In June 2014 I gave a presentation to the first cohort of the Enspiral Devacademy talking about the nature of “geeks” and how to communicate effectively with them.

Here’s a capsule summary of the talk (sorry, I won’t be sharing the original slide deck).

Some definitions:

  • Nerd - socially inept
  • Jerk - deliberately antagonistic
  • Geek - Passionate and knowledgeable about technology
  • Brogrammers - Muppets with poor attitudes to women

Being a geek doesn’t automatically make someone a nerd, a jerk or a brogrammer.

Stereotypes are not real people - make sure you are relating to the actual person not a stereotype they may or may not fit.

Meritocracy - it’s about the best idea for a given situation, not the one handed down from on high, not the most popular, not the one with the loudest support

You are not your ideas - a savage critique of your idea says nothing about you as a person.

Strong opinions weakly held - a fight to the death in support of a good idea, at least until someone proves it’s not a good idea any longer.

Willing to teach, if you’re willing to learn, but don’t expect to be handed anything on a plate. True knowledge is hard won, so persevere.

Trust but verify - your assumptions and your working will be questioned. This isn’t because they think you’ve done a bad job, it’s just part of checking all the assumptions.

We love our puzzles - bring us a problem that requires real thinking, that’s a real gift.

Smalltalk - we geeks just don’t know how to do it. We’re friendly, just clueless.


Audience Date
Enspiral Dev Academy June 2014