BP 14 Tre Ammatuna | Perspective Shifting

Your perspective isn’t the only one out there. Understanding that and knowing how to shift your perspective in order to relate and connect with other people is very important. In this episode, Samantha Postman practices a portion of her TEDx talk and uses her background in photography to explain the value of having multiple perspectives and why it empowers diversity of thought to make you a superhuman and live better, healthier and happier. Samantha continues her conversation with Tre Ammatuna, frontend engineer at Amazon Web Services, as they share their thoughts on perspective shifting and how it connects to each of their fields. Tre, shares how learning how to shift and recalibrate at a moment’s notice is vital both in software development and life in general. Samantha also gives real-life examples on how perspective shifting improve empathy for better communication and connection. But can even extend to how we create systems, help those with disabilities and create better stadium experiences for all genders.

Show Notes:

  • 2:30 Photography And Perspective Shifting
  • 10:01 Perspective Shifting As A Life Skill
  • 18:05 Vulnerability And Insights From The Tragedies Of Life
  • 25:53 How Perspective Relates To Disability, Gender, And Diversity And Inclusion
  • 37:45 Music And Perspective Shifting


Listen to the podcast here:

How To Gain The Super Power Of Perspective Shifting Through Photography And Life Experience w/ Tre Ammatuna Part 2 Of 2

Samantha: This is the second part of a conversation that I had with my friend Tre. His name is Tre Ammatuna but he goes by Tre Tuna. What’s cool about him is he is a Software Engineer for Amazon. Previous to that, he was someone who performed in front of thousands as a dancer and as a DJ. He’s worked with some of the biggest names in entertainment which is pretty cool. If you missed out on the first episode, I hope that after this one, you pop back into the previous episode because you won’t want to miss it.

What’s cool about Tre is he understands music but rhythm. He and I unpacked what that means, not just in the music industry but in how it works in our everyday life and our culture. Even, I go so far as to talk about the rhythm in a stadium, how I liked to see engineers incorporate this idea of rhythm and what he and I talked about in the building in stadiums so that we have a better user experience there.

In this episode, we are going to talk about something completely different than music. I was supposed to be doing a TED Talk in September of 2021. It was a TEDx show scheduled and ready to go. I was a previous speaker and I spent quite a bit of time on it. It just canceled. I’m no longer doing a TED Talk for September 2021, however, when I recorded this with Tre, I was already practicing for my TED Talk and I practiced a bit of it with him. I’m still going to release the show because I think there are a lot of value to it and all of you are going to love it.

In addition to practicing part of my TED Talk, I will also be talking about what it was like to be in a wheelchair for some time and what we could learn as a culture about how we can make things a lot more accessible. I even talk about Disney and my experience between Disneyland and Disney World, and how the newer one was not as good as a user experience even though they were more wheelchair-accessible than Disneyland. Disneyland is in California.

It’s an older park but because it’s older, they had accommodations for those who are disabled. Now, I’m not in a wheelchair anymore but I definitely know what it feels like. I know how to advocate for them. As a little about the TED Talk, I’m going to be talking about photography and how learning photography will teach you about perspective-shifting, which is something that will help improve your life so that you can live a better and bolder life. Stay tuned for this episode and I hope you will love it.

Photography And Perspective Shifting

Samantha: I was thinking while we were talking about this idea of standing in the back and then the front of the room and what the experience is, that’s different. That’s something that I’m going to talk a little bit about in my TED Talk. One thing I would like people to come away with is that photography lessons and being part of a photography cohort at some point in your life is essential for everyone. It’s not the message of the show but it’s something that’s going to be a takeaway.

The reason why I’m talking about that is I told you about how I’ve got really sick. I was in a wheelchair for some time. I didn’t know if I was ever going to come out. That’s the light version of it. I’m not going to get into the whole thing because I want to focus on the photography part. While I was sick, we had this idea that potentially I would never walk again. Before I was sick, I was like a Wonder Woman. I could do practically anything I set my mind to.

I have been through hell and back five times, and over in my childhood. People are like, “How come you have all this courage or do all this stuff?” I’m like, “If I can make it through that, I can make it through anything. There’s nothing that people can do to me that I can’t make it through, at least for the most part.” I was like this whole idea that all of a sudden, I couldn’t do anything.

Photography was one of my therapies. I fell into it by accident. I picked it up when digital just started coming on board back in 2004. I had my first little mini-digital camera. I joined a club and it was bliss. When I’ve got sick, it was very hard for me. I lost my tax practice, which would take me years to build up. I loved what I did but I missed photography a lot because it was so therapeutic for me. It’s like what we have with COVID. When you take something away that was so good for you, you feel the hole it leaves behind.

