Today "The Steemian Series" shines a light on one of the hardest working and influential Steemians on the platform: @donkeypong.
The long-time Steemit blogger first dipped his toe in the crypto waters in 2013 and eventually migrated to Steemit as one of the earliest users in April 2016.
Since then, this place has become @donkeypong's home, and he has worked tirelessly to help Steemit reach its full potential by founding groundbreaking projects (such as @curie), spending countless hours each week manually curating content, and collaborating with other users to assist in building out the roadmap for communities.
But despite being one of the most well-known usernames on Steemit, @donkeypong is also an incredibly private person.
Thankfully, he has generously peeled back some of that confidentiality to give us a glimpse of the brain behind the @donkeypong account.
20 questions with @donkeypong
1 - How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
@donkeypong - Kind, gentle, and often trying to help others. (9 out of 10 people say I’m a good guy; the other one is all ego, so not worth my time.)
2 - How did you discover Steemit?
@donkeypong - My journey started in 2013 when the BTC I had purchased tentupled (wish I’d bought more than a small amount, but I was hooked). Soon, I realized the mining was wasteful and probably unsustainable. So I gravitated toward proof of stake projects like Peercoin and NXT. Then I found BitShares and was a loyal member of that community as the product was developed. When that group founded Steem, I followed them over here and this has been my crypto-home ever since.
3 - When you joined the platform in April 2016, would you have predicted that you'd be such an active Steemian nearly two years later?
@donkeypong - I had no idea! But it was an incredible concept and I felt fortunate to get an early start.
4 - Several of your early posts earned minimal Steem/SBD. What encouraged you to keep blogging on the platform before you saw the financial rewards rolling in?
@donkeypong - It was all an experiment at first. There were a handful of people with Steem Power then. If one of them voted for you, you got some big rewards. If not, you didn’t. The money was theoretical for the first few months I was here, since the first payout came later.
5 - One of your early posts touched on the origins of Steemit/e-steem it. That post earned nearly $2,000 USD worth of Steem/SBD at the time. Your next post on Finland's mail carriers mowing people's lawns earned $0. At that point in time, what was going through your head in terms of how content is rewarded on Steemit?
@donkeypong - Luck of the draw. And it still is to some degree. A lot of people tend to overanalyze when one or their posts gets rewarded and they make nothing on another. In truth, it might be that some of your voters took the day off or found something else to vote on that day. I recognized that I needed to keep on churning out good quality work (better than my first few experimental posts) and that does help an author gain some consistent voting on his/her posts.
6 - You were one of the driving forces behind Project Curie (@curie). Why did you think it was important to launch this project?
@donkeypong - From Day 1, there’s been an imbalance in the Steem Power distribution, which has led to a small number of accountholders having an outsized impact. Some of my fellow authors and I became concerned that a lot of good content was going unnoticed and under-rewarded, which is what happens when only a few people have the power to bestow rewards. That was the impetus behind starting Curie with the support of some of those accountholders, who could not curate meaningfully all day long themselves.
So over time, that situation has improved somewhat as Steem Power is more broadly distributed and the linear rewards have given normal people at least some ability to allocate rewards. But the same issue continues to persist. Curation (whether it’s part of a group project or done by individual curators) is badly needed. I’m very glad to see how another generation of curators has put their passion and energy into Curie, continuing to reward undervalued content.
7 - On average, how many hours per week do you put into Steemit-related efforts?
@donkeypong - I’ve never counted, but it’s a lot. My day job still hasn’t caught up with me. They think I’m “working from home.” And my work there is project-oriented, so as long as I get the job done, I still have time for Steem/it. I’ve cut back on Steemit writing, though, since the rewards are so insane and I can have a bigger impact on growth at this point by helping various communities.
8 - Communities have always been a key focus of yours. How do you envision communities evolving this year, and why is this aspect so important to develop?
@donkeypong - We all await the introduction of the sub-communities feature soon. The tags have been an imperfect way to identify content, and voting power support has been limited, so we’ve seen that it’s difficult for some communities to develop organically. I look forward to seeing what some of these community leaders can do with the proper support.
Much of my work in the last year or so has been helping to train and equip community builders and curators using whatever voting power we’ve been able to scrape together from generous and forward-thinking accountholders. I think communities will develop just fine, but the growth process will be much slower if accountholders do not invest in the development of communities. It’s hard to resist the return on investment that’s possible from voting for oneself or renting out voting power, but we’ll see much faster development as a platform if we nourish the areas that are helping us reach new people.
