Episode 05: Today I’m speaking with Stefan Mueller, a Delegator and soon-to-be Curator at The Graph, as well as the creator of The Graph Academy. The Graph Academy is an educational hub for all members of The Graph community. My conversation with Stefan ranges from his non-technical entry into crypto and The Graph, why and how he created The Graph Academy, and, after overcoming several failed submissions, his advice for those who want to apply for a grant with The Graph Foundation.
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Without having a technological background, and I think this deep conviction that I could not only be part of the community but also contribute my own share towards it and helping to accelerate this community is what finally helped me to meet the decision to become more active in The Graph.
Welcome to the GRTiQ podcast. Today I’m speaking with Stephen Mueller, the creator of The Graph Academy, an educational hub serving all members of The Graph community. Stephen got involved with The Graph relatively early as a participant in the launch of The Graphs Curator program, where soon afterwards he became a Delegator, and developed a popular and early Indexer rewards calculator for members of the Delegator community. My conversation with Stephan covers several topics, including why he felt compelled to contribute to The Graph community, why and how he created The Graph Academy. And after many declined submissions, his advice for those who want to apply for a grant from The Graph Foundation. My conversation was Stephen started with a discussion of his non-technical background and entry into the crypto space and The Graph.
Well, interestingly enough, I have a marketing background. So I have a master’s degree in marketing. So I’m 100% non-technical, I am usually not someone who gravitates towards crypto automatically as a programmer, or developer or something like that. So what’s really unexpected that I made my delve into crypto. So this is my background, I have a marketing background, I build websites, I do Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and all that stuff in the marketing area.
So how then did you get into crypto?
I think my adventurous journey into the world of cryptocurrency and started back in 2017. Now looking back, I think what fascinated me the most was the promise back down of decentralization and shifting the balance of power away from evil monopolies towards sovereign individuals. And I think back then, in 2017, we saw quite a number of projects with the promise of returning power to the people and many different forms, which have rosen to popularity almost on a weekly basis. It was really wild back then. And it was, for me personally, absolutely crazy. And I found it deeply fascinating to see so many people from all walks of life, from all different kinds of backgrounds, all over the world, uniting towards common causes, and all seeking to, in a way dismantle established structures that they did not perceive to be beneficial to, I think the majority of people and to society as a whole. But this was what I was really fascinated about. For me, all these shiny ideas and concepts and perhaps even the vision of building a radically different future were totally new and fundamentally changed approaches are applied to the world, deeply changed how I viewed the world and thought about the way it is organized right now. So it felt back then like to start of a grand movement towards the betterment of society. And it was a great joy to have been part of this kind of grassroots movement. And it made me really happy to be part of that movement. And obviously, we all know that the crypto frenzy he came to a devastating hold back in 2018. And, but for me, it was like I never really lost interest in crypto. So we all saw projects fail. And I think this was a an important learning experience for me to see that some ideas were not as realistic as many people hope they will be and maybe their potential was not that great as many people had estimated. And I also understood that such kind of radical change takes a lot of time and patience. So I will describe that period back in 2017, 2018 as an absolutely crucial learning period for me personally, which helped to equip myself with the, let’s say tools necessary to navigate the crypto space. And so in 2018, it was also the time when I started to get involved in different crypto communities and participated in these communities. And later on, I also started a couple of first initiatives in this area. So I got my feet wet, so to speak, and in the area of crypto, so it was nothing mind blowing, or nothing huge. But it was just my first depths into this area, which was a new terrain for me. Now, it was also the time when I started building a couple of crypto servers on Discord just for the fun of it. Because I yeah, I seem to like to get in touch with like-minded individuals and connect with them and talk with them about ideas in the crypto space about projects, evaluating projects, and basically learning from these individuals. And looking back, I am really glad that I went through all this work back then in building servers on Discord on connecting people getting in touch with them and learning, for example, about analysis on Trading View, because it helped me to establish a network of rather successful investors, traders, analysts and developers. So these were my initial stages in the crypto area. But I personally identify myself as a builder, I love the joy of building things and seeing the things develop out of nothing. So I like to build things. And I, for me, personally, there’s no greater joy to see more than seeing what you can accomplish within a short period of time. If you dedicate yourself to something if you have a vision, and if you have a dream that you want to realize, and to create something out of nothing. And I really love that feeling when you have worked for weeks and on the idea on refining the idea of getting everything set up. And I really love that feeling. When you finally take a pause to reflect after a couple of months building something and just simply have a look at what you have accomplished. And seeing the product that you have built for the first time as a bystanders, to me personally, simply just amazing. So the life of an investor is not 100% truly fulfilling to me. So yeah, I’m someone who wants to get involved, they want to participate and also want to actively contribute towards a project and see it take shape, one step after the other towards realizing a wish. And I think this basically summarizes my first steps into the area of cryptocurrency. And yeah, what I what I started to build in this area.
