Planet Gorik

My personal blog

A systematic approach for achieving your goals

It’s been a while since I wrote about productivity. I’m currently reading a great book called Principles by Ray Dalio and there is a chapter about goals and how to achieve them.

Since there is a lot of correlation with what I’ve written before, I decided to dedicate a post to this chapter and bring my own ideas to the table.

About Ray Dalio

Ray Dalio is a famous investor that started his own investment company Bridgewater from his 2 bedroom apartment and grew it into a billion-dollar company.  The fascinating thing about Ray Dalio is not the wealth and success of the company but rather the way he did it. He ran his company as an idea meritocracy (watch his TED talk explaining this) where the best idea wins instead of rank or seniority.

His company predicted the 2008 financial crisis and his clients ended up gaining money instead of losing money like the rest of the world did. Ray made an interesting video “How the economy machine works” that explains economy in an easily understandable way in only 30 minutes.

He runs his work and life by a set of Principles that are described in his book.

Continue reading

An introduction to SteemIt

What is Steemit?

Steemit is a social network and content rewards platform that rewards users using its own cryptocurrency, called STEEM.

As a user, you can earn digital tokens by posting or curating posts.  Your earnings depend on the number of upvotes you get.

Since STEEM is a cryptocurrency, it can also be traded on crypto-exchanges, such as Poloniex and Bittrex.

The main idea behind Steemit is that authors should get most of the rewards of their content instead of the platforms that publish the contents.

Currently, platforms such as Facebook and Youtube make a lot of money from other people’s content and share little or nothing to the authors. A decentralized social network can change this.

How to use it?

The easiest way to use Steemit is to go to the default website Here you can create a free account, publish new posts and upvote other users posts.

STEEM has its own blockchain that records all posts and votes. The blockchain is publicly accessible, you can see it as a distributed database. Because of this, other applications can be built on top of the STEEM blockchain. Developers can find more info on

Some examples are DTube (Decentralized YouTube alternative), SteemImg (decentralized image hosting) and dMania (9GAG clone for STEEM).  More can be found SteemTools.

Since SteemIt is still relatively young, most apps are still in an alpha or beta stage. But if the platform gets enough traction, it could deliver a lot of interesting new applications!

How it works

The STEEM blockchain uses a delegated proof of stake model to produce blocks. Instead of miners, STEEM uses witnesses to produce blocks. A witness only gets 10% of the new coins allocated to a new block. The 90% remaining coins go to content producers, curators, and STEEM Power holders. Witnesses produce a new block every 3 seconds. 21 witness nodes produce 21 blocks in each 63-second round.

To become an active witness, you need to get enough votes from STEEM users, voting can be done at the Steemit witness page. Hence the name delegated proof of stake.

How I use it

So far, I’ve only been following and upvoting other steemers. You can see my feed at Steemit and find the people I follow here.

With this post, I’m trying to integrate my WordPress blog with my Steemit feed using a WordPress plugin. One thing I noticed so far is that the plugin also publishes draft posts, which is not so convenient when you want to save unfinished posts in WordPress without publishing them to the blockchain.

If you like my posts, please upvote them on Steemit (you’ll need to create a free account to do so). You can also follow me @gorik.

5 interesting altcoins worth looking at

I wrote before about cryptocurrency and Ethereum. As I explained, Bitcoin is a virtual currency, using a blockchain to offer a safer way to store your money than the classic solutions. And Ethereum is a platform to allow development of decentralized network application based on blockchain technology.

What are altcoins?

Altcoins is just a nickname. It refers to all crypto coins that are not bitcoin because the general public only knows about Bitcoin.

But there are actually 900 different cryptocurrencies on the market these days and new ones created daily. A lot of them are scams. It is easy to create a new cryptocurrency. Some copy the Bitcoin source code and make some changes, others create tokens using the Ethereum platform. With Ethereum, it actually takes less than 100 lines of code to create a new coin.

But just because a lot of these new coins are scams, it doesn’t mean they are all scams. Some of them have great value and potentially a great future.

