Witness Insider - 1st Edition - Tim Cliff

in witness-category •  3 months ago


I started my Steemit journey in February 2018. As with most things in life, I was late to the crypto party, missed the Bitcoin crescendo, never partook in social media and blogging, but at least I am finally a part of the first ever social media platform built on top of a blockchain. I really had no clue what that meant at that time, but seven months later, my knowledge has grown quite a bit.


My first two months on Steemit was like most typical minnow or plankton or whatever tiny little species that my newbie group is called. I struggled to understand the platform and really didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I spent most of my time entering contests and commenting on other’s post hoping to make some connections. I won a few contests and connected with the hosts and contestants. Through hosting my own little contests, I met @davemccoy, a champion of newbie communities, and was introduced to @newbieresteemday which was founded by @mudcat36 and @davemccoy. Through this community, I quickly learned the ins and outs of the Steemit platform and grew along a close group of newbies.

Pass forward to May 2018 and my interest has shifted to wanting to learn about what makes Steemit tick. I researched blockchain, Steemit platform, and found witnesses. As I dug deeper, I learned more but also grew more confused. I learned that there were Linux servers involved, talks of full seed nodes and price feeds, top 20 witnesses producing 99% of the Steemit blocks, and the power of my vote (which is minuscule to say the least).

Witness 101.JPG

The first article that finally captivated my attention was written by @timcliff, Guide to Being a Good Witness. It is hard to keep my attention for more than 10 minutes, but Tim managed to maintain it for the entirety of his post. I saw that it was written several months ago, but I felt compelled to leave a comment as I was impressed by his message to future witness wannabes. To my surprise, I received a thoughtful reply the very next day. I’m so used to being ignored as a minnow that it blew me away that a top witness would take the time to respond to little o me. Of course my next steps were to read Tim’s other posts and these are some of the things that I uncovered:

  1. He is a community supporter
  2. He donated STEEM to sponsor the IFC contest that promotes learning and engagement
  3. He hosted a contest to promote the Steemit platform
  4. He does not accept author rewards for this weekly witness posts
  5. He is responsive to everyone who commented on his posts
  6. He makes time for newbies like myself

After reading two of his weekly witness updates, I had the crazy idea that I would ask him for an interview to learn more about him as an individual, not the witness or Steemian, which I felt I got a sense of through reading his posts and following his Steemit trails. In life I have learned that I will never get what I do not ask for, so I asked. And again, he surprised me by agreeing to an interview. Now imagine me, a new Steemian with a 28 rep at that time, getting an opportunity to interview a top 5 witness of the Steemit platform. I felt like I was going to meet a celebrity, so I started preparing all of my interview questions right away.

I did not want to summarize his replies because I will most like add my own biases. My goal with the Witness Insider series is to give Steemians the opportunity to get to know witnesses on a more personal level and to expose some of the facts that I had uncovered so that you can make more informed voting decisions. Each Steemain has 30 precious votes and should take time to exercise your voting powers. If you do not know how to cast a vote, please reach out to me and I will happily guide you step-by-step.


Please note, I am not being paid by Tim Cliff nor am I affiliated to his witness campaign in any way, shape, or form. I wrote this post out of my own curiosity an interest of witnesses, Steemit, and the STEEM blockchain.

So without further ado, here are Tim’s responses to my interview questions:

  1. Please tell us about yourself: hobbies, passions, likes & dislikes, strength, weakness, etc…

    I would probably be best described as a bit of a computer nerd. I like programming and gaming. I also like movies and TV. I am happily married to my spouse Chris (@artist1989). We spend a lot of time together.

  2. What were you doing before joining the STEEM platform?

    Mostly working as a software developer / product delivery manager for a software company.

  3. What drew you to Steemit? When did you join? Did you buy in or started form a blank slate?

    I originally joined back in July 2016. I found out about it through a post that my brother shared on Facebook. I initially started out as an investor (I bought some STEEM), and got drawn in to the other aspects of the platform.

  4. Please describe the key factors that led to your success on the STEEM platform.

    a) I did not listen to all the people who were saying that it was not possible to be successful here.
    b) I spent a lot of time and effort to build a following and prove that I was adding value. It probably took around 4-6 months of constantly posting and adding value to "get noticed" and start earning anything as far as rewards.
    c) I networked and got to know some of the stakeholders, and learned about the things they felt were important for the platform to succeed/grow.