I’m going to say all that part on my TED Talk but that sets you up a little bit. By learning photography, it gave me an extra edge in learning perspective shifting. It’s something that I’m fairly natural already and there’s a reason why my show is called Bold Perspectives. When you and I were talking, it’s perspective-shifting to go from the front of the room to the back of the room to decide where is the experience from the out. When you are talking about the block, what is the block experience? That’s perspective-shifting.

When you learn photography, you learn that well. Something cool in a photography club is we would go on these field trips. I remember one time we were doing studio lighting. It was in a studio and we were trying to learn how to do studio. Studio photography is quite different than outside. The way the aperture works and the light freezes are quite different. It’s almost the reverse of what you are used to if you are a nature photographer. I remember we had some models. We were taking pictures of all these models and then after, all of us photographers were doing something that we call chimping. It’s when you look at the back of your screen.

We can all look at the same thing but have a completely different picture of it in our minds. Click To Tweet

We would show each other. What I noticed is you’ve got maybe ten people who were all taking the exact same scene. It’s the same lighting and everything but we all have a very different picture. A lot of it has to do with, first of all, the person taking it and what’s interesting to them and then where they are standing in the room. We all can’t stand in the same spot. It’s impossible but that’s how it is in life. Nobody ever can stand in the same spot with the same interest. We can try to pretend and we try to do that in a classroom but you can’t. The person at the back of the room has a different experience than the front, as well as everything that they bring beforehand.

The cool thing is as I started thinking about this while I was doing my TED Talk, I’m like, “Even the camera type matters.” My friend is shooting Sony. I’m a Nikon shooter and somebody else shoots Canon. If this was audio, some are more saturated in the tenor, alto or soprano. It’s like that with photography. Some brands are much more saturated, contrasty or better at taking night pictures. Depending on the gear, that’s like us as people. Depending on what gender you are, what age you are, what country you come from and what language you speak are all going to influence your perspective.

We can all look at the exact same thing but all have a completely different picture at the back of the screen. That has helped me that perspective-shifting. When I’ve got sick, it helped me get through mentally a lot more when other people couldn’t have because I could perspective-shift. If you can perspective-shift very quickly, you will adapt a lot quicker. I had to think, “What is it like to be a disabled person?” I had to adjust. The hardest part was getting other people to adjust for me.

I had to tell them, “Can you open the door ahead of me? I can’t open the door anymore. I can only come for half an hour to the party. Would you like me to come to the first half of the second half because I tire so quickly? Are you opening the presents at the end? Do you want me for that or do you want me there for the greetings at the beginning?”

I had to explain that I was fatigued but I had to say it in a way from their point of view that they could understand what it is I was asking and how it is I could accommodate them. This perspective-shifting is something that even now with business, you can do very quickly too. That’s exactly what we were doing but on the fly. We were like, “What about music? What about seniors in a recreation center? What about a TED Talk?” That’s perspective-shifting.

I want to include the hobby that I had before became something that helped me through my illness but also when my brain came back online so I lost access to my brain. I had so much brain trauma that I couldn’t even process a conversation when I was sick. I was crazy. You can hear me go now but I literally couldn’t talk for more than two minutes and not more than one person at a time. I couldn’t even read a whole paragraph in one sitting. I was completely offline. I broke down to practically nothing.

It took me eight years to build my brain back but when it did, it is so sharp now and can shift very quickly. A lot of it comes from photography. One time I went to Arizona and they have the botanical gardens. I wish I knew the name of the bush but they have a lot of hummingbirds in there. My girlfriend and I were there. We took 1,500 photos of hummingbirds. Honestly, it could even be 15,000. My father-in-law was like, “Why on Earth would you ever take that many photos of hummingbirds?” I was like, “I don’t know. It was therapy. It was fun. We are never going to print them. Why does it matter?” We had a great time.

For four hours, she and I sat there, zoomed in and out, moved to directions and changed lenses. You can perspective-shift and see what’s going to happen in the future. It’s one of the newer superhero movies. It’s like if you do a lot of photography, you can start to shift your body around, “What does it look like from here and there?” That’s something that I was hoping to include in my TED Talk is to encourage people to do photography. I would love to see students doing it in school. Could you imagine if you did that in a classroom? Put something in the middle of the room and every child takes a picture with their phone because everyone has got one now. Put it up on a screen, see if any of them are exactly the same and then talk about it, “Why are they different?”

BP 14 Tre Ammatuna | Perspective Shifting
Perspective Shifting: You’ve got 10 people taking the exact same scene, same lighting, same everything, but we all have a different picture.


Perspective Shifting As A Life Skill

Tre: Perspective shifting is a key aspect of many things, especially when it comes to art forms such as photography. I know they think about painting and art. When you have an art class, say in high school and such, they give you the classic bowl of fruit. Everybody has a different perspective of how that bowl of fruit looks like whenever they are creating it and making their art form. Coming in from music and the audio side, I can relate to that.

