Haysup, my name is Andrew Elsass. I love to learn, and I love to write.
This site is…
2. A way to motivate myself me to keep learning and doing things worth writing about
3. The hub for 90 Strangers In 30 Days, a project to help others (and myself) become socially stronger
What’s your story?
I am originally from Springboro, Ohio, a small town in between Dayton and Cincinnati.
After high school, I attended The Ohio State University and graduated with a degree in Communications. Sports was always a big part of my life, so I decided to pursue a career in PR with a collegiate athletic department or a professional franchise.
After several internships and a full-time job in the industry, I realized that, for many reasons, the field wasn’t for me. While it was a fantastic ride, I knew that I instead wanted to make a real effort toward having a life that revolved around the two things I love most: writing and travel.
With that, and a lot of inspiration from like-minded individuals, I began to pursue a location-independent life where I could work from a laptop full-time, anywhere in the world. And thanks to my freelance writing business, I am lucky enough to say that I have been living that life since 2015.
This independence has also afforded me the opportunity to focus more on what I feel will end up being my life’s work or “legacy project”: figuring out ways in which I can inspire and help those that didn’t develop social skills naturally grow up, those that society ostracizes and deems “awkward” (as I once felt).
And in between all that, I’ve also written a couple of books, something I hope can pay the bills full-time someday.
What is 90 Strangers In 30 Days?
In June 2013, I did a social experiment I made up called 90 Strangers In 30 Days. It became wildly popular on reddit, and years later I still receive messages and emails from people telling me that the project inspired them and helped them improve their own social skills. It was clear to me that this was a message people wanted to hear (and an issue people wanted addressed), so I am currently working on ways in which I can further expand and explore this idea (such as the TEDx Talk I gave in November 2016).
What is your personal writing about?
Whatever I want!
While in my younger twenties I mostly wrote “DO X IF YOU WANT TO BE AWESOME” type pieces, now I’m much more interested in longer-form “brain-food” type pieces that dive deep into something that’s been on my mind. Typically these revolve around self-development and social skills, but I’ll write about anything I feel drawn toward. Sometimes this even means I’ll write about music or sports.
Why do you get so fired up about teaching social skills?
Extreme shyness and social anxiety were things I eventually learned to overcome in my early twenties after feeling like a spectator to my own life. I don’t believe in the ‘it’s just something people grow out of’ attitude society has toward withdrawn individuals; social confidence is an important skill-set that can and should be taught as early as possible. My quality of life has skyrocketed since I learned to come out my ‘shell’, and whether someone picks things up naturally or they had to read a how-to book, they are skills everyone deserves the opportunity to learn.
It is also one of my goals to someday do life-coaching that focuses on improving the confidence-levels and social skills of teenagers and young twenty-somethings.
How did you get to be so okay at public speaking?
From about 2013 to 2015, I had the pretty cool job of getting to travel around the country and tell Olympic-level athletes how sports drug testing works. After giving over a hundred of speeches to elite level athletes and coaches, I learned to actually enjoy public speaking. That gave me the confidence to audition for a number of different TEDx events, and in November 2016 I was lucky enough to speak at TEDx Colorado Springs.
I’m currently seeking opportunities to speak to small groups and individuals about social skills–shoot me an email if you know of anything!
What else do you like?
I love sports–generally the more niche, the better. I’ve competed in a few Olympic weightlifting competitions and being an Ohioan and Ohio State alum, it’s required that I am obsessed with college football. I also believe that soccer is a flawless invention (Fulham ’till I die).
My music tastes are equally as niche: I’ve been obsessed with pop punk for over a decade now, and in 7th grade I was the weird kid that almost exclusively listened to house and trance music. Ska also holds a soft spot in my heart, and I consider Streetlight Manifesto to be my favorite band and Tomas Kalnoky to be the greatest songwriter you’ve probably never heard of.
Any reading recommendations?
I shoot to read 20-25 books each year, and while I tell myself each January that I am going to branch out and read more fiction, I always end up just reading mostly self-development, business, and niche non-fiction books. But across both, if I had to make some general recommendations I’d go with:
- Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
- In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan
- The Four-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
- The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton
- Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
- The Zahir by Paulo Coehlo
- Machine Man by Max Barry
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
- Night Flight by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Has Anyone (Besides Yourself) Written About You?
I’ve been interviewed, featured in, or otherwise mentioned a few different places:
- TEDx Colorado Springs 2016–“90 Strangers In 30 Days”
- A TED Talk, An End Goal For Social Anxiety by Teryn O’Brien in the Pueblo Pulp
- The Compact Guide to Charisma, Confidence, and Being Well-Liked by Vincent Nguyen
- Envato Market blog
- Maria Popova’s Brainpickings
- Project Y.E.S. Episode 2: Becoming a Writer
- SelfChanging.com – 5 Studies That Will Help You Become More Social
- Jay Billups Creative Radio Magazine
Now that you know what I am all about, here are some of my most popular posts (and a few personal favorites) to get started with:
How Can I Get In Touch?
I love connecting with new people, so feel free to drop me a line at email@example.com or engage with me on any of the following social networks: