Geek Power

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After my last blog, it was clear that I needed to acknowledge the unsung heroes also known as Geeks.  From his book Leading Geeks, Paul Glen defines them (…uh, us) as “… the highly intelligent, usually introverted, extremely valuable, independent-minded, hard-to-find, difficult-to-keep technology workers who are essential to the future of the organization.” Another characteristic of Geeks, according to Glen is that they lots of love, caffeine, carbohydrates, and saturated fat.  Picture courtesy of Efrain Fernandez

 

Maybe it is no surprise that these workers are hiding in data centers, heads down developing web sites, or fixing problems on laptops – drinking Red Bull and eating pizza, of course.  Yesterday’s Geeks are masquerading today as CIOs, CTOs, or some flavor of manager or executive (before Red Bull it was coffee or Mountain Dew and pizza). And what of this thing called programming?  Who does it now?  Well, Geeks did and they still do!

 

I found a blog from a retired Geek who can’t get programming out of his system and furthermore understands the value of the skills needed to support heritage code that solve celestial mechanics problems for NASA.  Yes, his name is David Eagle, he’s still going a bit of work for NASA Kennedy Space Center and he is a Geek.  He loves to do the things that Geeks love to do – which is to solve problems.  He admits: 

 

“The computer programming I do is not all about making money. It’s a way to keep my mind sharp (and to prevent it from totally turning to mush!) and it’s fun, too. I’m currently semi-retired, working part-time at Kennedy Space Center.  After 30+ years in the business, it can be hard to just walk away. I love to solve problems, especially those that involve optimization of space flight mechanics problems.”

 

A Geek after my own heart.

 

Geeks are people who deliver technology innovations no matter what era you are from.  When you find them, give them a hug.  You may in fact wonder if you are a Geek.  Here are some clues (feel free to add more).  You know you’re a Geek if …

 

…you see the world in 4K pages.

…you have an iPhone, a blackberry, an iPad, a laptop, a PC, and a MAC. 

…you know what thrashing is and believe it is inherently evil.

…you know what ASP, HASP, and JES are but can’t remember your kids’ names.

…you loved Geometry and hated the prom.

…you can’t remember phone numbers but you remember IP addresses.

…you use the terms do-loop and no-op in non-technical contexts.

 

More …?

 

Linda Cureton, Geek CIO

 

 

 

7 thoughts on “Geek Power

  1. Victor Moraes Post author

    I’ve been looking at the difference between geek, nerd, and genius in Wikipedia (search on anything in the Wikipedia is a kind of nerd or geek?). It’s a fine line that separates these concepts. I do not know much about geek. I think I understand more about nerd. But I believe they all deserve a hug.

  2. guest Post author

    Right-on Linda. I really believe that geeks today are smarter, more innovative, and more productive than ever before. There are a lot of theories out there on how to manage a geek but I have found that less guidance and control is far more productive than a formal management approach. Just give them the task, make sure the boundaries are clear, and then get up into the bleachers and cheer enthusiastically!

  3. guest Post author

    I just spent the weekend at the San Diego FIRST Robotics Competition (a big Thank You for NASA’s support) and there are LOTS of future geeks looking forward to joining our ranks!

  4. Richard Warren Post author

    Glen’s defamatory caricature of clever business technologists as geeks does not deserve to have credence, much less concurrence or endorsement attached to it through your reference to and quotation from his personal, otherwise unsupported observations. If you’re truly looking for a more authoritative and much better researched work on technology leadership in particular, or creative and clever staff in general, try Goffee and Jones (2009) or any of their peer-reviewed work, none of which disparages such technologists with name-calling.

    Goffee, R., & Jones, G. (2009). Clever: Leading your smartest, most creative people. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press.

  5. guest Post author

    I am absolutely agree that “geeks today are smarter, more innovative, and more productive than ever before”, because nowadays with all these technologies, people have the chance to be more productive.

  6. Enterprise CIO Forum Post author

    it was clear that I needed to acknowledge the unsung heroes also known as Geeks. From his book Leading Geeks, Paul Glen defines them (…uh, us) as “… the highly intelligent, usually introverted, extremely valuable, independent-minded, hard-to-find, difficult-to-keep technology workers who are essential to the future of the organization

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