Alumni Q&A: Alexander Lurie

Sarah Eberspacher

After graduating from Northwestern, Alexander Lurie (WCAS and Communication ’06) began a career in management consulting. When he discovered it wasn’t the best fit, he entered the hospitality industry, a move that resulted in the creation of YouSwoop.com, a Web company that e-mails users daily about Chicago-area deals. Lurie spoke with THE DAILY about the wonders of Chicago, running an ASG campaign and tossing a Frisbee at Deering Meadow.Excerpts:The Daily: What are some of your favorite memories from NU? Lurie: There was this football game against Ohio State in 2004, and they were ranked, and we beat them and stormed Ryan Field. That was just awesome! I just think Northwestern is at its best when people cut back and have a really enjoyable time. The best thing is to be out on Deering Meadow throwing the Frisbee around during Spring Quarter or just soaking up the rays.The Daily: Do you still keep in touch with people from NU? Lurie: I’ve kept in touch with a handful. I think naturally when you graduate, a lot of the acquaintances you had in college, you sort of stop seeing. You only have so much time when you get out of college. For me, I was like, “Holy cow, my schedule’s so busy!” You have to make time for mom and dad and siblings, and then you have a little extra time left over and you have to decide: Who do you to stay in touch with?The Daily: How did your time at NU influence what you’re doing now? Lurie: I ran a campaign (for ASG Student Services Vice President) that was all about the students, and it was totally different than some jerk running. I had dorm captains and students in every dorm on campus who were ambassadors. I know this sounds really lame, but being able to interact with people and figure out what it is they like and were unhappy about was really great. I was the underdog, and doing as well as we did showed the importance of having a good, effective message. That gave me a lot of confidence and drive to become better in marketing. So trying to market a new company like YouSwoop.com, it’s understanding who your consumer is and giving people what they want. It’s getting out a very clear message that’s relevant because otherwise people won’t be interested.The Daily: How did you come up with the idea for YouSwoop.com? Lurie: There are so many amazing businesses in Chicago, and there are so many great things to do. Obviously the issue is sometimes things can get a little pricey in the city. We thought we could approach businesses and sell them on the idea of bringing in new consumers by offering those consumers an amazing deal to that business. That’s really how YouSwoop.com was born. We say, “If you want it, you get it.” We limit the quantity of deals each day because we want consumers to have an amazing experience when redeeming “swoops.”The Daily: What are some of your favorite things about Chicago? Lurie: It’s diverse and eclectic with a lot going on, and it’s young and friendly. The summer makes the winter worth it because everybody comes out of their hiding spaces and embraces the city. Street festivals galore, North Avenue beach, going to different sporting events. And the great thing is everyone has been through the winter so we don’t take the summer for granted because we remember how horrendous the winters are.[email protected]