So when did you first hear about The Graph?
The very first time I heard about The Graph was, I think back in summer 2020. And this goes back to my close knitted circle of like-minded individuals that I managed to get in touch with back in 2018, as I was navigating the crypto space and also throughout 2019, and 2020. And interestingly enough, as chance would have it, there was simply someone who recommended to me to have a look at The Graph. I’m deeply indebted to this person, because it wasn’t something spectacular that I did hours of research and managed to find The Graph, but it was simply a recommendation from a person out of this group. And yeah, that’s what I did, I had a look at The Graph. And I most certainly liked the project when I took a look at it, even from a non-technical lens. What I saw, I did like, and if you fast forward a couple of months, I heard that The Graph was launching a Curator program. I think this was in October 2020. And to be honest with you, I had absolutely no idea what a Curator was. So this term in itself was something totally new. And I definitely knew that I wouldn’t have what it takes to be an Indexer in The Graph protocol. So Indexers people who operate nodes, I have no experience in that. So I was realistic. So I thought the role as a Curator would be more suitable to me if even if possible for me. So I read through the description they gave when they announced the Curator program. And eventually, luckily I signed up to the program to participate in it. I’m really happy that I did it. And I think this was the beginning of my learning phase. With The Graph, where got to know The Graph and all of its intricacies and where I took the time to learn more about the vision of The Graph and what The Graph represents. When I’m looking back. I’m really glad today that I took this time to learn about The Graph. And there were a couple of really helpful months starting on this October 2020. And it helped me personally to build the foundation upon which I was able to build something much larger later on. For me, this was the seminal periods of time where I had no pressure, we had no expectations, and a simply dedicated myself towards learning about The Graph and got to know more about it. And now in the Curator program, we had these monthly video sessions, I think they call them kickoff calls or workshops. And I think there was, at the end, also a Curator show and tell. And so I’m a naturally curious person. And I was profoundly happy that an entirely new world of opportunities opened itself during this kind of Curator program to myself. And so we were just a group of, I think, wildly different individuals from very different backgrounds. And simply just excited about learning more about The Graph, what it has to offer its opportunities. And I think we all were pretty happy about having joined the Mission Control program, I haven’t heard of a single person who said, Oh, it was boring, or it was not exciting or anything like that. And most importantly, and this may have been the icing on the cake for me to be honest, because the program convinced me as a non-technical person, that I could actually participate in the community and that I could play an active role within this vibrant community. And for me to think this was a major step, seeing that someone like me who may not be a developer, and who may not be able to contribute code to this project could still play a role or have a meaningful role within this ecosystem. And so despite of being encrypted for around three to four years, at that point in time, I’ve never actually had that happening to me. So there was never a project that fundamentally convinced me that I could add something to it without coding experience, and without having a technological background. And I think this deep conviction that I could not only be part of the community, but also contribute my own share towards it and helping to accelerate this community is what finally helped me to meet the decision to become more active in The Graph. That’s how I became aware of The Graph and how it started to become absolutely amazed by The Graph, but also how I realized that I could contribute to The Graph in a meaningful way.
What did you learn about The Graph or The Graph ecosystem? During this time as you worked as a Curator?
That’s a good question. It was simply the, the idea that I wish to communicate to other Delegators that if they invest time, into this project, that they can get a meaningful return out of it. So it’s difficult to talk about the Curator program, because it was mainly an onboarding for people who had never even heard about The Graph. So it was basically more about the fundamentals of the project. And getting to know Everest and learning what a subgraph is, that was more of a huge download on information that we were given. And I think it was also, we as participants, were also led on the very first steps towards participating and playing an active role in the community. Because we were encouraged to write articles about The Graph, we were encouraged to reach out to other programmers or developers and talk with them about The Graph about their needs. So I think, yeah, it was mainly for getting Curators, Delegators on board with The Graph and helping people who may not be able or may not have a technological background to get on boarded with The Graph.
So how did you move from this experience to becoming the creator of The Graph Academy?
