This story is a part of Hacker Noon's Meet the Writer series of interviews. The series is intended for tech professionals contributing the most insightful Hacker Noon stories to share more about their writing habits, ideas, and professional background (and maybe a hobby or two).
Hi Hackers! My name is Andrei Rotariu. I’m 36 years old and hail out of Melbourne, Australia (currently locked-down, and living with a curfew in place, yay freedom!). During the daylight hours, I’m a hardware safety guy for a large power tool company. But under the cover of darkness, I like to get involved in all manner of crypto-related stuff. I’ve done a lot of dumb experimental sh*t over the years. I blew up a laptop trying to mine this peculiar Cryptocurrency called Quarkcoin one time. Another time earned 2 Million Dogecoin through a combination of saving, trading, and playing roulette and then mostly lost it all. I could have been retired on a yacht somewhere by now.
Currently, I have a blog series running called Crypto Fireside which I started on Medium and republished right here on Hacker Noon. I’ve recently moved it over to its own hosted solution so that I can focus on growth. With that, sadly I had to delete most of my posts here on HN due to duplicate content issues.
Crypto Fireside started off as an experiment with an interview-style Q&A post series (hence the name Fireside). I would talk to folks from the Cryptocurrency and decentralized world about all manner of things, usually, projects they are working on, businesses, start-ups, that kind of origin/founder story thing. It’s something I personally enjoy reading and so that is how I started it off.
I was impressed with a guy called Pat Walls and his StarterStory as well as being influenced in my teenage years by interviews in magazines that I read from 90’s and 00’s magazines like FHM, Readers Digest, PC World, Ralph, Australian Men’s Health, Australian Men’s Fitness, Rolling Stone and a bunch of others.
I started Crypto Fireside because I noticed most of the Crypto and blockchain-related content out there usually revolved around one of two things: Money or tech. But here is the thing; there are real people behind those money and tech projects. Real people with real stories, real struggles, and real successes. That’s why I wanted to talk to them and bring those stories to the world.
As I just mentioned at the time I think when I first started republishing content, I had interviewed Christian Winter, a young German entrepreneur, about his music and lighting business and about how he was opening his venture up to Cryptocurrency through Bitcoin Cash. I from memory that one was pretty popular but because I had to remove much of my content from here on HN due to duplicate content issues I can’t say for sure now. I know that I had a couple of pieces that had received in excess of 20k-30k views.
Right now, I think it is a post I wrote titled ‘No, Bitcoin Is Not Going to Fail’.
I started my writing career (paid writing) freelancing and writing funny content as a copy and content writer for online businesses and marketers. That was probably 16 or so years ago. I claimed at the time to be one of the only humor-content freelance writers on the web and would be asked to write sales pages for guys that would create creepy dating programs or gag gifts like manly scented candles with scents such as beer and cigarettes or diesel covered overalls.
I’m embarrassed to say that I used to find these gigs in places like The Warrior Forum back in the day!
Like most things in my life I kind of just aim in the direction that I want to go and figure the rest out as I move forward and so in a sense I kind of stumbled into writing about Cryptocurrency because of a project I fell in love with at the time. They were going to decentralize the entire world wide web and free us from the tech oligopoly. It’s called SafeNetwork developed by a Scottish firm called Maidsafe.
One thing led to another, and well, here we are today.
The Cryptocurrency and blockchain space feels like the early Internet days right now and so there are a lot of cool and interesting projects and people behind those projects for me to write about. The world needs to hear about these things and so there’s no end in sight for Crypto Fireside right now. In fact, it’s just the beginning.
Crypto Fireside started off as a Q&A interview-style format, and so my routine had to evolve with that.
Normally I would write whenever I felt inspired, I’d just get it out of my head and slowly edit and craft it when I had the time, early mornings or at night would work really well for me in the past. There’s something about those times when everyone is asleep, not just in your own home, but all around you in your city, I can’t explain it, it’s almost like the heaviness of the collective consciousness is removed or something.
When I work on a story with another person, interviewing them, I had to come up with a different system and so far what I have been doing seems to work well.
I usually spend some time talking or web chatting to the interviewee to get a really good grasp of what it is they do and then I will draft my questions, usually the questions are styled the same way but I do tweak them from time to time. I send the interviewee a shared doc, allow them time to fill it out, they send it back, I’ll review it and get back to them with clarifications or follow-up questions and we go from there.
That is kind of the system I have been going with when I interview someone. But I also do loads of other types of content now. Satire, guides, reviews, and general commentary. I also hire writers from time to time to help me out when I don’t have the time.
