Inside the Dog Pound: Alex WagnerAlex Wagner - Editorial Director of News and Content
You see the names pop up all the time on the site, but what really makes the PhoneDog crew tick when they're not hard at work writing about phones? Welcome to Inside the Dog Pound, where we profile the members of the PhoneDog editorial team.
Alex Wagner, News Editor
How did you get started?
I got my start at PhoneDog right after I graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in May of 2010. Like many others, I had begun hunting for a job, any job, now that I was finished with school and would actually need to fend for myself. I don't recall exactly how I stumbled upon the job listing (I'm known for my less-than-stellar memory), but I emailed PhoneDog about an opening for a news intern. Around a week later I heard back from Aaron and, after going through the intern process and learning the ins and outs of how PhoneDog operates, I joined the site to cover news.
What does your job entail?
For my job as News Editor, I've got to be knowledgable about all of the phones on the market and various aspects of the industry (carriers, plans, manufacturers etc.). Shocker, I know. Covering the news desk means that I'm constantly keeping an eye out for breaking news both in front of the computer and while I'm out and about and, when it comes to rumors and leaks, picking out the reports that seem credible.
What's the one part of your job that people don't seem to understand?
The response I get from most people when I tell them that I work from home is "Oh wow! That sounds awesome!" I love my job, but working from home isn't quite as great as some people imagine it is, especially since I live in a 600 square foot apartment and only have one car that my lady friend uses to go to work every day. It's also fun explaining to some people that, yes, writing about cell phones from my computer is a real job and no, I've never actually met my boss or co-workers in person.
What's the one thing that still shocks you about the wireless industry?
I'm going to steal one of Aaron's answers here and say that it's surprising to me how worked up people can get about mobile phones and operating systems. It's awesome that people can get so into a technology and certain devices that they own, but it's kind of crazy how angry and offensive some people can get toward another person just because of the type of phone that he or she uses. They're just phones.
Another thing that's not really at all shocking but is still kind of annoying is the lack of plan options that customers have with some of the major carriers. I'd love to see the operators offer more customizable plans that include options for people that rarely talk on the phone or send very few text messages. And while I'm on the topic of wishing for things from the carriers, it'd also be nice to see more discounted rate plans for people that bring their own devices or buy phones for full retail price. Both requests may be asking a lot, but hey, it never hurts to try.
Besides obsessing over cell phones, I like to play video games in my free time. I've been playing for most of my life, starting with the original Super Mario Bros. when I was just a few years old, and have owned many different consoles over the years. I've been playing a lot of Modern Warfare 3 since its release, but some of my other favorite games include Super Mario RPG, the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series (mostly the earlier games) and Streets of Rage 2.
I'm always up for trying new food and like to cook for myself a lot. It's tough to narrow down one single favorite dish, but some of the foods that I could probably eat over and over and over again include french fries (crinkle or waffle cut are the best!), baked potatoes, and fresh guacamole. I also really like the New York King pizza from a local place called Zio's, which has pepperoni, Canadian bacon, sausage, hamburger and spicy sausage links.
Mobile phone you're currently using?
As of this writing I'm using an iPhone 4S, but I've also got a Galaxy Nexus on Verizon that I occasionally switch to. There's a Palm Pre 2 lying around in my apartment that I've been meaning to tinker with, but I haven't gotten around to it just yet.
Favorite mobile phone of all time?
That's tough! Early on in my phone-owning life I had an LG VX7000 that I thought was pretty cool because it had a camera that you could rotate and turn into a front-facing camera. I owned a Nexus One for some time, and it's still one of my favorite phones I've ever used, especially when it comes to hardware. If I had to pick just one phone, I'd probably go with the iPhone 3GS. I like the 3GS's design (I prefer the look of the original iPhone, but I never actually owned one) and while I've always been into tech in general, it was one of my first smartphones and it helped to foster my interest specifically in all things mobile.
Other gadgets you use regularly?
As a frequent gamer, my Xbox 360 is probably my most-used gadget outside of my phone and laptop. I use it for things like Netflix and ESPN3, and since most of my friends also own Xboxes, I'll occasionally hop onto Xbox Live for some multiplayer gaming. I've also got an iPad that I use for most of my personal web browsing.
Things people may not know:
- My favorite color is red. I've currently got red cases on both my phone and iPad, and whenever I see a new red phone (like the new Galaxy S III on AT&T), part of me wants to get it just for the color. Also, the only type of shoes I've worn consistently for the past several years are red low-top Converse Chuck Taylors. I even wore a bright red pair during my college graduation, which my parents say made it easy to spot me in the crowd of students wearing black caps and gowns.
- I'm a big sports fan. I've really been getting into soccer lately, but my favorite sports are probably basketball and football (I prefer professional to college, but will watch either). I'm also really into fantasy football. This'll be my fourth year playing fantasy football, and I'm participating in a couple of different leagues with friends.
- I rarely leave the house without something on my wrist, like some bracelets or my watch. I've also really been getting into watches in the past year or so, and right now I've got a Phosphor E-Ink watch that I like a lot.
Favorite place to visit?
I don't go on vacation often, but of all the places I have been to, I'd have to say that I like Chicago the best. I really like big cities, and being from the Midwest probably influences that decision just a bit. I went to a baseball game at Wrigley Field the last time that I visited Chicago, and next time I go I'd like follow it up by going to a Bulls game.