Geek. Once a derogatory term, but since reclaimed and upgraded by entrepreneurs, coders, and pretty much anyone passionate about creating exciting new things for the world to enjoy. In our Geek to Peak series we look at how tech has schooled the world, one app, platform and piece of software at a time.
Tech geeks have been a feature of popular culture ever since the arrival of personal computers. Remember the 1980s flicks War Games – thermo nuclear destruction via your home computer anyone? – and Weird Science? Nothing changes really except Hollywood is now making pictures about real life tech geeks such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg in the Social Network.
The change reflects a transition for the individual who once might have been dubbed the class tech geek and is now more likely to be an aspirational young professional, working in the super cool and uber trendy districts springing up in cities worldwide from London’s Silicon Roundabout, to Berlin’s Kreuzberg, Chicago’s River North, or Minneapolis’ North Loop; full of aspiration, designing and building apps, and launching the next big thing onto the world’s tech stage.
In short, many tech ‘geeks’ have made the journey from geek to peak. And we’re not just talking about successful individuals here. The tech sector as a whole has inspired a wave of copycats. We’re all mimicking tech startup culture and ways of working – from marketing and social media to publishing and finance (business insurance even) we’re all talking tech – Beta? Fail fast? Agile?
So what’s driven the tech ‘geek’ transformation?
The tech boom of this century is built on the transformative impact of the internet to change how we live our lives at work and at home. Businesses, from taxi firms to publishers, to hotels, and yes, even insurance companies like us, have had their business models turned upside down by the opportunities that the internet offers to interact and serve their customers. There is nothing ‘back office’ about how technology drives business today. Technology and the ‘geeks’ that drive and shape it are up front and centre for almost every business you can think of.
Even business practices are mimicking the tech world. A new product to market? ‘Fail fast, fail often’ has long been Silicon Valley’s mantra and is increasingly accepted by more traditional business sectors. Agile methodologies, typically used in software development, are being used throughout business to incorporate change through incremental stages. Even cultural business practices are being adopted from the tech world; stand-up meetings, open plan offices, hot desking, that large exercise ball the chief executive now uses instead of the leather chair.
Share your #GeektoPeak stories
Throughout September we’ll be publishing fresh new videos, interviews, features, infographics (the lot) on our Geek to Peak hub, celebrating the rise of tech and changing role of the geek. We’ll be including interviews with industry experts spanning sectors from tech and finance, to social media and publishing, as well as opinion pieces, tech sector trends and insight. Then there’s also the results from this year’s Hiscox sponsored Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100 League Table, of course. So do keep checking in regularly for updates.
We want to hear from you too. What’s your experience of all this? Are you a coder revelling in the exciting job opportunities created by the tech boom (and loving the bean bags, free food, office slides and what not)? Have you created a game-changing app? Or are you (like me) simply trying to keep up with all this innovation?
Share your stories, views, and experiences using #geektopeak, or leave your comments here.
And remember, the tech geeks might not inherit the world, but they’re doing a good job of shaping it.