With lots on at work recently I have not been about much, yet I feel it is an important time to get in touch with the community and reflect.
I do not think everyone is going to like what I have to write. But everything I write is just my humble opinion – just some thoughts, which I do not expect everyone to agree with. But all sincere.
Some may think what I am writing is beside the point, does not give the most important information, etc.
I feel like what I am writing is the most direct and significant thing I can write.
I am not writing about one specific person, although perhaps some of what I write will ring a bell with you, reader. I hope it does. But maybe none of this is relevant to you. In which case please do not get offended by it – just ignore it.
All comments relate to my own experience here, to my life experience, to my work experience and to common sense (I hope). It is nothing personal against anyone in particular. So, with the preface done, a bit of provocation…
WTF are you doing?
This question goes to everyone who has spent any of their hard-earned money on cryptocurrency.
I have a few more of these questions:
- Who told you to buy cryptocurrency?
- Who knows the future of cryptocurrency?
- What are people generally advised to do with their money?
- What would you do if your bank told you “There is no guarantee your bank account will have the same balance tomorrow.”?
- Who said it was a good idea to trust strangers on the Internet?
Cryptocurrency is unregulated. It is experimental. It is the “Wild West”. It is unprecedented. There is no guarantee of anything at all.
- Would you normally invest your money in something like that?
- Why did you buy cryptocurrency?
- What do you think buying cryptocurrency will make you?
- Who owes you the full realisation of your dream of what cryptocurrency will make you?
I think many will find that the spontaneous, honest answers they give to the questions above lead them quite naturally to the question in the above title.
OK, so what are you really doing then?
So you’ve decided to throw caution to the wind anyway, and spend your money on cryptocurrency. Of course, given your sensible thinking (as shown by the common sense questions you ask yourself) you take full responsibility for your actions. So what’s your battle plan? Surely it’s not simply…
… do nothing.
No, really. That’s not it, is it? Really? Just do nothing at all? I mean, just dropping the odd few lines on reddit or in here is not doing anything. It’s just making hot air, isn’t it? So are you going to do anything else?
Let’s go a bit further:
- If you are not going to do anything, who is going to?
- Whose job is it to do something?
- Whose job is it to build Reddcoin? Why?
- How is Reddcoin going to succeed?
But before that, what is cryptocurrency?
Currency It cannot be a currency in the sense of fiat currency. It is laughably volatile, not backed by any government, and aside from Bitcoin accepted essentially nowhere. And practically no-one uses it.
Company Shares in a company? Where are the Articles of Association? Who is the Director of the company? Dividends? What about corporation tax? What law governs the running of this “company”?
It is important to come to terms with the following: There is nothing at all in law – not the slightest shred of legislation – to support either of the above propositions: cryptocurrency being money or cryptocurrency communities being companies. There may appear to be a lot of legal wrangling over cryptocurrency being money, but in fact it is the interface between real money and cryptocurrency that is being discussed. When real money is involved there are regulations to follow, know-your-customer rules to be followed, etc.
I think that before anything constructive can happen one has to be honest with oneself.
No-one owes you anything because you bought some cryptocurrency. You do not “deserve” anything: this is not a beauty product advertisement: Because you’re worth it!
It is no-one’s job to deliver on a platter whatever personal dreams you may have pinned on your cryptocurrency “investment”.
Being honest with yourself will just help you to be more synchronised with the outside world, with your family and friends, and other people. It will help to foster common sense and responsibility. Let’s face it: most people in the world including your families would say you are mad or daft or mistaken for buying cryptocurrency. You should understand and respect their opinions.
One more thing before looking at practical matters. A piece of sincere advice:
Mentally write off the money you have spent on cryptocurrency. Just forget it. Kill any two-dimensional dream you may have of cryptocurrency carrying you and your finances away on a wave of positivity. Just forget it completely. It may be easy to say “forget it” and in reality take mental effort every day to wean yourself off your addiction. Just do it: write off everything completely. Being able to do this is the true test of the strategy of only investing what you can afford to lose.
If you cannot stop thinking about price then I really do not think you should be involved in cryptocurrency. It is not healthy.
With emotions calmed through honesty and minds sharpened by being free of hopes and fears, maybe there are ways in which we can be constructive in an intelligent and prudent manner.
What am I doing?
Before continuing I want to make it clear that I understand that everyone has their own life circumstances, responsibilities, skills, capabilities, etc. Each individual is unique. Everyone has their own potential.