9 - What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to Steemit?
@donkeypong - It’s probably time to eliminate the Trending page. It’s is not very representative of the best content we have to show to the rest of the Internet and to potential members and investors. The Hot page is a better algorithm that allows content to cycle more quickly. I think Hot should be our home page until we get the communities feature functioning well. And perhaps after that, we can allow people to subscribe to communities (something like Reddit does), so that it’s not all one petri dish.
10 - What is your opinion on bot upvoting?
@donkeypong - Bots are a fact of life and I spent too much time trying to fight some of the counterproductive ones early on. I’m a fan of bots when they’re done right. I simply don’t have enough hours in the day to curate everything; I tried that for many months. When I use some limited auto-voting, that allows me to support many more of the community builders and curators who are doing the daily work of operating and growing this platform. Bots can have a role when you are using them on people who produce great content consistently and have proven they can be trusted. But I still curate on most days and hire others to do the same.
11 - Who are the most underrated Steemit bloggers?
@donkeypong - There are great new members joining the platform daily, so I’m always finding more. People whose blogs I think are consistently undervalued for the quality of their work include: @creativewoman @daddykirbs @playfulfoodie @cottonlazarus and @highonthehog.
12 - What/who are your top 3 favorite Steemit accounts to follow?
@donkeypong - I enjoy seeing the re-steemed posts from some of the community builders around the world, since I never know who they are going to introduce next to Steemit or what amazing meet-ups they’ll be reporting on next. Some examples who often re-steem a few gems are: @jassennessaj @kemal13 and @ejemai.
13 - In a recent 20 questions interview, @kevinwong said your account was one of his favourite to follow, because "it captures the heart of Steem." What's your reaction to that description of your blog?
@donkeypong - Kevin knows his content. We started Curie together and he’s a major reason it’s continued to help people for so long. I’m thankful that he believes I have my finger on the pulse. Sometimes, I’m not sure I’m keeping up with all of the great stuff out there!
14 - What impact do you believe SMTs will have on the Steem blockchain?
@donkeypong - SMTs will multiply Steem’s potential. I have been working on an SMT for community curation simply because there is so little voting support for good content and growth projects; it’s always been my dream to align more voting power with those areas that make the platform and community better. And we’ll see plenty of external content sites using Steem SMTs soon also.
15 - It seems impossible to find a photo of you anywhere on your blog. Would you consider yourself a private person?
@donkeypong - Yes. I prefer privacy; although, I have been to a couple of local Steem events. My family is my life and yet I have chosen not to put pictures of my daughters on my blog. Given my early adopter status and level of participation on the site, I have received some threats and troll activity, so I’d rather be careful. If I were starting out now and did not have those, I would love to be more public. Maybe when my kids are a bit older.
16 - What do you enjoy doing when you're not in front of a screen?
@donkeypong - What? No screen? I love the outdoors. Hiking, jogging, biking, camping: anything that brings me closer to nature.
17 - Who inspires you?
@donkeypong - My dog. He’s a simple, linear thinker yet there’s more going on in his mind than I can fathom sometimes. When life gets you down and things aren’t working, go back to basics and start simply. My dog is happy with some food, walks, and companionship each day. In the end, maybe that’s all we really need.
18 - Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
@donkeypong - I’ll be working on a project that makes the world better in my own small way. It might have a Steem/it connection and certainly will have people from around the world involved, but it also will have a positive impact on my local community. The basic framework has been in my mind for a long time and the details will fall into place when the time is right.
19 - You get to have dinner with three people, living or dead. Who are you eating with?
@donkeypong - Tough choice. I might use the opportunity to address some of history’s mysteries. Give me Jesus Christ, the Babushka Lady and the author of the Voynich Manuscript. At the same table and with a bottle of wine. We’ll see if we can sort some things out.
20 - What is one thing very few people know about you?
@donkeypong - I purchased the Steem account @eos to keep it away from trolls/squatters. I gave it to Dan Larimer at no cost and thanked him for what he helped build. Steem is the best of his projects, but EOS and BitShares can do a lot of good things also.
A big thanks to @donkeypong for taking time to answer these 20 questions.
As always, thanks to all of you for taking the time to read.
Who would you like to see me throw 20 questions at? Drop me a comment below and I'll work on setting up the interview.
If you like what you read, be sure to follow my blog!
Previous "20 questions" interviews:
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