When did technology people start thinking they are cool?
Technology is cool, way cool. Everybody who uses it knows it. And everybody who works with it knows it even more so. I worked in tech for many years – electronics, VLSI design, signal processing systems – technologies that are so cool. But I never suffered from the delusion that working with cool technology made me a cool person. My level of coolness derived from other sources. Looking around me back then I knew there was a reason I didn’t quite fit all the way in. But I was still a geek by association, at least until I finally got out of that environment.
Now I’m seeing the geeks of the world beginning to act as if they think they are actually cool. The delusion seems particular strong where the greatest concentration of geeks gather, Silicon Valley. It is quite evident at places such as Valley Wag which bills itself as “Silicon Valley’s Tech Gossip Rag”. Ok, news about tech and tech people is important to those doing business there. Even personal news and scuttlebutt might be important to making deals. But you folks in the Valley, don’t start getting the idea you are cool.
No matter how cool your technology or how successfully you market it you are still not cool. I think Bill Gates, the richest man in the world thanks to some very cool technology, has definitively proven this. Bill Gates is a great man and a great humanitarian. But “cool” isn’t a label you would hang on him. Those billions of dollars still don’t have the same cachet of coolness that, for example, a newbie Hollywood starlet has who may be dumb as a doorknob and flat broke.
So, reality check for you geeks in the Valley, and elsewhere for that matter. Tech – cool; Tech People – not cool.