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Couchsurfing for a Job

February 18, 2009

Check out www.couchsurfing.com.  Awesome travel site.  Believe it or not, it will surpass 1 million users globally in March.

The Big Idea

Find people with similar interests and passions who live in cities you plan to visit.  Meet them online and request to sleep on their couch and hang out with them for a negotiated period of time.

My Introduction to Couch Surfing

My hippie, Italian friend introduced me to couchsurfing during college.   I first (unsuccessfully) couchsurfed Pamplona, Spain.  I couldn’t find the meet up place for my host (I didn’t have a cellphone, I couldn’t find the address in the commotion of the festivities, and my Spanish is terrible–uno, dos, huh?  I ended up “roughing it” in Pamplona for 35 hours.

A few months ago I successfully couchsurfed in Denver, CO during a short weekend stay with a delightful lady.  We hung out with her friends, enjoyed great conversation, and she even had a blow up mattress for me.  After that, I’ve just been waiting for a couchsurfing request so I could reciprocate the generosity.  It recently came.

Couchsurfing for a Job

I got this email on couchsurfing a few weeks ago:

Hi Elliott!

I will be driving through Cincy and wanted to check out
the city because I might be moving there soon. I was
wondering if your couch is available? I also saw you
work for P&G, how do you like it? I am in contact
with the marketing dept about a job. Perhaps you can
give me a couple pointers and insights. Let me know
if you have something.

Thanks a lot!
Matt

After reading this I thought:

  1. Hell yeah, I’ll host this guy; it’s my solemn couchsufing oath
  2. I would definitely hire this guy for any job because of his resourcefulness and courage to send me this note.  He just proved he’s a creative problem solver and go getter.
  3. I hope he isn’t a serial killer because he could find me if he wanted to.

The Couch Surf Visit

Matt rolled into my place Saturday.  I took him around Cincinnati to show him the town.  We dined, drank coffee, shopped, spoke with local merchants, dropped into an informal work party, and dropped by a local bar.  In the morning we grabbed some pancakes at IHOP with my buddy, and he was off.

Tips on Couchsurfing Safety and Etiquette

  1. Bring your host a present or treat them to a meal (Matt brought me two books he thought I’d like based on my profile.)
  2. ID you guests using various social portals before you disclose your address (email, facebook, linked in, etc)
  3. Meet your guest in a public place first to conduct the “serial killer test” before taking them to your couch

Takeaways

  1. Couchsurfing is an awesome way to meet cool people who index highly on the personality trait “a person open to new experiences”
  2. It’s a good way to develop potential friendships you’d otherwise never develop
  3. Be smart about who you let sleep on your couch
  4. Couchsurfing may just lead you to your next job

Do You Want to Hire Matt?

If you have the authority to hire Matt, you can find him here on Twitter. You can also contact me to get his email address.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 18, 2009 10:10 pm

    Elliott, you are so brave!! And I’m begining to realize that you’re one of the nicest people I know! What a great way to meet new people. I’ve heard of this, but I could never get past the serial killer aspect. Maybe I’ve seen too many slasher movies!

  2. elliottgarlock permalink*
    February 19, 2009 12:22 am

    Thanks for the nice words. Although don’t get the word out that I’m “nice.” Not at all helpful with the ladies. I’m a jerk. And, I send mixed messages. And, I start fights all the time. lol

    You should try it out, Bev! I read a book or article or something awhile ago that suggested people should go do something they’d never consider once a month. If you start doing crazy stuff, all the sudden exciting things start happening in your life. And, then you write a book and blog, make a million dollars and retire in Maui.

  3. Elan permalink
    February 24, 2009 6:05 pm

    Your blog has officially made it to my RSS reader. Congratulations.

  4. elliottgarlock permalink*
    February 24, 2009 6:21 pm

    News alert! I made the Elan Greenberg RSS reader short list! Thanks Elan. It means a lot to me. When are you launching your blog? I’d call it: “ElangoingCommandoinHawaii.com”

    You are going Commando, right? LOL

    (For everyone scratching your heads, Elan is an officer in the Marines.)

  5. March 26, 2009 1:20 am

    So after our Twitter exchange about marketers and blogs, I clicked over to yours. Totally agree with you – I never really wanted to create a blog that’s about any one topic – interested in far too many things to keep that up.

    I’ve always been super intrigued by couchsurfing, but haven’t done it (yet). I read a blog post somewhere about this fantastic international couchsurfing trip that the author took, and it really made me want to try it.

    Maybe you should alter your philosophy to state that all marketers should have a blog AND be open/adventurous enough to get out there and couchsurf…? 🙂

  6. elliottgarlock permalink*
    March 26, 2009 2:00 am

    Hey Erin,

    Big Time! You can surf my couch anytime. I highly recommend couchsurfing. The community actually has local events. If you sign in, you can find locals from your town, hang out with them and maybe do a mini test of a local surf before you go do it somewhere crazy.

    Right-O on my amending my statement. All marketers should couchsurf!

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