You know, I really need to expand a little bit more on this question, because there’s so much context that went on earlier than that, and me just creating The Graph Academy. And I think that The Graph is really not the easiest concept to understand, especially if you do not have a background in crypto, or if you are not the most technologically minded person in this space. So I think for me, it was the realization that The Graph network is absolutely complex. And it can be a really difficult environment to navigate for people who are new to this ecosystem. And people who have never heard about The Graph, who have never heard about delegating, who have never heard about what a Curator is, what an Indexer is, and all these terminologies. And I already mentioned this in the presentation that I gave at the Town Hall meeting that I observed this conversation in the Discord server with a member who was really mad about The Graph, because he made a wrong choice. He delegated to a wrong Indexer and he wasn’t able to make a profit from this Indexer so he was like with paying a lot of gas fees for basically getting no return out of it, and I quoted him, and what he said was that he was done with The Graph. And this was, for me personally, the realization, when I, on a deep level understood that when whenever we as a community make the mistake of not being able to onboard new members in a seamless way, and showing them the way that they need to go to become a Delegator, for example, it will always backfire for the entire ecosystem and for the brand of The Graph. And I think this was the main idea behind actually building something for other community members that will help them to have a better onboarding experience with The Graph. And also providing them an outlet for, I think, accelerating their own knowledge about The Graph network. And I think this is from a time perspective, I think this was right after we had finished the Curator program. And this was really when I got absolutely fundamentally hooked with The Graph. And imagine here was just a kid basically fresh out of Curator High School, but fundamentally excited about The Graph and its mission, its potential, and with a, I think, deep conviction that I want to participate in this project in any way that I possibly can.
So it’s just about the period of time in which you created that Indexer rewards calculator that many early Delegators used. What’s the story behind that?
Yeah, this was when the duration program was over when the mainnet had launched. And this was the point in time, when we were finally able to become Delegators in the network. I wanted to be a good Delegator. And I also had to say, self-interest to maximize my own profits, understandably. So I saw Back then, I think this was in December that some people were creating these calculators where you could calculate the indexing rewards for a particular Indexer. And I have this data driven mindset, I like to dive into data. And being the data driven person that I am, I absolutely appreciate these people for creating these calculators. But at the same time, I was pretty frustrated, because they did not give me the kind of data that I wanted. So you would put in one Indexer, and the stats of one Indexer. And the calculator would output what you would earn, but this particular Indexer. And I was absolutely not satisfied with these kinds of calculators as good as they were. Because they were really, really important for many people in the beginning, but I wasn’t satisfied with that. So what I did, I got to work. And as I told you, I’m a builder. I love building things. So it was naturally it was a natural conclusion for me to really start building my own calculator. And I did this in Google Docs. And it was just a simple calculator. But it allowed me instantly to compare all the Indexers. And all their indexing rewards from all Indexers that were available in the network. And I think I shared this calculator initially with this group of investors that I was talking to regularly. And I saw them, a couple of them, were also involved with The Graph and participated as Delegators in The Graph. And yeah, to my surprise, they were actually using this calculator that I put out there. So I got thinking, and I wanted to improve the calculator. And the natural conclusion to improve this calculator and to make it better was to automatically pull real time data from a subgraph into this Google spreadsheet. And as I told you, I’m a non-technical person. So this was really ambitious for me. And I think it will maybe take in developer a couple of hours to get this goal accomplished. But I wasn’t able to do so. And even with the guides that I had at my hand, I always failed in pulling real time data from the subgraph. So I was frustrated. And I was simply not happy that I wasn’t able to do it. And to pull it off, because Yeah, I wanted this calculator. And I wanted to work and I wanted to be really great. And that’s why I’m explaining this because that’s when I really started to see how close knit and strong and helpful the community was, and how amazing the different members in the community were. Because when I started asking around as you usually do when you build something and you have no chance of getting forward, I think I was starting to talk to Gary Morris from The Graph Council back down. And luckily he referred me to Juan about my problem with pulling data from a subgraph. So yeah, I just got in touch with Juan who is an Indexer. And yeah, in my opinion, he is one of the greatest subgraph Wizards of all time. And he actually helped me with pulling data from the subgraph. Now he’s, he’s a really busy guy. And he worked for Protofire. And I really appreciated him taking the time to help me a newcomer, someone with no name and the community. And he still took the time to help me get this data from the subgraph. And she was responsible for me getting the calculator to work. And yeah, I was really so grateful for having received that help, especially because I wasn’t no one in the community. So he would not have had to help, there was no obligation for him to help me. And he still did. I think that’s the common theme that spread throughout all my interactions with other community members in the ecosystem. Because whenever I asked, whatever I needed, I always got some kind of help. And people showed me in the right direction, or they like Juan took the time to directly help me. And that’s, that’s my deep fascination with the community. Because it simply showed me how actively involved so many people are from different backgrounds within this project, and actually helping other people succeed and the network. So these people were not driven by their own interests, but they were more driven by other aspects and simply wanting to help other people succeed in the network.
