After packing my bags, with less than 24hrs notice and boarding a flight to my new home – NZ, I have learnt a great deal about how living life in a hostel and life as a startup are much the same...
First of all you are beholden to the whims of others as to whether or not you will have a place to sleep/work, this is the same for a hostel or a shared workplace (borrowed office). If you don’t get in first a big group or someone who has camped out for months will take your place! Even worse you might end up sharing with a smelly Czech/serial pitcher of ideas!
You are always hungry/lean, which by the modern measure makes for the most effective and efficient way to run (a startup). Trying to source the best and cheapest option or deal so that you can make your small amount of money stretch that little further…you might get some quizzical looks, as I did, trying to explain to a Frenchman the multiplier of you stretching your (business’) cash further. However, the Germans took this to be very sound and logical, naturlich even!
This then moves into the next point, you are always leveraging whatever free or shared resources you can get. That great delight of someone leaving a half bottle of extra virgin olive oil in the free food section is akin to a large corporate offering you access to their labs for a week, something you’d love to have but probably can’t afford. Just make sure you use it effectively and don’t share it with some perpetual free-riders!
There are some definite positives too. The social side is vibrant and you can always find a like-minded person(s) to go out to a bar with/talk about the next big idea. Harness this as it can be most rewarding and a great way to meet new people you can share your experience and views with. Overdo it and you will spend a day hungover watching old DVDs and not seeing the sights/you’ll talk a whole lot and not execute on anything!
The ability to pool resources is of significant value too, it makes everything go that little bit further. Whether it be cooking up a big batch of Bolognese (if you can afford meat) that you share with 3-4 people or all using the same login for that essential service that costs $250/month. If you can use this well it makes everything stretch further and allows you the variety you need to make things work, so don’t be afraid to ask someone if they want to share, it’ll work well for all parties…unless you’re dealing with a vegan/biotech!
Finally, life in a hostel/startup is tough, someone is always going to try and steal your food/idea/customers! Don’t worry this is a good thing, embrace it as it keeps you hungry and it keeps you on guard.