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Do not be a Nerd!

Recently I was talking to some investors about a new project where systems administrators would be their own sales force for IT services. The investors told me that it would never work, because “computer people are nerds” and do not have the social skills to be salespeople.

I was a little shocked at this, because I had just returned from a great event called “Campus Party”, where 6800 young people came together to interact with each other and show each other what they were working on. While it is true that many of them would “tweet” to the person sitting next to them, they also talked, hugged, laughed and shared food and drink together.

I believe the stereotype of the typical computer “nerd” came from years ago: white shirts, black horned-rim glasses and the pocket protector is the image that most people have. The person who never made friends, never had social skills and therefore found solace in the “friendship” of a machine. Unfortunately, like most stereotypes, even this person was the rarity….but in the population of thousands (or today millions) you are bound to find enough of that type of person to perpetuate the stereotype.

I do, at this point, wish to differentiate the term “nerd” from “geek”.

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