Entrepreneurship

The Homeless Man Who Went Viral for Handing Out His Résumé on a Highway Had Quit His Job to Become an Entrepreneur -- and Even Though He Failed, He Plans to Try Again

David Casarez quit his job as a web developer at General Motors to launch his own tech startup.
The Homeless Man Who Went Viral for Handing Out His Résumé on a Highway Had Quit His Job to Become an Entrepreneur -- and Even Though He Failed, He Plans to Try Again
Image credit: Courtesy of David Casarez
4 min read
This story originally appeared on Business Insider

David Casarez quit his job as a web developer at General Motors just months shy of his 26th birthday.

Years earlier, he'd made a pact with himself, that by the time he turned 26, he'd start his own business.

So Casarez cashed out his 401(k) and packed his bags for the San Francisco Bay Area, where he planned to launch a tech startup. He described it to me as a multi-sided platform covering the food industry, picking up where services like Blue Apron had left off.

Casarez's family thought he was crazy to leave a stable gig, especially since he wouldn't have money to cover the cost of rent in California and would have to live out of his van.

Fast-forward one year and Casarez' story is going viral, after a driver passed him handing out résumés on the highway and tweeted a photo . ( Kron4 first reported the story.)

Casarez had run out of money for his startup and was homeless. Now he's received hundreds of job offers, including one from Google, he told The New York Post .

I spoke with Casarez by phone and he told me that he'd like to return to the corporate or startup world for now, but he "absolutely" plans to try entrepreneurship again. "I don't think I'll ever give up on pursuing that dream," he said. "It is a dream of mine to be able to build something that's going to help society."

At one point after he ran out of money, his vehicle was repossessed. "I just felt down in the gutter," Casarez said. "I just completely went off the grid for a bit. It was a very depressing period. But I wasn't going to let that hold me down."

When he came up with the idea of passing out résumés on the highway, he thought, "Let me give this one last shot."

Casarez isn't discouraged by his failure to launch his tech startup.

Casarez isn't especially disappointed at the way things turned out with his startup. "Sometimes you have a lot of failures before you have success," he said.

I asked Casarez if he was at all influenced by "entrepreneurship porn," a term coined by Morra Aarons-Mele to describe stories about the supposedly glamorous lifestyle of company founders.

"I did my research," he said. That's why he practiced living out of a van even when he was in Austin, Texas, working for GM.

Despite the notoriously poor odds of startup success, "I told myself, would I rather be on my deathbed knowing I didn't take the risk or knowing that I did? That's what really pushed me to leave the comfort of working at GM," Casarez said.

His advice for other people who want to strike out on their own? "Never give up. If you have a dream, pursue it. Take a risk, because you never know what the end result will be." As for the tumultuous past year of his life, Casarez said, "All I feel is it's a bump in the road."

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