  5. When did you decide to become a witness and why?

    I started in October 2016. Not going to lie, the potential to earn money was part of the initial draw. My original goal though was really just to get to the point that I earned more from producing blocks than I was paying to run my servers. I never imagined that I would actually become a top witness. I was also fascinated by the existing witnesses, and always found it very interesting to read about what they were doing to grow the platform. When I finally decided to run, it was because I saw myself as someone that was adding a lot of value to the platform/community through what I did, and felt that running a witness node was an extension / continuation of that.

  6. How did you obtain all your votes to get to rank #5?

    It is impossible for me to know what all of the people who voted for me used as their criteria, but from my perspective I have always been doing things to add value to the platform/community. It means a lot to me to know that the stakeholders consider me someone who is doing a good job as a witness. Every day I try to continue meeting/beating their expectations :)

  7. What is the hardest part about being a witness?

    Sometimes is is hard to know where to put my focus. There are quite a few projects that I want to be working on in order to improve the platform, but there are only so many hours in the day. I have to try and pick what the most important things are, and work on those. If we could somehow convert to having 72 hour days, that would help a lot :)

  8. How do you manage to stay at #5 and do you have any campaign plans to rise higher in witness rank?

    Well, my rank is entirely based on the votes of the stakeholders. It is important for me to continue to find ways to add value, and respond appropriately to the wants/needs of the stakeholders. I am happy with where I am at, and I have a lot of respect for the other witnesses in the top 5. To be in that group is quite an honor.

  9. What advice would you give a new potential witness?

    Before starting a witness campaign, it is important to learn how the platform works so that you can actually find ways to add value. Being a witness is a lot different than being a "miner" for other blockchains. You need to do more than just 'produce blocks'. I wrote a guide here: https://steemit.com/witness-category/@timcliff/guide-to-being-a-good-witness. It also helps if you have been a member of the platform for a while, and people in the community have gotten to know you.

  10. What advice would you give a new user just joining the STEEM platform?

    Everyone is able to add value in their own unique way. Find out how you can add value, and focus on that. Know that it will likely take significant time and effort to be successful though. You will need to prove yourself to the community over time, which requires building relationships with people that are here.

  11. What are your thoughts regarding the STEEM price dropping under $1.70 USD? What actions will you take if any?

    The Steem blockchain is still in it's growing stages. I don't think we will really see it achieve it's true value until Communities are launched, and we start to have some massive growth in users. From my side, I continue working on projects that I think will add value to the platform.

  12. What are your focus for this year and how to you plan to achieve them?

    It is hard to look out that far, because a lot of the needs that I respond to are things that come up as the platform evolves. Right now I am spending a lot of time trying to help improve the "Steem developer portal". I also spend a lot of time helping out users with support issues as one of the moderators of the steem.chat help channel.

  13. Who are the members or groups that you collaborate with and why?

    Way too many to list :-) I try to be involved with as many different projects as I can, and keep up with everything that is happening on the platform (as much as possible).

  14. How do you feel about voting bots? Are they beneficial or harmful to the ecosystem?

    It is the right of stakeholders to create voting bots, and the right of users to use them. So in that sense, I support them. In my view, we would be better off without them - but I also think it is part of the natural evolution of a platform such as this. I think at some point in the future we will to a large extent "outgrow" them and stakeholders will find better uses of their stake, but for now they are pretty prevalent.

  15. If you had the power, what changes would you implement to the STEEM platform?

    These changes would be a good start :)

The End

Thank you all for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed this Witness Insider 1st edition. Please leave comments of questions you would like to ask of Tim. If we are lucky, he might stop by and respond to your questions or I could try to get a second interview (fingers crossed).

Written by Mello of team @BeeYOU.


Let's talk witness logo by @davemccoy, Newbieresteemday banner from @jogreh, Witness vote, Steemit witness 101, Newbieresteemday giphy from @amariespeaks

Authors get paid when people like you upvote their post.
If you enjoyed what you read here, create your account today and start earning FREE STEEM!
Sort Order:  

Nice interview mello:) Took a while to post I see!😁


I was hoping no one would notice that part. Yeah I interviewed Tim about 4 months ago, then life threw me a curve ball and I had to abruptly take a break from STEEM. Then when I got back two month ago, my intention was to fulfill my obligation by writing this post first, but I procrastinated and days turned into weeks, than months.

