Coffee Date: Spencer Tucci of University Ave

This Preppy Post Grad Exclusive Interview is with Spencer Tucci of  University Ave.  University Ave’s mission is,  “to better the college and post college experience for current students and soon to be graduates.”   The authors consist of college students and recent graduates (including yours truly!).

1. How did you come up with the idea or focal point for your blog?

This blog post is actually part of a much larger project me and my partner (Brandon Burke) are working on. Our junior year in college we came up with the idea for a content sharing platform for notes, study guides, sharing productivity web apps, and sharing resources. Basically anything that can help you academically, content wise. We kicked the idea around over the past few years on and off asking friends, peers, and professors for feedback. It took us months planning out what was just an idea, constantly refining it and trying to make it more user friendly. About three months ago we began coding our website. Brandon is a computer engineer so he was/is coding all the back end work and building our database. I have a marketing/management background, so I had to learn HTML5/CSS/Javascript on my own in order to contribute, so I did. Naturally, progression was very slow with me designing the website interface, but I can say now that I’m pretty decent and have a firm grasp on “web design coding” so things are moving along a lot quicker now. But we didn’t want to build a site, and release it into the wild and just hope people find us through search and start using our site, we need to build an audience/following first. Enter the blog. The blog is an almost free, great way to build up a loyal following and brand recognition before we launch the service part of our website. We asked ourselves “What should we write about?” A lot of people in my situation (recent graduates with a lot of debt), were having trouble finding jobs, networking, standing out from the crowd, and the list goes on and on. There were countless conversations between me and my friends always circulating around “I wish we learned this in college” or “why didn’t anyone tell us what to expect” or “college totally failed at prepping us for THE REAL WORLD.” It finally clicked, that those topics are what we need to write about. We need to step in and help prep students and recent grads for LIFE…because no one else was going to.

2. Where did you go to college/when did you graduate?

I attended UMass Lowell and graduated in 2009.

3. What has been your career path since leaving college?

I got lucky. A friend of mine worked for Realeyes (the company I work for now) and was on campus doing a research study. I networked my way in and starting working there part time at the end of school while constantly keeping in touch with everyone at Realeyes. When the opportunity came for a full-time job, I got it. It wasn’t the most ideal job for what I wanted to do. It was a project management role and I really wanted to get into marketing more. I stuck it out, and now I am doing marketing there along with project management. I must be honest, I do wish I was doing more social media marketing at my place of work, but I still got super lucky to be involved in a
really cool marketing research company (we do marketing research by using eye-tracking technology) along with having a great boss.

4. What has been the best advice you’ve gotten as a recent college grad?

Kaizen. Take every opportunity, every piece of feedback to better yourself.

5. If your blog had a mission statement what would it be?

Our mission is to help people overcome challenges we’ve faced in college and after gradation. Sharing our experiences to help others have a better college and post graduation experience.

6. What advice would you give to people who have just started or would like to start a blog?

I’m still kind of a blog noobie, but my advice is to be honest, and write what you’re passionate about. Don’t fall into what you think society wants from you. Be a rebel, and be loud.

7. What forms of social media or widgets do you use to gain readers and  followers?

Right now, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus. Our blog  just started last week so we’re still feeling out the widgets on WordPress.

8. How have you been able to gain friendships with other bloggers?

As I mentioned earlier, we just started so I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to thank every WordPress follower personally through email or social media as long as I can find their contact information. I’m a big believer in having a personal connection to gain a strong and loyal following. The simple “thanks for following us, would love to chat more” email goes a long way.

9. What goals do have for your blog?

Our goals are to get students, recent grads, professionals, and professors from all over the country to contribute and help other students and recent grads with whatever they think is necessary, helpful, for valuable for succeeding in life. Of course we’d love to get 100,000 views a day, but that’s a long ways away. As long as we can help just one person, it’s all worth it. Our goal is simply to help people.

10. How do you get inspiration for posts?

Mostly from past experiences. I read a lot of Mashable and Engadget so whenever I see a new app or program that I think can be useful for a health major, or a finance major, or a marketing major I’ll do reviews on those. I’m kind of a techy so I really enjoy writing about technology. Things that aggravate seem very easy for me to write about as well. For instance, companies requiring access to interviewees Facebook accounts in order to get the job really upset me. However, I don’t write about ANYTHING that aggravates me or even positively excites me, I have to make sure it’s relevant to our audience. Absorbing conversations has helped a lot too. Like I said earlier, it took me a while for me to realize that all these issues me and my friends were chatting about to realize that its valuable information. Now I really try to absorb every conversation I have and think if it will relate to our audience.

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