Eating with an Entrepreneur


In the endless sea of social media, perhaps you’ve stumbled upon the videos of @DCSpot and been introduced to a new hangout in the Washington, D.C., area.

Clocking in at under a minute, the videos feature first-person walk-through perspectives of a venue, making the viewer feel like they’re already there, taking in the vibe, about to dive into that dish or drink in front of them. Only at the end do you sometimes see the person behind @DCSpot’s more than 200,000 Instagram followers: Mason alum Alex Hussein, BS Information Systems and Operations Management ’21, who was featured in a February 2023 Washingtonian article about food influencers.

Alex Hussein stands positioning a light in one hand and a camera phone in the other, preparing to take a photo of the spread of burgers, appetizers, and drinks in front of him.
Mason alum Alex Hussein, owner/creater of DC Spot. Photo by Ron Aira/Creative Services

“My page isn’t about me,” he says of his content. “It’s about D.C. and the DMV. It’s like a community page.”

Community plays a large role in his career trajectory—particularly the community at Mason. His siblings and four of his friends—all Mason alumni—and his parents influenced his decision to transfer to Mason from Northern Virginia Community College. And when a fellow student suggested he make a video for a Mason sorority, Hussein found his passion and realized he could parlay his skill into a business.

“I wouldn’t have gotten the start I did if I didn’t go to Mason and make the connections I did,” he says. “I was able to network with people—that’s how the opportunity came.”

He took a two-year break from school to focus on his business, often cold-calling or emailing potential clients and offering his services for free. That initiative paid off, and his community circle began to include more individuals paying for his work. But Mason always lingered in the back of his mind, and in spring 2020 he decided to return, switch majors, and finish his degree. “My parents being immigrants, they wanted me to get the degree,” he says. “It felt good just to be able to say, ‘You know, I finished.’”

All the while, he continued growing @DCSpot into what it is today—a content creation company five employees strong. While many social media accounts focus solely on the trendiest new restaurants, Hussein has taken a distinct departure by highlighting family-owned institutions. With his large audience, such videos can have a real positive impact on a business owner’s future prospects. “I like storytelling [about] local small businesses who could use the support…it’s not just me making the impact, but all the people who go out there and support it too.”

Giving back is a major driver for Hussein. His most-watched videos show him walking around various city hot spots and randomly handing out gift cards and positive notes to people he encounters. “It makes for a fun video. I feel good giving back, too,” he says. “I just like to have a good connection with people.”
It’s a different approach, but it’s one that speaks to Hussein’s motivations. “I’m here to grow,” he says. “Doing your passion—you can make more of an impact that way in the world, too.”

As for other Patriots wondering how they can forge their own entrepreneurial paths just like Hussein, he has some advice. “Figure out what you’re passionate about and how you can provide value to people,” he says. “The number one step is to just start.”

This story appears in the Fall 2023 Mason Spirit magazine.

Hussein comes from a Mason family, and with @DCSpot he’s continuing to pay it forward to Patriots. His sister Manal Hussein, BS Administration of Justice ’08, is an alum, and brother Nader Hussein, BS Biology ’11, is an alum and has taught as an adjunct faculty member in the Honors College. And two more Mason alumni are on @DCSpot’s payroll—Emmy Hamed, BA Environmental and Sustainability Studies ’18, MS Conflict Analysis and Resolution ’20, and Emily Compton, BA Sociology ’20.