In our 12 Questions blog series, we feature interviews with someone from the crowdSPRING community. For these interviews, we pick people who add value to our community – in the blog, in the forums, in the projects. Plainly – activities that make crowdSPRING a better community. Be professional, treat others with respect, help us build something very special, and we’ll take notice.
We’re very proud to feature Troy Tessalone (crowdSPRING username: TroyTess) today.Troy lives and works in Redondo Beach, CA.
1. Please tell us about yourself.
Hello world! Troy Tessalone here. I’m a creative who participates in Writing projects on crowdSPRING, or in other words I primarily name stuff. As a 24 year old, I’m nearing my quarter century age crisis. I was born and raised in the South Bay area of Southern California, which is also where I currently live and work. The South Bay is a group of beach cities about 30 minutes to an hour (depending on traffic) southwest of downtown Los Angeles. In May 2008, I earned my B.S. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing from the University of Southern California (USC), where I also took some Information Technology courses like how to build a website. Needless to say, I’m a USC Trojan, tried and true. By day, I work for an online advertising company, where I’m a Web Production Analyst. That’s geek speak for saying I work on the technical side of the business interfacing with systems and dealing with a lot of data. I consider myself a social media junkie and someone who keeps up with technology. I’d rather be busy than bored, so I’m always looking for ways to be immersed in the world around me and enjoy what life has to offer. I believe everyone is a product of their environment and I’m certainly no exception. “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” is the motto I live my life by. I came across that quote while reading the graduation speech Steve Jobs gave at Stanford in 2005. That quote immediately struck a cord with me and I’ve strived to live my life based upon it ever since.
2. How did you become interested in writing?
I became interested in writing by accident. It’s funny seeing that I don’t regard myself as a writer, more of an editor. Writing was not my forte growing up, but for whatever reason, I had no problem editing the work of my classmates. I basically reverse-engineered the development of my writing from an editor’s perspective by applying the various styles of the work I would critique into my own. However, I was still searching for a true creative outlet. In my free time after college, I stumbled into naming thanks to the crowdsourcing movement spurred by the Internet. Soon thereafter, I was hooked on phonics, I mean naming and took it up as a hobby. Prior to discovering crowdSPRING, I was heavily involved in a former site called NameThis.com, where I found a good deal of success. Looking back, I seemed to consistently do well on vocabulary tests during my school years, so perhaps that’s where it all took root. My affinity for naming also stems from my interest in the role that marketing and advertising plays on our society. Nowadays I’d deem myself a no-name namer with a knack for word play.
3. Who/what are some of the biggest influences on your writing?
Without a doubt, my Dad is the biggest influence on my writing and overall creative mindset. Growing up, not only did he edit all my papers, but he always challenged me to see if there was an alternative way or a more concise way to say what I was trying to communicate without losing meaning. I’d say all that brainwashing paid off. Also, the world in general is a springboard for inspiration, as I’m regularly on the lookout for ideas to borrow. I habitually take notes of new words I come across or words that catch my attention to build up the spectrum of knowledge in my cranium.
4. Please tell us about your favorite projects.
My favorites projects have been those that fully utilized the crowdSPRING platform to facilitate the creative naming process. From a creative’s standpoint, this occurs when the project creators are active in rating entries and providing feedback. In doing so, it creates this back and forth flow of creativity with true results. Creatives know they were able to make meaningful contributions and the project creators receive more entries that are qualified. Personally, I try to get to the essence of what the project creator is seeking and connect the dots for them. Often my favorite submissions for a particular project are not what the project creator ultimately likes, but it’s about giving the client worthwhile choices. The way I see it, crowdSPRING is really a catalyst for helping others and I’m glad to be a part of that. Moreover, I’ve been fortunate enough to have some past projects lead to opportunities outside of crowdSPRING.
