Interview of Howo, co-founder of Steempress

Published by sebbbl on

Here is the first of the witness interviews. All the witnesses will answer the same questions. Today, Howo, co-founder of @steempress-io and member of the @steempress witness, tells us everything.

Could you say a few words about you ? Who are you ? Where are you from ? What is your “background” ?

I’m Martin Lees, I’m a software engineer from France. I have been working for a large telecom company (Orange) for the past 3 years and have been fascinated by blockchain tech for quite some time. I made a few applications using bitcoin and ethereum but I really started to dive into blockchain programming a year ago when I started to blog on steem.

What do you think about crypto-currencies in general ?

It’s a really cool tech which, if adoption actually comes, might revolutionize a lot of the services we currently use. Although the current greed following the last bubble is leaving me a bit uncertain, I see too many people wanting to get rich quick and not enough people actually caring about “the big picture”.

When did you subscribe to Steem ? What attracted you to it ?

About 15 months ago, I actually don’t really remember haha, I have always kind of wanted to have a blog and jump into the social media thing but never really got the time to do it and seeing steem I was like “sure let’s try it”. I was very motivated at the beginning and didn’t care at all about the money, Even if I had like 1 cent on my article or one comment I was happy.

What really attracted me to steem was it’s model where anyone with enough stake can effectively “create” money. Which was a very powerful idea because it opened so many applications.

When did you decide to become a witness ? What was your original goal ? What are your current objectives as a witness ?

We decided to become a witness quite some time ago actually but we launched it only now because we wanted to make sure we were prepared for the job and that we had something to really show to everyone like “vote for us this is the future and you want to support the future”.

@fredrikaa and I are both full time on steempress now, and you wouldn’t go full time on a platform without having some influence on the evolution of that plaform, so that’s why we launched a witness server. Our current objective is to support the blockchain while developing SteemPress, and as soon as we are high enough to support it open a full node to allow a smoother steempress experience. I am also very intersted in steem development and I am learning the ins and out of the steem core blockchain to develop some new features on it.

What are your past, current and future projects on the Steem Blockchain ?

As the lead dev behind SteemPress I found that it’s very difficult to get started on the steem blockchain.

thus I made a huge collection of snippets so that people can easily go “I want to case a vote” and instantly get a snippet associated :

I was also frustrated by having to constantly convert sbd and claim rewards, so I made a bot to handle that :

As a team with @fredrikaa we wanted to work on adoption in the early stages and made a tool to gift steem accounts to your loved ones :

And finally we started working on SteemPress. By far our biggest project to date. It’s a wordpress plugin to allow wordpress bloggers to connect their blogs to steem. We believe that it is going to create an incredible virtuous circle, as I described in a previous interview with @cryptoctopus :

The grand vision is to have a two-way integration bring steem onto the wordpress blogs as well…I’m talking upvote button, payout, comments from steem etc

All interaction like on or busy. So suddenly you no longer go on or another front end to consume content, you do that directly on the blog itself!

You can just browse the web and upvote what you like!

Which breaks the whole current situation where STEEM is in a closed environment.

Imagine yourself as a blogger, you see another blog and can’t help but wonder what those payout values are. And soon enough you’ll join the movement. As a SteemPress blogger, you can incentivize your users to do meaningful comments by upvoting them yourself and thus improve your viewership and get some more reoccurring readers/commenters.

As a normal commenter, you will end up wondering why you are making comments that don’t bring you anything when others do earn money…and soon enough they will join too!

That’s the grand idea for SteemPress. Have Steem as what it deserves to be, a token powering the web.

What are the best aspects of Steem (its comparative advantages over similar blockchains) ?

Cool aspects :

  • 3 second tx time
  • The whole voting model
  • Free tx
  • “Easy” to code on in comparaison to, say, solidity with eth.

The next two questions can be answered at once.

What are the worst aspects ?

According to you, what improvements need to be made ? Please prioritize from most urgent to not that important.

Steem is way too centralized, almost all the apps rely on the same node (steemit’s one). We rely way too much on steemit inc for blockchain development. Almost all the interactions are happening on the same platform (steemit) which is controlled by steemit inc.

Also we don’t flag enough, which makes sense because there is no incentive to flagging. I am strongly advocating for a flagging pool so that we can counter the abusers without paying for it (as you don’t earn curation rewards by flagging).

How do you see Steem in the future (as far as you are able to foresee) ? You can detail different timeframes.

There are a looot of unknown variables including the price which is something that drives adoption a lot so I won’t try to make predictions, but hopefully the vision for steempress I defined above will come true and take steem to the top with it.

According to your own experience and discussions you may have had, what can be done to draw more people to Steem and, more important, to make them stay ?

Better content discovery, better interactions (comments, votes etc) I feel like everyone is writing and nobody is reading.
Better curation (50/50 for instance) to incentivize voting more. Right now voting for curation rewards is simply stupid when you can get almost 100% return on your votes with bidbots or clever self voting.

Finally, do you have any advice you would give to a wannabe-witness ?

Wake up every day thinking “what are the roadblocks for steem massive success/adoption” and work to fix them.

And to a classic Steem user ?

Engage with people, This is a social platform, go to and various discord servers and chat with people. It’s much more important than what you might think.

Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer these questions !

Link to your witness intro

Categories: Witnesses