In a recording studio or even on concert sound, the shift of a microphone over here or if I wanted to have a different sound over here, we would spend a lot of time placing the microphone in certain points because we had to switch our perspectives to know, “This microphone sounds warmer or crisper. What is the tonality of these to capture the sound that we are looking for from that?” Not even just from that instrument but then you even have to listen to the performance. In photography, that would be like the hummingbirds of understanding how they are going to fly through a certain area, act in the performance that they are going to have and how you are going to capture that.

Samantha: The lighting keeps moving as the sun is moving. You finally think, “I know I’m going to get the perfect shot.” All of a sudden, the sun will stream straight through with the hummingbird that you are honed in on. It blows out the hummingbird. You have that in audio too. There are some things that you can’t control and all of a sudden, you have to recalibrate and re-shift again.

Tre: Humidity will change the way it sounds. There are a lot of those aspects in being able to shift that perspective, taking those lessons into something like life experiences such as the one that you had and being able to not only shift your perspective about yourself but shift the perspective into what other people see and how you need to interact with them. I have it with my kids all the time.

We’ve got four kids over here. I have to shift my perspective in how to interact with each one of them differently because they are completely different human beings. They have their own perspectives that are different from their brother or sister and how to interact with them connects with them in the way that I’m intending. I have to say the same thing to the next one in a different way so that he connects to the same lesson essentially or the same point of the conversation.

Samantha: That’s why when I read what you write, your ability to take that and bring it into your professional life shows through. It’s not a whole lot different from marketing. Some people are going to love the fact that we are raising children with marketing. You are going to change what you say based on who your audience is. I don’t know how much you know about the Bible. The historical book of the Bible has four gospels. People are like, “Why do you need four?” They each have a different audience. The stories are slightly different and some people say, “That’s a reason why they are inauthentic because this gospel writer has a different account than this one.” They were speaking to a different audience. They switched the order up because their rhythm was different. The audience expected something different. They tailored it for the audience but it’s also because they knew that audience.

Matthew is Mr. Old Testament. He is all about bringing everything in. That’s a perfect example. That’s no different than what we do with marketing now. When you are talking to an educated market, you are going to talk about things they are already familiar with. “This is an Apple product.” “I’ve got you.” If you are not talking to anyone who knows anything about Apple, that’s not going to get you very far. Obviously, he knows people who know what an Apple is. When I’m in Ecuador, I was up in the Ecuadorian mountains. If I said Apple, they might actually think of an apple. I was in some pretty remote areas.

You are going to change what you say based on who your audience is. Click To Tweet

Tre: You can’t give the same talk at an Apple conference versus a Microsoft conference when you are talking about that.

Samantha: It’s like that with children. We have to change it but also, we change who we are. While you were talking, I get that you are changing for them but they change for you. If you are adjusting for them, they are adjusting at the same time. They might see how you talk to the brother but then when you talk to them, you are saying it differently. They will adjust because they see that you are talking to them differently.

That’s what I love about photography is because if you spend a lot of time taking a picture of one thing, it’s like prepositions. You are under or beside. That’s what you are doing. You are like, “I’m going to stand at my child’s point of view for a minute,” and you flip. You are like, “What does it look like from his point of view? What does it look like from my point of view?” I’m hoping to integrate that into my speech a little bit. I do want to talk about how it gives me this ability for special insight because I have this but I believe that part of it came from photography, the sharpness that I have.

Tre: Almost everybody has it in a way, whether they know what they are doing or not. Especially from parents, we gain that in a way from interacting with different people or we have it with our friends like, “I know I can talk to this person like this and they are going to interact like this but if I’m trying to get the same point over to my other friend over here, I’m going to approach it differently.” The thing is, coming to that realization of what that is, that is a perspective shift.

Photography is probably one of the better ways to come at that because a lot of it is about perspective framing and how you are going to approach those things. You use that terminology. In audio, that’s not the terminology we use but that’s what it is. I do think that you are correct in that, saying that maybe a photography class is for everybody. It’s a good fashion in having that moment because it does use that terminology explicitly for something that is shifting a perspective of what you are looking at.

Samantha: It’s something that will be a life skill that can be used in a lot of different ways. One, you can use it for yourself but when you can use it to help understand other people, you’ve got to be more empathetic, compassionate and connected to people. Also, you are going to think a lot less of yourself in some ways because you are going to realize that yours isn’t the only perspective. It’s a perspective and it’s a true one. It’s true to us because from where we are standing and what we know, it’s true to us but it’s not necessarily the truth.

