Friday, October 29, 2004

Geekier Than Thou

With most geeks, only one thing matters - being smarter, or more of a geek, than the next person. The odd thing is that for the rest of the world, being a geek is the last thing they want to be. Of course, since they're not geeks, most of us who are don't much care what they think. And therein lies part of the problem.

There are entire message boards of geeks telling each other off for not being smart enough, since the ability to be clever is the only measuring stick worth using. Everyone else is stupid so why care what they think?

There are stupid people out there, certainly and it frustrates me to no end when I run into them. Don't confuse different types of intelligence, though, with stupidity. And I beg of you not to think that your kind of intelligence is the only kind that matters. In my book, people who only think one way are as difficult to be around as those who don't use their heads at all.

So you make a great product... so what? If only people who are as smart as you can make it work, do you think you're going to have much of a market share? So you're the best troubleshooter or the best programmer who ever walked the earth... so what? If no one can work with you long enough to find a solution that meets more than just the needs you think are important, then what good are you?

And don't worry, I'm not talking about you or where you work, at least not on purpose. I've seen this more places than I can count. I also realize that what I'm saying is likely to only hit home with those who already see things the same way I do (if you do, I'd love to hear from you - we're in the minority and need to strengthen our numbers). Everyone else is likely to point out that I'm only a manager and not smart enough to be credible. Fortunately, I don't worry about that a whole lot. My friends and family know better. I'm geekier than they are, so clearly I'm a geek. They usually forgive me, though, because I work pretty hard at speaking human most of the time.

What experiences have you had on either side of this fence? Have you or anyone you've seen crossed that fence and seen both sides? Is there hope for the human race? You can always let me know at

Managers - how well do you understand and address this aspect of geekdom? How do you establish and maintain credibility?