At last it is finally posted. I can rest easy and turn my concentration onto monsters and NFL fantasy football, my favorite time of year.


hey there! nice interview! :) I DID read it - however... I'm here on other business hehehe

Would you do me a FLAVOR and let @beeyou (well, I should specify PAULA lol) to check her DM? I had forgotten something VERY important for her!!!! and begged her forgiveness and rectified the situation! hehehe

thanks so much! Just want to make sure that she knew - i forgot (because the time passed and my Swiss cheese brain just let it go) but then .... i remembered! yay! LOL

Thanks @mellofello! :)


Hi @dreemsteem. I saw your DM. :)

It is a very sweet of you, but NO, I will not accept it. I WILL be linking your reading to my next story and appreciate you reading it. Hope you don't mind!

You will make an awesome Selenia. I can't wait to hear the reading!


too late! already sent hahahahahaha

It was my pleasure, dear friend!!! and i would be so honored for you to link that reading ANYWHERE you like!!! :)

and i have an idea - if you really don't want to keep the gift... instead of giving it back - why don't you look for a fun way to bless someone! Just hang onto it until you see that PERFECT opportunity to give it to someone who really needs it!

then we both win :)


It was a very sweet gesture for you to send me the steem, but I sent it back. No way could I have taken your earning. I saw the contest you're doing with the SBI. Please use it towards helping others. Thank you for your thoughtfulness @dreemsteem!

Thanks for letting me link to your reading. I'm excited to hear more readings from you in the real Steemmonsters storyline!


You're so kind! we both did the work together! hehehehe

but if you insist - I will sponsor something in your name soon! I'll send you a DM when I think of something fun!!!

As you write more - would you tag me in a comment or DM the link? I don't want to miss it!!! :)

Hi @beeyou, I'm @checky ! While checking the mentions made in this post I noticed that @mudcat doesn't exist on Steem. Did you mean to write @mughat ?

If you found this comment useful, consider upvoting it to help keep this bot running. You can see a list of all available commands by replying with !help.

I love your bot. I am curious though, do you only appear when the post is first submitted with an incorrect mention? Or do you also appear when I edit the post with the wrong mention? Lastly, do you appear when I misspell a mention in a comment?

Tagging @liberty-mindes (testing)

Nice interview @mello :) I wondered how @beeyou was doing this while on holidays ... let's face it, we all know that would never happen haha


Thanks for stopping by @lynncoyle. Beeyou had stressed that I need to post more on this account, and as soon as I was ready to post, she said “No! I just made a post. Please wait at least one day.” Go figure.

My reply was, “I thought you were on vacation? Why are you posting? Addict, haha.”


You are most welcome @mellofello :)

hahaha , you should know by now not to try and figure girls out :) I think everyone here is a bit of a steemit addict!! :)

As I dug deeper, I learned more but also grew more confused

I know what you mean haha! I have been slowly trying to understand more about the ins and outs of Steemit and the more I look into it the more confused I feel. But I think/hope that is normal and someday it will all start to click for me haha. Despite my lack of knowledge, I do know how much value @timcliff adds to the platform. I have been hesitant to vote for witnesses until I understand everything better, so I have been a little reserved thus far on that front(hoping to change that very soon), but after looking through Tim's page again for awhile the other day I went to check my votes and noticed he wasn't there yet, so I made sure to add him.

Awesome interview, cool stuff :) Great work!


Thanks @herbertholmes for stopping by and thanks for voting. We all need to take this seriously and do our research to vote for the right people who have our best interest in mind. I tend to gravitate towards community supports and STEEM platform focused witnesses. If they add value and pay attention to growing communities, then they have my vote.

What are some of the concepts of STEEM or Steemit that still confuses you? Perhaps I or some of the key supports of @newbieresteemday can help answer them or guide you to the answer.


I guess it's more so just the understanding of blockchain as a whole and the roles of the witnesses. I have a solid outline understanding of it- but that's all it feels like; an outline. I'm hoping to put some more time into researching it soon. The other thing is that I just don't feel like I know enough about a lot of the people running for witnesses and it kind of feels like jumping into politics with a load of candidates you know nothing about. But, again, I hope to spend more time learning about those aspects soon :) Thank you!

Awesome Mello! I missed this but glad I found it. Very good job and I think you are doing a terrific community service by getting us these answers!


Thanks Dave. I regret not getting these out sooner, but better late than never.

Excellent article and interview with Tim Cliff. A great example of someone on Steem wanting to help others. Thank you!


Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed the read. I am a slow poster but I have another witness interview post. Hope you stop by again. Thanks for your kind comment.