ipod.
One could argue that the ipod had a larger memory than its rivals at the time; however larger memory can hardly be seen as innovation. Yet the ipod was a smash hit; at its height it sold more than 1000 units per hour, every hour, of every day, of every week, for around 2 years.
The ipod transformed Apple's fortunes, and turned it from a small boutique computer company, to one of the largest corporations in the world.
So why was the ipod so successful?
The success of the ipod can be summed up in a single, all encompassing word; marketing.
They marketed the shit out of that thing...
Apple's marketing was so successful, that before long, they didn't even have to have any branding on their adverts. A simple sillohuette of a person wearing white headphones was all it took to let you know that you were viewing an ipod advert.
In fact, their marketing was so successful, that at the time many people believed, and some still do; that Apple invented the Mp3 player.
Think about that; they weren't first to market, however through marketing, they made it seem like they were.
Steemit's Great Shame
I had great hopes for Steemit, I read way back in May, a thread on Reddit whereby Steemit CTO Dan Larimer, was defending the Steemit premine. Within that thread, he said that a lot of the premined coins would be converted to Bitcoin and then reinvested into the platform.
I heard Steemit CEO Ned Scott say as much on subsequent occasions, and I, perhaps naively thought that some of that investment would go into marketing.
Perhaps a lot of the issues come from the fact that Steemit is billed as a; user-driven, decentralised platform, yet still calls itself Steemit Inc; the Inc standing for Incorporated, and it has a structure which includes a Chief Executive Officer and a Chief Technical Officer.
However there seems to be a clear split for when Steemit behaves like an incorporated, centralised company, and when it behaves like a user-driven platform.
When it comes to all matters financial and technical, it seems Steemit is indeed a company. Decisions on how the site should look; proposed hardforks, and site reinvestment, are very much centralised at Steemit HQ. Whereas, brand development and marketing, seems to have been left to the user base.
Some people might point to Ned's little jolly around the world going to various Steem events; however this is not marketing. Showing up at an event, where everyone attending already knows about Steemit is at best a guest appearance; at worst, a complete waste of time.
Leaving the marketing to the user base was a disastrously naive decision. It meant that at once, all the marketing was going to be of an organic nature, which is not a bad thing. However this kind of organic marketing, leads to PR, which whilst valuable, does not have the same call to actions which will drive user numbers up.
Any public relations should be backed up by a concerted marketing campaign which spreads the word through the most suited medium.
There is no doubt that the crest of the wave has been missed, the time to really push and shout about Steemit would have been between June and August. At that point the price was soaring and Steemit was getting free PR.
Ned & Dan should not only have created a curating guild to make sure the front page was diverse enough to attract a non-cryptocurrency audience, they should have chucked some of those millions of dollars they have made at marketing.
A good place to start would have been to make sure an app was released at around the time the first payout happened, as then in-app advertising could have been utilised.
However the biggest thing they have missed is Facebook; if we look at the Huffington Post, which came out of nowhere to become one of the most popular blogging sites on the net. They understood early on the power of Facebook.
Whilst Steemit may be trying to overthrow and replace Facebook, the reality is, that Facebook is an incredibly successful marketing platform, hence the reason they made $11 billion last year. The Huffington realised that their audience was already on Facebook, all they had to do was find them.
By targeting articles to varying demographics, they were able to get shares and likes for articles appearing on Huffington.
We can be left in no doubt, just how powerful it would have been to have been getting thousands of shares a day on Facebook, at a time when Steemit was flying high. To have just tried to achieve such a target organically, is woeful mismanagement.
The users were simply the PR tools, to boost the concerted marketing push, that never took place. They should never have been part of the marketing plan, as that was surely the road to unfocused chaos. Users will enthusiastically come up with the idea for advertising Steemit on a billboard; whilst this may get the founders rewarding them on the site, it won't do much to increase users. Whoever visited a site after seeing it whizz by on a billboard at 55 mph?
So now we are at a point whereby the Steem Facebook page has a few self praising articles that have been no doubt liked by the Steemit community and few others. The price will hold around it's current value, fluctuating enough to make it a tradeable coin, but not enough to make Steemit as attractive as it was in the summer.
It's not too late of course; Ned, Dan and the company that is Steemit, are worth millions of dollars and therefore can afford to hire a shit hot marketeer, and start telling people about this amazing platform.
Or, they could carry on doing what they are doing; which is cashing out all of their money and riding off into the sunset.
Perhaps they too, like Kaiser Soze will slip into the distant fog of legend, and maybe one day two people will have a debate as to whether Steemit ever even existed.
WHAT DO YOU RECKON; HAS STEEMIT BEEN MISMANAGED SHOULD THERE HAVE BEEN A MORE STRUCTURED MARKETING PLAN? OR AM I JUST SPOUTING RUBBISH OUT OF MY BOTTOM? LET ME KNOW BELOW!