What do you get when you combine scathing opinion articles, ‘fake news’, and click-worthy think pieces? Why, The Big Smoke, of course.
Millennial entrepreneur Alexandra Tselios has taken the internet by storm by creating a platform that combines the best in viral content, informative articles, and the latest news all in one! Much more than that, she is blazing trails as a keynote speaker, philanthropist, and digital strategy expert.
As a popular panelist and speaker, she has had regular appearances on ABC The Drum, ABC News 24 television weekend breakfast, and Sky News Business, along with weekly radio segments across the country with ABC radio, Triple M, 2GB, 2UE, MixFM, and more!
Through The Big Smoke, she has created the opportunity to help business owners understand the digital landscape and land high-paying clients. She embedded a robust media agency model, which she offers to clients as part of The Big Smoke ecosystem. As a result, The Big Smoke saw a 250% increase in revenue in 2017. Wow!
We jumped at the opportunity to interview her here at TrueToast Magazine to learn more about the brains behind The Big Smoke, how she has made a name for herself as a millennial entrepreneur, and more. In her interview, she gives valuable insight into the world of entrepreneurship.
Alexandra Tselios: Publisher, Philanthropist, and Millennial Trailblazer
TrueToast: Hi, Alexandra! Thank you for taking the time to interview with True Toast Magazine. Do you mind telling our readers a bit about yourself?
Alexandra: I am the CEO of a digital platform called The Big Smoke in Australia and the USA, and I am involved in a number of other philanthropic initiatives at a board level as well as an advisory for an estate-planning software company called NowSorted. I live in Bellevue Hill, Sydney, and I have the dream dog, a pug called Bette.
What is ‘The Big Smoke’ all about?
Alexandra: Whenever someone asks me about The Big Smoke and say they have spent time on our site and read our content, I always say, great – you just looked at the hood of the car. Many don’t see the engine underneath.
The Big Smoke is an ecosystem that comprises of editorial and opinion content, as well a hybrid business model that takes the strongest elements of ad-technology and strategic advertising methodologies to drive data-driven outcomes for clients, in the age of intangible deliverables online.
What inspired you to start this digital content platform?
Alexandra: My own frustrations about what to read – I didn’t quite fit into the audience silos of the publications that were available when we launched. But since then, it’s also evolved into a company that has been able to meet the needs of businesses who require a strong digital footprint, so we are quite a multi-faceted digital platform.
Tell us a bit about the audience?
Alexandra: When we launched I thought it was going to be for young Australians who are politically minded and crave balanced and reasonable debate. While that is certainly part of the audience mix, we have found a really strong B2B element, entrepreneurs, families and even baby boomers come to our site every day. It’s quite a mix, but reflective of the different personas that make up an offline city so is apt considering our name. We nurture critical thinkers, rather than a specific demographic.
What type of topics do you cover on your platform?
Alexandra: We publish those who have an interesting story to tell, or can add an interesting element to trending issues. We publish CEO’s, Politicians, Comedians, Analysts – even 15-year-olds who are trying to unpack issues that impact them via our TBS Nextgen program. We do tend to publish a lot about science, technology, business, politics and social issues.
What are you hoping readers will gain from The Big Smoke?
Alexandra: We hope that readers gain insights into why people believe what they believe, rather than only be exposed to articles that fit in with their rhetoric. We also want our readers to feel less alone and more connected with ideas and information that relate to them. I find that our readers love to engage and often they submit response op-eds to an article we have published. It’s fertile ground for democratized debate, opinion and news.
What can we expect from you this year at the Myriad event?
Alexandra: I am looking forward to unpacking my own story in the tech space, and also approaching some key issues in regards to how entrepreneurs approach education in the knowledge economy.
You are involved in the Non-for-profit space, can you share with us a bit more about ‘think tank’, PLUS61J, and Shalom Gamarada?
Alexandra: Plus61J is a platform that broadens the conversation for the Australian Jewish community, around social and political issues in Israel and the Middle East. We partner with valuable initiatives such as co-launching a new book called “People of the Boot” which looks at the untold stories of Australian Jews in sports and we are working on a social justice conference in Melbourne later in the year.
I am also fortunate enough to be involved in a scholarship fund called Shalom Gamarada where we provide scholarships to Indigenous Australians attending Medical or Law school at UNSW. I sit on the Governance board. As an ex-law student who didn’t end up becoming a lawyer, I love the fact that I can make it financially possible for a young Indigenous Australian to complete their legal studies and embark on an impactful career. We believe that education is the key to closing the gap.
What words of advice do you have for people that will be attending Myriad this year?
Alexandra: To use the opportunity to not only soak up the wealth of knowledge that will be pouring from the stage but to actually connect with those around you, share with them, learn from them and then go back to your own ventures and dominate.
What components have been essential to growing your personal brand?
Alexandra: Being really honest about what I am about, not following a narrative because its most palatable. I like to discuss how technology is shaping our lives, how science underpins so much of what we do from how we date to how we work. I get bored hearing commentators regurgitate what they think audiences want to hear about certain issues. If I get bored can you imagine how bored the audience gets? A personal brand is exactly that, its personal. You can only read so many ‘5 ways to be a good manager’ articles by another thought leader, really.
Do you have any tips for our readers regarding networking and marketing their own personal brands?
Alexandra: Connect and be of value. I will be the first to admit that I am terrible at networking, I hate meetups. I hate having wine with people and discussing our start-ups. I just want to work. I want to work and build with people that are of my ilk. Fortunately, I have built a solid team, who are a broad group of people to build with – both here in Australia and in the USA. Build your personal brand by being of value to those around you, and your network will organically grow and increase in its own value by extension.
Being a regular social and technology commentator, what has been a highlight of your career?
Alexandra: I really love tackling the issues that freak people out. I am obsessed with how robotics can and should have equal footing in our personal lives and work lives. I love discussing the stuff that really gets people concerned, such as Sophia the robot receiving Saudi Arabian citizenship. Let’s unpack that, rather than just have a knee-jerk reaction. When Cambridge Analytica happened, the knee-jerk reaction from not just audiences but even the CMO of Foxtel shocked me. These issues are fundamentally so much more complex than #DeleteFacebook, and I think the onus is on all of us who have to participate in the digital age, to have a more solid grasp of it.
To find out more about Alexandra and what she has been up to, be sure to visit her on social media and on her website.