The truth is never usually just one. Everyone thinks it is. They are like, “There’s either a truth. There’s a wrong or right.” There are but then we will all be like, “If there’s this but well if there’s this.” That’s how life is. Truth is a combination of a lot of rights. Even if you look at war, you’ve got like, “Here’s the winning side. The Americans won. That’s the truth. That’s the greatest thing in history that the Americans won the last war.” It depends on what side of the fence you are on, whether that’s a truth or the greatest thing that has ever happened.

There are other great things that we could talk about but I wanted to use something with a strong contrast to it that truth is a combination. I’ve got this idea about how to connect with the audience. I’m going to save that one yet. What do you think about that? I want your honest opinion. Do you think this is something worthy of insights or ideas we are sharing to integrate this tragedy and how a skill that I had acquired before helped me get through the tragedy but also sharpened my mind for later? This gives me profound insights now, which can be shared with other people so that they can build. Everyone has tragedies. I don’t have to give them one.

BP 14 Tre Ammatuna | Perspective Shifting
Perspective Shifting: Depending on what gender you are, what age you are, what country you come from, what language you speak, those are all going to influence your perspective.


Vulnerability And Insights From The Tragedies Of Life

Tre: The key here is that when you go into a situation like that and you have an experience, that’s the way I almost think of it. We all have what we could call tragedies in our life but truthfully, it is an experience of a long journey. When you look back at it and gain insights from something like that experience that you have, you gain this insight that has profoundly affected the way you look at the world, when I look back at it, I was like, “Maybe it wasn’t a tragedy. Maybe it was simply one of those eye-opening moments that I had to go through and I’ve got myself through and it was an experience that helped shape me.” That is how we key into people. We have to pull on those different types of strings that they can see and feel. It brings that emotional aspect into it while also shifting it into something that they can start to see in their own lives, even if they might not be a photographer. You can understand framing.

Samantha: They might enjoy looking at pictures. They might not be a photographer but they might love Instagram because they like looking at pictures. There’s still an aspect that can be tied like being able to pull a string with something that connects inside of them already. Photography is usually one because everybody knows what photography is all about. We all want to have a profound speech. I’m worried, “Is it going to be a profound speech? What do I want to be known for five years from now?” I ask this question a lot like, “What am I okay with people coming and talking to me within five years?” This is why I’m somewhat reluctant to talk about my trauma from when I was disabled because I don’t know that I always wanted to talk about that.

Casey Li was in the last online rooting community and we did an episode. She is running this as PoddingLabs.com. It’s for networking to other podcasts. You can network with each other, which is a pretty cool idea. She said to me, “Are you afraid of failure?” I was like, “I’m more afraid of success.” She was like, “Really?” I was like, “Yes, because then other people steer your ship.” They will come up to you and say, “You talked about this.” That’s where the conversation is.

Yours isn’t the only perspective. Click To Tweet

Whereas now, I can walk anywhere I want. I can decide what I’m okay with talking about that day, what I’m up for and the energy of what’s going on. I could choose not to say anything if I don’t want to but if you do well on something like now with my show, people come up to me. “I listen to the podcast on this.” I try not to let that govern everything that I do but it’s definitely there.

I shared in one of my episodes about losing my sister to drug addiction. I shared once in Ship 30 and that resonated with people and they reached out. I love helping people but I don’t get to control when people are going to reach out to me. I could be having a wonderful day and then somebody sends me this and I’m back in losing my sister again. Maybe I’m having a bad day, they do that and it’s too much. What do you think about that?

Tre: It’s interesting because you almost don’t even know which parts of anything that you put out there are going to resonate. For some, you hope they do. For some, you want to put it out there but you hope they don’t. Honestly, it makes me think of some bands. I can’t think about the exact examples but you hear about some bands. They have their hit song. That’s the song they are most well-known for. You talk to the band about it and they hate that song. They hate that they have to play it every single show.

That’s all people want from them but it’s what they put in there that connects them. I feel you on the vulnerability side. It reminds me of going back to one of the TED Talks of Brené Brown who is famous for her vulnerability talks. Coming out into that, I was like, “It is an aspect of thinking. Do I want to be able to be talking about this in five years and want people to be coming up with this? It could end up being one of those.” It’s like, “Suddenly, we have internet. Thirty million people just saw this.”

Samantha: The way about my sister, I’m quite nervous about and even on the TED Talk sharing about the fact that I was disabled. I went to both Disney World and Disneyland in a wheelchair. I promise you, I could give some articulated feedback to Disney World about why Disneyland is better, even though Disney World is more wheelchair-accessible. I’m not going to say that in my TED Talk but I have been in some disability forums and they are all like, “You can articulate in ways that nobody in our community can because when you are disabled, you don’t know how to talk about to everybody else.” I have a super-strong business background. I have tech, marketing, product development and finance. I’m able to articulate in the other world to say it in the way that other people need to hear it. I’m pretty good at perspective shifting.

