Nashville > NOLA
I managed to get to sleep around 2am the first night, unlike my roommates Caity and Nicole, who came in around 3am and 4am, respectively. I woke up around 7am and headed down to the gym for a quick 3 mile run, grabbed breakfast, and was on the bus by 8:45am.
With limited space on the bus, many teams used dry erase markers to write notes on our giant bus windows, which Doyle discovered that morning. The first 5 minutes of the bus ride that morning were spent with Doyle lecturing us about how much it will cost to replace the windows if they marker doesn’t come off ($1,500, FYI).
Seriously, he was fired up.
We arrived at Emma, an email marketing company in Nashville, around 9am. They gave us a tour of the facility, which was a series of converted railroad car buildings, and was seriously awesome.
After the tour, it was pitching time! Ryan and I were taking turns pitching as the trip progressed. We both wanted to get a feel for the pitches, and get feedback on our different styles and deliveries.
(The team, from left to right, Brad, Ryan, Claire and Rishi)
After the pitches, we were approached by an Emma employee who said that their Director of Technology wanted to come on the Startup Bus and was wondering if he could join our team.
Our team was basically like…
Adding more manpower to your team is pretty much a godsend during the competition. So we were psyched to have Alex on board (literally and figuratively…see what I did there?).
So now we were a team of 5!
The Emma team was absolutely amazing, and sent us on our way with great advice, and new team member, and boxed lunches (!!!) Thanks again Emma!
The rest of the day was spent hacking and hustling. Brad and Rishi caught Alex up on the progress of the app.
Listening to developers talk about Java, Python, Django, CSS and PHP
I’m just like…
Ryan and I primarily worked on the business plan, press releases, blogs, and our pitch. Within 36 hours of departing Chicago we had a registered domain, Facebook page, Twitter handle, and an About.me page.
Prior to departing Chicago, our conductors had sent us an email giving us the choice over where to stay in Louisiana on our second night. We could A. Stay in Shreveport, where we would have guaranteed hotel accommodations AND be 2 hours closer to San Antonio (i.e. more time to work at the hotel) OR B. We could stop in New Orleans, which is farther away from San Antonio, and did not have guaranteed hotel availability. BUT the NY and Florida buses would be stopping in NOLA as well, so we could have a giant Startup Bus meet up, halfway through the trip.
I don’t need to explain our decision.
A welcome party was waiting for us at LaunchPad, a super cool co-working space in NOLA, when we arrived around 9pm. The Florida bus was already there (and a few beers/margaritas deep). The NY bus showed up after us, film crew and all, and roughly 75 buspreneurs all converged in N’awlins.
It was really cool to meet some of the other teams and hear about the ideas that formed on the other buses. It gave us a little sneak peek, before the competition, and was a good way to feel out the talent on some of the other buses.
Overall, most of my conversations went like this…
Random Buspreneur “So are you a Developer?”
“Then how did you get on the bus?”
After LaunchPad we headed to our hostel to drop off our bags before grabbing some dinner.
At first I was like…
But then when we arrived at the hostel I was like…
St. Vincent’s Guest House is not your average hostel. No no, St. Vincent’s was an Orphanage (and possibly a CHILDREN’S ASYLUM?) in the 1800’s, and has since been converted into a hostel.
Some of my favorite Yelp reviews include:
“There were pictures in the lobby of the sick orphans and nuns. I’m sure that a lot of the kids died in that hotel.”
“please for your health and safety book your reservations somewhere else…..”
“I went to prison before and it is cleaner in prison than this place”
“From the moment I checked into this abominable hellhole, I felt uncomfortable”
Sleeping at St. Vincent’s that night, I just had one goal…
We dropped our bags in a giant room where about 50 of us would all be sleeping that night, and headed out to grab a quick bite on Bourbon St. A few fried oyster po’ boys and beers later we were tired enough not to care (that much) about our accommodations for the night.
(Ryan and I’s bunk)
(Alex’s mattress, don’t worry about the Duct Tape, thats normal)
(St. Vincent’s from the outside)
Next stop, TEXAS!