Inside the Geek: Page 2

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Geeks are politically naïve. Not only do they not participate in office politics but they seldom see it, let alone understand it. I recommend TAS or similar training for all geeks, whether they work in sales or not, as a system for dissecting political structures. The lights go on for many geeks (including this author) when politics is subject to logical systematic analysis.

Geeks eschew the sordid business of money, especially of selling. But everybody sells (or needs to sell): ideas, projects, themselves. Geeks tend to be awful at sales. Any logical system that teaches them why and how to sell will open their eyes and expand their world view, thereby benefiting the company and their own personal development

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A distaste for capitalism doesn’t mean geeks are always left wing. They can be somewhere to the right of Margaret Thatcher. But extreme positions are typical: it is all symptomatic of that simplistic world view.

Geeks think everything can be resolved with logical analysis. They think if they show a clear logical argument why it ought to be this way, and say so loudly for long enough, people will suddenly see the light.

“It ought to be this way…”

“Sure it should but it isn’t”

“But it should be! If only people would…”

Then they get frustrated and decide everybody is stupid when this doesn’t work. Eventually this develops into terrible cynicism and in the end they dissociate from the community of the business.

Geeks respect knowledge. To establish pecking order they play that machismo playground boy thing of who can out-fact the other.

“No, Jupiter comes before Saturn, dummy.”

“I think you’ll find the Camaro has the 352 engine.”

“Gimme a non-directional 17 inch flange, and make sure it has the knurled outer lip.”

“That model Compaq has a 100MHz front side bus, so this isn’t going to work.”

On first meeting they quickly determine whether one is speaking geek, and whether one expresses an interest in important subjects, i.e. things. If you attempt to speak in geek, some will be honored by your efforts but most will, like the French, treat your stumbling with contempt. Don’t try to bluff it.

Prima donnas are common among geeks. When I managed a team of technical people there were geeks. I was inclined to indulge the prima donna complex for a quiet life, but having raised a child, I’d be less inclined to tolerate it now. Humor them and they’ll just get worse.


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