How (and why) it all started
One year ago on April 22nd, 2021, I started the Crypto Fireside blog with this introductory post. And then two days later I followed it up with my first interview, and one of my favorites to be honest. I chatted to Professor Ponzo from Rootkit Finance, now known as Professor Kronos.
It was a pretty big deal having the developer of such a big project say yes to an Internet stranger and so I’ll be forever grateful. Thanks, Professor.
I started Crypto Fireside because I had been reading crypto content for years and honestly, without sounding like I am full of myself. I thought most of it was poor. It was either techno-babble that most people could not understand or it was just pure hype to try and shill some project, chain, or token.
I am a fan of people. People build things not the other way around. I was interested in the people behind the things that were being built and developed and there was honestly not much content in the space scratching that itch for me, so I decided I'd put myself out there and do it myself.
I had been writing different things online since about 2006 and felt very confident I could do it. The blog already existed right here on Medium under a different name because I had been writing about several crypto-related projects that I was personally interested in at the time and so all I had to do was to start.
I decided that even though I would focus the content on Q&A style interviews that I would do it in a written format and that decision was done for 2 reasons. Reason #1, I got access to anonymous individuals which there are plenty of in this space. As we all know, lovers of crypto, including the creators are almost synonymous with lovers of privacy and so it just made sense. And I know what some of you may be thinking ‘but you can still do interviews with anons via audio or video’, yes, you can, but it’s shit. I watched one just the other day, all of the guests and the host were visible on the video except for this one cat that had his audio manipulated and a black screen where his face should be, sorry but that is just crap IMO. Reason #2, nostalgia. I grew up reading magazines like FHM, People, RollingStone, and many others and I was always a big fan of the Q&A style interviews in there, I dunno, there was just something about it that I dug and that separated the content from the rest of the magazine.
I honestly feel blessed to have had the opportunity that I have had and with the people who decided to come onto the blog as guests. We’ve had crypto exchange operators, students, actors, directors, NFT artists, Bitcoin miners, and many more take the time to sit down with me and go through the Crypto Fireside process to tell us about the things that they are working on, but also let us get a glimpse inside their heads and ask about their daily processes and rituals, their struggles, mistakes and of course what works.
Aside from that, I have formed true friendships with some of the people I have interviewed as well as their team members. Thank you.
Looking at the numbers, we published 37 total fireside chats since April 2021 and a bunch of other related posts. My initial goal was to publish a post each week for the year totaling 52 of course. So why only 37 then? For those that don’t know I operate Crypto Fireside in my spare time. I have a full-time day job and a young family. It’s a side project.
Around August last year, I was tasked with completing a large project with the company I work for. I had to be onsite, hiring, training, and managing staff working with insane amounts of logistics, and getting my hands dirty dealing with hardware products. There was simply no time. I needed to be committed to that project. So from August until December 2021, when I was home, I had no energy before or after work to even think about Crypto Fireside and so it just kind of sat idle. You will notice I did post in August and September but then there was a complete drop-off, this was when my project had ramped up.
All in all with other types of posts I was able to publish 46 pieces amassing over 200k views across both Medium and HackerNoon combined.
To give you a little behind-the-scenes look into how the interview process works:
I will usually have a text-based chat, phone call, or video call with the interviewee, this can be days or weeks after doing the usual introductory email, then once I feel I understand their product, service, or project and have a good grasp of it, I will type out a Q&A questionnaire and send it to them for them to complete. This questionnaire is pretty complex, I like to give interviewees prompts and suggestions to get their mental juices flowing, this is something I stole from Pat Walls at Start Story.
By the time the interviewees fill this out and get it back to me, it can be weeks out from the initial introduction. This is then read by me, and many times I’ll have follow-up questions I want to ask or seek clarifications to answers provided. There is a back and forth that goes on which can take a long time. Other times I have everything back within a day or two. Once the questionnaire is complete and I am happy with it, ill ask for photos, pictures, screenshots, and images. Anything that helps tell the story while I simultaneously proofread, edit and piece the thing together.
How do I find interviewees? In the beginning, I was just sending messages and emails to projects and people I came across on Reddit, Twitter, or other independent websites online. The one thing I should mention is, of all the interviews I have published, I have at least another 20 that never got published. Reasons vary, some people just go MIA, they get busy or something changes on their end.
Nowadays I usually have people reach out to me and ask to be interviewed which is always nice.
Some of my favorite interviews?
- Professor Ponzo — Rootkit Finance. She or he, anon, went into a lot of detail which I thought was very open considering the space, a lot of people tend to hold back, but apart from that I generally just liked their attitude. Here is what I mean, when I asked PP to talk about numbers and figures, I meant money, I was trying to gauge how much they were doing, how much they were making and turning over, how many transactions were happening, I just wanted something with a figure to make the article zing, this was the response I got:
PP: Numbers are all made up and money is fake and I’m going to prove it.
