I'm writing this open letter to you today, in good faith, to share my thoughts as a witness, stakeholder, developer & vested person on Steem.
Steem has become a home for me and I want to take every necessary steps and measure to make sure it has a bright future, instead of being crushed.
And for me, this also requires giving feedback and searching an open dialogue with the person who co-created this blockchain and who is running a company, having a ~50 Million stake in Steem.
Now with that said, first of all, I would like to express my compassion for the tumult you must have felt in the recent time. Having to layoff such an amount of employees to save your company must have been an incredibly hard decision. As I'm pretty sure that you hired these people in good faith for your company, having some of them fired just half a year is for sure not something you anticipated.
You're just a human, as all of us, and it's completely normal that the last thing you probably want right now, is to stand in front of the camera. You want to save your company, which you've put your heart and soul into. At least that's how I probably would feel. So you're focusing on work.
#1 - No Livestream
However, and this is the first thing I want to address, many of us - me included - felt let down after you made a no-show on your livestream date. Having to reschedule due to illness (and I'm sure that the emotional and soul-crushing stress you have felt, has some connection with it) is nothing to be ashamed of. I'm sure that many would agree - if you'd have rescheduled it again, nobody would have been mad at you.
But, and I'm saying this with the utmost respect, leaving people hanging - without any notice whatsoever, is a show of disrespect. I personally was excited about the livestream and when the clock hit full, I was ready and waiting on youtube - but 10 minutes later and nothing happened. I got a bit worried and tried to contact a few people, seeing if they knew anything. And as it turned out, one of your employees was aware that the livestream was cancelled.
Now as I have only limited knowledge, there could be a reason I'm not aware of, why you've decided to not make the livestream without letting your community know or saying anything whatsoever - so with that in mind, I've got 3 explanations this might have happened:
1.) There could be a legal reason why you've not shown up. Something we're not aware of and something you're not allowed to talk about.
2.) You could have the plan to force Steem's community to take charge/leadership as a decentralised platform, by giving people the impression they can't rely on you/steemit inc.
3.) You simply were physically ill and overwhelmed with everything, thus saw no reason to let people know.
To everybody who reads this, please keep in mind these are just theories, nothing is proven nor disproven.
However the reasoning might be, the reaction I saw in other Steemians as in myself was a loss in faith in you and Steemit Inc.
As a decentralised platform, I can understand that it's a healthy thing for Steemit Inc. to take less leadership but the amount of power your company still holds is enormous.
You could single-handedly overthrow the witness regime, make the Steem price tumble or prevent Steem from advancing. (you hold the blockchain developers monopoly on Steem)
Now, I'm saying all of this to hammer one point:
You (as in Steemit Inc) hold a lot of responsibilities.
And I'm sure that you're all too aware of this fact - it must rest heavy on your shoulders. But, and I don't want this to sound rude, that's what you've signed up for by becoming CEO of Steemit Inc.
Your company has sold double-digit millions of Steem (which was "ninja-mined") and we, as Steem stakeholders, of course, are relying on this debt being repaid in value provided by Steemit Inc.
And as your company is still holding 50 Million Steempower, I'm sure that it's also in your best interest to work on a higher evaluated Steem.
#2 - Missing Communication & Absence on Social Media
Now, the second thing I want to get into is the current missing communication and absence, on social media, of you.
The last tweet you made was on the 22th November 2018, exactly one month ago. 7 days later, you announced the 70% layoff of staff.
Maybe I'm wrong, but isn't communication even more important in times of unrest? Again, I can fully understand that your fire is burning for reviving Steem and focusing all that energy into work, but .. you are still the face of Steem (as co-creator).
Someone, whom I admire for his communication is the founder of BAT (https://twitter.com/brendaneich). I'm not expecting or even wanting for you to tweet all around the clock - I think that's a timesink.
However, I've recently launched SteemApps.com and with it, Steem was launched on StateOfTheDapps.com. While the SteemNetwork twitter-account made a tweet about it (which was amazing!), your account did nothing.
Please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that the project simply "deserves" some attention on social media from you. That's not what I expect.
But I'm sure, there are many important people following you on twitter and visibility for Steem apps & projects is always good.
Also, your last comment on Steem was 16 days ago, the day your scheduled livestream should have taken place.
Let me ask you a really honest question: Why aren't you active on your own social media? (You don't have to answer it, but it would be semi-important)
Now, I don't want to make this open-letter too long.
Just yesterday, I made a few posts and in one of them, explained the problems I have with Steem's current path. Instead of re-writing this, I'll just relink it: Real Talk: The Future of Steem
If you have any free time, I would really appreciate it if you could read it over. Or an employee reads it over and gives you a summary. But again, I'm not expecting you to spend your time with it, but it would be amazing and it would show that you care about Steem.
With all of that said, @ned - if you've read so long, then I want to thank you!
I really hope you'll spend some great and relaxing days with your family over Christmas and have some time to take a break from Steem so that you can come back full of energy! :)
Wishing you all the best,