Geeks and Promotion
October 2, 2003
So the other day I posted my interview with PB, which was fun to do because he's a super smart guy with lots of good ideas, but I thought it might make sense to talk a little more about the reasons that I wanted to do this interview, and others like it, in the first place.
There are many kinds of geeks in the world, and I think I tend to know at least one of each variety. But a common personality trait among a lot of the smartest, most creative people I know is that they're not inclined to do a lot of self-promotion. I touched on that in the introduction to the interview with PB, but in general, I find that some of the most valuable contributions come from some of the people who are least likely to trumpet their own work.
As I've gotten further from the techie side of things (I don't do any scripting or programming these days, even as a hobby) and have focused more on connecting people, networking, and developing relationships, I find that most of my friends and acquaintances who create truly visionary works aren't really against promotion, it's just not a skill that they cultivate for themselves.
I think part of the reason is cultural, as programmers have always had a mistrust and even a contempt for the suits, for the marketers who just want to pimp a product, developmental realities be damned. There's a justifiable distaste for that kind of arrogance and hubris.
But sometimes a program or product or web site doesn't reach its full potential without a concerted effort to promote it, or to make human connections with others who could use it or benefit from it. We've got infinite numbers of mailing lists for people asking technical questions, but very few that are designed to help technical people promote themselves or their efforts.
So, since I'm not involved hands-on in building tools and tech anymore, I wanted to help build an outlet for those who are. It's a good way to share new ideas, but it's also hopefully a good way to remind the other geniuses out there that others are interested in the great ideas behind their unassuming demeanors.
There's other kinds of geeks, of course. There's combatative, angry testosterone-powered geeks, and there's artsy geeks and a thousand other kinds. But the ones who are busy spending their free time building new things on the Internet and connecting them together should do justice to their work by helping others to connect with them as individuals.
Enough rambling. Who's an unsung geek genius with an unfairly low profile?