Conducting a user survey: trials and tribulations

Does time move faster in New York City? It certainly feels that way. February vanished in a blur of classes, guest speakers and site visits, and in just two weeks we’ll be halfway through the Tow-Knight program at CUNY. I only wish the weather would catch up… For me, February was about seeking out my potential users and finding out more about their behaviours: what media they consume, where they go to look for it, why they like some things and not others. In short, developing empathy that would help me identify opportunities in the market and problems I could solve. Jeff Jarvis is a great proponent of treating anyone and everyone as a user ripe for surveying. In this city of more than 8 million people, I wasn’t short of potential interview candidates. The problem, of course, is that New Yorkers are perpetually in a hurry. When they do find rare moments of peace, they certainly don’t feel like talking to a stranger with a funny accent who wants to ask probing questions about their reading habits. I abandoned that strategy after dismal failures on the A train and then at Penn Station. Ok, so perhaps places of transit weren’t the wisest choice. But Mother Nature made sure there was nary a soul in any public place of leisure. Success came with the friendly Kiwis I met at an event, and when I distributed an online survey through my personal networks. I have a clearer idea of how I can create something meaningful, and am now in the process of creating what is referred to in the startup...