5. What types of writing interest you the most?
I welcome the challenge to be creative within constraints, much like the projects on crowdSPRING pose. I focus nearly all of my creative energy dreaming up names, domains and taglines. I will say it’s easy to come up with a good name, but it takes more magic to find a good name with a corresponding available domain. Taking it a step further, I try to employ various techniques such as alliteration and acronyms or jingles and rhymes. I don’t know why, but I get a thrill from working with fewer words. As well, I must admit that I take delight in dabbling with poetry for the reason that it allows me to express a concept in a fuller form surrounded by structure. When word choice matters, that’s what I’m all about.
6. Did you enjoy writing in school?
Frankly, no. I had more fun coming up with clever titles for my papers than crafting their contents. I always felt like I could convey more about an assignment via a short conversation about the matter than I could cram into a paper I spent hunched over for hours concocting. Same goes for me even answering these interview questions, but I’m happy to oblige. I felt the majority of academic writing was too restricting for the styles of writing that I favored. Though, I would still consider myself an above average writer. The writing process was never natural and quite laborious for me. That’s because I place too much emphasis into trying to write each sentence the best it can be written the first time around instead of just letting my stream of consciousness flow and then editing later. Over the years I’ve improved upon this. Hence, why I gravitate more towards creating names, taglines, etcetera, which tend to be the norm in advertising and marketing.
7. What kind of on-line resources do you use?
My repertoire consists of 5 free services. RhymeZone.com for, well, rhymes, but overall this is my favorite tool because it’s the most comprehensive for my naming purposes. TheFreeDictionary.com for looking up idioms, phrases and acronyms. MoreWords.com for finding words that start with, end with or contain certain letters. Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com for more in-depth word research. And lastly, Domize.com for domain discovery, which I would urge others to try. I rely on these resources to spark my creativity.
8. How do you promote your work?
Besides participating in sites like crowdSPRING, I don’t promote my work. I’ve definitely contemplated and realize I should make a proactive effort toward promoting myself, but that remains on my to do list. About the only promoting of my work that I do is a little word-of-mouth here and there.
9. Please describe your typical work day.
I spend my typical workday in front of a computer at work from 9AM to 5PM, because the bulk of the work I do is online. It’s great though as I’m connected to social media at all times, can access any news and sports that interest me and am able to listen to music all day, which is definitely not a drab work environment. That means my participation in crowdSPRING is reserved for weeknights and weekends when I have the time.
10. What is your favorite book?
Where’s Waldo because it was the easiest to read. All kidding aside, I can’t say that I have a true favorite book. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy reading and have read my fair share of books. I found a great deal of interest in The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss and would highly recommend it. Most of the reading I do nowadays is either online or on my iPhone. I’d consider a blog like Mashable.com to be my information bible. Plus, sites such as FastCompany.com, Inc.com, Wired.com and the Silicon Alley Insider blog from BusinessInsider.com are all sites I frequent on a daily basis for reading material. One of my favorite offline publications is GOOD Magazine, which is a phenomenal source of real, relevant and rousing writing.
11. If you were to choose a different career, what would you be doing?
I’m happy with my current career, but hypothetically I’d have to say an entrepreneur. Tons of ideas are swirling around in my head, one of which has to be impactful enough to benefit the world somehow. Eventually I will get serious, take the risk and pursue one of them. I’d also entertain the idea of launching a career in advertising or marketing on the conceptual side. My dream job though would be as a voice actor/artist, the ones that do voiceovers for commercials, movies trailers, and radio spots. I find it fascinating that these great voices have such a widespread reach on our daily lives, but we never really know the names, let alone the people, behind them. However, I’m nowhere near qualified for such a profession unless my voice magically changes, but puberty already came and passed.
12. What do you do with your free time?
Nothing beats a day at my second home: the beach. Whether that be cruising on a bike ride, playing beach volleyball, catching waves out in the water, watching the sunset or even building sandcastles. I’m lucky to be able to live the laid-back beach lifestyle and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Beyond the beach, I like to partake in nighttime revelry with my peers. Other than that, I’m a lifelong learner who aims to constantly become a better person. Thanks for reading!
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