I will give you an example of what that means. I’m a little bit nervous that all of a sudden, I’m going to be the poster star for talking to Samantha about disability. I want to do that. I would love to be an advocate but how much of that? For example, here’s something about Disney World. When I was there, it was built after Disneyland. It’s quite wheelchair-accessible. Instead of getting a FastPass where you get to go to the front a very tight small line like in Disneyland in California, you just get the special pass. You and your family can go close to the front of the line. That worked well.

A couple of years later, we went to Disney World and I was a little bit better. You think I would do well but I did horribly. I could only go for a quarter or a half a day. I couldn’t go for the full day and it’s because they make you wait in line with everybody else because it’s wheelchair-accessible. You are in line for an hour and a half. Think of an elderly person. For people who have disabilities, your body is busy with that disability all the time. I was in a lot of pain all the time. Also, you are accommodating for a world that’s not made for disabled people. That’s a lot of mental work.

I would be in the line and then some little girl is kicking my chair because she is tired of an hour waiting in line for the princesses. She starts kicking my chair or jumping on my chair. The mom is not even paying attention because she is talking to the lady in front of her. I’m getting exhausted. My husband had to take me to Disney World from the hotel and then take me home back to the hotel. I would miss out the rest of the day because I was so exhausted, even though it was wheelchair-accessible.

I went to the disability thing and explained the situation but they don’t have a space for that unless I have some special doctor’s note. They didn’t understand and it’s like that everywhere I go, like restaurants even. They put in the disability section where you can put a wheelchair. They’ve got the speaker right there. It’s so loud or they have the air freshener pumping right above there. We get overstimulated quickly. You can see how I can articulate easily about what it’s like and what things can be done to help.

I’m a little nervous about bringing this up in a TED Talk and all of a sudden, everyone is going to be like, “Can you help us with our campaign and trying to make the world a little easier for disabled people?” I want to like I’m saying. Some stuff is common sense. You wouldn’t believe how many doors don’t open long enough to get through with a wheelchair like those wheelchair-accessible doors because I’m sure the person who installed it literally walked through it and was like, “The timing is perfect.” They probably didn’t have a wheelchair person with them so they wouldn’t know. Everybody is different.

How Perspective Relates To Disability, Gender, And Diversity And Inclusion

Tre: I’m relating that in a way to web development. We have to think about a lot of different things as far as accessibility like screen readers for people. We have to think about colors for color blindness and all the different types of color blindness. Even as a developer, I’m keeping those things in mind. We have the rules and all this testing for the different things that can test that but you don’t know unless you are using those tools.

That’s the reason I have screen readers here on my computer. Whenever I do something, I will hit the screen reader. I make it a point for Atomic Essays to write an alt text that is part of my workflow to put an alternative text in there for people that can’t see the pictures. With Atomic Essays, it’s a picture. There are words on there but it’s a picture. You have to have that summary or else they are going to see your tweet and that’s it.

Samantha: Statistically, most web designers are male. Even when I look at the last names for women, you can’t hyphenate a name because those programmers who did it a long time ago won’t take a hyphen character. There are these things because when one gender predominantly creates something, it’s from their perspective. Even with disabled people, you’ve got men installing this engineering. Here’s a perfect example. Anyone who is reading, get to read the Samantha thing. You are a DJ in a stadium thing is going to make a lot of sense to you. Here it goes. I have never shared this publicly.

It’s because when your occupation is predominantly male in this particular case. We have the same thing with females. We will do the same thing. Nurses will make that. If a male nurse comes in, he feels very out of sorts because it’s made for the way women think. What I have is this rant. It’s a little bit of a salty rant. You go to a stadium, concert, big event or big conference with massive amounts of people and then there’s a break. You go to the bathroom. Who is lined up all the way to the doors? Who is it, Tre? Come on.

BP 14 Tre Ammatuna | Perspective Shifting
Perspective Shifting: There are some things you can’t control and all of a sudden you have to recalibrate and re-shift.


Tre: It’s always the women.

Samantha: I started thinking about this. I was reading this magazine one time and it listed all these great engineers. I was like, “I get it.” What has happened is all these bathrooms have been designed by men. They are doing their best job. Most of them are 50% the same square footage on both of them. They are 50% for women. We are an equal-rights country here. It’s 50% space on both sides but what they don’t realize is they are not thinking about the fact that they like going to the bathroom quickly. They are not going to try to change their times down.

On the women’s side, we’ve got some other variables. For example, we take longer because we can’t stand to pee. It doesn’t matter what we are doing. We have to sit, go into the stall, close it and that takes longer. Plus, statistically speaking, we spend more time checking our appearance after. It clogs up the bathroom a little more. There’s another element. Women take children to the bathroom, both genders, and then they take a while. You’ve got to shift.

