Born in 1963, I am tittering on the fringe of Baby-Boomers generation. After Baby Boomers we had Yuppies, Gen-X, Gen-Y, Millennials, etc., each with its own unique definitions. Geeks have evolved over the generations.
Geeks were boring, nerdy, anti-social, and left-brain. I was a kind of NASA geek. My work attire is a white short-sleeve shirt with a pocket protector filled with pens. I proudly strap a HP calculator by my side, and utter “pocket lanche” after pens poured out of my pocket protector anytime I had to bend down to pick up something. I was a geek before it was cool.Nowadays, geeks are chic. No longer bound by the left brain, but agile, capable and creative. Wearing T-shirts and jeans (sometimes shorts) to work, sitting on Pilate balls instead of office chairs, freed from traditionalism, always questioning authorities, can Google their way through anything. Geeks quietly rejoice the fact that the world needs us, because technology now permeates our society. Our left-brain, our stalwart, going strong.
What makes geek chic now is that our right-brains have evolved. My informal survey of engineers in my current and previous companies, found that most have creative hobbies like music, film making, photography, computer graphics, etc. I believe this tsunami of right-brain activities is triggered by the advent of digital media, where technology is inextricably linked to creativity. For example, today’s musicians have to know how to create MP3 soundtracks and edit them using software like Garage Band or CoolEdit. Film makers are now required to know how to use software like iMovie, and distribution portals like YouTubes. As the digital media revolution evolves, so have Geeks.
“This tsunami of right-brain activities is triggered by the advent of digital media, where technology is inextricably linked to creativity.”
The entertainment industry also took notice of the evolution, and conjured up TV shows like Big-Bang Theory, Numbers, and movies like Social Networks, where geeks are herald as main characters, heroes, rather than comical sidekicks. I think this is because the world now cares of what we think, how we feel, because our work has profound impact on the world.
Steve Job, perhaps the most iconic geek of the century, personified the melting of creativity and technologies. His company, Apple, has produced products that changed the world. The Mac’s sleek design and ease of use has made it creative people’s first choice in computing. We all witnessed how the iPod/iTune revolutionized the music industry, and the iPhone overtaken the mobile phone industry. The iPad is now redefining the portable computing industry. Most would agree that a major factor in Apple’s success is the artful blending of advanced technologies and sleek industrial design.Geeks today are chic, highly evolved species. Through the digital media revolution, we have found our right-brain. The combined power of our left- and right-brains have allowed us to create cool things for the world; and the world likes us, they really really like us.
(The above article is solely the expressed opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the position of his current and past employers)