Although one or two people on the forum have provided some personal information the reality is we mostly do not know one another at all.
For the sake of context and as a way to build a bit of openness, here is some basic info about me:
I am in my 30s, married with 2 young children, 2 godchildren, and a full time job. I provide all the financial support for my family. At the moment I have significant ongoing responsibilities relating to my wider family also.
I have a hefty mortgage to pay, bills, credit cards, etc.
At work I manage a team of people running an e-commerce business and also do varied work including writing, reporting, translating, marketing, etc. myself. I work overtime all the time.
I received no formal training in any of my work and did not study at university anything directly related to my work (business studies, marketing, etc.).
A bit about my role on the Reddcoin team:
Back at the end of the summer 2014 I wrote to Laudney to propose some ideas about Reddcoin Broadcast. After some to-and-fro Laudney asked me if I would perhaps consider being community manager. In the end I took over management of the Reddheads.com website.
I have also written half a dozen articles about Reddcoin that have been published on third-party sites, and made some extensive posts.
Launching the Reddheads newsletter was an idea based on my day job, where I set up a regular product newsletter that has made a huge positive impact on sales.
I am not paid anything for my work on Reddcoin. Considering only the newsletters, some have taken a full day’s work; some a couple of hours… on average around 4 to 5 hours to complete. I have done over 20 issues to date.
A bit about my own personal Reddcoin activities:
I set up reddibreks.com myself. Initially I discussed the project with a developer and planned to pay him to build it. In the end, I decided to do it myself. I have no programming experience at all. I had never built a website with my own hands before. I do not know any html, php, etc. I used Wordpress, and learned php programming tweaks by looking things up on Google, Youtube, etc.
Reddibrek’s is a concept store interweaving an idea I had been mulling over for a couple of years to do a store shipping Belgian chocolates, with my involvement in Reddcoin. Although we do not have the time we need to push the concept to a full viable business right now, it is heading that way. The site has good initial products for a good price and I am building trust and the mailing list.
I have no reason to update people with every little detail I am doing for this project, but a few recent examples include running competitions, increasing security on the site, acquiring an SSL certificate, planning US shipping options, investigating catalogue expansion, planning several next steps (and executing the first of these) to attract more customers, looking further towards re-branding, commissioning a new site etc. Like I said, currently I do not have time to implement these next steps, but they are in the pipeline, some for sooner, some for later.
That’s Reddibrek’s. There are other activities I have been undertaking towards the realisation of another concept, again interweaving an idea and an opportunity that pre-dates Reddcoin, with my Reddcoin involvement. It is long-term and fits with the social currency ethos perfectly. It is going to take a lot of foundational work, official documentation, preparation and adherence to various legal obligations, permissions, etc. I have been taking the first concrete steps – that means spending precious time doing things – toward this. I cannot say any more for the moment. Suffice to say, it is not for this year.
And there is more: several ideas – good ones I believe – that are only at concept stage for the moment. They have to be on a back burner – I have to prioritize as there is not enough time.
How to keep going
Mental discipline is essential. I believe the only way to keep up constructive efforts is to write off – to utterly forget – any idea you may have that anyone owes you anything at all. To write off any idea that Reddcoin is going to explode and make you rich. Forget it.
Secondly, try to understand what Reddcoin is. My best answer is an organic network. The Reddcoin blockchain is organic: it is a living, decentralised system with a chaotic aspect. No matter how many hopes the community pins on the shoulders of one developer, the growth of the blockchain itself is uncontrolled.
Perhaps this is only my personal understanding, but I find it to be extremely liberating and reassuring. This view also helps to strengthen my belief that the growth/success of the network is not down to any one individual over any other individual.
Regarding how to become involved practically, I would advise:
Put your effort into doing something you enjoy. For me, the newsletters fall into this category. I am a writer and I am interested in things. I like promoting things that others are putting effort into. Interviewing people is fun. As a positive side effect, I also find that doing the newsletters hones my skills a little, has taught me Mailchimp (which I am now almost certain I will adopt for the day job in a few months’ time), has given me a host of new ideas, etc. The feedback I am getting on the newsletters also shows me that they are appreciated. I sent the recent one on the Startup Europe blockchain workshop to the European Commission official in charge… and got invited to join a network of EU tech writers. Thus another avenue of possibility opens.