So how does your experience with The Graph foundation figure into this period of time?
For me, it personally coincided with that period of mine where I would lie in bed, think about The Graph. And all these wild ideas started rushing into my head about what could be done in the ecosystem from a non-technical perspective. And I simply wrote these ideas down. And the next day, I started working on these ideas, I started giving shape to these ideas. And I took my chances, and I submitted the grant proposal, and then another one. And you can believe me today, I think, you know, I’m officially saying this, I don’t have the data. But unofficially, I’m saying that I in the record holder for the most grant proposals submitted by an individual of the grant. So I really feel bad for Eva and all the people over at the Foundation, because I did not simply submit a grant proposal, but was always like, I was writing a couple of pages for each proposal with detailed descriptions, milestones, deliverables, and even MVP is for each idea. So it really was a lot of time spent writing these proposals and simply thinking about ways where we could help to accelerate the ecosystem. And I think this was a process that went I think, four months, when I got new ideas and started submitting proposals, and as anecdotal reference, I was talking to slim chance recently. He’s responsible for a Curator relations about this topic. And he told me that one day, he was told by the foundation that they would forward a couple of grant proposals to him as they set and for him to evaluate. And he sure was pretty surprised they were all by myself. So you can guess the look when he saw all these proposals. But interestingly enough, all these proposals were rejected.
So how do you move from a bunch of rejected proposals to starting The Graph Academy?
That’s kind of my life philosophy, to always get back up after a failure and to improve myself to shake off the dust. And to simply try again, without thinking too much about it or bothering about it, why I have failed. And this is basically when it all got started with The Graph Academy. So back then, I was talking to Jim Cousins from the council. And just like I talked to Gary Morris from the council, I was impressed that both guys were easily approachable and really helpful in whatever conversation I had with them. And we have to mention that both guys have a really high standing in the community. They are council members. And I assume that they are being flooded with inquiries and messages all day long. But when I talked to Jim, we started talking about The Graph. And there was one particular conversation that I noticed often in the official Discord, where he said something along the lines that there was a need for explaining complex subjects in the ecosystem, through timelines and graphics. So at that point, my in my mind was already rushing again, but I got all these ideas. And yeah, I started Photoshop. I’m not a graphics designer, but I know my way around and Photoshop a little bit. So I started Photoshop and created something for him. And that’s when I think we both noticed that there was a deep need in the community for something more than just graphics. So more material throughout the ecosystem not only for Delegators, but also for Indexers and possibly for Curators as well in the future, being the person that I am I dived right into this, I was excited, I was hooked. And that’s when I started to create a small documentation website with a third party tool. So it wasn’t anything fancy, it was simply documentation about the ecosystem, to show something to Jim, and to basically have given shape to this idea that we both had. And this is how the origin of The Graph Academy came into existence. But it was not molded at this point. And it wasn’t given the shape it currently has. Because back then it was simply, I would say, unrealized potential, something without a form or a shape, and the an idea, I think, gain traction. And Jim was becoming luckily more interested in it. And there was this point when he offered to become an advisor to the project. And I really want to highlight the important role that Jim played in this project, because to me, he is not only an advisor, because to me, an advisor is someone who tells me what to do. But I see Jim more as a mentor to me to the project, because whatever he has put in into this project was pretty valuable. And I think you spoke to him as well, on the very first show, and Jim has a background in IT. So here is this guy with really experienced who is really knowledgeable, who is active in other projects. And he dedicates hours just to me and the project. And now Yeah, I was so grateful and thankful. And I was I was simply amazed that this guy would sit down, talk to me, give his opinion. And he played a key role in shaping The Graph Academy, how it is now. And yeah, I think that’s a Jim, and I got to talk and I started building this prototype of what it is now, we sat down and gave form to the idea. And we gave form to what was previously totally intangible and just floating around through the space of possibilities. And I think the longer I focused on what the project could be, the more ideas started coming to my mind, about what the project could look like, how it could develop in the future and to what it could become. And at the end of it, I think the idea for The Graph Academy was born as it is today. So that was, for me, personally, the point where all my previous work, but the rejected grants came in quite helpful, because as I said, all these grants were rejected. And I didn’t give up, I didn’t become frustrated or anything like that. I simply went on and created something new. And yeah, I think when I submitted the proposal for The Graph Academy, it was really well thought out, it was substantial, and it was tangible. So after we had submitted the proposal, I’m pretty thankful to Jim who got Cohen and Payne involved. And this is when the idea of the academy started to grow. And yeah, I think it became something larger than just me had intended. And something larger than just my idea for it. Because all the three of them contributed in, I would say, in refining the idea of the Academy.