I was telling one of my engineering friends about this. I was like, “When you build a stadium, can you please make the women’s bathroom a little larger with more stalls for the flow?” You think the stadiums would figure this out because the fewer people in the line means more people are buying beer, chips and snacks. Anyone who is reading and doing this, I’m telling you, you can send me a tip if I bring in your stadium and your stadium starts making more money because you have switched your bathrooms.

If you already have an existing stadium, if they converted one of the middle ones and made it to females, that would help. You converted a male one to a female and you had a few more female bathrooms than male bathrooms. You don’t have to renovate the whole bathroom. There’s another tip. Skip the renovation. You just change a few of the men’s bathrooms and make them female bathrooms. Your sales are going to be higher. What happens when you run all women’s events? There are way more all women’s events than men’s events.

When you run all women’s events, this drives me crazy. They don’t go put women’s in the men’s bathroom. You have a fifteen-minute break and then everybody is coming back late. They can’t figure out why and I’m like, “You do know that you could run a tighter time if you would open up all the bathrooms for both women because what they need to have is a sign that flips so you can flip it and it becomes a female sign.” Even if they just adjusted the size of them through the flow, then that would improve the flow. It’s a better experience when you go to a show.

Here’s another reason. If women stand too long in the lines, they are not going to buy as much because they don’t want to wait to go to the bathroom. There’s another way that the revenue will get increased because if they are not worried about bathroom lines, they will go and buy a whole bunch of whatever they want to drink because they are not concerned about it or they are less concerned. There has got to be another way. I know it’s a little bit of a roundabout but it’s like that with web design. When I see web stuff or web things, I’m like, “That’s right. I have to remember that this was built by predominantly one gender that occupies this particular, whoever the creators are.”

Tre: We are trying to make big strides in diversity and inclusion but sadly, it is what it is at the moment. It’s an aspect to solve problems. To create solutions that solve that for a diverse audience, you have to have diverse thoughts creating that solution. That’s the essence of it right there. You need a diversity of thought. You can’t just have men creating the solution. You can’t have white men. You can’t have me.

Samantha: You are an important aspect of it because a lot of users are the same as you. I have seen the extreme happen where my husband said like, “What’s happening with white men? It’s not my fault what they did two generations ago.” I was like, “Honestly, I’m not treating people that way but you are still representing a large portion of the population. It’s important to still be at the table.” What I was saying about photography is that ability to articulate might be improved.

If you can perspective-shift and you have learned that, it’s more in you if you were designing something like I was talking about the stadiums. While I was talking I was like, “What is this like for a stadium owner who wants to try to get as much revenue through while all these people are waiting in bathrooms?” I’m shifting over and I’m like, “What’s it like to stand there while I don’t want to have to pee all the time? I’m not going to be buying that much to drink.” Also, if I’ve got to take little ones and I’ve got to run them over there. I don’t want to stand in line forever. There’s a better way to do it that’s a little bit more fluid.

To create solutions for a diverse audience, you have to have diverse thought. Click To Tweet

Tre: Flowing that back even previous conversations on what we were talking about and what I brought up, how do you rotate the room more efficiently? You have these methods as far as breaks in concerts or sporting events where automatically you know things are all going to be rotating. How do you take out those blocks? The lines that are going to happen, how do you remove that so things run more efficiently on that so they can get to the snack bar easier?

Samantha: The experience is better too because you can run a tighter show if you need to if you don’t need such a large time for breaks for people and the room flow is better. That helps with the experience. If you can get people in the show and enjoying the entertainment, that’s what they are there for. It’s a better user experience. Do you think I should stay on the path of the photography and keep going with that or try and dig a little deeper?

Tre: You have a great path for coming into this aspect of perspective-shifting using that. It’s a relatable approach to that topic. On the side of the personal story and those things, that’s a thing that also works well with the way that you are approaching that, whether putting that out there and what it could do as far as what you could be asked about in five years. That’s an interesting one.

Samantha: I try not to think about the future too much.

Tre: I try to think about that also is a factor of like, “I’m going to put this out there. Sure, this could cause those opportunities. I want to help in that aspect but I do have to limit myself on there.” It’s more so understanding how much you are comfortable saying no to things later on when those types of things come up. When it comes to something like that, those are emotional topics with something that’s helping people like the disabled. That’s something that can be charging you. It makes you want to say yes to all of that.

It’s one of those where it’s a tough aspect to think about in that side of it like what you want to be known for, even to be an advocate for in that and how much you can use that to connect in your TED Talk. Not so much confining it to that but keeping it in that aspect where it’s like, “We are feeding into this. We are going to use this to get the point across where it keys in on the balance is the aspect.” The key thing is the balance of how far of using that and digging into that to get our point across but then also being able to pull back out of that and go into the rest of the talk that has the bulk of those shifts and that gets everything we want across to the audience.

