Tag: months

A 24-year-old Tesla engineer lived in a van for 5 months and paid off his $14,000 of student loans


A year and a half ago, 24-year-old Jason Roesslein headed from Illinois to the Bay Area to start work as an engineer for Tesla Motors.

He lived with a roommate for a few months, but found it frustrating shelling out $1,250 for rent each month.

“That was supposed to be a temporary situation until I figured out where I really wanted to live,” Roesslein told Business Insider. “As I got further and further along in my thinking, I decided that I would try to live in a van, and I eventually pulled the trigger on it.”

He lived in his “studio on wheels” — a 2006 Dodge Sprinter van — from October 2014 through March 2015, using Tesla and his gym to shower and eat most of his meals. After five months of van life, he reverted back to a more traditional lifestyle, with nearly $10,000 in extra savings, some of which he diverted toward paying off his student loans in full.

Here’s what it was like:

SEE ALSO: A 23-year-old Google employee lives in a truck in the company’s parking lot and saves 90% of his income

DON’T MISS: Several Google employees say they’ve lived in the company parking lot — here’s why they did it

Roesslein toyed with the idea of a buying a box truck and turning it into a tiny home. Ultimately, the idea of owning such a big truck was too daunting to proceed.

“At the same time as I was developing those thoughts, I met a guy who works at Tesla, who at the time was living in his Subaru Forester,” he says. “He’d been doing it for a year.”

One night, that same coworker mentioned replacing his Subaru with a Sprinter van.

“That planted the seed in my head,” Roesslein says. “It would be big enough so that you can stand up and have everything you need in there — but it’s also not an atrociously large vehicle, and would be fairly maneuverable.”

Roesslein thought about what he wanted out of a living situation — his own, affordable space where he could sleep and store his things — and where he wanted to be: close to work, the gym, and the social scene.

“My housing hunt had turned into the desire for a small mobile space to lay my head, cook and eat some food, store a few things, and hang out for a bit each day,” he writes on Medium.

This manifested itself in a 2006 Dodge Sprinter, which he bought off eBay for $13,000 and picked up in Houston, Texas. It turned out that flying to Texas and driving the Sprinter back was cheaper than buying a used van in the notoriously pricey Bay Area.

He paid for the van upfront — $500 the night he bought it on eBay, and then the remaining $12,500 when he arrived in Houston — and spent another $1,000 turning the Sprinter into a livable place.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Barbara Corcoran to ‘Shark Tank’ entrepreneurs who made $2 million in 3 months: ‘Pretend you’re poor’

barbara corcoran

PiperWai cofounders Jess Edelstein and Sarah Ribner were underdogs when they pitched their all-natural deodorant to the investors on “Shark Tank” last summer.

They could claim $100,000 in sales — not bad for a company just under a year old — but it was far from enough to convince most of the Sharks that PiperWai could compete in such a crowded field.

Barbara Corcoran admired Edelstein and Ribner and decided to make a deal for $50,000 in exchange for 25% of the company. When the episode aired in December, the tiny company made a big splash. In the past three months, PiperWai has brought in more than $2 million in sales.

The sudden explosive success known as “the ‘Shark Tank’ effect” can actually be a curse to a business whose owners aren’t prepared for it, and so Corcoran stepped in to guide them. Her advice to Edelstein and Ribner, she told Business Insider at a Zebit event on Tuesday: “Don’t spend the money. Lock it up. Pretend you’re poor.”

PiperWai wasn’t built on a major investment. “What got them from Point A to Point B is not money, but creativity, intelligence, and chutzpah,” Corcoran said. “And that’s exactly what’s going to build them a huge empire in the future.”

piper wai

Corcoran has also taught them the value of moving quickly and boldly. When the original PiperWai manufacturer couldn’t keep up with the spike in demand following the “Shark Tank” episode premiere, resulting in weeks of back orders, Corcoran encouraged the cofounders to fire their unreliable partner and find a new supplier.

“And fortunately for me, they’re women that listen,” Corcoran said. “I can’t say that about all my entrepreneurs.”

She said that many “Shark Tank” entrepreneurs become reckless with their money during the sales spike following their episode premiere, as if the “Shark Tank” buzz is everlasting. It’s why she’s telling them to remain disciplined and focused, and to not let the flow of income distract them from building a foundation that can be scaled.

“They’ll have a huge business — you wait and watch,” Corcoran said.

SEE ALSO: ‘Shark Tank’ investor Lori Greiner explains the 7 things she looks for in a pitch

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NOW WATCH: How Barbara Corcoran uses ‘manterruptions’ to beat the other sharks

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Slack grew from 80 to 385 employees in 14 months. Why that worries its CEO

stewart butterfield

By all measures, Slack is one of the fastest growing startups in Silicon Valley. 

More than 1.5 billion messages are sent monthly on the platform. 2.3 million people use it daily, and of those, 20% just started using it in the new year.

Its CEO Stewart Butterfield isn’t worried about the product — it’s clearly been proven a hit. 

Instead, he told the crowd Wednesday at the Startup Grind conference that he’s most worried about the people.

At the beginning of 2015, Slack employed around 80 people. By year-end, that number ballooned to 320 employees. Already in 2016, the company has increased its headcount to 385. (That’s adding at least one employee every day.)

“The thing I worry about is people,” Butterfield said. “That kind of growth is hard to do.”

It’s a crazy rate of growth, but it’s justified to keep up with demand, Butterfield argues.

The bigger issue is how to integrate all of the new employees into Slack’s culture so they’re there for more than just the valuable stock options. 

“You need to really have the volume up. Cultural problems need to be addressed as they arise,” Butterfield says. 

Turning the volume up means constantly, and loudly, reiterating the company’s values and making sure they don’t get muddled as the company grows. 

The company has six core values, expressed in three sentences, Butterfield explains:

  1. Empathy as expressed through courtesy
  2. Craftsmanship tempered with playfulness (That’s where those funny Slack messages come from)
  3. Thriving, both in ourselves and others (That means thriving not only as a team, but also making sure you’re personally thriving and doing this thing you’re meant to be doing with your whole heart, Butterfield explained)

Making sure those are understood and embraced is a challenge for a company growing so rapidly, but one that Butterfield is making a priority to address early as it grows — and not just when it’s too late

SEE ALSO: Here’s how Silicon Valley’s startup guru can instantly tell if you should start a company

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NOW WATCH: Stewart Butterfield, co-founder of Slack and Flickr, on two beliefs that have brought him the greatest success in life

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