"Entrepreneurs," who start or run technical companies may be highly technical, may have been geeks at one time and may be again. If their focus has shifted to business, finance and operations, to the exclusion of curiosity about how things work and the desire to play with the tools that can affect that, they are not geeks. They are business people (Bores).
Most dangerous among this class of geek-claimant is the "serial entrepreneur," who believes a history of starting, selling or folding technical companies one after another without bringing any to fruition multiplies his or her impact on the real world rather than diluting it. This is not true; nor is the claim to geekhood. Serial entrepreneurs can more accurately be considered to be compulsive gamblers who bet using other people's money, but keep all the winnings.
So who are you?
There are a million varieties and individual variations of the major geek sets of characteristics, preferences and implementation patterns (usually pronounced by those who dislike polysyllables as "life choices").
Which is your major category and what made you that way?
For me (definitely MDG) it was all of the above:
- Cool gadgets that might overcome my own weaknesses while also playing cool games, showing movies, letting me chat with anyone I want without the inconvenience of actually talking to them;
- The impressive reality and awesome potential of systems that can bring the world to us in packages small enough to understand, rather than forcing us to wander uncomprehendingly through it;
- The power of all the other things that become possible as information technology becomes so small and sophisticated it becomes less of a discipline in itself and more of an enabler of nanotechnology, smart materials, enhanced reality, real-time intelligence and data analysis;
- Cameras you can't forget as long as you remembered to bring your phone;
- Lower long-distance phone and cable TV bills.
Were you born a geek? Did you choose it? Was it the need to fix something about yourself? To find the tools to fix some aspect of your world that needed fixing?
Was it the money? The respect of peers? Recognition that without your assistance no one in your organization could do their jobs properly or well? The acknowledgment from business-unit managers and end users that your skills are the only thing standing between them and the unemployment line?