Earlier today I was speaking with an Adobe Flex geek. I needed some help with a wee project and he's an Adobe rockstar. It was a real pleasure to have someone solve a problem in 10 seconds flat with which I'd been scratching my head for several hours. That's what geeks do - solve problems.
Three years ago, Craig Cmehil invited me to RIA Hacker night at SAP TechEd. I knew nothing about RIA, didn't want to know and secretly thought I'd be bored. But he said the magic words: 'There's free beer.' I'm eternally grateful to Craig because that night was an ah-ha experience.
While I spend a lot of time talking to marketing types I'd never really spent any deep time with geeks. Some might say: 'To your eternal shame,' but this was a genuine learning experience from which I have benefited many times over in the years that have followed. This is what I discovered:
- Smart geeks may argue about such trivialities as the install routine but they know how to solve problems in ways that mere mortals would find mind numbing.
- If you have half a clue what you need to get done, geeks will sit with you until the other half is resolved. How many others do you know who have that patience?
- Geeks are rarely patronizing when you show yourself to be an idiot.
- Really smart geeks can think about three or more things at the same time and not get confused. Watching how they process problems is an experience you rarely forget.
- Given half a chance, geeks are eager to help. I sense that's because few people ask them, often relegating them to the status of plumber.
- Geeks may at times appear to be strange but they can be intensely social when given the opportunity.
All of the above applies equally to both men and women. I guess it's the way geeks are cast. Perhaps I've been privileged, maybe I've been lucky. All I can say is that today I prefer a geek event over a tech marketing event. Who'd have thunk that of an enterprisey businessy type?
What's your experience? Am I looking at the world through rose colored spectacles?