Technically-Oriented People

A friend recently asked me to describe the differences between the various species of technically-oriented people. I wrote this in an email in about five minutes so I’m sure I left out some key details. Please embellish.

The Technical Enthusiast

Someone who wears mock turtlenecks and probably like shiny things. They listen to ColdPlay (a lot) and think it’s pure joy to make the lights blink at home by pressing buttons on the $5,000 Macbook Pro that they leave at the office every day at 4:30pm. They do no real work per se but they smell great and clients love the exotic coffees they bring to the office. Favorite board game: Euphoria, Build a Better Dystopia.

The Geek

Whether using a Mac or a PC,  they spend time at the terminal prompt getting stuff done. They wear shorts and flip flops to work because anything else takes too much maintenance and prep time. Besides, so-called “work” happens at 3 am many days because flashes of genius ain’t gonna be tamed by the clock, you know. Geeks make clients happy because they are often perfectionists who take pride in their work and have a modicum of social skills. They sport facial hair when the chromosomes allow for it and play Cards Against Humanity in their spare time. Geeks love a good India Pale Ale.

The Nerd

Pretty much geeks with fewer social skills who are typically obsessive about one thing, e.g. making sure everyone understands why Batman is superior to Superman in every conceivable way. Whatever machines these folks are on, it’s definitely running Linux. They play Battlestar Gallactica for days on end, typically until the participants start needing medical attention. These folks get work done but it’s on their own terms. Probably best to stock up on Jolt Cola and slide pizzas under the door once in a while praying that they meet deadlines. Favorite beverage: kombucha served fresh at the Renaissance Faire.

The Dweeb

These are nerds with zero social skills and who alienate any potential clients based on the way they smell alone. They don’t bathe often because it takes time out of their MMORPG binges. They usually live in their Mom’s basement and suffer from vitamin D deficiency which leads to their peculiarly large foreheads (in both men and women alike). They might be brilliant but since nobody ever speaks to them outside of the context of BBS software they haunt to discuss rebuilds of various UNIX kernels, no one knows for sure. We’re also not sure if these folks eat or drink in the classical sense but the video of Richard Stallman eating something from his foot during a recent FSF conference is an important clue to their means of sustenance.