Build something that is self-sufficient: for example an e-commerce store that could in principle stand on it’s own feet without being reliant on Reddcoin. Reddibrek’s falls into this category (integrating further payment options is on the table). The site is based on traditional e-commerce and when I am ready, I will bring more visitors and customers to the site using traditional tools – I will not be relying on the Reddcoin community, although I will always post promotions, news product announcements, etc. on the forums of course. And I will encourage customers to use Reddcoin.
The social aspect
Reddcoin is the social currency. Therefore to support the project it is essential that the community builds social profiles online. I have made dedicated posts about this in the past. Here is a list of the platforms I have opened accounts on, with just a little insight into what it has taken to build up one of these accounts:
Twitter: From the end of last year, I have been building (from scratch) my Twitter account, which now has over 7000 followers. I did not buy these followers. I spend time following people with similar interests (tech, cryptocurrency, coffee, etc.) and some of these people follow me back. I tweet regularly, I answer people, chat, send PMs, joke about, tip Reddcoin, invite people to my site, promote Reddcoin, etc. Now I get more and more organic favourites and retweets. When I tweet Reddibrek’s competitions I get a spike of visitors on my site. Etc.
I continue to put regular and significant effort into building my social profiles. I am getting more and more interaction with cryptocurrency enthusiasts, fintech writers, news sites, large companies (such as Illy USA)… There is only one way this is going, but it takes deep patience and strong faith to push it along. Through thick and thin with Reddcoin, the ups and downs, without anyone (devs or community) knowing what I have been doing and without anyone encouraging me, I have just carried on regardless.
Needless to say, all these channels are going to continue growing my customer base at Reddibrek’s and the future projects. But I am perfectly ready to put another year of unacknowledged, late-night work into building them. They are not ripe yet.
What it feels like
Looking back on close to a year, it seems to have gone in no time at all. But actually keeping up regular work, week-in week-out, is another matter. It is difficult to do, and requires mental discipline and strength. That is why I think it is crucial to be honest with yourself from the outset and take full responsibility. Anything is possible but you have to do your own work yourself, alone, mostly without recognition… or spend your life being a victim of circumstance.
What the future holds
I do not let myself become complacent, but I am optimistic about the future and look forward to it. I know it is going to take a lot of time and effort – many times more than I have already put in – but negative black swan event aside, what I have planned is strong and robust. This might sound foolhardy, but as I have already explained I am building things that are robust in that they are self-reliant, or they are founded on several unrelated pillars (meaning that if one falls the others will not tumble with it) and I am seeing encouraging results.
I am laying the foundations for further ideas, knowing that the work now will come to fruition later. Having a long-term attitude is fundamental. I do not see immediate results in anything I do, rather I get positive outcomes that are the fruit of one or several initiatives combined, months down the line. Some of these outcomes are predictable and some, such as particular connections I am beginning to make here in Brussels, are not. But nothing happens immediately: everything takes months or years. To put regular effort into something without expecting instant results, with faith in a long-term vision, is crucial.
I want to collaborate with people in the Reddcoin economy. I invite anyone building up any kind of sub-community within the Reddcoin network to build a mailing list… and share it with me for the newsletter. I will share my Reddibrek’s mailing list with Reddheads. Put a clause in your terms and conditions informing your community/customers/users that they will be subscribed to the Reddheads newsletter and send me updated Excel files so I can integrate them with our mailing list. The newsletters I send out are varied and aim to cover everything that is going on, so build something and ask me for help to promote it. I will happily do so.
My personal aim and business goal is to provide interfaces between the virtual and the “real”. For example, at some point people being tipped “coffee” or “chocolate” in Reddcoin are going to want to cash out their tip in real life! That’s the aspect I am going to devote my time to. But it is only one aspect out of many that need attention from entrepreneurs, devs and the community.
Reddcoin is only going to be as successful as the community is successful. I urge individual community members to weave their involvement with Reddcoin into long-term efforts, businesses, creative projects and other diverse ventures. I can already see some of this happening; to all those engaged in this activity – keep up your efforts and persevere. Keep the long view. And please get in touch with me to let me know what you are doing.
These are my thoughts and I hope they are helpful in some way. I hope it is clear from what I write that my primary goal is to encourage each member of the community to take personal responsibility. Maybe you think I am talking sense. Maybe you think it is unrealistic. Maybe you think I’m patronising and just want to tell me to f*** off.
Wishing all the best to the community!