Steemit INC Cuts 70% Of Its Employees: Back To Reality, Here Comes Gravity

in steemit •  21 days ago

Less than 10 hours ago, @ned published a post about letting go 70% of the Steemit INC employees. The reason: bearish crypto market makes cost control very difficult.

Before diving deeper into this, I will just remind you that the title line above ("back to reality, here comes gravity") besides being made famous by Eminem, was also the last sentence of my previous article about what it means to be into crypto. It seems I have a (rather unsettling, to be honest) ability to catch the vibes of the market lately. Let's see if this ability will remain after the trend reverses. :)

And now, to the topic at hand.

First and foremost, letting people go sucks. Big time. I've been an entrepreneur employing other people for more than 18 years and I know that first hand. You look at the expenses spreadsheet and it's all red and you cut some rows and it turns green again and you think you're done. But you're not. Those rows you cut from the spreadsheet are actual people. And, most of the time, they also have people who depend on them. So, just like you empower more than one person when you employ somebody, you push into misery more than one person when you lay off.

But, as sad as this is, sometimes you just have to do it. You have to unload a bit of your cargo, hoping that the ship will continue to float.

I'm in no position to emit opinions about how @ned is managing his company. I can only speak about the parts in which I'm directly involved. And that would be the decentralized part of the Steem ecosystem, where I am a witness (one that didn't get "the freedom vote" - meaning I'm not approved, nor supported by the core Steemit INC voting power) a content creator and curator, and a developer of dapps on top of the blockchain. So, please keep in mind that what I'm going to write doesn't apply to Steemit INC, but rather to the decentralized part of this business.

I came to Steem more than 2 years ago, by invitation. At that time I had a fairly popular blog (that's why I've been invited by @wadepaterson) and a few books self-published. I wasn't doing bad. And yet, I decided to switch completely to Steem and almost abandoned the other platforms. The reason: I believe in the vision. That vision made me contribute more than 5,000 articles in two years and put up resources (hardware, bandwidth, time and skills) in order to become a witness. Every day, a few hundreds transactions are witnessed by my nodes. That's a wonderful feeling, to be honest.

But, as promising as the vision may be, a vision without execution is just a dream. And the execution part of the Steem ecosystem degraded a lot during the last year. I don't know the reasons, and, I repeat, I'm not giving entrepreneurship advice here, but for the entire 2018 we had pretty much nothing in terms of execution. All that we had was a block-halting HardFork 20, which alienated thousands of users. The benefits that HF20 provided were almost forgotten because of the bad execution.

So, for me, as a witness, it became increasingly difficult to do my job. Add to this the lack of communication, the slow progress on other fronts (like SMT, for instance) and the picture you see is rather gloomy.

And now, 70% of the Steemit INC is gone.

Will that make the role of witnesses more prominent? Will they have more to say in how the development progresses? Will it be an increase in the quality of the execution?

All these are just questions now. The answers are yet to be discovered.

As far as I'm concerned, I will continue to do exactly what I was doing until now: I will monitor my witness nodes, ensuring they're working flawlessly, I will continue to contribute and curate content and to onboard other users, I will continue to post regular updates about my witness work (I've been doing that pretty much every week, for as long as I've been a witness) and I will continue to maintain and improve the products that I built on top of this infrastructure (steem.supply being the one that many users know, for instance).

Will that be enough for Steemit to grow and become the vision I bought into?

To be honest, I don't know.

And the wave of sentimental reaction, like "I will not leave, I'm here for the long run, I'm a believer, let's stick together, etc" is becoming to feel a bit unnerving, at least for me. I've been seeing this mix of enthusiasm and naivety for the last two years every time there was a major crisis. Was that helping? Well, looking at where we are right now, it doesn't look like. On the contrary. Looks like the more sentimental and pseudo-sacrificial people get, the worse the situation.

We need to stop bragging that we're here for the long run, if we actually need to be a long run somewhere beyond the horizon. We need to shut up and put in the work. We need to accept our differences and support each other, to the point we stop being just a collection of castes (minnows, dolphins and whales, fighting for a piece of the rewards pool in a red ocean) and become a real community.

We need to accept reality and the gravity that comes with it.


I'm a serial entrepreneur, blogger and ultrarunner. You can find me mainly on my blog at Dragos Roua where I write about productivity, business, relationships and running. Here on Steemit you may stay updated by following me @dragosroua.


Dragos Roua


Wanna know when you're getting paid?

I know the feeling. That's why I created steem.supply, an easy to use and accurate tool for calculating your Steemit rewards

It's free to use, but if you think this is a useful addition, I'd appreciate your witness vote.

Thank you!


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We all met sad periods in past. Sometimes, The life would be very hard. But life is go on. But we have to focus Steem economy and ecosystem. Because, many Steemians only focus dapps runnig on STeemit. But the most important is that the economic base of money. it means that other steemians contributions to the economy should be increased.