Above all else, the hardest thing is promoting your work but it’s also the most satisfying part of it. In the modern world of writing, you can’t just write and publish something and expect it to take off. It’s not like the good old days where you’d get picked up by a newspaper or magazine and they’d send your story out to their syndicated network and voila’. You gotta work that hustle-muscle and push your stories. The successful modern writer is also a successful marketer nowadays, this is not just my opinion.
Over the years of doing this, I have learned and crafted a number of ways to distribute content. SEO of course is one of them, but it goes much further than just SEO. I use most of the social networks and I try to leverage other places like Hacker News, Reddit, Digg, and more.
You know it’s funny I write about Cryptocurrency and talk to people about these digital tokens and things that have a perceived value and I think the most valuable ‘token’ on the planet is time. It has to be.
I like to refer to this concept as Time Tokens.
Time is the great equalizer.
Rich, poor, black, white, it doesn’t matter what side of the train tracks you come from, who you are, where you are from, your background, the amount of money you have in the bank, there are still only 24 hours in one day, 1,440 minutes, and 86,400 seconds. You, me, the baker, the butcher, the teacher, the girl at the gym, or the guy behind the Crypto project you’re most fascinated with.
We are all provided by this great thing we call life, with the same amount of time in the day.
It levels the playing field.
Billionaires can’t buy more of it. Sure they may live a longer duration of time because they can afford the best healthcare and yeah they have more time for leisure because they outsource virtually everything but that’s not what I am talking about. I am talking about the present moment. It ticks along one second at a time for each of us, and if you really think about it, we’re all only ever living in the now, there’s no real past or future that you live in. Only now. And it is this time pressure that creates stress in our lives.
We have all sorts of deadlines and usually, we’re juggling umpteen different things from kids, intimate partners, bills, projects around the house, work projects, screaming customers, and now you gotta pull yourself out of that, find the time to sit down and focus for an hour or two. I mean, right now at this very moment that I am writing this my eye keeps going back to the clock, I literally have 5 minutes left before I need to get out of my striped pajamas, put some clothes on and leave for my day job.
This is the biggest challenge for most of us in the modern world, not just me. And in going forward I think that those things, be they technologies, habits, or the way we structure our lives, those things that can free up or help us manage our time better, those things will be very valuable in the very near future.
I’d urge you, the reader, to think about what it is you are doing with your time. Or better put, what are you doing with your time tokens? If each minute of the day was one token, what did you spend it on? Are you using them to the best of your ability? Or are you squandering them away on social media, getting into arguments, wasting them watching TV, and playing video games? You only get one life to live. Don’t waste time. Don’t throw your time tokens away on rubbish. Spend it wisely. Remember you only get 24 whole tokens per day or 1440 tokenoshis.
The ultimate goal is to work on Crypto Fireside full-time and to expand and push content that helps people. I’m getting closer and closer each day. I can feel it, it’s right there within grasp. I see it. I feel it. It’s going to happen no matter what.
Covid has solidified this even more for me. The fact that governments can decide which business is essential and which is not is absolutely terrifying. Melbourne in particular has been hit hard, not with Covid, but with Draconian measures. I’m not going to get into the arguments for or against it. It’s just the reality. During this crisis, I’ve seen friends and family lose their jobs, livelihoods, and businesses. Everyone is essential and every person’s livelihood is essential.
If you are in a position where you can work for yourself and you can do it online, why the hell not!? I’m very lucky to be in that position. I’ve dedicated years of my life to my craft and now the opportunity is knocking and I’m opening the door.
I think Crypto Fireside can inspire and motivate the next generation of innovators from the interview content alone and can become a resource for good. But like I say I am open to all possibilities, I’ve always had that entrepreneurial fire in my belly ever since I was a kid and the world is going through some very big changes right now, so who really knows what will happen next?
I’m a storyteller at heart and there is a book or documentary in me somewhere in the future. It’s nothing I’m focused on right now but that would be one of the other ultimate goals of my career too.
A cigar, an alcoholic beverage, and sitting outside reading or watching some story about Skin-walker ranch or the Missing-411 topics.
I enjoy a good workout but gyms are closed here and have been for a long time. It sucks because I’m just not a home workout guy. Outside of that: life stuff in general. Hiking, bushwalking, fishing, barbecuing, a good book or movie, hanging out with friends and family, travel. Those kinds of things that everyone enjoys.
That’ll likely be the next Crypto Fireside interview, guide or review.
Meditate. Spend 20 tokenoshis doing this every day and your life will improve in leaps and bounds and the world will be a better place for it because you’ll be calmer, more relaxed, happy and content and you will spread that to people next to you like a tuning fork.