19 Acts of Hustle and a Deal with Gmail Inventor, Paul Buchheit

19 Acts of Hustle and a Deal with Gmail Inventor, Paul Buchheit

Hustle is winning at all costs.

Hustle is having no shame in pursuit of goals.

Hustle is creative tactics to achieve results otherwise unobtainable.

As young adults with many aspirations and dreams, Millennials and Generation Z'ers are often left wondering "what does hustle actually look like?" because our world is filled with banal platitudes like:


"working hard" and "chasing your dream"

"staying focused" or, my favorite, "you gotta hustle"

But what do these even mean? Seriously? 

What does, "hustle", look like in the day to day, where it all really goes down?

As a 22-year-old, aspiring founder, this is a story of mine. This is a story of 19 micro-decisions, where each micro-decision was an investment into the long-term, that led to an opportunity to connect with someone that could change my life, in the long-term, of course.

I hope you find inspiration from this, and even gain insights into what these banal platitudes actually look like in practice.

For me, Hustle is...

  1. Taking the time to know yourself and where you want to be in 2 years, 5 years and 10 years
  2. Applying to the Y Combinator Startup School, without a startup, because you know you will be founding a startup down the road
  3. Getting accepted
  4. Driving yourself to the conference because the shuttle, that everyone else took, was $20 more expensive and you are saving coins
  5. Pull into the parking lot behind a really nice car (a dash of luck)
  6. Follow the car and park next to the car, knowing it's probably someone important 
  7. Noticing the driver is Paul Buchheit , a Y Combinator Partner and the inventor of Gmail, indeed, someone important
  8. Taking note of the car model and researching its history
  9. Tracking down Paul after the conference... when everyone else is eating refreshments
  10. Not pitching Paul about an app like all of the other attendees
  11. Talking to Paul about Paul's car
  12. Using the Rejection Challenge mentality to ask Paul for a ride in his car
  13. Getting rejected (in front of many human eyes)
  14. Paul offers, "Apply to Y Combinator and if you get an entry interview, I'll give you the keys"
  15. Accepting the offer and shaking hands with Paul before he realizes what he has done
  16. Leaving the event to go to Paul's car
  17. Leaving the below note on Paul's car
  18. Writing this blog and tagging Paul so he knows I am coming in 2019
  19. Reminding Paul, we shook on it :-)

That's it. Quite a story, but really, it's the micro decisions, my friends. Every moment that passes by is defining you and your future.

You know what's the craziest thing?

What I've done is NOT revolutionary. This is common, everyday hustle. This is how you should operate if you want to achieve the generally unobtainable results.

Will I be applying to Y Combinator in two years? Maybe.

But I've done enough introspective reflection that I know it is quite well possible. I also know, that what I sacrificed (some free pizza and beer) is incredibly minute compared to what could come from my actions. 

Like I said, I don't know if in two years I will actually be applying to Y Combinator. That's almost impossible to know. But if I do go that route, this could jump start a powerful relationship with one of the top mentors in the program.

That's the story and those are the micro-decisions. Remember this tale in your day to day and allow yourself to enjoy the fruits of your micro-decisions.

Tell me a story of yours in the comments.


Obligatory shout out to Y Combinator for their Startup School. Great event. If you are in a Startup and looking to join the #1 accelerator in the world, apply today. They take all types of teams and founders.

  • Single founders
  • Family founders
  • Old founders
  • Extra-terrestrial founders
  • Companies with growth
  • Social causes
  • New companies
  • Spaceships

Stop asking questions and apply.

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