Applied Interactive is expanding its staff and welcoming some new members who are poised to set unprecedented standards in web marketing. In this ongoing series, we’re introducing you to these creative, passionate, and extremely talented individuals and learning a little bit about the people who are the heart and soul of our team.
When Alex joined Applied Interactive as Managing Editor, he was up against some big challenges—but we were all blown away by how quickly this dynamic wordsmith became an integral part of our team. Known for his agility both on the field and on the page, his quick wit and easygoing nature made him a great fit for AI right away. We wanted to take a moment to get to know a little more about Alex and the path that led this perspicacious proofreader to our team.
Let’s start by telling me a little about what you do here?
My job is to compare our content against house style, client style, and The Chicago Manual of Style. I also check for factual accuracy, readability, and thoroughness. To make sure a piece of writing best communicates with its audience, I spend time cleaning up the character-by-character details—the em dashes, the spaces, the semicolons—but also step back to make sure it attacks all appropriate points from all appropriate angles.
What were your first impressions of Applied Interactive?
I was amazed with the sense of life; the energy. When I first came into the office, not only were there dogs bounding around on the hardwood floors, but all the people seemed upbeat and communicative; collaborating with each other in a way I’ve never seen before.
It is a weird environment, isn’t it? But weird in a good way.
Exactly. Healthy-weird. Creative-weird.
What made you interested in editing?
I had some incredible mentors in high school and college who helped me get into writing and editing. With their help, navigating language on the page became kind of a rush for me. It’s exciting—to shovel my way into a piece of writing, figure out what it’s trying to do, find out who’s listening, and help connect all its pieces. I think all writing can be done better; it’s always somehow failing, and I’ve found a lot of pleasure learning about and manipulating those failures.
Describe one part of your daily routine you cannot live without.
I try to break a sweat [almost] every day, whether at the gym, playing Ultimate Frisbee, going hiking, etc. It’s great, sometimes, to put the world on pause and focus only on pushing your body as far as it’ll go.
What makes AI a great match for you?
For me, one of the most attractive qualities about AI has been that everybody here does a bit of everything. It’s a young organization and the gears are always turning, so everyone has to work to find the best way, the most efficient way, the most successful way—I’m constantly learning from the talented people around me. It’s hard not to be magnetized by it all.
What goals do you hope to accomplish here (personal or professional)?
I’d like to become more confident in the ins and outs of business writing—B2B writing that exalts brevity and precision yet still builds a close connection to its readers. I’m also looking forward to learning how to quickly connect any company, in any industry, to its clients and audiences.
What previous experiences have been useful to you in your endeavors here? Literary magazines and the folks who work with them have both been very important to me. Much of the lit mag community is blindingly passionate about what it does, inventive, driven by language, and hungry for growth—I learn from these people constantly. Currently, I serve as the associate editor at The Adirondack Review, where I’ve been lucky enough to dig into hundreds of poems, academic work, literary essays, short stories, reviews, and more. There are many voices speaking in each issue we publish; with their characters, their stories, their rhetorics, and their motivations all taking up some small part of my vocabulary, I feel better equipped to find the best voices for our clients.
And for those of us who aren’t familiar with it, what is that publication like?
The Adirondack Review is an independent, online, free-to-read literary magazine that publishes short fiction, interviews, book reviews, poetry, translations, artwork, and more. We host annual contests for short fiction and poetry.
Do you do any writing for yourself?
I do. I mostly write poetry.
*Author’s note: This question might have been a little bit of a cheat—I had the chance to see Alex perform some of his poetry recently and it was outstanding!
How do you unwind in your free time?
Ultimate Frisbee is the big one for me. I played competitively through college and currently play in a number of hat leagues in MA. Off the field, I do a lot of reading and writing—letters and poems, usually. Hiking, beaching, and attempting to cook are all on this list, too.
Has anything surprised you or changed your perspective of your job since you got here?
So far, it has been mostly what I expected, but I am still adjusting to AI’s open, mostly-hierarchy-free environment. Everyone here has been so friendly and helpful, and the biggest adjustment has been getting used to having the freedom to really let my guard down.
If you could go back in time to the day of your high school graduation and give yourself one piece of advice, what would you say?
Be open to constant change. Whenever I’ve fallen into that clichéd, twenty-something drama about “not knowing what I’m doing with my life,” getting out has usually been as easy as isolating the issue and then making some simple change. Being unhappy seems like an enormous waste of time, and I’ve found it more sensible to adjust to the situation and move on.