Who better than to start off this year’s new series than with my friend Ben Boudreau. He’s the community manager at Yelp!, hilarious blogger at No Ordinary Rollercoaster, and all around smart guy (just ask the internet). You may even have spotted him in Bell FibreOP ads lately (check out #benspotting on Twitter). We hung out at Fred Salon Cafe & Gallery recently where, admittedly, neither one of us had coffee. The food and atmosphere were fantastic though. Not to mention the company. Here’s our Q&A to prove it.
Kimberly: Since this is a coffee Q&A, I have to start by asking how do you take your coffee?
Ben: I’ve actually just recently become a coffee drinker so for the longest time I would only drink lattes and cappuccinos but now I have my own espresso machine at home so I’ve been making Americanos. I haven’t gotten down to just black coffee yet but that’s my goal. I feel like I’ll have bragging rights then.
Kimberly: You’re originally from HRM. What makes you stay?
Ben: I’ve gotten really lucky, I think. I do hate to say it but I think this is a hard place to get started because I think a lot of people want to live here so badly that good opportunities are few and far between. I stay here because I really believe in the next generation of this city. I really think there are great things ahead for us in Halifax and I really think that with a little effort and a lot of luck I can play a part in them. And that’s why I stay. I stay because I think this is a great playground for what I want to do in the future, not necessarily right now.
Kimberly: What’s your day job?
Ben: I am the community manager for Yelp! here in Halifax. We’re an online community that helps connect people with local businesses. My day job is awesome: I work from home, I set my own hours, and when I get tired of working from home I go to my favorite coffee shops and work from there. I feel like I almost have a retirement sort of lifestyle of being able to do my own thing and basically my entire job is uncovering the best this city has to offer and I sure as hell can’t complain about that.
Kimberly: Walk us through a day in your life.
Ben: Sure. I embarrassingly don’t get out of bed before 8:30 or 9. I then let the dogs out; I have two miniature dachshunds. Then I make my coffee. I read my blog posts—not mine but the blogs that I follow and the Tumblrs that I follow. I have them all set up on Pulse which is my favorite app. If you don’t have it you should get it. Yeah, I do that while I have my coffee and then I sort of just dive in. On a typical day I could be doing anything from just interacting with people who are on Yelp! to going out and meeting with business owners to meeting Yelpers at cool cafés to planning events. It really runs the gamut. I don’t have much of a typical day but, you know, that’s what I like about it.
Kimberly: Your job sounds like a lot of fun already but what do you do for fun when you’re not at work?
Ben: What I do for fun is actually pretty low key. I like to cook, I like to just be out in the city with great friends. Usually for fun I’m just going out and doing things with people and trying to find cool new stuff. Other than that I love writing, I love reading, I love cooking. Those are my big three.
Kimberly: What do you enjoy most about living in Halifax?
Ben: I really like that it is a bit smaller. I love visiting big cities but I’m not a big city guy. So I appreciate the fact that it doesn’t take long to get anywhere and that if you’re looking for a Thai place I can know every single one in the market. I really do like that it’s small and compact but I also really like the community spirit. It’s really easy to make a big splash here whether it’s with a personal, private, or professional project and it’s really easy to connect with like-minded people to do really great things. We don’t have to jump through those hoops of ego or bureaucracy to get to the right people to make things happen. We can just find them and get it done. And I love that.
Kimberly: What’s one thing people would be surprised to find out about you?
Ben: Probably that I’m an introvert, actually. People usually assume that I’m this outgoing extrovert—and I am when I’m out with people—but I read this great article about how being an introvert doesn’t mean that you don’t like people or you don’t like socializing but it’s that socializing takes energy away from you and that you have to recharge versus you don’t like it. And that’s very much how I am. I love being around people, I love having great fun, I love socializing but I really need my down time even more than that. People might think I’m a party kid but for the most part I spend way more time at home just quiet with my family, reading, doing whatever. That’s probably the biggest thing.