Twitter can sometimes be a beautiful place. At least a few years ago it was. That was when Alex and I originally started chatting about various digital marketing things. It's crazy to think we've been friends ever since. I had the pleasure of chatting with him about a few things.
1. Mr. Masica, do you remember how we met?
I think I do! Like most of the people I met when I moved to Minneapolis, our first interaction was through Twitter. I remember thinking how cool you looked on Twitter and I knew I wanted to meet you in person. If I remember correctly, we met up at Red Cow in South Minneapolis. The rest is history!
2. You’re currently in grad school at THE Ohio State University. I feel like so many people our age are spooked by student loans, etc., in general. What made you want to go to grad school?
Yeah, student loans are not fun, but getting my MBA was the next logical step in my career (and thank god for scholarships!). After working for over five years, I knew there were some foundational business skills that lacked and I was also looking to pivot careers a bit. Business school is the perfect opportunity to do a bit of a career reset, take really interesting classes that teach some solid technical skills (I now know how to read financial statements!), expand your professional network, and quickly elevate your career. I’m sad to not be in Minneapolis at the moment but I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience so far.
3. We work in similar fields, and have for a few years. What would be your dream job post-grad school?
That’s a good question. If I could do absolutely anything, I’d be an author, a piano teacher, or something related to getting underprivileged kids into college. That being said, I’m really excited that I’ll be interning at Expedia (.com!) in Seattle this summer in a role that mixes digital marketing with big data.
4. If you could brunch with any 3 people – living or dead – who would you choose?
Stevie Nicks, Steve Jobs, and Barack Obama. All three have been highly influential in my life in one way or another. Stevie’s music speaks to my soul on every level. Steve invented the products that inspired me to be a creative. And Barack because duh. He’s the coolest ever.
5. What is your go-to brunch spot here in the Twin Cities? In Ohio – if there are any?!
In Minneapolis, it has to be Hola Arepa. Their fried chicken and cachapas are to die for. I haven’t brunched enough in Columbus yet (I don’t have my #smbrunchfest crew with me!) but I would say Katalina’s has a pretty awesome Latin-meets-Southern brunch menu.
6. I know you’ve been working on a novel. Top 3 writers that inspire you or motivate you to keep writing?
Haha yeah! One of these days, I’ll get that thing done… Top three writers that inspire and motivate me to keep writing have to be Jodi Picoult, Hemmingway, and J.D. Salinger. They’re all very different writers but there’s something about the mystery to their personalities and the poetic nature of their writing that keeps me coming back for more and pushing myself to continue to write.
7. Starbucks or Caribou – and what is your go-to coffee order?
I’m a total Starbucks guy. My go-to is a venti cold brew with light cream. Even in the winter.
8. You’ve done a lot of volunteering in the past. What are some of the more memorable experiences you have from volunteering?
I think volunteering and community service is really important, especially the older and more fortunate we get in our lives. I spent 10 years volunteering with Badger Boys State and had the most incredible experience doing everything from being a counselor to running their media and marketing teams. This spring, I’ll be joining the board of a non-profit organization in Columbus through the business school, which I’m really excited about. I haven’t been assigned to a NP yet but I’m secretly hoping for Equality Ohio, Kaleidoscope Youth Center, or BalletMet.
9. You’re a Drake University alumnus. What made you decide to go there? Any fellow Drake alumnus you’re a big fan of?
I told myself I’d never go to college in Iowa for whatever reason and then I ended up there. I chose Drake because it has a magazine journalism program. I initially wanted to write for magazines in New York but I changed my career ambitions about 17 times in college. There are three Drake alums I’m a big fan of: Dave Remund, Kasey Skala, and Missy Voronyak. Dave was a PR professor of mine and is now a great friend and amazing mentor. I turn to him when I most need advice. Kasey is just the man. Totally funny, an awesome networker, and whip smart when it comes to digital marketing. I respect him a lot and value his friendship. And then Missy is quite possibly one of the funniest people I’ve ever met in my life. If you don’t follow her on Instagram, you are missing out on amazing pictures of her kick-ass decorating style.
10. On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you miss the MN Brunch Crew?
Fifteen. Y’all are my best friends in Minneapolis and I miss you like crazy.
11. You worked at the MN lottery before you left for grad school. What was your favorite project you worked on while at the lottery?
I’m really proud of the work I did at the Lottery so it’s hard to pick just one so I’ll give you two. The first is the Vikings campaign we released in summer 2016. It was the first campaign we worked on with Periscope and it was a smashing success, both from an engagement and sales perspective. We tried many new strategies and tactics to reach people and they blew us out of the water. The second project is the DIY video series we started in December 2016, where we taught people how to create gifts using scratch tickets, like a holiday wreath and a pop-up Mother’s Day card. I stumbled upon the idea by accident and worked with Periscope to execute it. We quickly generated millions of video views and drove sales growth through it.
12. Why can’t you give me winning lottery numbers I thought we were friends?
Ha! If I knew them, I would’ve quit working a long time ago and retreated to Hawaii! In all honesty, the lottery is completely random (gasp!) with many checks and balances in place to maintain its integrity.
13. You and I play this super fun billiards game via texting. How in the hell did you get so good at it and why won’t you let me win?
It’s all the rage at The Ohio State! I saw a few classmates playing it one day and asked about it. The rest is history. It’s seriously upped my billiards game in person. When I’m in Minneapolis, I challenge you to a real game!
14. You’re quite the baker. What is your favorite thing to bake? Least favorite?
Favorite thing to bake is probably brownies. Least favorite thing is anything that goes in a Bundt pan. For whatever reason, my creations always come out dry when I use that.
15. Any other parting thoughts/wisdom?
“Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.” I recently saw that on a bumper sticker or something and it struck a chord with me. We all have faced struggles in our lives and will undoubtedly face many more. What we learn from that and how we move on is the freedom we grant ourselves to live a happy life.