Get to Know Alexandra

Alexandra joined Bixly after working with Bixly on a website that allowed teachers to use interactive curricula online in the classroom. She also enjoys literature and oil painting in her free time.

Full Transcript Below:

Alexandra:

I ended up falling in love with the tech industry and what it can do even for an industry like education.

Cris:

What is big in tech right now that excites you and makes you want to get up every morning?

Alexandra:

Tech was not on my radar at all when I was going to college and thinking about my career. The opportunity to lead, I had the opportunity to implement new ideas and bring them to the table, and I would be listened to too.

Cris:

How’s it going, Alexandra>.

Alexandra:

It’s going really good. I’m really happy to be here.

Cris:

Good. I was actually just commenting as we’ve been filming these series that I really enjoy sitting down and talking with everyone. So, excited about this one. Let’s jump in. What is your background? How did you get into tech?

Alexandra:

So my background is actually in English literature, classical studies and education.

Cris:

Nice.

Alexandra:

So tech was not on my radar at all when I was going to college and thinking about my career. And so the reason why I ended up in tech is actually because of ending up at Bixly, so this is my first tech job, first job in the tech industry. But at the time I was working for a curriculum development company and they hired Bixly to come in and build a website that allowed teachers to basically live stream lessons into their classrooms via laptop or smart board or that sort of thing. It was a really exciting project. And I really enjoyed working with Bixly.

Alexandra:

And then a position opened up here at Bixly on the administrative team. And exactly, I ended up coming and working for Bixly, because I just enjoyed that project so much. And even when we were first partnering with Bixly, the first [wire frames 00:01:32] that you guys had from us was me hand-drawing them on legal pads and stuff like that. So it was really fun. I ended up falling in love with the tech industry and what it can do even for an industry like education, which is where I was from originally.

Cris:

That’s good. So maybe not, but I would think there had to be something about Bixly that pulled you in, because my guess is that you’ve done things in the past at your prior job where you had technology and education overlapping, but obviously those other companies didn’t end up employing you. We did. So what is it about Bixly that you like, or what pulled you over to us?

Alexandra:

I think, again, coming from that English background, I always worked in marketing, I always ended up doing the social media for any company that I ended up working for. And that was the closest that I really got to hands-on with tech and leveraging tech for whatever company I was working for. And I think what stood out for Bixly for me in particular, that’s made me want to transition and then also stay here over the years, was actually the amount of trust that I got as an employee. So once I came onto the team, it was like, “Tell us your ideas. Let’s talk about it.” And even if we didn’t end up going with what I suggested, I always felt like my opinions were heard. I always felt like I really had the opportunity to lead. I had the opportunity to implement new ideas and bring them to the table and I would be listened to.

Alexandra:

In almost all of my previous jobs there was a lot of me feeling like I really had this period of time and it could be anywhere from the first couple months to a year, where I really had to, like, prove myself over and over and over again. And they would keep shooting me down and shooting me down and shooting me down. And it was like, “Well, why did you hire me if you don’t even want to take into consideration my ideas? Why did you pick my resume out if you just wanted someone who’s just going to follow instructions, not bring anything exciting to the table?” And that was really what set Bixly apart for me. Once you’re on the team, there’s no ‘you have to prove yourself’ period. You just get to start contributing. And I love that.

Cris:

When you’re bringing someone onto a team, you can either look at it from the aspect of bringing someone in that’s extremely teachable, which is important, but you’re going to have them assimilate into the existing culture. Or you can bring someone in that is teachable, because that’s a great characteristic, but thinks in a different way than maybe the company does. And you can allow them to bring new ideas to the table. And if you listen to those ideas, you can actually change and morph the company over the years, hopefully for the better. And that’s what we’ve always tried to do. And personally, that’s one of the big things that we saw working with you, was that kind of ingenious mind that always had some new idea or a different way of looking at something. And so we were like, “And… Over here, please.”

Alexandra:

Yeah. And I think you want to do that judiciously. And I understood that coming in, like every idea, I didn’t want you guys to just say yes to everything that I said. I wanted it to work for Bixly, as much as it was me bringing new and creative things to the table. But if you’re always shooting down your employees, they are going to get disheartened and they are going to lose motivation and you’re going to lose some of that creative spirit. So anyway, it’s one of my favorite things about working with Bixly.

Cris:

That’s good. What is new and exciting in the tech space right now? It might fit again into that marketing and the social media side or whatever, but what is big in tech right now that excites you and makes you want to get up every morning?

Alexandra:

I didn’t think about the answer to this question.

Cris:

That’s okay.

Alexandra:

Off the wall, but one of the things that I really enjoy in tech, and the way that it’s leveraged in tech, is actually game design. So one of my other favorite things about being at Bixly’s, we play a lot of nerdy games, whether they be video games or tabletop games, and I particularly like deck-builders. And so because of that, on the surface of the deck-builder is the sort of means by which the game design is… It’s very close to the surface. You can see the game design built into it because you have to leverage the game design in order to build a good deck. And I think we are seeing a lot of really cool deck-builder type games in video games more and more. So Hearthstone has been around for a long time. Magic: the Gathering has obviously moved online. Slay the Spire is one of my favorite games. That’s also a deck-builder. And so it’s just really fun to see those rules engines being applied in tech and being applied in video games, because I really… They’re some of my favorite games to play. I really, really love them.

Cris:

That’s good. Well, I think this leads probably well into the next question. You already touched on it a little bit, but outside of your involvement here with Bixly and really taking a big leadership role here with our admin team, what do you do outside of work, that’s not maybe tech-related, or is.

Alexandra:

So obviously the games I already mentioned, but I’m also a really big voracious reader. I love reading and I also really enjoy art. So I’m an oil painter and that’s what I do a lot of my free time is either going to be reading or making oil paintings.

Cris:

So those are obviously big genres, art and reading. Maybe dive into those specifically. So what kind of books are you picking up and reading, or are you doing landscapes? Are you doing human figures? Are you doing abstract? Yeah. What’s the art and the reading look like?

Alexandra:

I really love classic literature. So, that’s what I’m reading most of the time. I’m making my way through Mortimer Adler’s list the classic books of The Western Canon, in addition to other books that I just pick up for fun to read. And then I also would probably categorize myself as a surrealist painter. So that’s usually what I’m working on. My favorite thing is to bring two unexpected elements into the painting in a fresh and unexpected way. So yeah, that’s usually where the ideas come from, is bringing in two things that normally don’t go together, but forcing them to work on the canvas.

Cris:

All right. Very nice. Well, we might have to commission you to do some art pieces for us, which would be super fun.

Alexandra:

Any time.

Cris:

Cool. Well, I appreciate it. I’m excited again, to continue through the series and I hope that everyone got to know you a little bit better.

Alexandra:

I hope so too. It was great. Thanks Cris.

Cris:

You’re welcome.

Alexandra:

Thank you so much for joining us on this episode of Meet the Bixly Team. And I hope you enjoyed getting to know yours truly a little bit better, and don’t forget to check out the special links that we have for you in the description down below. You can find a link to our free custom software guide, which will walk you through the steps of getting through planning your own custom app idea, whether that be for web or mobile or both, whatever your solution might look like. You can also check out our website, bixly.com. And at the very top of our website, there’s a button that says validate your app idea. If you click that you can schedule a free meeting with Cris, 60 minutes to talk about your app idea and we’ll point you in the right direction. Until next time, this has been an episode of Bixly Tech Tuesday.

Originally published at https://blog.bixly.com on September 7, 2021.