Here’s an excerpt from the current version of my resume (yes, my resume’s under version control). Note the highlighted entry:
The entry is for Hyve, the startup and application that my StartupBus team built when I rode in 2019. Hyve was a service that let you create “burner” email addresses that relayed email to and from your real email address, allowing you to safely subscribe to services and avoid getting marketing spam or safely communicate with people whom you might not completely trust.
…but the real wins came a little bit afterward when I was interviewing for developer and developer relations jobs a couple of weeks afterward. StartupBus makes for a good story, and in a job interview, it’s the story that “sells” you.
After all, StartupBus is a hackathon where you’re challenged to come up with:
- A startup business
- and an application that supports that business
- on a bus
- in three days.
This intrigued the people who interviewed me, which led me to talk about the decisions that shaped the business, which in turn shaped the software. I detailed the challenges of writing business plans and software on a bus, a rumbling, rolling office space with spotty internet access, unreliable power, and the occasional engine breakdown. I also talked about dealing with the compressed timeframe and a few of the tricks we used to get around the limited time, which included getting help from our professional network, taking advantage of crowdsourcing services, and using our media contacts. My StartupBus story played a key part in convincing prospective employers that they wanted to hire me.
StartupBus Florida will depart Tampa, Florida on Wednesday, July 27 and make a 3-day trip with interesting stops and challenges along the way. It will arrive in Austin, Texas on the evening of Friday, July 29, where it will meet with teams from 6 other buses:
On Saturday, July 30, all the teams will assemble at a venue in Austin for the semifinals. Every team will pitch in front of a set of semifinals judges. By the end of the day, a handful of finalists will emerge (Hyve was one of six finalists in 2019).
Those finalists will then go on to the finals, which will take place on Sunday, July 31. They’ll pitch again (and if they’re smart, they’ll have spent the night before reworking their pitch and application) in front of the finals judges, who will select the winner and runners-up.
If you participate in StartupBus, you will come out of it a different person. You will pitch your startup at least a dozen times (and yes, everyone pitches — not just the marketing people, but the creatives and developers, too). You will work on product design. You will work on marketing. You will work on code. And you’ll do it all under far-from-ideal circumstances. StartupBus is a crash course in guerrilla entrepreneurship, and it’s an experience that will serve you well — especially during these economically upside-down times.
And you’d better believe that you’ll have stories to tell, and they’ll help you stand apart from the crowd.
Want to ride StartupBus later this month?
You’ll need to apply on the StartupBus site, and you’ll need an invite code. Use mine: JOEY22, which will tell them that I sent you.