Estimated reading time: 1 mins
The last quarter century has seen the rise of the Super Geek. This recent CIO.com article features 11 Super Geeks that have transformed society by disruptive technologies. This collection of individuals, if together, might be confused with the cantina in Star Wars, but their combined wealth is a hundred squillion dollars (roughly). Who are they?
- Alan Kay – The Laptop
- Ray Tomlinson – Email
- Martin Cooper – The Cellphone
- Mike Lazaridis – The Blackberry
- Vint Cerf – The Internet
- Bill Gates – ‘Standardized Software and Operating System’
- Steve Jobs – ‘Sexy Computers and your iPod’
- Larry Page and Sergey Brin – Google
- Bradford W. Parkinson and Ivan A. Getting – GPS
I wonder what made these guys so rich, where the rest of geekdom scratch around to buy the next pair of plaid trousers? I think the answer is that all of them were supported by strong commercially minded people who shared the vision of how technology creates unprecedented social value . I said social value, not business value. And there is the key – the innovators who bring contribution to society are those that, eventually, achieve the most – both financially and legendarily. This may not have been true in the past (how many stories have you heard that Mr X was a great inventor but died penniless?)
The Super Geek, therefore, is perhaps the greatest asset to mankind. If not that, then they’re certainly a valuable asset to business. But are they nurtured – listened to – given space to grow their vision in your organization? Do you even know who they are?
In my experience, the geeks are marginalized as a humorous quarter of the workforce. And I am not afraid to say that I have done this myself in the past. But reading the CIO.com article reminded me that ‘The Geek’ is a gift, if nurtured.
Do you have geeks in your organization? How are they treated?