Haha! I had to laugh at that. Doesn’t get more genuine.
2. Abbas Husain AKA @bagmanstudios. Abbas had one of those cool origin stories I just loved to read myself. He was your typical starving artist when one-day things just took off for him after a Reddit post. Abbas eventually got into NFTs and in the middle of our interview, he decided he’d name one of his NFT characters after me. What's wilder is another Redditor bought it.
3. Shaz from DCA Stack. This is one of my most curated posts and for very good reason. Shaz built an automated dollar-cost averaging bot for buying crypto and he gave it away for free. Shaz spoke very openly about the fact he was calling his project free but was getting hammered online because in the beginning, he’d left the code closed, and people were dissing him and the project, so eventually he decided to make it open-source, and things took off. I love reading about these decisions and pivots that can transform a project:
The biggest thing I’ve learned is people’s natural distrust when it comes to new products that are advertised as free but closed source.
The most popular interviews?
By stats alone, these are my most popular interviews. I won't reveal each interview view count but will tell you the lowest on this list is 3k and the highest has 20k
- How I Used Reddit and Crypto to Make $15,000 Doing Amateur NSFW Private Shows!
- Raptoreum Co-Founder David Morris on the Resilient Ecosystem That Allows Everyone To Participate.
- This Student Built a Free Dollar Cost Averaging Bot for Crypto and Beat the Competition.
- From Side-Gig to 100 Thousand Users and $250 Million Dollars Exchanged: Shane Stevenson on Cointree.
- How a 496 Year Old Vampire Is Selling NFTs.
- How To Transform an Entire City’s Payment System.
- This Guy Makes His Side-Money Selling D*CK Pic NFTs (NSFW).
- Interview With a “Scam Artist” — Sheer from $SCAM (Safe Crypto and Money).
How it's going
Crypto Fireside I am proud to say is doing extremely well.
All metrics are growing. Followers, subscribers, reads, views, curations, and more.
We’re raking in about 20k views a month at the moment on Medium alone, thats an approximation too by the way. Medium just does not give out great analytics, unfortunately. I also feel Medium hides some of the traffic. Well actually, I know that for a fact. I won't get into it here, maybe another time.
Some posts obviously do better than others raking in tens of thousands of views, others do not do so well. A lot of it also has to do with the timing of publishing and of course things like titles and subtitles.
Those stats above do not account for re-published or unique content that I also publish on HackerNoon. For those that don’t know HackerNoon is a tech blog and I re-publish Crypto Fireside content there. Stats from HackerNoon are a little harder to gauge as they only give you totals but I would say it’s between 1k-5k per month on average with some posts doing really well and achieving 24k views while others only score a measly 100 views.
You’ll notice that I have recently been publishing other types of content too. Such as this true story about how I gained and then lost a lot of Dogecoin which would have amounted to $2 Million Aussie Dollars. This satire piece I did, or this piece that I did about a dystopian future.
I’m trialing different kinds of content to see what works, what people enjoy, and what I enjoy. The reason for this is because of what I spoke about earlier. Interviews can take a long time to publish and so there is often a lag between posts. I’ve been lucky to attract followers and subscribers and I want to give you all something to read, if I can’t deliver on an interview that day or week, well why not give you something else. That’s the thought process there. Let me know what you think.
I had no idea whether or not people would enjoy the content I put out through Crypto Fireside and so that is one of the main reasons I decided to publish it on both Medium and HackerNoon. They are both free platforms. I didn’t need hosting and there was some free discoverability with both.
If Crypto Fireside is to grow and continue putting out content that you all enjoy and hopefully makes a small difference in your life it needs to move to its own platform.
With that said, I’d like to let you all in on a little secret.
Crypto Fireside will be moving very soon.
Simple. Ghost is awesome. Ghost gives me everything that Medium does plus a helluva lot more, critically it allows independence.
Medium is good but because it's a user-generated content platform crossed with a CMS, it operates the exact same way as all the biggest user-generated content platforms do; YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, and so on. And when you give all your content to the one platform you lock yourself in and lock yourself out from independent growth. Don’t get me wrong lots of people have had success on some of those other platforms but there have also been a lot of catastrophic failures.
But the biggest reason of all is that Medium is just not a Crypto platform.
I will reveal more about this move in the very near future.
For now, I hope you continue to read, subscribe and share.
Let me know what you think in the comments below. Are there other types of content you’d like to see me write about, are you happy with the content that I am currently exploring, more interviews, fewer interviews, more crypto-satire, less crypto-satire, or do you want to read news pieces, let me know, whatever it is.
Cheers and Happy Birthday,
I’m off to celebrate!
Andrei R | Crypto Fireside.
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