The People Project with Alex

Interview with Alex Snider, Toronto, Canada & Bali, Indonesia

Hi Alex, what's the first thing people perceive about you?

That’s such a difficult question. People used to say, when they first met me, that I came across quite standoffish or intimidating. I was always really surprised because I used to be shy and very often the youngest in a professional setting. I'm talking serious impostor syndrome kind of insecurity. I don’t think I’m perceived that way anymore. I've heard things like helpful and exuberant.

That's a long way from shy to exuberant. Are you more of an introvert or extravert?

certain archetypes of people who energize me

The most helpful definition of an introvert I've seen was “Where do you draw your energy from, being around people or alone time?” If we use that, I think I'm more introverted. However, there are certain archetypes of people who energize me. Those tend to be people who are really driven, possibly even competitive, problem solvers, and those who are worldly or just have seen and done a lot. Groups of people I don't know or don't have something to contribute to, I find more difficult. That’s probably when I go quiet. But I've lived in different places and over the years went from being shy to being pretty good at navigating different social norms.

What do you love about the places you've lived in or traveled to?

You tend to have strangely deep and meaningful conversations

I've just returned from living on Indonesia's southwest coast -- Bali. There are elements that are prevalent in Balinese culture and also Moroccan culture around collectivism and community that I love. The Balinese people are super caring, warm, very kind, and open. They’re very interested to learn about you and will share their story with you. When I travel, I don’t buy anything anymore, but the conversations I’ve had with shopkeepers have been just faaascinating! Even the expat community have taken on the elements of the local culture. These are people who are achievers in some way. Everyone is hustling, but everyone has time to say "Hi" and ask about you. And the questions aren’t typical or superficial. You tend to have strangely deep and meaningful conversations with people whom you haven’t known very long. Both Bali and Morocco have more communal and less individualistic norms and ways of seeing the world. The lack of that is what I have a bit of a struggle with when I ’m back in London or Toronto. And this is coming from someone who is considered “stand-offish" and "less friendly" by Canadian standards.

Where did you grow up?

There’s something about New York that I friggin love