“At the end of the day, it isn’t where I came from. Maybe home is somewhere I’m going and have never been before” –Warsaw Shire
Today is a blur; melted and fused with yesterday. During our night of travel, I took the front of the bus, so I woke every time our kind drivers needed something or stopped for coffee. I decided to make the most of it, it turns out they had some great stories to tell about long road trips, crazy passengers and adventures on the move.
Most of team Mexico slept peacefully, but I saw some intermittent tweets and screens going on and off throughout the night. I finally decided to stay awake from 4:45 am on; the sunup was something, inn the middle of nowhere, with desert and mountains framing the scene.
I took pictures of the team sleeping, checked emails, made lists in my mind (those never seem to stop these days, particularly when I’m trying to sleep)… Finally at 7am I started screaming “GOOD MORNING SUNSHINE!” and woke up the entire bus between grunts and whines. We made a quick bathroom/ coffee pitstop and we started pitching.
Two things have shocked me this far:
1. How fast we all became brothers in arms and how fast this all became home. I’ve had great conversations with some of the members of my team, the kind one can only have with longtime friends and I’ve observed how they interact with each other: we could seriously be family
2. The amount of talent we’ve got this year, their pitches needed little work, mostly structure and timing, even the less experienced buspreneurs did one heck of a job selling and pitching everything from their mothers to their products.
They’ve also been building at lightning speed. Cloudspotting had me playing with their demo before diner.
We got a very warm welcome from CEDIM with fresh lemonade, healthy snacks and an amazing hacker space reserved just for us. We set our pirate and Mexican flags and got to work almost immediately.
We had visits throughout the day. Javier from Consejo de Software Monterrey came to have lunch with us (they hooked us up with some delicious burgers!). We also had some buspreneurs from last year and some friends of the project drop by and help out with everything from lines of code to beer and medicine runs.
Finally Arturo from Naranya dropped by with a truckload of pizzas and their Chief Innovation Officer ready to destroy pitches. We had a good diner and got some amazing feedback.
We knew this was going to be the longest and most painful night. Broken and dysfunctional bodies are a common place: sore throats and muscles, broken stomachs, aching heads… “all I know is it will be painful from here to Austin”, said Steven while we exchanged throat remedies. However, spirits are high, I suggested a Harlem Shake, and in a few minutes the entire bus was organized and ready. I ended up dancing on top of chair with a luchador mask in the middle of an array of jumping sleeping bags, shirtless men, masks made out of pizza boxes and all-out crazy dancing.
The last all-night hackathon is now in full throttle. By now, the pressure has kicked in and all teams are questioning their very existence, since I took a few minutes and I went table by table explaining how if they don’t launch by 6:00 am, they lose their chance to get shortlisted and hence make it to the semifinals, finals and so on.
I’m confident that shortlisting teams from this bus will be HELL, but it’s the one pain I’m looking forward to.