You’ve done such a nice job designing The Graph academy website, sometimes it’s confused as being an official channel of The Graph.
Yes, so I think I need to clarify that. It is not an official project. And it is not officially done by any team members, or anything like that. We simply are supported by The Graph, we are allowed to talk to Martin, for example. But I think that’s it. And it’s a community initiative. So this is what we want to build. We want The Graph Academy to become this community driven initiative, where people in the community can actively participate in creating content, and writing documentation for The Graph. And yeah, I think this is what was really important to me to give community members an outlet to participate in the community and to help us all to mutually accelerate our knowledge about The Graph, and our knowledge as Delegators our knowledge as Indexers and our knowledge as Curators, so it may be received as an official thing of The Graph, but it isn’t.
This is Stefan Mueller from The Graph accounting, and then my Delegator and hopefully soon a Curator at The Graph. If my conversation with the GRTiQ podcast has been helpful for you, then please consider supporting future episodes by becoming a subscriber visit GRTiQ.com/podcast for more information on that GRTiQ.com. Thanks for listening
How do you currently address the challenge of creating all that content for The Graph Academy?
So right now, it’s basically just me with The Graph Academy, I have built this website, I have built the structure. And we are in right now in the process of getting a lot of more people involved with this idea with The Graph Academy. For example, we have Payne, who wrote his Docker compose guide for the test net for Indexers. And he has published it on GitHub, which is automatically then synchronized over to The Graph academy website. And this is exactly our vision, this is what we want to facilitate is the people who are figureheads within the community, who are experts in their domains, that they publish the kind of documentation that they produce. And, for example, like Cohen, he told us that he and with or without a Graph Academy, he would produce his documentation about The Graph and about his work. So he will publish this kind of documentation as well over at The Graph Academy. So this is our vision to get all these people involved with The Graph, who are willing to participate, and who are deeply interested in helping other people to learn about The Graph and to accelerate their knowledge about The Graph. And for example, we, I mean, there is no official date or anything like that, but curation will come live eventually. And many people in the ecosystem are pretty excited about it, because it’s a new opportunity. But with this new opportunity, we also have a lot of risks in the ecosystem. And I personally, I’m a little bit fearful of that day, because I’m excited just like everybody else who was excited about The Graph and involved with The Graph. But what I fear is that many people start curating without actually having the knowledge to do so because curating is not delegating, we’re delegating There is absolutely no risk for you. The only risk that a Delegator may be confronted with is that they lose out on opportunity costs, and that they pay gas fees for the two transactions to delegate and D two transactions to delegate and switch to another Indexer. But with curating this is not the case, because curating happens on a Bonding Curve, and people who are not intimately familiar with the concept of Bonding Curves, and the inherent risks that these Bonding Curves opposing, may end up losing as a Curator. And this is why I’m already in the background, preparing the very first documentation and guides about being a Curator in a network because I really don’t want people to be unprepared when curating launches, because there will be stories of people who made the wrong decision, who may have signaled on the wrong subgraph and may have lost a portion of their investment, which is not great, which is not good for the individual. But it’s also not good for the entire ecosystem, because these people will quickly become disappointed about The Graph, and may lose interest in it. So yeah, that’s, that’s why I am happy about curating going live. But I also want people to be prepared for when it launches, and to be at the maximum of knowledge when it goes live.
So let’s dive into that website. What can you tell us about the design and content flow of The Graph Academy?
