“I lived in Scotland until I was four years old, but actually spent most of my childhood in Jamshedpur in East India where my dad worked as a doctor. I left India at the age of 22 to continue my studies as a software engineer in San Francisco.
U.S. became my new home for the following twelve years. I was struck by the abundance of choice. I remember going in for an order of chicken sandwich at a fast food restaurant and then being presented with numerous options of bread, cheeses, vegetables and sauces - when in India I would have just gotten a chicken sandwich. By the time I could make my way through the list of possible options, a long line of people had formed behind me.
After graduating I worked at eBay and PayPal, travelling a lot and building their products across continents. I now live in the UK, working mostly from TransferWise’s London office and spending a third of my time in the Estonian office.
I didn’t really have any preconceptions about Estonia other than having heard from a previous colleague that Tallinn was a beautiful city. So I can testify that people turn to stereotypes when they’re confronted with new cultures. I had done some research on Estonia, but the first time I landed in Tallinn I was still relying on a rather Americanised view of the Soviet region. In the end it turned out to be one of the easiest travel experiences in my life.
I’ve observed that people from the same background tend to have similar innate biases and so they approach problems in a similar way, confirming each other's opinions. Diversity helps build better products for the world.
I think migration and movement of people across borders have the obvious benefits of helping people build better lives for themselves and help countries with talent infusion, innovation and driving economies forward. They also help build a better world as we understand each other’s cultures and beliefs and make everyone more open to different viewpoints. This in the long run will hopefully lead to a more tolerant and peaceful world as we’ll see people from different countries not as Estonians or Indians or Americans but more as independent individuals.”