Blog of Sara Jakša

The Value of Different Cultures

I have a small confession to make. When I started to write this article, I was at the Business informatics day at the Faculty of Economics. I am technically still a student (these pesky surveys for my master thesis don't want to fill themselves). But beside the master thesis, I have not been a part of business informatics for about a year. Cognitive science and programming took most of my attention. And even the year before that, I put a lot more attention on my cognitive science or was abroad.

As soon as I came there, and started listening to conversations of the people around me, I got a cultural shook. I have forgotten how business-like this culture is. The first big group talked about Microsoft. In a very business like way. Everybody was dressed so business-like. And everybody was so unapproachable. Then again, I found the most approachable people at programming meetups, so I may be a bit biassed.

The presentations were not better. I was under the impression that this was going to be informational. But it started with all the stuff people do to feel self-important. You know, call the 'important' people on the stage. Or tell you about their history. Or give awards to others. It was horrifying. But it did reminded me a bit about that one business conference, that I had attended. And Toastmasters marathon. And after an hour, they finally went to the meaty part, or what was supposed to be an interesting round table. But it went into a such a bad start, so I left. Like they wanted to proof that buisness informatics rocks. But this was a half informational presentation half alumni gathering, so who were they convincing? Or maybe I missed something there.

Since I had a hour of thinking time (there is no way, I am putting any more attention than I have to on them convincing themselves they are self-important), I got to thinking. And one of the things that I thought about was, that there is a value of different cultures.

One of the things is, that these cultures provide a good filter for people. I know some social justice warriors is going to disagree with me, since this means that not everybody is going to feel welcome everywhere. There is a place for the type of safe and non-judgmental culture that they are providing. There is also a place for the business, feeling self-important society. And there is a place for a place, were people feel free to criticize. And there is a place for all the artistry thinking types and for technological types and for scientific types. And there is also place for hacking community.

And I think that people, that can change between these cultures, that can bind the knowledge and processes of one culture with another.

But I think the other value is, that is shows the good and bad parts of the culture, that the person is mostly a part of. I guess it is very similar to living in a foreign country. It is hard to value the home culture, if this is the only thing one knows.

I have a feeling, that when I started to write this, I had something even smarter to add, but I don't remember.