Alex Manea continues dominance in Smartest Person app

(Top photo: Alex Manea got to see his name and photo at the top of the Canada's Smartest Person leaderboard Sunday for the second consecutive week. Photo courtesy Alex Manea.)

Proving you’re one of Canada’s smartest people is one thing. Proving it twice is something only Alex Manea can say he’s done.

The 30-year-old from Waterloo, Ont., topped the Canada’s Smartest Person leaderboard for the second consecutive week on Sunday with a high score of 574. This was just one week after he also posted the highest score after all the live intelligence challenges during the Oct. 26th broadcast.

Alex got to see his name and photo appear on his TV while watching and playing along with the show. He says it’s a rare experience, but so far, he is the only person to see it happen twice.

“It’s a lot of fun seeing your name and photo on live TV -- you don’t get too many chances to do that,” he said. “I've been encouraging all of my family, friends and co-workers to watch the show and play along.”

Alex says his family and friends have been “really excited and supportive throughout” and the news of his exceptional aptitude taking the spotlight has even reached relatives outside of Canada.

“The highlight for me was getting a congratulatory email from my aunt in all the way back in Romania,” he said. “I've tried not to tell too many people outside of my close circle of friends, but that's obviously going to be a little tougher now.”

Alex posted impressive scores during Sunday's live challenges.

One of those friends, Vlad Avesalon, says it’s no surprise that his best friend since childhood has been performing so well on the brain-bending intellectual tests in the Canada’s Smartest Person app. Vlad even compares Alex to a “supercomputer.”

‎"I've yet to see a challenge that Alex did not feel compelled to solve rigorously,” Vlad said. “Since we were kids, his intellectual curiosity has astounded me.”

Alex works as the manager of security services at BlackBerry and strives to keep devices and people’s personal privacy secure. He also holds an engineering degree from the University of Waterloo, so he’s quick to identify that his strengths lie in his logical intelligence.

“I’m very quick with mental math and I always calculate the tip whenever my family and friends eat out,” he said. “My weakness is musical intelligence -- I'm pretty good with rhythm, but melodies can be tricky sometimes. I've been lucky so far with the musical challenges, but they're always the toughest for me.”

Numbers and music aren’t the only things Alex enjoys. He says he’s fascinated by the social challenges on Canada’s Smartest Person, and a lot of that has to do with the cues he’s picked up around the poker table.

“Having spent years as an amateur poker player, I love watching people and trying to decipher their body language and what they're thinking. It's a wonderful mix of art and science that you can always get better at.”

That constant pursuit of harmony between multiple intelligences is something that Alex picked up from two very important people in his life.

“All of the credit goes to my parents. My dad has the best logical and physical intelligence of anyone that I have ever met. Whether it's chess, whist, othello, tennis, table tennis or just about anything else, he always wins and I always come back for more,” Alex said.

“My mom is wonderful socially and always dresses to a tee (visual intelligence). You can put her in a room with just about anyone and they'll be best friends within ten minutes. My parents have always encouraged me to play games, learn as much as possible, and try to be the best in everything I do.”

Alex's intelligence profile, based on his results in Sunday's live challenges, show that he's well-rounded in multiple areas of smarts.

Alex also has his own words of wisdom to share now that he’s a seasoned performer in the Canada’s Smartest Person app:

“I think the key to doing well in the challenges is focus. I always play while watching the live show, so there's a lot going on. You have to watch the TV screen, be ready when the challenges pop up, and get them done quickly and accurately,” he said.

“Speed is very important, but you obviously have to get the questions right. When you think you know the answer, don't hesitate -- go with your gut instinct.”

He also shares a few things he’s learned about how to get your name to appear on TV screens and monitors across the country:

“The best tip I can give is to make sure you fill out your profile -- age, city, province and of course a picture. Try to do the bonus challenges every day to practise and stay sharp. Other than that, just play along and have fun.”

But to Alex, Canada’s Smartest Person isn’t just about testing your intelligence and posting high scores. As someone who has been hooked on the app since even before the show began, he says the experience is about being a part of something bigger.

“I honestly think the interactive portion is the future of TV. The ability to watch a show, play along with the challenges, compete with people from across the country, and be able to share your results in real-time is simply amazing.”

You can catch an all-new episode of Canada’s Smartest Person this Sunday at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) on CBC.

Have you been watching and playing along with Canada’s Smartest Person? Let us know  and you could be featured!

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