Here is an overview of some of the more well-known altcoins that are worth looking into. One of the things worth looking at is the market cap of each coin. At the time of writing, Bitcoin has a market cap of $93.5 billion and Ethereum has $32.6 billion market cap (source

Litecoin (LTC)

Litecoin was created in 2011 as a fork of Bitcoin by former Google employee Charlie Lee. It tries to fix some of Bitcoins shortcomings, such as shorter transaction time and lower payment fees. Litecoin keeps evolving with new features and technical upgrades (SegWit Upgrade, Lightning Networks). Those upgrades will allow Litecoin to scale and make it usable by more users in the future.

Current market cap: $3.4 billion.

Ripple (XRP)

Ripple is not a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin and Litecoin. Instead, it is a distributed, real-time payment protocol than can be used to trade anything of value. Its aim is to make payments easier and cheaper, replacing systems such as SWIFT. XRP is the token used for paying the cost of a Ripple transaction.

Ripple now has over 75 banks signed up that are experimenting with XRP. Just last month they recruited the former business director at SWIFT.

Current market cap: $10 billion.

Dash (DASH)

Dash is another cryptocurrency originally based on Bitcoin, created by Evan Duffield in 2014. The first name was XCoin, later it became DarkCoin before changing the name again to Dash (short forDigital Cash). Dash aims to be faster, more private and more secure than Bitcoin.

Current market cap: $2.3 billion.


NEM (New Economy Movement) was launched in 2015 and is based on its own original source code. Instead of copying an existing technology and modifying it, NEM was written from scratch, trying to fix some of the shortcomings of other cryptos. For example, it uses its own POI (Proof of Importance) algorithm. NEM was developed in Java under the Test Driven Development (TDD) methodology, improving the stability of the code. The goal of NEM is to improve scalability, ease of use, energy consumption of cryptocurrencies.

NEM is not only a coin but also a platform that allows companies to easily create special blockchains for different purposes using Java programming language. The difference with Ethereum is that NEM offers an API to write smart contracts while Ethereum allows you to write the entire contract code. This creates some limitation on the side of NEM but also makes the smart contracts more robust (less chance of bugs).

Current market cap: $1.8 billion.

Monero (XMR)

Monero was created in 2014. Monero is esperanto for coin. The original name was BitMonero. Monero source code is writting from scratch, so not a copy of existing technology. Its main focus is privacy. While with Bitcoin, it is possible to trace back all transactions made with a bitcoin address, the Monero wallet address is not shown in the public blockchain. Also the transaction amounts are encrypted.

Current market cap: $1.4 billion.


There are many cryptocoins out there, some are fighting to be the best cryptocurrency of the future, trying to improve some of the short comings of Bitcoin. Others are just part of a bigger platform, such as Ethereum, Ripple and NEM, that offer a range of features.

There will be not 1 sole survivor in this race to become the best cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is the biggest and will keep growing because it is the most well-known name. Ethereum and Litecoin have the benefit of being sold on Coinbase. As long as Coinbase is the easiest place to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, that will have an effect on the adoption of a coin.

But we are still at the beginning of the crypto age. A lot can change and no one can predict the future.

There are many other interesting altcoins but I wanted to keep this post short. I will do a follow-up post soon with some more of my favourite coins.

About Stoicism

Stoicism is a very old philosophy, created in the time of the ancient Greeks (around 300 BC). But it became very popular in the Roman empire in all levels of society, from slaves to emperors. Some of the most famous Stoics are Cato, Seneca and Marcus Aurelius.

But 2000 years later, Stoicism is still popular, especially in Silicon Valley. Some of today’s well-known Stoics are Ryan Holiday and Tim Ferriss.

The basic idea

The basic idea of Stoicism is that you take the obstacles in your life and turn them into your advantage and the notion that you should control the things that you can control and accept the things that are outside of your control. This is similar to the concept of the circle of influence and the circle of concern, mentioned in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. 

It all boils down to being in control of things instead of letting things control you.

Continue reading

What is Ethereum?

On the one hand, Ethereum is a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. But it is also very different.

Bitcoin is designed as a digital currency, with the specific purpose of exchanging money. All transactions are stored in the Bitcoin blockchain.

Ethereum also uses a blockchain, but it is designed as a platform to run decentralized applications. Continue reading

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