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Appreciating New Perspectives

By Steve Jones,

A few weeks ago I was in India for the Data Platform Summit 2017. It was an honor to be accepted to speak, and I had a great time. The conference went well, during a busy week for me with a pre-con and five other talks to give. I had some very interesting conversations and discussions with data professionals in India, all of them facing the same challenges that most developers and DBAs face in the US.

What was fascinating for me was the culture of India. This was my first time traveling there, and so my family decided to come with me for a little vacation. We all went 9 days early and lived in Bangalore in a flat we'd rented. For a number of days, I experienced life as a local, walking around, eating at local places, being vegitarian, and experiencing life in a completely new way. Unlike other trips where I've lived in hotels or taken formal tours, here we wandered around and just experienced the culture.

And we loved it. So many things were fascinating, and the city of Bangalore is unlike any I've ever lived in. It was definitely a culture shock, and many things were strange (as in foreign) to me, but I went with the flow and didn't complain. I tried not to judge, and accept that life on the other side of the world (literally as Bangalore of 12.5 hours ahead of Denver) is different. 

That new perspective was eye opening to me. It made me stop and re-examine life in the US, my views, expectations, prejudices, and more of the US culture. Neither one is better, and both have good and bad. The thing that I took from the experience was that I had the chance understand and appreciate a completely different world.

While not as dramatic as the cultural differences between the US and India, I have found that often the perspective I might have at work can be completely different from someone in another group. We both might be right, or even examining an issue correctly, from our own perspective, never considering there is a completely different frame of reference. I also see this often from developers who expect clients to use software in the same way, forgetting that there are other perspectives.

This trip was amazing, and it really changed my life. I am thankful for the opportunity and honored that Redgate and the Data Platform Geeks allowed me to go. As  moved forward, I hope to keep a more open mind, and learn to welcome the differences in how each of us view the world as well as how others may approach their jobs. 

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