Research, research and still more research (or you never stop learning!)

This week has been most interesting from a research point of view. I found out that the people staffing the office in charge of distributing start-up funding are not nearly as scary as imagined. In fact, quite the opposite. Monday morning saw me sitting in the office of one counsellor who jumped out of her seat three times to confer with her colleague down the hall. Then she swiveled her chair and collected more information from the filing cabinets behind her. She was more than forthcoming about my need to gather papers from my old college (on its way) as well as the taxman (ordered online at 2143, delivery anticipated today or Monday). A nice packet of papers is being built-in preparation for lodgement.

My online endeavours didn’t go so well. That’s not exactly true. I managed to create a short and simple survey. Said survey however suffered from being the free version and thus I wasn’t able to ‘pipe’* the questions accordingly. As I’m not in a financially viable position to upgrade at this point in time, it just means that my next survey needs to be clever. Or I stay away from asking why on yes or no questions!

The best part of this week was hanging out at the Cruise Terminal chatting to the passengers returning to their ships. Earlier I’d been asking my questions early in the morning as people were heading out. Very different responses from the two groups. Those that have had a chance to see Helsinki were much more forthcoming in their opinions than those who were just heading out. I’m going to keep up the research, although the focus will change week on week. Next week I’m going to start asking about public transport (which I must say is VERY good in Helsinki!). Today I’ve ordered some almost free business cards and will be handing them out at the harbour. They will promote the blog, Foursquare © and Twitter ©, so hopefully I can generate traffic from Helsinki visitors and get some dialogue happening, all the while building the brand!

This morning my mentor and I chatted for an hour and have worked out our next step in the plan of attack. He was disappointed to hear that a couple of my contact attempts had gone unanswered. I’m going to try again via the telephone and see if that gets any response. I have twelve days to tie everything together to a final package. This has gone much slower than I anticipated, although these last two weeks of market research have been invaluable. The product is taking shape!

Yesterday I took the number 16 bus from Herttoniemi, through the city to Hernesaari where the Cruise Terminal is located. I arrived at the bus stop and it appeared that one bus had not arrived as there were a great many disgruntled faces to be seen. I overheard one couple were being advised that they could take a taxi and guessed they were heading for the terminal also. Just to be sure I asked where they headed? ‘Back to the boat, love’ in lovely Australian accents came the answer. ‘So am I!, we can catch the bus together – I’m sure it will be here soon’. Sure enough the bus arrived and we all piled on. P and M sat at the front and I moved to the rear of the bus.

Then, as we were driving through Kulosaari (the next island and suburb along) past the Chinese, Indian and Iraqian embassies I thought to myself that I was wasting an ideal opportunity – at the next stop I moved to the front of the bus and asked if I could sit with them and they could ask any question about Helsinki as we went along. So, my plan to describe the trip for my next Heather’s Helsinki post went down the drain, however we go to talk all about their trip and why they had done somethings and not others. Invaluable. Oh, and we did talk a little about the passing scenery …

If you answered my survey this week: A VERY BIG THANKYOU. I’ll get the responses tabulated and post them in the coming weeks.

* Piping refers to yes / no questions and being directed to the appropriate subset of questions.

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