Well, thank you, first of all, for asking this question. And giving me the opportunity to shamelessly plug the URL for the website. So URL to the website is thegraph.academy And I think it’s a bit complicated to describe everything that we want to accomplish with The Graph Academy and the content that can be found over at The Graph Academy. So first of all, we have this two tiered approach with The Graph Academy. First of all, we want to provide really visually appealing guides, and tutorials for community members. This is our first approach. And our second approach is that we want to encourage and to foster really detailed, granular and technical documentation for, for example, developers, and also for Indexers and the network. But this is this two tiered approach. And our website basically, is split after this approach. So on the one hand, we have thegraph.academy. On the other hand, we have The Graph Hub, which is on GitHub. And everything that is edited on The Graph Hub over at GitHub is automatically synchronized over to The Graph academy website. So this subsection of the website can be found at docs.thegraph.academy And about the content that we provide, first of all, we want to provide documentation about the ecosystem. So for example, we explain to people, for example, what the governance processes, how they can participate in governance, because I think it’s really important if you are an investor, or if you are involved with The Graph, that you actually participate in the network and in the governance of the network, because you have the chance to actually decide in which direction this entire ecosystem is steering towards to in the future. And I would like to encourage everybody out there to really actively participate in this process. And I think Indexers are really great at participating in this governance process, but Delegators right now, and not so much, because they are not that active in the governance, and people who simply hold charity in their wallets are also not that active in the governance. So it’s my dream that more people get involved with governance, and that we see a more broader distribution of participants than not just Indexers and a couple of Delegators, but a lot of Delegators, a lot of Indexers and a lot of people who simply hold The Graph. And so to return back to The Graph Academy, we have this documentation on the ecosystem, we have a really big documentation section just for Delegators in a network, where we explain to people who just get started with the network, what the Delegator is, what the risks are involved with being a Delegator, because there are certain risks people should know about. I mean, these risks are not really high or not really dangerous. But I think it’s important to know a bit about the risks that are involved with Delegators. And the section is basically designed to really help Delegators in choosing Indexers in getting started in delegating to an Indexer, and also undelegating from an Indexer. But we also have guides, how you can interact with contracts and how you can basically, if you are, for example, a participant of the Curator program, what you can do to unlock your tokens from a vesting contract. We also have this section for developers. And we also have a section with Indexers. These are the main sections on the website. And as an addition, we have video tutorials. But this is what I want to focus a lot more time into, because many people are not that interested in reading huge blocks of text, so they prefer video content. So this is what I’m working at right now to produce more videos, and to get more video tutorials out there. And I think this is basically the structure of the website, and what we are doing with the website, then we obviously also have a section where we present news about the ecosystem. We have a blog, where we post a monthly update about what happened in the community and what happened in the ecosystem, then we have podcasts, we also publish on the latest Town Hall meetings and the latest Indexer office hours. It’s really a very, very diverse, what we are trying to accomplish with The Graph Academy and the content is very diverse. At The Graph Academy.
Do you have a focus right now on the type of content you’re creating?
Well, that’s a good question. I think my own priority right now is on Curator content, because I think this will be the next big topic in the ecosystem. And as I already told you, I really want to help people being prepared for once curation goes live, so that we can avoid mistakes, and we can help people to really avoid making costly mistakes in the ecosystem. So I think the biggest focus lies on creating content for Curators. And I already have a couple of pieces of content live on the website. But it’s right now in the editing process. So we have this curating specialists from the foundation, Slimchance as his name is a fantastic contributor to the project because he was willing to have a look at everything I wrote, and cross checked it and helped me to make corrections to the content so that it would be really perfect when people start reading it, and when people decide to become Curators. And now this is the challenge that I’m working on right now. And I’m trying to solve right now because as it stands today, I don’t have access to the beta version of curating and I don’t know if such a version exists, but I think it must exist. So I cannot write content until curation is actually live. So what this means for me is that once curation is live once this switch is made, I really have to accelerate my knowledge about all the functionalities of curation within a really short time period. So what this means for me is, I think, a couple of all-nighters, where I really have to dig myself into it, and really accelerate my own knowledge about it. So this will be really difficult, I think, and also really stressful in terms of deliverables that I have to put out there. But I think in the end, it will be rewarding. And yeah, I’m really looking forward towards when curation goes live. And this is the, I think the number one content focus that I’m focusing right now. But what I also want to work on is a simply guide on The Graph ecosystem. So because we don’t have this right now on the website, so just the an introduction to The Graph ecosystem, what The Graph is what The Graph wants to accomplish, but not just difficult and complex topics. But also, yeah, a simple guide on the ecosystem, because this is what we are lacking right now.
