I like to socially commit to something I secretly want to do, but always find reasons to avoid it. There is something about trash talking to your mates enough times, which in the end you would feel like a complete donkey if you bailed on it again. So this is how my trip to Oslo started; from talking about how I plan to visit every capital in Europe to learn from entrepreneurs and marketers alike.
With this, plus the good old deal from O’Leary, off I went for two days, with absolutely no clue who I am going to meet or where it would take me. Just to be polite, I am not going to mention any names, just how these people helped me to move further in my dream, and bits and pieces about what I think about the city, what startup stuff they do, and how Oslo is becoming a very developmentally important player in world startup scene.
Ok, so what you do when you don’t know anyone in a new place? One option is to ask for introductions and wait or to go head first on LinkedIn and release the spirit of the Lion. The lion stands for LinkedIn Open Networker.
Similar to in a real life situation, I would be first inclined to say hello to people I’ve met in a new place when searching for people whose interests lie within my specific industry, using the advanced search. It resulted in some potential candidates accepting my invitation, and contrastingly in some not doing so.
Following this, I next crafted a personal InMail message and sent it to the first person who offered me help. She, unfortunately, did not reply, thus concluding that I need to work on my presentation, yet continue to stand by a major key factor in gaining trustworthy collaborators; A simple rule as follows: ABT – Always Be Testing.
Instinctively, I decided to wait for two days before the flight to increase my chances: Something that I learned in university about the effect of urgency in decision-making. It worked. One introduction leads to another, and many came back with new information or further leads.
A lot mentioned one place called Meshlab. Fair play to whoever does their marketing. If you want more validation, you are doing a superb job. Mesh was the most mentioned startup hub in Oslo! #Respect.
After flying to Oslo I got delayed at the airport both by security, (Now I’m growing my hair back), and an extended one hour commute. In the end, however, I made it to the last few minutes of the event I had hoped to crash. Got the selfie, shared some tweets and worked hard to talk to varying representatives. It was not as easy as it sounds, but in the end, I met someone with a brilliant idea and a finished product. So, the first two hours in the city resulted in success. Soon after that, I luckily found information online about an upcoming event in Mesh, and I went there only to meet a real TV presenter for my first time!
I learned a lot about urban gardening and called it a day. Outcome, urban gardens badly needed in Ireland. We have a problem with getting water out of the city as a result of rain, yet this interestingly proved to be a solution to a problem in Amsterdam! – (Correct me if I’m wrong). In the evening, I started to doubt if it was a good choice, but regardless of this, I continued to follow up on leads for the next day.
From the very first meeting of the day, I started to see why it was a good idea to come here. The introduction and a name that I received from day one, fortunately, granted me that appointment. Found the place: startup had a big office on the top floor, (something my mate Shane hopes for in Limerick). The sights and atmosphere evoked such positive emotion, and it was worth it.
It was a relatively short meeting, but productive nonetheless, and I can see an outstanding potential. They are certainly going very, very far. A man representing that company was a bright, helpful and open person.
From here, I then had to race to the city, to meet a photographer/ founder/ entrepreneur. Once again, this also opened my eyes that little bit more, to clarify both my problem and possible solutions entirely. I had a meeting scheduled soon after, so hesitantly I had to leave. However, this brief meeting was one more achievement I could tick off the list: meeting a creative visionary – check.
The final session of the day turned out to be exactly what I came here for a mentor-type talk. What I learned from him was valuable: always look out for how other countries adapt to changes in the marketing landscape. If only I had this talk and ideas from previous trips, it would have benefitted much folds along my journey. I can’t share my findings from here though… sorry, it’s too good.
I am most definitely coming back again; and it’s not as I am only coming back to visit Seoul or Rome, which I haven’t as of yet. Flights are quick. One of the people I met spent more time on a train coming from the north of Norway. I saw very little of the city, and did not socialize very much, nor did I have the time to try some proper sightseeing.
Henceforth, I shall in future try to fix these lackings so that I enjoy my travels more-so, but there is also so much more to learn it all; how this country solves many of the problems globalization brings along with it. For these reasons, it’s worth making one day in Oslo into one week at least.
However, there are few things you should know before going
- They have their strong currency. Adding it up to need to import most of the groceries essentially equals to everything is undeniably pretty expensive: Bus travel inside a city is 6 euro.
- Don’t fall for the cheap hostels. I needed to pay for the bedsheets, and I guess it is a common thing there.
- Wifi hotspots are rare, so plan your connectivity as well as you plan your travel. I got stuck with no internet for most of my trip.
- Get a bicycle if you are in a city. It is beautiful to walk around, but cycling would have made my life easier.
- The weather was much better than it showed on Google, so don’t come over-prepared.