Hard slog and serendipity on the path to overnight success

Hayden Bleasel, picture by Leah Lucas

Hayden Bleasel, picture by Leah Lucas

In summary: 
  • Business and IT student Hayden Bleasel has just signed an agreement with UTS for students to have access to his career management tool Presumi
  • On the surface the story of Presumi seems to fit the "overnight success" scenario, but exactly how long does it take for a business to magically appear? 

There are two stories to tell about UTS student Hayden Bleasel and the success of his startup Presumi.

The first is a staggering tale of the literal overnight birth of the venture. The second is about how underneath every story of instant success, lies a parallel journey of working hard towards a goal.

Let's begin with story one. Bleasel got up one morning after a late night up creating a website. Bleary-eyed, coffee in hand, he crossed to the kitchen bench and flipped open his laptop. He couldn't believe what he saw. The site he'd been working on had more than 700 users.

Most surprising was the fact he hadn't sent the site live. Bleasel, who has a background in web development and design, created Presumi for his own use.

He'd returned from a job in Silicon Valley and was on the hunt for a position in Sydney. He found it frustrating to continually check what he'd sent out, when he'd sent it and which organisations he'd received responses from. His spreadsheets and post-it notes were getting out of hand.

The project provided some fun nights in for the self-confessed geek of design and tech. "I did design it nicely, even though it was just for me. I like that sort of stuff," he said. But how did he get more than 700 users without even sending the site live?

As it turned out he had sent the site live. It was by pure accident. "Bug reports were coming in and I thought 'holy crap'."

After he'd gone to bed someone, somewhere online had posted Presumi on Product Hunt (a site for early adopters to pick up new products and startups). And so Presumi was born.

Email requests came flooding in asking for tweaks – an improved interface, the ability to upload multiple resumes – and Bleasel got to work. He added a feature for users to see if a prospective employer had looked at their resume. It's something that people find really useful, he says, and can mean the difference between accepting a job or holding out for the "offer you really want".

Now, six months down the track, the number of Presumi users sits at 1500 and is about to increase. UTS Careers has just signed up and will be giving final-year students access over the coming weeks.

Aaron Ngan, Project Officer, Internships at UTS Careers, says that Presumi will help new graduates with their job hunt. "It fits well with the university's plan to grow student employability," he says.

All this happened because Bleasel accidentally sent a site he'd created for himself live. Or did it?

This brings us to story number two. It requires digging a little further back into Bleasel's career trajectory, but, in many ways it's the more interesting tale.

Three years ago Bleasel started an internship with the UTS-student founded online textbook marketplace, Zookal. It changed his view of work forever.  

In Zookal's open-plan space he was astounded to see "a small group of people hustling together to make something out of nothing." They were solving problems for students just because they felt like doing it and more than that, they'd managed to make a life out of it. "I thought wow, you can do that?'"

"I don't think many people get to see what I saw at Zookal unfortunately. I saw you don't have to always follow what everyone else is doing. Sometimes in life you can do what you feel like doing."

While Bleasel wasn't working for the next few years on starting a business, it was in hindsight, as if his experience at Zookal had started a computer program that ran in the background of his consciousness. From Zookal he leapfrogged to a startup involved in the delivery of drones. Following that he was hired as head of product for Sumry, a site designed to help job seekers land their dream job.  

Next stop was California where he worked for computer software company Palantir Technologies who are involved in counter terrorism and anti-money laundering activities. "That was amazing," says Bleasel. It also enabled him to add some impressive UX design skills to his career kit bag.

It also landed him back in Sydney jobless. He had a small panic. We know the rest of the story from here – about the website he developed to manage the application process and the "overnight success" that followed.

But along the way there were "the crappy side projects that are not worth talking about" – in other words the failed startup ventures that are a veritable entrepreneurial rite of passage.

Setting up Presumi is just the start of his journey. Long term Bleasel wants to develop his concept to tackle the recruitment process, which he sees as fundamentally flawed. "It's a terrible system," he says, "You give a resume which doesn't explain who you are and they have an ad which doesn't really explain who they are."

He has applied to be in the next cohort of Hatchery+ and hopes the supported co-working space, and mentorship, will help him take Presumi to the next level.

Do you have a business you'd like to take to the next level? Applications are open for Hatchery+ until 1 July. Apply today via this page.