Monday, 10 June 2013

Disso Progress: Interviews

Hi everyone.
I know I said I would try to write about my dissertation progress every week but failed to do so. Since my last post back in May, I have been doing interviews with end-users (professional women) and paying customers (beauticians).

These interviews are a lot harder than I thought, the hardest part is not interviewing them or finding someone to interview (I thought finding someone would be the hardest) but its arranging a time and day. I email them back and forth a few times and sometimes it can even take a few days to get a day and time arranged. I haven't really been looking for beauticians to interview, I've been focusing on end-users more and fortunately one of the founders is looking beauticians for me as she wants to do the interview with me too. That's good, founders should listen to the feedback themselves. So far we've only interviewed 1 beautician and I've interviewed 8 end-users, all of which are either the founder's colleagues/ friends, my friends, and my supervisor's friends. Some of these interviews were done in person but some were over the phone/skype.

In the first couple of weeks many of the interviewees suggested doing it on the phone as it was more convenient for them. My supervisor said I should suggest travelling to their work place so then maybe they would be more willing to meet. So I did and yes I was able to meet with the rest in person.

So far from the interviews with the end-users, most of them have said they don't use mobile beauticians and wouldn't use them unless they know them or recommended by someone. This is because of trust, inviting someone to your house is quite personal so you have to trust that person. Most said they go to salon for the experience and want to feel pampered but if they come to your house you don't have the experience. Some said they would only book a mobile beautician for a special occasion like hen party.

As well as doing interviews, I've also sent out some surveys to some Facebook friends. I don't really like this but I guess this is another way to get feedback. I don't like it because you can't prompt them and they may not understand the question. Some people have skipped most of the important questions which is really annoying. I'm not sure if its because they don't understand it or they can't think of any answers. Last time I checked, 7 people did the survey and 5 people skipped majority of the questions! Not good.

Anyways, I got another 2 interviews this week one with an end-user and another with a beauticians. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

TEDxUCL 2013

Hi my lovely people! The title says it all. This is a post about TEDxUCL, my day and experience as a volunteer for the event. In my previous post, I mentioned that I'm a blogger for TEDxUCL and have been blogging the week prior the event. On the day I had to sat through all the talks and took notes for blogging. That was a good role because I know other volunteers who were in charge of catering couldn't stay and listen to all the talks.

My TEDxUCL tshirt


Other Volunteers

Prior to the event, I was quite excited to be part of a TEDx event but on the day  I didn't have that excitement but it was still a good experience. My top 2 favourite talks were by  Julie Hall who spoke about The Rise of Micro Entrepreneur and Mark Brill's Emerging and Future Mobile. They were good in different ways. Julie Hall's talk to me was very motivating. She encourages people to start their own venture and if you're unemployed don't sweat just create your dream job! 'Don't wait to be chosen, choose yourself. Make a difference.' Those were the exact words Julie used at the end.

Mark Brill was talking about mobile in 2045. The technology he showed us were really intriguing. I was really looking forward to Talhal Timol's tallk about the Return of a Bow Tie. The programme indicates he will be talking about the fashion industry which is of course something of my interest. But I was quite disappointed. Majority of his talk was about his business. I was expecting something like how to be creativity, how to differentiate yourself, etc. Anyway more about this if you read on.

A few of the speakers I knew. Charlie Jackson is my class mate. It's weird seeing him talking lol. Daniel Hulme and Blaine Landis have both taught me. In fact Jeff Skinner taught one of our lectures, he was covering Keith's lecture for a week. Met Timothy Barnes during E-challenge. And the MC, Ahmad Bahkiet is also my class mate. I know I'm name dropping a bit here =p lol.

As a volunteer, I got a certificate to prove I was part of it! Other goodies we received include; amazon gift voucher, polo T-shirt I was wearing during the event, key ring with TEDxUCL engraved on it and a bag.

Apparently this year the food was a lot better. Last year, there were complaints that the food (catered by UCL) was bland and boring. So this year they served sushi from Wasabi and sandwiches from Pret a Manger. For tea break, croissants and pain au chocolat from Paul's. The croissant were so big! I've never had anything from Paul's, I was told their hot chocolate are amazing. Unfortunately, there was no hot chocolate. lol. I of course had a bit of everything considering I love food.

Ok moving on to something less positive. During the day, everyone (volunteers, guest and speakers) is encouraged to tweet with the #TEDxUCL. I of course tweeted, even if they didn't tell us to tweet I would have done so anyway. When the event ended  a couple of the organisers told me that they received complaints from a couple of speakers about a couple of my tweets. I'll tell you exactly what I tweeted.

"Is Mark Ronan giving a history lesson? Interesting....#tedxucl"

"Talhal Timol's talk isn't a TED talk its a pitch!'

"Good "pitch" @velscvoir @ttvelsvoir." (That's also for Talhal Timol)

Mark Ronan was speaking a lot about  history and I just couldn't grasp the essence. I felt like I was in a history lesson and so I tweeted my thoughts. Talhal Timol's talk as I mentioned earlier was basically about his business, more like a pitch. He just ended with a sentence about how important appearance is. I was actually really looking forward to Timol's talk because its about fashion But was disappointed. So I tweeted my thoughts again. (I did tweet some positive tweets about other speakers because I did like them)

The president of Enterprise Society told me to delete those tweets. Ok so I did out of respect. But thinking back he had no right to tell me to do that. Ok fine, those weren't entirely positive comments about them but:

1. I was tweeting from my PERSONAL twitter account. So I can tweet whatever I want.

2. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. People either like what the speakers said or they don't. Those were my own opinion.

3. I did not use any negative words, nor did I saying anything explicitly insulting. (I admit I was being sarcastic)

4. I was not the only one who tweeted criticism. Some were more harsh than me.

Yes, I was a volunteer so shouldn't have tweeted something like that which is what put me in the disadvantage. But as mentioned, I was tweeting from my personal account. What if I was a guest and I tweeted that? Are the organisers going to find me and demand me to delete them? I mean how did the speakers know I wasn't a guest, or did they?

Anyhow I tweeted with an apology (not tagging the speakers) after. Fair enough the President was probably really stressed as this is a big event and then receiving complaints probably freaked him out. But still he had no right to delete them and I did not appreciate the way he spoke to me. I'm not going to mention about that, its enough.  This is my PERSONAL blog.

Thanks for reading.