After 16 years in the tech industry, Marc Roth hit rock bottom. His multimillion-dollar business had failed, he had lost a lucrative job offer in San Franscisco and had to quit his part-time job due to health issues. But a piece of trash Roth found at his homeless shelter soon changed his life. He shared his story on HuffPost Live.
Roth's small business idea was initially very promising. "I'm quote-unquote the inventor of touch screens in the back of taxicabs. I had a really successful run--I actually dropped out of a computer science program months before I was supposed to graduate because I had a 25-million-dollar monster on my hand and things were going really well."
But his success was short-lived, as he explained to host Nancy Redd. "Unfortunately, I wasn't business-savvy enough to do what they call 'pivoting' and keep the business alive and we went under. It was actually a very depressing time."
Roth worked part-time in a pizza restaurant while applying for jobs in Silicon Valley. But a health issue forced him to quit that job, and when a tech-related job offer fell through, Roth was forced to move to a nearby homeless shelter.
But a chance encounter at the shelter helped turn Roth's life around. He found two men discussing a flyer for Tech Shop, a members-only workspace for startups and small tech companies. They threw the flyer in the trash, and Roth jumped at the potential opportunity. "When they walked out of the room I grabbed the flyer and went down to Tech Shop the next day."
Roth's application for general assistance at the shelter was approved shortly thereafter, and he was able to put his small monthly stipend towards the Tech Shop membership.
"They give you $59 a month in cash, a solid shelter bed and a couple hundred dollars' worth of food stamps. So with those resources, I was able to cash out the $59 to come and buy this Tech Shop membership for $49 that had two classes with it."
In addition to updating his skills, Roth found immediate work.
"Inside that space, I found people that were working on amazing startups, they had great products, and most of all they needed help, and they needed help right now. So I was able to talk to somebody in the afternoon, and make $40 or $80 that night helping them out with their products."
Roth was able to build on those initial jobs and eventually work his way out of the homeless shelter. He founded The Learning Shelter in 2013, a program to offer homeless individuals intensive tech training so that they too can find work. It launched its pilot program earlier this year.
Sign up here for Live Today, HuffPost Live's new morning email that will let you know the newsmakers, celebrities and politicians joining us that day and give you the best clips from the day before!