Samantha: I’ve got to practice on you now again. I just practiced a piece of it. It took me a bit to warm up. The problem is, I always feel like I have the background people and they don’t just get to it. The elevator pitch, I haven’t gotten to that yet. I’m thinking about doing my speech in Zettelkasten and seeing if I can come up with my fifteen-word summary by doing a Zettelkasten. Do you think that would work?

Tre: That’s one of the things that Zettelkasten was designed around. It’s linking these different ideas together. They may come from random different places but having them being able to link forward through a single theme once you can pull those thoughts together.

Samantha: Have you done the one that Roam Research does? I did Sönke Ahrens’ How to Take Smart Notes before I did the online writing. The way we were taught to do Zettelkasten is digital. It’s quite a bit different than the traditional slip note that was invented in Germany. He is from Germany. What you do is what’s called fleeting notes and let everything out that you’ve got. It’s all the brain-dumping. You put them into little tabs and then you break open the toggle. You put every little thought you have into it. After you have done all that and got to the main quick things out, there are prompts. After the prompts, you go back and then you add to each one that interests you. You might not want to unpack all of them. You create a mind map, a tree that goes off of each prompt.

Once you are done, then you summarize everything you did into a tight, little summary for a fleeting note. You go through that process and you keep going through a summary. It’s a little bit different because I’m not going to be summarizing somebody else’s work, which is normally what you do with a Zettelkasten when you know somebody else’s literature. When I get to the summary top, I’m hoping that then I can have my little lines. I better get at that. Thanks for talking. We covered quite a bit of ground. I love impromptu stuff. I didn’t know I was going to go to a salty rant about stadiums. I promise you, some stadiums are going to change after this if anyone reads the blog.

Tre: We need some architects and engineers to read that.

BP 14 Tre Ammatuna | Perspective Shifting


Music And Perspective Shifting

Samantha: Plumbers too. My favorite part of the conversation was when we were talking about the rhythm of life and music, which is why people love music so much. I was a welfare child but at that time, the Canadian government paid for anything you wanted to take when my mom optimized everything. I wrote something about it. I don’t know if you saw it. It’s on my website right on my About page. I played so many instruments, even though I’m a terrible player. I was good at the theory because it’s Math and Math is my thing. The funny thing is that I had a higher grade than the first chair in violin.

He was like, ‘”How could you have a higher grade than me?” He was terrible at theory. He is a rocking star. The guy was so gifted. I would get 100 in theory or close to and then not so great at the playing. No teacher is going to make you get a low grade at play and you are going to quit. Let’s say he gives me 80%. It’s like a 90 or something. I don’t know what that means. I’m the third chair. He is the first chair and he has got 70 or 60 because he couldn’t pass the theory.

It has been helpful. It’s almost like I can stand sometimes. When I go for a walk and there are a lot of noise and the wind is blowing because I live in a windy area, I can sometimes intentionally shut the sound down, just like a maestro would. You would have the same thing too where you are like, “I’m turning the wind-down now and then I can amplify the crickets or the morning birds that are singing.” I don’t think I could have done that without my music with the ability to turn certain things off when I’m walking. That’s my favorite part.

Tre: It’s one of the reasons why now I’m listening to music while I’m trying to focus from being a DJ and an audio engineer. People get distracted by vocals whenever they are trying to focus. They try to do instrumentals and only that. I have been able to turn vocals into an instrument, not tune out the words and use them as the melody itself. I can listen to anything. I don’t care, whether it has vocals or not because you get that aspect of it is being able to focus in.

Samantha: I wish I had that ability. I don’t have that. In fact, I don’t listen to much music at all anymore. It’s the thing as you age. I listen to birds on this Brainwaves app. I listen to birds if I can’t open the window in the middle of winter and people are like, “Is there a bird singing in the house?” “Yes, it’s on my phone.” The reason why I don’t listen to worded music very much is that other people are thinking of me. Whatever words they are using will put me into a place, which is exactly what they are trying to do. I’m intentional about when I listen to worded music.

I used to think symphony stuff. I’m like, “That’s old people’s stuff. That’s for stuffy people.” Now, I can totally understand the importance of having a genre of music without words. There’s value in it. We used a lot of words now, mostly me. I wish there was a word for most words per minute. They have people like, “I can type so many words per minute,” and I’m like, “I can speak so many words per minute. Does that count?” I have large lungs. I didn’t know this until a little while ago. When I found this out in an X-ray, I felt sorry for everyone in my life because I don’t need to take very many breaths. I should have been a singer or swimmer. You have been a great guest and we had a great conversation. I hope people had a good takeaway. There are quite a few things that we talked about that they will go, “Huh,” and think about.

