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Geek 2.0 December 16, 2006

Posted by Matsu in Information Technology, Management, Microsoft, Technology, Windows/Microsoft.
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This weekend I was doing some catch-up podcast listening and chipping away at my stack of unread magazines. I discovered a gem of an idea in the November 23, 2006 BusinessWeek podcast about the cover article that week titled “The Soul of a New Microsoft.”

The article was about the new up-and-coming leadership at Microsoft, and focused in on J. Allard. He is the one who was responsible for the Xbox and most recently headed up the Zune product development. The author of the article was describing Allard in the podcast and said he was like “Geek 2.0,” he is able to not only talk about technology to engineers and programmers, but can also talk to the non-tech or common person about technology using regular language. That statement is what sparked this post and from that springboard I’ve developed my idea of Geek 2.0.

So, what is Geek 2.0? Largely, it’s about communication. It’s a person who is just as comfortable interacting with the CFO as he (or she) is interacting with the CIO. It’s a person who really knows the bits and bytes of technology and at the same time understands and cares about strategic advantage, return on investment, and customer service.

Geek 2.0, like its web counterpart, is interactive and very ‘friendly’ when it comes to communication. In fact, they are easy to talk to and they don’t hide behind technology. You might even see the new and improved geek at parties without technology or showing up at events where non-geeks congregate.

Geek 2.0 is not arrogant (which is a core attribute of Geek 1.0). This fundamental difference means that Geek 2.0 listens to non-geeks and sees value in their ideas, even their ideas about technology and geek things.

Another attribute of Geek 2.0 is they look at the big picture and not just their small area of the organization. They are not only tech-savvy, but they are business-savvy as well.

I didn’t know it until I listened to the Businessweek podcast, but I aspire to be Geek 2.0 and I want to have all Geek 2.0 types on my staff. They interact better, both with geeks and non-geeks. And, they make a far greater contribution to the organization as they contributed to non-geek ideas and listen (and learn) from people who are not geeks. They are not threatened or offended by criticism or comments about technology in the organization. In fact, they solicit feedback and ideas from non-geeks throughout the organization, hoping to get honest and candid feedback.

Now, I am not a fully developed “2.0er” yet. And, I don’t have an all Geek 2.0 staff, yet. But I am working on developing those characteristics in myself and in those who work in my department so that we can make a greater contribution to the organization at large.

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1. DrBacchus - December 17, 2006

The three attributes of a great programmer, as you may know, are Laziness, Impatience, and Hubris, according to Larry Wall, the creator of Perl.

Every year Larry gives his “State of the Onion” address at the O’Reilly Open Source Convention. Several years ago, he talked about the three attributes of a good person, and of a community. These attributes are diligence, patience, and humility. The talk is available here: http://www.wall.org/~larry/onion/onion.html It also covers a number of other topics, and is rather rambling, as Larry’s talks tend to be. But worth reading, and somewhat related to this notion of geek 2.0, although in a rather different direction.


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