Are you able to share which posts or content are the most popular among your audience?
So the thing is, we have just launched The Graph Academy. And because of this, we are not that popular yet at Google. So I estimate that there will be a time when we have a lot of traffic directly from Google. But right now, it’s the fact that most traffic comes through social interaction. And people recommending us somewhere, people sharing a link over at Discord, or maybe a Telegram and in other social medias, for example, like Twitter. And so the most access to content and the most popular content is really right now dependent on what people are sharing in these different sources that are driving the traffic to our website. And right now, the most popular piece of content is obviously a guide for Delegators. What they can do to choose the right Indexer because I think this is the most often asked question for people who want to get started, who are interested in what they can do to choose a good Indexer. Well, this is at the moment right now the most popular content over the website.
So then what is your advice to Delegators, about selecting an Indexer?
I think the best piece of advice I can give Delegators and prospecting Delegators is to diversify by not choosing a single Indexer. So first of all, this helps to decentralize the network. But it also gives you the opportunity to diversify your risks. So if you, if you delegate all your entire stack to one Indexer, you always run the risk of this Indexer becoming inactive, or this Indexer not performing as you wanted this Indexer to perform. And by diversifying by, let’s say by choosing two to four Indexers, you can mitigate your risks, and you can lower your risks that you would usually encounter if you are only delegating to one Indexer. But also, this really depends on the size of your stack. So people who are just getting started with The Graph, and who have not that much money invested should we take the time to choose only one Indexer to begin with. And later on, if they decide to invest more in the protocol, they can choose another index and then another one, because you always have to take into consideration that whenever you delegate you have to transactions to confirm and to sign, though it always costs to gas. And this obviously reduces your profit margin. And for example, if you only want to delegate let’s say $200. And you pay during a really busy week, you have to pay, let’s say $50. In gas, this is absolutely horrendous if you are in it only for the short term, because you won’t be able to get this kind of investment back that you have spent on the gas costs within a couple of weeks or within a couple of months. And I think another topic I want to address is that Delegators really need to be more realistic about the possible APY they can earn from an Indexer and the possible Return On Investment they can get as a Delegator because this is relatively active in the community. And this is what I see all the time. People are asking, Hey, do you know this kind of Indexer he’s promising, I don’t know 50% APY, and 70% APY, whatever. And every single time I see these people a couple of months later or weeks later returned to the community and being disappointed that the Indexer has changed their variables and that they are now much more have a much worser deal than they would have with a stable and trustworthy Indexer. So this is what I want to emphasize is to take the time to find a good Indexer a trustworthy Indexer, a reputable Indexer that you can delegate to for a long period of time. So what I don’t want is an Indexer, who promises me and everything in the world for 30% API. But who leaves the arena after a couple of months of being, I don’t know, disappointed with the network or not being able to pull up what it takes to be a good Indexer. What I want is the Indexer, who has really tightly interwoven with the community who absolutely lives and breathes The Graph protocol, and who simply is dedicated to this project and has a great chance of seeing things through not only for a couple of months, but possibly even years. So this is what I want. This is the long term perspective that I wish to incorporate as a Delegator. Obviously, as a Delegator, you can also have a look at effective cut percentages of Indexers, which are really helpful for you to compare Indexers. But something that I would love to see Delegators gaining more focus is the parameter cooldown of an Indexer. Because right now, I have the feeling that not too many Delegators have a look at what the parameter cooldown of an Indexer is. So basically, as a description, it’s, it’s a self-imposed cool down by an Indexer, who basically says that whenever he makes a change to his reward structure, he will not change this reward structure for a set of a predefined amount of days. So for example, this cooldown period can be 30 days, and this Indexer will be committed to these 30 days of no changes to his reward structure. And this gives you as a Delegator. Obviously, a higher security, from unexpected changes to reward structure fees. So yeah, what I want to recommend to Delegators is to choose a dependable Indexer, who is active in the community with responsive where you can get in touch with who you can ask about their indexing strategy, and who basically lives and breathes The Graph. And yeah, that’s, I think that’s a good decision to choose as an Indexer.
