Jellyfish serenely drifting in a blue ocean, symbolizing AI's fluid adaptation in productivity enhancement.
Jellyfish serenely drifting in a blue ocean, symbolizing AI's fluid adaptation in productivity enhancement.

Marissa Brassfield answers questions from our Art Director, Billy Murray. She talks about her childhood dream job, the things she owns a lot of, and the one aspect of Facebook she would love to change.

1. When you were a child, what did you tell people you wanted to be when you grew up? Did you follow that dream, or did life take you in a different direction?

I know a lot of people who, as kids, had such a clear vision of what they wanted to be when they grew up, and their careers have mirrored that childhood passion. I wasn't that person, exactly -- what I told people I wanted to be changed a lot, from doctor to veterinarian to Disney Imagineer to novelist to journalist -- but the theme was always storytelling. At home, I was always telling stories. I'd dictate little stories into a tape recorder until I was old enough to write them. Fun, lighthearted, little-kid stories about anthropomorphic animals.

I thought for sure I'd move to some countryside lodge in Europe and just start cranking out novels and poems and short stories. It seems so romantic, doesn't it? Maybe one day I still will... but life definitely took me in a different direction.

2. What do you think your life would be like if cellphones were never invented?

Simpler, slower and more isolated. Better in some ways, but definitely worse in others.

I've been fighting the idea of our always-on work culture for years... that said, it's so much faster and easier to get whatever you want with a smartphone, and I make my living based on the ability to connect with people remotely, without the need for a computer.

3. What is an item or collection of items you own in excess? Why do you have so much of it?

I initially thought I'd say something about my stash of Lush products, or maybe nutritional supplements... but the honest answer is my parents' stuff.

It's been really difficult to part with some things, even though I know I'll never use/wear the item, or already have a more updated version of that thing. Dad loved playing that particular CD, or Mom wore that outfit every lazy Sunday -- that kind of thing, only multiplied by a couple rooms of stuff. And then there are actual sentimental items: the letter my dad wrote my mom on her first Mother's Day, some of their early anniversary cards, the journals my dad filled with prose after I was born, prized watches and rings and heirlooms and musical instruments.

How do you determine what's most sentimental, and worth keeping, when all of it is sentimental? And how do you begin the process of letting go of the physical items, when these physical items are the only links you have left? Tough questions, for sure, and ones I don't have answers to... which is probably why I still have so much of their stuff. :)

4. If you could create a rule for Facebook and other social media platforms, what would you ban from existence and why?

You should have to opt in to receive borderline/questionable content -- for example, intentionally incendiary, controversial, condescending/preachy posts.

And if I could create a feature, it would be to optionally auto-mute folks from your feed based on certain life events (engagement through honeymoon, pregnancy through kindergarten).

5. What is your favorite item to snack on while you are working, and are you less productive when it's not around to munch on?

Sunflower seeds. Spitz Cracked Pepper or bust! I don't know if I'm less productive overall, but I certainly am happier cranking away for long periods at my desk when I know I have a fresh bag.

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