If this does not happen, the system on the Steemit will not grow more. Growth isn't just making Dapps. Economic growth must be spread to the bottom. So it really grows in the community.

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You got a 92.11% upvote from @minnowvotes courtesy of @cryptoewp!

I've got mom's spaghetti on my sweater already.

I agree with the points of your post in their entirety.

Rah rah!? Nah.
sigh

@dragosroua,
70% of STEEMIT INC gone is a really bad idea! @ned should plan for the future as well! Coz we are in a trading market and we have a road map to go on time!

Cheers~

That not sound good..

@dragosrua Can the Steem blockchain survive without Steemit Inc??

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We don't need the company to keep the blockchain running, and we could find another way to support developers. But in the comments, Ned said the infrastructure cost for steemit.com and the API server that helps other apps read and write to the blockchain is almost $2,000,000 per year.

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Yes

later edit: that's a very good question, actually

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You may see a few hard-forks... I am pretty sure steem monsters runs their own nodes, has the capabilities of forking and a userbase to follow.

Posted using Partiko Android

Great article!
It sucks you didn't get on the approved list. Maybe eventually Steemit Inc will sell enough Steem so that this is truly a decentralized platform.

We need to accept our differences and support each other, to the point we stop being just a collection of castes (minnows, dolphins and whales, fighting for a piece of the rewards pool in a red ocean) and become a real community.

We need to accept reality and the gravity that comes with it.

Beautiful @dragosroua!

Thank you!

/FF

IMO, Ned's post is an example of bad management. I am really sorry for the fired developers who I am sure have not been lead correctly.
However, this steemit dependency we all had is approaching to an end, and I guess it will be good for all of us.
As @therealwolf said, we are steem.

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Poor Management and Planning

The reality is that Steem inc, as many other projects in the crypto industry are suffering from the bear trend. We are witnessing the survival battle and only those projects with real value and strong management will remain in business.
As in any new venture, the tough times are the ones where management makes the difference if a company survives. The difference in Steemit is that survival probably needs to be accomplished together between Steem Inc team and all the community (users any size and witnesses). I believe that will be the only way to give the project a real chance to move forward. We will have to see.

"I will continue to do exactly what I was doing until now: I will monitor my witness nodes, ensuring they're working flawlessly"

i actually think this might be a good opportunity to show people that steem will stay even if steemit inc goes bankrupt. it hasn't happened yet but a bit of chaos might even be worth it.

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Got the same feeling, but Blockchain without team is lethal direction. The Question now is who is the Team? The Witnesses??? Maybe 21 is not enough

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No its not lethal. It will be tough for the shortterm. Not lethal. Thw witnesses and voting never had power in the first place because ned had it all. And still does. Thw biggest problem is his stake and incompetence.

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First SMTs and Hivemind 1.5.... then say can go bankrupt. 😮😉

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Theres more qualified people than ned for literally anything and everything. I havent seen his livestream yet but judging from my little experience in accounting steemit inc has slim chance of survival (im referring to the general pattern of ceos and organizations that go under because they only get reported what they like to see). They can hand it over to someone else or just open in for the community to deal with it. No more single centralized point of failure please :)

But, as promising as the vision may be, a vision without execution is just a dream.

This is absolutely on point! We don't want steemit to die, but it stagnation is killing us slowly.

In all honesty and in hindsight, it is not too surprising to see the need to reduce costs as the Steem that was funding the Steemit organization has decreased substantially in a short period of time. Other costs like infrastructure are difficult to reduce in the same proportion given the need of them to exist for the technology whichbis why they look at the people first. If not, they would either need to liquidate more Steem to cover costs which would lead to a vicious cycle that is unsustainable. The focus now needs to be how and if the community can take more control of this development by way of developers and witnesses which could lead to more decentralization which I think is a positive but the roadmap to get there is the challenge as the community also has the same issues as Steemit; lack of incentive due to prices... It will be tough short term as this is figures out for sure but a core will remain.

Posted using Partiko iOS

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They didn't see the bullet coming. That worries me. Some where a read about a Destiny surprise. Maybe this is the one.

We need to stop bragging that we're here for the long run

Good point! I've been saying for a while that Steemit, Inc. was focusing on future technology too much. That was just a difference of opinion. I didn't know they couldn't even afford this strategy.

You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
Opportunity comes once in a lifetime, yo

Question for you: what is the most important cost of being a witness? Labor, equipment, traffic, electricity or the cloud? We might see a shift to witnesses with a lower cost base.

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what is the most important cost of being a witness?

RAM / SSD. The rest of the hardware and bandwidth are not that expensive.

Also, lately, the cognitive cost (adjusting to various changes) starts to matter.

Well you could be an optimist and ask what has steem inc done in the last year? How does lack of staff affect anything on a decentralized platform? I guess that would be cynical not optimistic...

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Decentralized but run by 21 powerful Whales who will be taking their part on this bloody game.

Regarding Steemit Inc, day spent their time in Hard Fuck 20, but not on planning against the future. Even they were talking about a new destiny....

Wow! This was a fantastic read. I love your candidness and honesty. Thanks for putting this out here. Following you and voted for your witness asap. Cheers!

I wonder if this will affect SMT development. I know the low price is also hitting witnesses. They and some others depend on Steem income.

It can seem like we have got a wall, but then you see all the dapps being built on Steem. There are dozens of developers out there building cool stuff. Some even have a business plan. If that can grow to hundreds then we really have something. There will be a dapp to suit any user. There are still hurdles with things like key management, but that is being worked on too, outside Steemit Inc.

It looks like we still rely on Ned's team to maintain the default site and work on some core features, but of they went away we could have enough developers to keep going anyway.

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It will, he wrote so in the comments of his post

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I wonder if this will affect SMT development.

I'm actually asking myself the same for some weeks already.
And now: 70% of the company gone. No information on their roles.
Just to fire them because of the costs seems short-sighted to me.
But I don't know the details so I should judge actually.

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A clear example of bad management, poor leadership and lack of planning

Thanks @dragosroua for your work and for letting us know what is going on here. Still, so many questions to be answered. Let's hope and contribute.

that's the only left in this bear market to hear about

Seems to me you are ahead of market analysts. Let's see impact on Steem prices. The great joke is that they cannot invest but ask people to invest in Steem. I don't get it. Maybe it is time to power down and saved some bucks from apocalypse.
In all research and learning about blockchain I learn the team is a critical variable. This news is really devastating

It seems I have a (rather unsettling, to be honest) ability to catch the vibes of the market lately. Let's see if this ability will remain after the trend reverses. :)

Thanks for sharing your point of view!
It indeed isn’t a good situation steem.inc is in.
Could it also be related with the seperation of steemit and the blockchain?
The worst thing about it, besides the people who will be fired, is that the progress of the SMT will even be slower, which could result in an even bigger downfall!
Cheers,
Peter

What we really need to accpet is, that while RC's use stops people joining an posting as they wish to, then steemit is heading in one direction...
to an exclusive club, and never attractive for mass adoption - which seems so utterly illogical it confounds the mind..

(I'm seeing it purely from the social media platform aspect, btw)

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I totally agree with your point. All Hard Fuck 20 did was making thing more difficult not simpler, irregardless of original intention.

1 week to join???? And then finding you cannot interact???

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It would be interesting to compare manpower left after the reduction against the one existing back in 2016 when Steem was even in a lower price

See this data prices today
Screenshot_2018-11-28-13-12-47.png

Loosing my faith on the sustainability of steem platform

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Let's see what the Whales do? Let's see statistics on power down, let's see what happens in 7 days. Let's see market reaction when they digest the news. With Steem at 0.35 they are almost broken. What would happen if @dragosrua vision of 0.10 materialized?? Although Bitcoin is recovering, so if Steem goes down in price, then internal factors apply

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So...3 days gone, what is your observation now?

So it means SMT is also gone?

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Delayed.

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Always delayed... And they are not even publishing the story points anymore...

As I digest the destiny surprise of 70% manpower cut, I am reaching the conclusion that steemit Inc lacks planning. They lunch Hard Fuck 20 without any provision of what could happen if prices drop. I see clearly in my mind. It is a leadership problem. And Communities may end up fragmenting more than integrating.

Maybe this 70% cut is an awakening for all of us. Maybe it is the door for more participation of witnesses.

Very well written! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

We need to stop bragging that we're here for the long run, if we actually need to be a long run somewhere beyond the horizon. We need to shut up and put in the work. We need to accept our differences and support each other, to the point we stop being just a collection of castes (minnows, dolphins and whales, fighting for a piece of the rewards pool in a red ocean) and become a real community.

Exactly! At least for me its not about rewards here. I want to create something and the Steem Blockchain is a very good place to do that!

I know it may be too early to ask for your support, but @platuro and me are developing a FPS Game with Steem integration. We want to release it on different Platforms (Steam, Android, Xbox and maybe even more) and everyone who buys the Game also gets a free Steem account to trade Skins and special Items. At least thats the plan. We would be very happy to get a bit of Support from you and other Steemians.

Here are two posts i published recently and we would be very happy to get some Feedback and maybe even Resteems:
First ingame Impressions - War of Decentralization
WoD - Loading Screen / First Logo Design

It feels like begging but we really need some support to continue our Work and i would be very grateful if you would have a look. Thank you for taking your time to read this!^^

Edit: If you got any questions we opened up a discord channel https://discord.gg/vKyFH3d
And if you think this is Offtopic, and you dont like it in your Post, i will delete this comment.