So as we end this interview, how can listeners help support or participate with The Graph Academy? Well,
We would absolutely love if people participate. And it does not matter in what way or shape or form they participate, it does not really matter if they have a technical background, or not, everybody who wants to participate is really welcome to do so. And I’m not just saying this, I really mean it from the bottom of my heart, I’m grateful for every person who comes over to The Graph Academy, and shares, insight, shares, tips, shares, content that they have curated, or shares any kind of suggestion. So we are open for any kind of feedback, we are open for anybody who wants to contribute. And this is basically our slogan, what we want to accomplish, we are for the community, and by the community. So without the community, The Graph Academy will not exist, and The Graph Academy cannot exist. So really, we want people to actively participate. And I really want to extend an open invitation to everybody who is interested in participating, to come over and to actively participate in our community and to play an active role. And whatever way they can, for example, we have FunSmith is a good example. Because he joined and he curated a couple ideas for us. So he wrote us in the Discord server. And he told us, hey, I’ve seen Delegators always asking the same questions. So what he suggested to us is to create an article or a guide, which details the most commonly asked questions by Delegators. And which helps Delegators to troubleshoot potential issues they have when they delegate. So FunSmith reached out and curated this list of questions. And he came back to us and posted it in the public discussion channel off The Graph Academy. And we got to work and now this article is live. So this is one way you can participate in The Graph Academy. You don’t have to have the most complex knowledge. You don’t have to have any kind of technical background, you simply come over, you propose an idea and we see what can be done. And if you want to get more involved, that would be even better. So I really want to extend an open invitation everybody can join and we are really grateful to have people join and I will give a link in the show notes description text to the Discord server over where we coordinate and collaborate for The Graph Academy. So everybody was interested in joining can afford to join. Feel free to do so.
Based on your experience, what would be your advice to listeners who plan to apply for a grant with The Graph foundation?
I most definitely know the ups and downs, I think the first piece of advice I would like to give people is to be patient. Because I think I submitted my very first grant proposal sometime, either in December or in January. And as you all know, the breath grants were just recently approved. So I think it took around about three months to work through all The Graph grant proposals. So I think it’s really important to be patient, and whoever wants to propose a grant idea, I think they should take the time to really work things out. Because the mistake I made in the beginning is I had an idea, I drafted the grant proposal, I created some kind of a minimum viable product, and I submitted it. But if I could do it all over again, I think I would submit a lot less proposals, but a lot more quality proposals, like, for example, The Graph Academy. So having patience, and also taking the time, are I think my first two suggestions to applicants to the grant proposal project. But I would also encourage people to have the courage and to invest time into their project before actually submitting the grant proposal. So when I finally submitted the grant proposal, a large position of The Graph Academy was already in existence. So Eva, and the foundation team was able to already have a look at what The Graph Academy is and what it could become. So they had an intimate feeling about how The Graph Academy felt like and what it was like, and what it could become, instead of just reading a couple of lines of well thought out words. But this is the third suggestion I would like to give people and yeah, then I think the process of getting your grant approved is really straightforward, because there are so many people involved with The Graph foundation that are tagging along and are going to help you with streamlining the idea and streamlining the milestones the deliverable. So once all that preliminary work is done and accomplished, I think the onboarding process into the brand program is a seamless experience. And you’re working with true professionals who are working on your site and helping you to get your idea streamlined and help you to make it better with that idea. I think these are the major recommendations, I would like to give people who think about applying for a grant.
I guess my last question would be, what is your long term vision for The Graph?
I think we all know what the version of The Graph is. But it’s difficult to tell how it all will be implemented in the future. Because The Graph is the protocol that provides the infrastructure for a decentralized web3 stack and applications. But it is also up to these web three applications and these decentralized applications to actually come forward and use The Graph. And to actually make this progress in the world that we want to see. So it’s difficult to tell what kind of role The Graph will play. But I think the more successful Web3 will be, the more successful will also The Graph be because it fundamentally provides the infrastructure to make it all happen. So if Web3 succeeds, The Graph will definitely succeed as well.
Stefan Mueller with The Graph Academy, thank you so much for your time, and introducing listeners to all the work you’re doing at The Graph Academy. What are ways that listeners can stay in contact with you or follow your work?
Staying in touch with us is really simple. Simply head over to thegraph.academy There you can find all the links and all the information you need to get in touch with us and you need to keep up with our work on Twitter. For example, over at thegraph.academy are all the links for you.
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DISCLOSURE: GRTIQ is not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any other way connected with The Graph, or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates. This material has been prepared for information purposes only, and it is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, tax, legal, financial, or investment advice. The content for this material is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The Graph token holders should do their own research regarding individual Indexers and the risks, including objectives, charges, and expenses, associated with the purchase of GRT or the delegation of GRT.