Tre: We have a lot of ground covered within several different directions, which is how these wonderful impromptu sessions should be.

Samantha: I love those sometimes too because that’s how real life is. Nothing is constrained. We like to think they are. I’m so glad we had Tre on board with us. We’ve got to talk about so many cool things. Who knew that being a DJ would set him off for being a smoking, awesome programmer and web developer who works for Amazon? I texted Tre. I was like, “Tre, let’s do an impromptu show.” We had never met in person. We know each other from an online writing community. He was like, “I’m totally up for that. Let’s do it in twenty minutes.”

That’s the kind of people that we get to talk to and learn from. I learned so much from you. The one takeaway that I’m going to come away with is thinking about the movement when you are deejaying or in the entertainment industry, “What is it like upfront, in the middle and the back?” The big takeaway is, “What is it like for those around the energy outside of the room? What is it that they feel from it?” All of those play into the elements of the whole picture. I love that we talked a lot about that. It’s a lot of perspective shifting. I’ve got two salty rants in too because I was talking about Disney World as well. I like to be inspirational but every once in a while, life is there. If that means I inspire them to do a little bit about that, then I will be happy about that. What was one of your big takeaways, Tre?

Tre: It’s the basis of being able to connect through different experiences. I didn’t expect to come into perspective shifting from photography. You are coming in from photography and me from the audio side but then also coming from your life experience of going through that with a wheelchair, having that and looking at it from that aspect from the other side as well there. It’s one of those things that we use and develop. When you start talking about that specifically and putting a term to it can hit you in some ways that you didn’t think of before.

Samantha: I don’t know if I want to name it something different but I started thinking about calling it “sooming.” It’s us zooming from another position, but then “sooming” as in zoom in. It’s zoom in and zooms out. It’s the ability to zoom in. What do you think? Is that cheesy? I know we are going to be closing and then I just have that on you. I have never spoken that out loud. I wrote it in my notes. It’s the first time I’m saying it out loud.

BP 14 Tre Ammatuna | Perspective Shifting


Tre: It’s an interesting word. It’s, could catch.

Samantha: I’m going to try it on a few more people.

Tre: What I would do is try it out when people don’t think about it before even explaining what it is because that’s the aspect. It’s like, “What do you think when you think about sooming?”

Samantha: They might think I’m saying, “Sue me.”

Tre: “What do you assume that I’m talking about when I say sooming?”

Samantha: I have to make sure that the G on the end is strong because sooming sounds like, “Sue me,” because of who is going to say perspective shifting. I’m going to do a perspective shift here. What if he said, “It’s time to soom? We are going to be sooming in the class now,” which is assuming other perspectives or different positions and zooming in and out.

Tre: People nowadays might connect on that from zooming. We all are zooming.

Samantha: In photography, you zoom in and out. You look close and then you zoom out. Seeing something in relative is important like problems, too. We zoom in and look at the problem but then we need to learn how to zoom out. Tre, if it gets on Wikipedia and “sooming” is coined from Samantha Postman, you will know that it came from this show and you are the first person I shared it with. If not, then I guess it’s dead. You never know what’s going to happen. I didn’t know if I had the courage to say that out loud.

Tre: It has been a pleasure.

Thanks for joining us. I had a great time practicing my TED Talk with Tre. It’s like speech writing. It’s practicing little pieces as we go and articulating, getting somebody’s feedback, finding out how they respond and sharpening it up. Sometimes, it’s me finding out as a speaker what I’m passionate about. Although I won’t be doing a TEDx event in September 2021 anymore, I hope to be using parts of that to speak in some storytelling and some other avenues that I have done under the current going now. If you want to follow and get to know Tre a little more, you can catch him over on Twitter. That’s where I’m mostly now so I would love to see you there. Catch me there or DM me.

If you find these shoes impactful, I would love to challenge you to share the impact with somebody else. Be the reason somebody else learns something and they will be benefited from it. It will be because of you and because you shared it. I’m not usually one to ask for help but I put a ton of time into this show and a lot of investment. A lot of people DM me and tell me how great they have been and have monumentally been in learning something, helping them get through something, some tools or just understanding how the world works. I’m going to do that ask now.

If you could share this with somebody and tell them how great it is or was for you, I would be really appreciative. You can drop me a DM about that, too. It makes my day and helps encourage me to record more of them. Again, thanks so much for joining us. Thanks, Tre, for being with us. I hope you enjoyed our two-part series with him. I look forward to seeing you in the next episode.


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About Tre Ammatuna

Tre has performed in front of thousands as a dancer and DJ, worked with some of the biggest names in entertainment as an audio engineer, and is now with Amazon as a software engineer, currently working on AWSAmplify. He prides himself on being able to connect lessons learned from different areas and apply them to new circumstances with a creatively technical mindset.

Samantha Postman

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