Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

28 Aug 2013, 11:50 a.m.

Place And Perspective

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2013 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Telecommuters already know this. It's the first thing they tell you.

The power of place.

Don't work from the same couch or bed where you watch TV, relax, or sleep. Train your brain to associate one place with work and another with home. Make a home office that acts like a bubble of elsewhere, a little embassy of work.

It's more than that.

You can remake yourself when you travel, because this new place is someplace you've never been yourself before, someplace you've never been afraid before. This new kitchen has never seen you fail before. This new city has never seen you avoid the nice shops before.

The world, like a jewel, has lots of different facets, and they catch the light differently. Sometimes one of them is the reflection I can see a different, better self in.

So if you run a place, if you have the opportunity to provide hospitality, isn't that amazing? That you can help jog a person out of their rut, that your consulate can offer amnesty?

The most amazing thing in life is to help people transform and empower themselves. And perhaps the greatest sin is to block that growth. That's what gets to me the most, when I hear about conferences and hackerspaces and workplaces in my communities where my friends feel unsafe. I get that old Microsoft phrase in my head - "the freedom to innovate." That's what we lose, when new contributors find that our spaces are just yet another place they have to be on their guard. We lose their innovations, we lose our chance to collaborate with them, and, most damningly, we lose our chance to help each other on a journey of empowerment.